Seat of the week: Lilley

Wayne Swan’s electorate of Lilley covers the Brisbane bayside north-east of the city centre, between the Brisbane and Pine rivers – an area accounting for industrial Eagle Farm in the south and residential Brighton in the north – along with suburbs nearer the city from McDowall, Stafford Heights and Everton Park eastwards through Kedron, Chermside and Zillmere to Nundah, Nudgee and Taigum. The redistribution before the 2010 election had a substantial impact on the electorate, adding 26,000 in Chermside West and Stafford Heights at the northern end (from Petrie) and removing a similar number of voters in an area from Clayfield and Hendra south to Hamilton on the river (to Brisbane), but the margin was little affected.

Lilley was created in 1913, originally extending from its current base of Nudgee, Aspley, Kedron, Eagle Farm and Brisbane Airport all the way north to Gympie. It did not become entirely urban until the enlargement of parliament in 1949, when Petrie was created to accommodate what were then Brisbane’s semi-rural outskirts. Labor won Lilley in 1943, 1946, 1961 and 1972 (by a margin of 35 votes on the latter occasion), but otherwise it was usually safe for the prevailing conservative forces of the day. A decisive shift came with the elections of 1980 and 1983, when Labor’s Elaine Darling won and then consolidated the seat with respective swings of 5.2% and 8.4%.

Wayne Swan succeeded Darling as the Labor member in 1993, but like all but two of his Queensland Labor colleagues he lost his seat in 1996. Swan stood again in 1998 and accounted for the 0.4% post-redistribution margin with a swing of 3.5%. He added further fat to his margin at the each of the next three elections, although in keeping with the inner urban trend his swing in 2007 was well below the statewide average (3.2% compared with 7.5%). The 2010 election delivered the LNP a swing of 4.8% that compared with a statewide result of 5.5%, bringing the seat well into the marginal zone at 3.2%.

Swan’s path into politics began as an adviser to Bill Hayden during his tenure as Opposition Leader and later to Hawke government ministers Mick Young and Kim Beazley, before he took on the position of Queensland party secretary in 1991. He was elevated to the shadow ministry after recovering his seat in 1998, taking on the family and community services portfolio, and remained close to former boss Beazley. Mark Latham famously described Swan and his associates as “roosters” when Beazley conspired to recover the leadership in 2003, but nonetheless retained him in his existing position during his own tenure in the leadership. Swan was further promoted to the Treasury portfolio after the 2004 election defeat, which he retained in government despite suggestions Rudd had been promised the position to Lindsay Tanner in return for his support when he toppled Kim Beazley as leader in December 2006.

Although he went to high school with him in Nambour and shared a party background during the Wayne Goss years, Swan has long been a bitter rival of Kevin Rudd, the former emerging as part of the AWU grouping of the Right and the latter with the Right’s “old guard”. He was in the camp opposing Rudd at successive leadership challenges, including Rudd’s successful challenge against Beazley, his toppling by Julia Gillard in June 2010, and most recently when he sought to recover the leadership in February 2012, when Swan accused Rudd of “sabotaging policy announcements and undermining our substantial economic successes”. Swan succeeded Gillard as deputy upon her ascension to the prime ministership.

Swan’s LNP opponent for the second consecutive election will be Rod McGarvie, a former soldier and United Nations peacekeeper. McGarvie won a July preselection vote from a field which included John Cotter, GasFields commissioner and former head of agriculture lobby group AgForce, and Bill Gollan, owner of a Deagon car dealership.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

2,173 comments on “Seat of the week: Lilley”

  1. BB – Electronic stuff is bewildering and amazing.

    And we seem to think there is ‘someone’ that understands how each bit of it actually works …

  2. To write anny thing about leadership

    At this time especially realy makes one think that reporters
    Call them what u will
    Live in isolation
    One asks do they actually go home
    Great expectations scene comes to mind
    mm. Wish i was a cartoon ist

  3. [BB – Electronic stuff is bewildering and amazing.

    And we seem to think there is ‘someone’ that understands how each bit of it actually works …]

    I discovered that you route the ground and voltage rails manually, and only then let auto routing do the rest and then only the boring stuff.

    Same with optics, actually, and optimization (auto-routing for optics).

    If you don’t understand or recognize the principles and don’t already have a pretty good idea of what you want to do, software won’t save you.

    Nothing like putting a brilliant lens together and then finding that you get about four images (from all the reflections) and that it’s impossible to build in a practical sense.

