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. And how do you know that Kevin & Therese didn’t privately convey their sentiments to Julia? They’re not nasty, vindictive people, as they are constantly depicted as here.

  2. Well hello to the world’s newest country. Tasmania. I must admit I like this mistake. A nice change from Tassy being left off the map.

    @pinknews: Australia: Priest hopeful for a “more inclusive Christianity”, including marriage equality

  3. oh dear. Libtika is confused

    [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 3m
    Govt MPs quick to jump on disputed accusations of Tony Abbott punching a wall. Yet, PM JG says past doesn’t matter – re Slater and Gordon.]

  4. Given the learning curve I expect we will see Mr Akermanis invited into the Coalition soon.

    @DrewBoyTweets: Jason “I will not be silenced” Akermanis deletes Twitter account following his comments about a gay footballer:

  5. The Nationals have generally managed to ride the razor’s edge of acute conflicts of interest amongst National supporters, IMHO. I suggest that there are four:

    (1) upstream v downstream irrigators
    (2) landholders v miners – particularly open cut coal and coals seam gas
    (3) local landholders who are sellers v local landholders who are buyers
    (4) local communities v forestry plantation agribusiness.

    Naturally, there is little policy consistency about how the Nationals approach these issues.

    I suggest that Mr Joyce is vulnerable amongst downstream irrigators, landholders who are getting mined or who might get mined, selling landholders and forestry plantation agribusiness.

    Mr Joyce, with his verbal diarrohea style of down-home psycho-babble, has had the mother of all free rides on these issues.

    It is about time the MSM put the blowtorch to his policy belly. It wouldn’t hurt for the Government, by way of Dot Dixers, aimed a view shafts in Mr Joyce’s direction.

  6. [Thornleigh Labor Man
    Posted Monday, September 10, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink
    And how do you know that Kevin & Therese didn’t privately convey their sentiments to Julia?]

    Exactly, and as that stupid piece by Simon Benson in the Daily Telegraph mentions:
    [The job was posted as Mr Rudd flew to China for a week to attend the world economic forum.]

    Which would make him in-flight when the news broke over JG’s dad.

    Bit hard to tweet from a plane, I’d suspect.


    [APEC backs green tariff cuts
    PUBLISHED: 09 SEP 2012 16:47:00 | UPDATED: 10 SEP 2012 07:16:05

    Asia-Pacific leaders have agreed to cut trade barriers for environmental products and resist controls on food trade as they seek to bolster the region as the world’s key driver of global economic growth.

    Tariffs will be cut to 5 per cent or less by 2015 on 54 environmental products including solar panels, water purification equipment and certain incinerators in a rare display of international co-operation in this area after the breakdown of multilateral efforts to deal with greenhouse gas emissions.

    The Asia Pacific Economic Co­operation (APEC) group leaders also used their statement on Sunday to head off limits on food trade in the face of political pressures for controls due to recently rising prices.]

    [Boom still on boil: QIC mulls new resources fund

    One of Australia’s largest asset managers, the Queensland Investment Corporation, is considering establishing an international resources fund.

    In what would be a positive endorsement for the nation’s resources sector amid claims the boom is over, new QIC chief executive Damien Frawley has appointed former Macarthur Coal CEO Nicole Hollows to look at options for the state-owned company.

    QIC already has $65 billion in funds under management, including Queensland’s fully funded public sector superannuation liabilities, as well as extensive property, fixed interest and infrastructure assets.

    Mr Frawley, the former head of BlackRock Australia, said there was a strong long-term future for investors in the resources sector, despite debate about Australia’s mining boom coming to an end. “I think the whole resources phenomenon and the growth around resources is going to continue and is here to stay for some time,” he told the AFR

    “What is happening at the moment is a correction, it’s just a readjustment,” he said. “I think it’s still got a lot of life left in it.”]
    more in each (free) article

  8. TLM@1899,

    The guy lost both of his parents some years ago, he’d know what the PM is feeling today.

    Well he sure hasn’t expressed those sentiments in the public sphere yet. Have you checked the Rudd Labor facebook page, Evan?

  9. chris murphy‏@chrismurphys

    Ret’d SupCt Justice & Mental Health Tribunal Chairman GregJames QC has heard of Abbott wall punching 35yrs.Married to MsRamjan #auspol

  10. @guytaur/1912

    I not surprised,

    Spotify launched in Australia and now there’s rumors of Apple audio streaming services now too.

