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. Re: the Paralympics.

    I watched it a few nights(I’m a sucker for a global sporting competition), and I must say that the standard of interview of the athletes by the ABC was both sympathetic and humorous and lengthy, with no cliched questions from the ABC panellists, who all knew their stuff about each athlete in minute detail it seemed.


    Now, apply the same forensic technique to your political interviews, especially of the Opposition, will you?

  2. OL
    Rugby League/2GB/channel 9 get more and more bizzare.
    9/2gb paid for a statue of Rabs Warren in Junee! Voss said it looked nothing like him and Hadley, who has replaced Voss as Rabs heir apparent, then made a vicious attack whivch lasted 2 days on his radio show against Voss. Voss started proceedings and Hadley has now apologised and settled.
    The arrogance and childishness of the prople who own the rights to broadcast the great national game is astounding.

  3. [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?]

    Something to do with a statue of Ray Warren (Nine’s main NRL commentator). Hadley is the “No. 2 commentator” (in every sense of the phrase).

    The No. 3 commentator said that the statue of Ray Warren didn’t actually look like Ray Warren (which it didn’t very much).

    Hadley then went after No. 3 with his usual on-air slagging. Callers dutifully called agreeing with their “mate, maaaate” Hadley.

    Hadley thought this was an easy free kick so piled on.

    No. 3 sued him, claiming Hadley had implied he was not a “team player” (or similar) at Channel 9, in daring to criticise not Ray Warren, but a statue of Ray Warren.

    It was just Hadley throwing his weight around with (what he thought was) impunity, except No. 3 took umbrage.

    Hadley is a truly dreadful NRL commentator (from what little I’ve seen). Ray Warren is pretty good (again, from what I’ve seen). But the best is the ABC commentator, David Morrow, without a shadow of a doubt. And it’s not just NRL.

    Morrow can switch from League to Rugby, then to Murder Ball at the Paralympics, flick over to basketball, swimming and then to Greco-Roman wrestling with equal aplomb. He is Australia’s best of the best of sports commentators. Then we have the rest of the ABC staff, and only then the commercial stations.

    So the 2GB-Nine stoush is really the second raters duking it out over a stupid statue. From what I know of Warren, he’d be mortified at all the attention.

    Hadley believes to his core that he runs NSW. When I heard him say that Greg Smith (NSW Attorney General) had been “reported” to him for saying that Hadley listeners were “rednecks” that was proof to me the man’s a megalomaniac.

    Hadley is OK pushing second rate sports commentators around (although in this case he lost), junior public servants, dodgy kitchen renovation proprietors and the like, but when it comes to real power and influence he’s as weak as piss, a loudmouthed, bogan boor who only survives because his on-air producers filter his calls and turn up his microphone volume to drown out anyone stupid enough to think they can debate him fair and square.

  4. [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. 🙂 ]

    Unless you are deliberately trying to start a chapter of the Rudd wars that post is as unnecessary as it is idiotic.

  5. Citizen

    Precisely why the article made no sense at all. The report spoke of a position relating the foreign ministry, but the job ad did not say that. Despite it being obvious, Rudd wants the top job back, this story is a piece of crap

  6. Hmmm,…..

    [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 1m
    Yes….? RT @AlexHawkeMP: Barnaby JOyce]

    [Alex Hawke MP @AlexHawkeMP 36s
    @latikambourke Ah Latika, always on the ball.]

    [Latika Bourke

    @AlexHawkeMP was that a misplaced DM? Who were you DMing? What’s your view on Barnaby’s approach to Foreign Investment?
    10:49pm Sun Sep 09]

  7. Good Morning

    702sydney is full of the attacks on BOF by the private schools. So BOF may have been crowing about votes yesterday. However he is doing his best to get votes for Labor.
    Liberal Premiers. Federal Labors best friend. 🙂

  8. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 35s
    #ccBarnaby RT @AlexHawkeMP: @latikambourke I don’t agree with spending $350+mill of taxpayers money on a bankrupt farm when we have buyers.]

  9. victoria

    [Btw Socrates

    It is truly bizarro world when Mr Putin shows more respect than our pollies and journos here in Australia]
    The PM’s father said there were not enough words to descibe how he felt seeing “Our little Julia” as our PM. I think he also would have got a kick out of the world being alerted to his death by no less than the president of Russia. Not bad for the boy from Barry.

  10. Victoria, she bolted in.Gash has a high profile and is popular. The plus for labor here in Gilmore is that she is being replaced by her ‘friend’ Sumalis ,who is unknown, and that little git angry A is trying to get in here as a national, hopefully splitting the conservatives

  11. guytaur,

    I’ve heard from a friend of mine who works in admin of a high profile private school in NSW, that they are desparate for Gonski to go through because a huge section of their student fees are not actually being paid by well shod, high flying parentals. Apparently it has become the trend since the GFC.