    A bit like Ruddstoration schemes. They look great on paper two months out from D-Day. I’m sure Julia is worried right now that Rudd’s hiring advisors and advertising for them in The Australian. And that the factional warlords in NSW nearly have the numbers. Not.

  4. Morning All

    I’m hoping the PM takes the whole week off – no point rushing back imo

    The Abbott stuff is weird, I think he is playing it badly – as was suggested yesterday by others he should’ve just put his hand up and owned it. He could have said something like – it was way back in my student politics days – everyone does things they aren’t proud of and learns from them.

    Speaking of Abbott – David Marr is on Radio National after 8 am

    Using local council elections in NSW to predict the death of the Greens is a bit of a stretch I’d suggest.

    Big week in politics coming up. Looks like marriage equality gets a run, drugs as well (what we are doing now isn’t working, time to try something else) and old favourites like asylum seekers. Not looking forward to the pictures of boat people being forced onto planes against their will 🙁

    Finally, well done to the Aussies at the Paralympics and to the Raiders and Swannies on their wins 🙂

  5. [How does one answer a question, when not even asked. ]

    Barrie was pretty weak in that interview. Pyne demands an answer to questions like, “Why are you the worst Prime Minister in living memory?” and when he doesn’t get it, does a POO on the floor, or moves an SSO motion (both equally messy) then blames Gillard for the breakdown of QT, after having asked only one question on Education in two years, while Barrie sits by, clutching his clipboard and nodding.

    The government’s only resort is to ask itself the questions, or else nothing about what’s actually going on ever gets any chance of an airing.

    Not that the Press Gallery wants to listen to boring stuff about policy or outcomes. They’d rather write about leadership tensions, if not in Labor, then in the Libs or (as in the case of Coorey’s column today) about Bananaby Joyce and his aspirations to be Deputy Prime Minister.

    Meanwhile Grattan is off in Cloud Cuckoo Land, scribbling about Rudd messing with Gillard’s mind.

    Yet we haven’t heard a thing about the APEC conference except that Putin spent too much money on it and Gillard’s Dad passed away.

    I wonder whether the Cry Police will investigate her body language and inform us whether she’s upset enough, or is just bunging on an act?

  6. Today was supposed to be the day before Ruddsteration and this is what we get:

    Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink


    If he hadn’t messed up his second opportunity with his constant undermining of the Gillard government, he would still be the relevant minister. A more potent underlining of his failure could not be had.

  7. Morning all. Sympathy to Julia Gillard on the loss of her father and I agree her privacy should be respected at this time.

    Those who seek to raise the leadership at this time show no respect for political conventions and tradition, never mind the cruelty. Even Vladimir Putin had more compassion than them. They deserve severe criticism.

    On the carbon tax, as well as turning out to do little harm to the Australian economy, there is a graphic reminder that it is still badly needed. The arctic ice melt has reached a new record low, and is melting further. This year is almost 20% lower than the previous record low. Surely there is something we can do to shut down Hazelwood, whose operating permit was so unwisely extended by Steve Bracks. Can we make them liable for the respiratory diseases of people living downwind? Coal power emissions cause many deaths.

    Off to work for me, have a happy day all.

  8. [Using local council elections in NSW to predict the death of the Greens is a bit of a stretch I’d suggest.]

    The Australian has sniffed the blood and is going in for the kill…. “Momentum shifts to the Right” and Singing La la la la La la la lie
    Yeah, everything is groovy and everything is fine
    Singing La la la la La la la lie
    All God’s children they gotta die

    …with much help from Nick Cave

  9. Morning all.

    [Tomorrow’s the Big Day, isn’t it? ]

    Journos will say it’s all off now because the PM’s father passed away.

    That’s if they’re asked about yet another failed prediction, of course.

  10. Btw Socrates

    It is truly bizarro world when Mr Putin shows more respect than our pollies and journos here in Australia. As the saying goes, there is something rotten in the state of Denmark.

  11. [If he hadn’t messed up his second opportunity with his constant undermining of the Gillard government, he would still be the relevant minister.]

    I view the msm now openly calling out Rudd’s stunts as leadership pot stirring as a positive. At least some of them demonstrate they have the capacity for rational thought. 18mths ago they all bought his white-anting as genuinely innocent. Not so anymore it seems.

  12. looking forward to Nielsen tonight, it will hopefully support Morgan and have the Greens in double figures – if they are actually losing support the job for Labor becomes a hell of a lot harder imo

  13. [West Australians have given up on the mining boom, a new survey shows, with consumer confidence plummeting to its lowest level since the global economy almost slipped into depression.

    The WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Curtin Business School survey has found many WA residents fearful of losing their job, worried about paying everyday bills and increasingly concerned about the state of the property market.