    There was also rumors of Netflix video services coming to Australia – but no updates at this point.

  11. Dear fellow ALP Bludgers.

    Could we give it a rest regarding whether or not Kevin Rudd is sympathetic to the PM’s loss? Why can’t we concentrate of the allegations about Abbott’s violent behaviour?

  12. Evan


    [They’re not nasty, vindictive people, as they are constantly depicted as here.]

    The issues that people here have with Rudd relates to loyalty to the party.

    That is all.

    Refer to your evidence and name names?

    The momentum is now with Gillard, if you were a true LOL Labor man as your name suggests you would ZIP…

    What we do know is that you’re a dork!

  13. kezza2@1909,

    Which would make him in-flight when the news broke over JG’s dad.

    Bit hard to tweet from a plane, I’d suspect.

    Nope. Wrong. Last Tweet from Rudd was on Saturday 8th September re Tweed Local Council Elections. AFTER the Prime Minister’s father had passed away.

  14. victoria – 1903

    In the name of consistency, I look forward to Paul Kelly making a pronouncement that the issue of Abbott punching a wall in the 1970s “goes to character and judgment”.

    But I won’t hold my breath.

  15. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 3m
    Govt MPs quick to jump on disputed accusations of Tony Abbott punching a wall. Yet, PM JG says past doesn’t matter – re Slater and Gordon.]

    That’s just embarrassing. Could Latika’s twitter account be considered self-harm?

  16. Burgey

    That is the point, i and several others made this weekend. Also, the question now is that Abbott at first did not recall doing it, and now denies it. This is definitely a question of his character now, and Libtika should frickin note this

  17. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 3m
    Govt MPs quick to jump on disputed accusations of Tony Abbott punching a wall. Yet, PM JG says past doesn’t matter – re Slater and Gordon.]

    Marr said on radio that he had looked forensically into the Gillard matter and found nothing. Latika likes to equate nothing with something as is her usual style.

  18. Visited Corregidor yesterday. It was the last hold-out place, against the Japanese invaders, of the US military in Philippines. It is just across the water from where the Bataan Death March started, in which the the US lost more men (American and Filipino POWs) than Australia lost in the entire Second World War.

    Corrigidor contained a substantial system of fortifications protecting the entrances to Manila Bay.

    Today the buildings, fortifications and gun emplacements range from totally ruined to as new (albeit with bomb craters, shell holes and sundry pock marks.)

    The skeletons of the barracks, built of reinforced concrete and therefore largely intact, are a truly haunting experiece. (The rooves, walls and internal fittings – built of wood were destroyed by some of the most intense bombing and shellfire of the war). The building remains, vast and gaunt, evoke the struggle of empires in a most powerful way. (There is one building that has largely disappeared under a strangler fig and is very reminiscent of Angkor Wat.

    There are numerous small insights into what it was to be human here – including a sign over the toilet door in the hospital wtte, this is your home too, please keep it clean.

    All aspects of the tourism infrastructure were excellent, IMHO, and I would heartily recommend a visit to anyone – whether they have an interest in history or military history or not.

  19. My comments on the NSW local govt elections and its implications for the Federal election.

    Firstly the qualifying statements:
    1. The voting system where you only could vote in your own ward will strongly favor the Coalition. Those who are poor, rent and move often, or a politically disengaged will have rocked up to vote only to be told to go elsewhere.
    2. This was an issue-free election. People were simply voting for a managerial council. Federal elections are never issue-free (exception 2010)
    3. This was a candidate-free election. Aside from Moore, and in regional areas (ie Besseling etc) strong candidates where not a feature of the elections.
    4. The last local council election was immediately post-Iemma and in the early days of Rees. This was a better days than the post-proroguing Kenneally polling. (Apparently the proroguing of parliament in the dying days of the Kenneally govt cost about 10 seats and killed their campaign). Therefore, it should be expected that Labor should have gone backwards somewhat.

    Other comments:
    1. Greens lost a lot of shine in this election. The socialist/activist tinge has exposed their upper limits. Only in areas where CSG is an emerging issue did they poll the same or more strongly than last time.
    2. Labor again deliberatley avoided the Labor brand. Corflutes were green or yellow or pale blue. Very few ALP-red corflutes.
    3. Liberals tended to brand more to party than the candidate. More Liberals 4 (enter suburb name here) than individual candidates corflute.
    4. This was not a big-spend up local election.