  12. Just heard radio news. Not sure if I heard correctly. Apparently Wayne Swan will be acting PM for the rest of the week. I gather that means that the PM will be missing from parliament all week.

  13. [Michelle Rowland ‏@MRowlandMP

    @AlexHawkeMP Pensioners ripped off by rent increases on their carbon assistance package. I’m sure you’re bleeding for them. ]

  14. Arrrggghhh!!! The crazies have invaded ABC 702Sydney.

    A couple of them just rang in about the COALITION State government taking $67 million away from Catholic and Independent Schools next year, and they blamed the Gillard federal government for it! They came out with crap like, “This is one step away from Communism! NDIS etc are taking money away from funding these schools. Parents that send their kids to these schools generally make more money and pay more tax, so they deserve it back from the government!”

    Totally ignoring what a Progressive Tax System represents, what an egalitarian community social compact involves, and the basic reason for paying tax! Which is not to get it straight back again to fund your family’s lifestyle and ‘aspirational’ choices.

  15. We Want Paul@1856,

    Unless you are deliberately trying to start a chapter of the Rudd wars that post is as unnecessary as it is idiotic.

    Said more in sorrow than in anger, WWP.

  16. @chrispytweets: International theme for #wspd for 2012 is: Suicide Prevention across the Globe: Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope #wspd12

  17. C@tmomma @ 1840

    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. 🙂

    Out of respect for Julia Gillard the woman, her mother Moira and sister Alison at their time of sadness, I have not entered into any of the usual rubbish here to defend KR from the usual gratuitous attacks and shall continue to refrain to do so for at least the next few days.

    Of course the usual suspects are at it as hard as they can go. You can’t go quiet on it for even a few days. You disgust me.

  18. Not living in Pyne-Lib world, I do not understand why it is the Deputy Speaker’s fault that the Shadowy Libs only ask gotcha questions in QT on a narrow range of subjects.

  19. I would not get too worked up about the Rudd add – seems MORE like he is building up for an exit than a comeback – more interested in an overseas post – probably one based in Beijing – where his daughter lives. Possibly an academic role in a University. Probably planning to do some writing and the research officer position will help.

    PS back benches SHOULD develop skills independent of Cabinet – otherwise it is group think.

  20. guytaur,

    Menzies House at it again? Desperation to get 2GB callers onto 702. Total failure too of course.

    Didn’t they sound ranty and illogical?

    I couldn’t cope with it day after day on the radio.

  21. David Marr was good this morning on RN breakfast where he characterised the libs role in a nutshell. “To get wages down and make life harder for workers” or wtte.

    He later did a longer interview on 774.

  22. Victoria, Gash is popular{enough], if it came to a byelection she would win on a personal basis.She has ridden into town as the white night to lead our council to greater things.With the federal elction 13 months away, I think she could drag this out safely, particularly as she has intimated that she would fight all the way to the high court. Que sera sera

  23. bemused@1884,

    Of course the usual suspects are at it as hard as they can go. You can’t go quiet on it for even a few days. You disgust me.

    Speak to the hand because I ain’t listening, bemused.

    No, it’s Kevin Rudd who disgusts me, though I am not so petty as to say you disgust me too for backing him in. However, I will say that I have just checked his Tweet timeline, and not one public word of sympathy or condolence there for the Prime Minister.

    Pathetic. Especially seeing his pusillanimous attempts to increase his media profile at such a time.

    I’m sorry, I have standards for political behaviour that I judge politicians by, and that man has not been meeting them for a long while.

    And nothing you may say will silence me from making pertinent observations about him.

  24. I am looking forward to this week in Parliament. Lots and lots of attention to Parliamentary Standards. Given results we have seen from implementation. The best example being an Independent Speaker. I am saying more strength to Oakey’s arm.

  25. Boy, I would love to see a MPI or SSO today to debate whether it is acceptable for a future PM to threaten violence against a woman and give the LOTO a chance to clear the air.

  26. daretotread@1887,

    back benches SHOULD develop skills independent of Cabinet – otherwise it is group think.

    Backbenchers get the chance to develop their skills relevant to their areas of expertise and interest by sitting on Committees, as they generally can’t afford $150000 to pay for staff to advise them.

  27. It’s a low blow to even suggest that Kevin Rudd wouldn’t be feeling sadness for Julia Gillard right now.
    The guy lost both of his parents some years ago, he’d know what the PM is feeling today.

  28. C@tmomma @ 1894

    I’m sorry, I have standards for political behaviour that I judge politicians by, and that man has not been meeting them for a long while.

    Yes, I’ve noticed. Couldn’t go much lower if you tired.

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