    The September quarter survey, to be released today, found just 18 per cent of those quizzed expect economic conditions to improve over the next 18 months. In the June quarter the number was 26 per cent.]

    WA is supposedly a boom state, doing much better than elsewhere. Is this the result of Abbott (and to a lesser extent, Barnett) continually talking the economy down?

  14. [now openly calling out Rudd’s stunts as leadership pot stirring as a positive.()]
    Connfessions. Posted

    Connie can you elaborate, so they in laymens language see tne funny side

    Or do you see it as a positive, re the readers , who may now be. Thinking
    Not. Thisagain

  15. Even Michael Rowland has got it – the Greens did well in 2008 by default.

    Lee Riannon dodging for all she’s worth.

    Next Federal election I expect they will be hammered.

  16. [While global and domestic economic woes are factors, the single most commonly given reason for the falling confidence in WA was living costs.

    Almost 60 per cent of people said living costs – particularly the cost of electricity, gas and water – were their biggest concern.]

    And for that they can blame Colin Barnett.

  17. my say:

    The Herald Sun article victoria linked to is titled ‘Rudd stirring the leadership pot’ or something like it. This is a positive that they can openly call out his white-anting like this. They never used to.


    ECONOMIST Saul Eslake has blasted continuing criticism of Tasmania’s economic performance from Western Australia, describing the mining boom state as “like a pensioner who has won the lottery” complaining about having to pay tax.

    Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart recently joined a growing list of business leaders and Liberal politicians from the West taking pot shots at Australia’s smallest state.

    In a paper for the Institute of Public Affairs, she attacked “the sense of entitlement” behind the attitude that “Tasmania is doing badly, so other states must provide”.

    WA Premier Colin Barnett last year called for GST revenue to be distributed on a population basis, which would deprive Tasmania of $700 million a year. He said the state had become Australia’s “national park”, adding: “If they continue to reject any sort of development, well, what right is there to simply take the spoils of hard work in other states?”

    Mr Eslake, a Tasmanian economist and commentator, hit back.

  19. lMorning All! 🙂

    I see BH didn’t surface yesterday. I can understand why. 😉

    Now, as no one else has joined the dots on:

    Tomorrow’s the Big Day, isn’t it?

    to this:


    Let me thusly say that it appears that the political Viagra will be applied to the Ruddserection in November now, according to the Grattanosaurus. It’s the ‘political killing season’ doncha know? And it appears Ms Grattan likes a bit of political S & M, as do a few others in the Canberra Press Gallery 😉 , and so we are to be fed the blow by blow account, like foie gras geese, whether we like it or not it seems, between now and the end of November.

    Hopefully circulation figures and click numbers continue to go down for this garbage, between now and then. And ALL involved will get the message to take their political tumescance and wack off! 🙂

  20. BB, I read atiny article in yesterday’s SH that Hadley was sued by Vossie and settled out of court for a six figure sum, and apologize on air. Do you know anything about it?

  21. I bet London to a bloody brick that Kevin Rud hasn’t picked up the phone yet to the PM to express his condolences on the passing of her father. 👿

    And, yes, Mr punctilious, bemused, I don’t know that for sure. So, no need to come the raw prawn with me. Save your ergs. 🙂

  22. Bushfire Bill@1828,

    We had a Nielsen just a couple of weeks ago, didn’t we?

    If memory serves, Nielsen are now monthly since the belt-tightening.

  23. Bill Shorten‏@billshortenmp

    Blown away by the performance of our @AUSParalympics team – Only disappointment was that our 32 gold medals didn’t make the front pages!

  24. victoria,

    Why isnt MT raising the ire of Msssss……Grattan?

    It appears the Canberra Press Gallery have rewritten their ‘Code of Behaviour’, now that the Coalition are in Opposition, and Rule #1 is:

    * Opposition hypocrisy, when compared with the government, is a Scrutiny Free Zone. 😀

  25. confessions@1843,


    Is that a fact?

    No, it’s just me pre-supposing about a phone call. However I do know that I haven’t heard him say anything, nor read a Tweet to that effect from Mr Rudd.

  26. It is good that the Simon Benson story on “Ruddstoration” includes a scanned copy of the job advert in the Australian.

    The article completely (deliberately?) misrepresents what is in the advert. There is a vacant position in Mr Rudd’s office and he seeks to fill the vacant position. He is entitled to advertise to fill the position. Terms of employment, including salary, are within the Public Service requirements for the staff of backbench MPs.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    The scanned copy of the advert is attached to the article.

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