    Main points:
    1. Labor have recovered to a position better than Late-Kenneally days, but still worse than early-Rees days. They have stopped the drift to the left in in the inner-west. The wider-West is still lost.
    2. BOFs personal polling may be poor but the wider public still see the Libs as a safe pair of hands.
    3. Labor is not seen as a safe pair of hands. Polling 20-30% across heartland seats is dire.
    4. Robbo is a drag on the ALP vote. ALP + likeable leader is greater than ALP + Robbo. the ALP need a leader that broadens the base. (likewise with Rudd and Gillard)

    1. Abbott will win seats in NSW in the current circumstances.
    2. For the ALP to win they need to land more blows on O’Farrell, replace Robbo and (I won’t mention Rudd here).
    3. The ALP-Right will be gunning for Gillard between now and the election. Put some money on Rudd or Carr.

  20. [Only on this site could the death of someone’s father become a Rudd vs Gillard issue.]
    Typically tedious and grubby rubbish, as you suggest. The kind of thing that makes it less attractive to visit here these days.

  21. I don’t often agree with Bemused and spur on matters Rudd, but in this case it was particularly unnecessary, unhelpful and unpleasant to put baseless speculation on what Kevin Rudd didn’t do out there.

  22. Marr oulines correctly the big challenge ahead for Abbott. The whole will voters for the first time vote for an LOTO they do not like He also says that a year is an eternity in politics and will make no polling predictions.

  23. When Latika branches out into political commentary she shows little understanding of the issues involved. And is unable to accept any criticism of that fact.

  24. @bluegreen/1932

    Rudd is more suited to QLD than NSW.
    Blight Just recently moved to NSW?

    Libs might be safe bet for now – but all it takes is time in Politics to fall.

  25. Boerwar @ 1931

    I visited Corregidor many years ago and add a few points to your observations.

    Corregidor (unlike Singapore) really did have it’s only huge guns pointed out to sea and could not be traversed to defend against land attack.

    The major heavy defensive weapons at Corregidor were several (3?) batteries of huge mortars which could be traversed to fire at attackers on the Bataan peninsular. The loss of most of these mortars sealed the doom of the defenders.

    I was surprised you did not mention the Malinta Tunnel which is a large tunnel system with underground hospital, workshop and all manner of other facilities which helped the defenders to hold out as long as they did.

    Corregidor is of course where Gen McArthur departed with the words “I shall return.”

    Our guide said that the Americans re-took Corregidor by dropping paratroops on it with comparatively low losses. Haven’t checked this out.

  26. c@tmomma

    don’t want to get into a brawl with you, but when I visit Rudd’s twitter account, the last one is dated September 7.

    Maybe my computer is altering the dates. Nothing else seems to be working properly. Think I have a major problem with my modem!

  27. Zoidlord

    Yes politics does sometimes take time to shift. But IMHO I expected a larger shift away from the Libs than this (a much larger)

    In relation to Rudd, what I was saying is that ALP brand alone is not enough to win elections. Need ALP + likeable charismatic leader to win.

  28. [In the name of consistency, I look forward to Paul Kelly making a pronouncement that the issue of Abbott punching a wall in the 1970s “goes to character and judgment”.]

    Paul Kelly will also note that the fact that he denies ever doing it, when there seems to be heaps of witnesses, will also “go to character, judgement, and ability to be truthful” to the Australian public. Maybe.

    The man, like his own political party, is a coward.

    I would cringe at the thought of any of my family telling such blatant lies to the Australian public, so that makes me wonder how his imediate family thinks of his disgraceful behaviour.

  29. Evan

    Actually to be fair to you, I agree with you that Rudd having lost a parent, would know how the PM is feeling.

    So I withdraw “dork” for now 😆

  30. BG – I think that’s a well thought through summary of the party implications of the local government elections.

    I’m slightly more positive about what it means for the ALP because, as you say, it seems further evidence of a recovery of some sort from the dark days at the end of the Keneally period, but ALP support is definitely still a bit weak in NSW.

    I don’t have much time for Robertson, but to be honest I find it hard to believe he personally is weighing down the ALP vote – I suspect he’s a generic ALP person to most of the NSW public if they recognize him at all and any other choice would be in the same position. Robertson is a placeholder unless/until the ALP brand recovers at which point he’ll be replaced no doubt.

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