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. [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.]

    Well if you can’t tell the difference between JG’s 50 minute press conference which comprehensively dealt with every single question and Abbott’s ‘didn’t happen’, then you really should prepare yourself for every bit of criticism that comes your way.

    Unfortunately for Latika, by ignoring JG’s press conference and stating that Gillard said the past doesn’t matter she just shows herself up as a juvenile amateur.

  2. Most of you would be thrilled that Rudd is out of the country for a week, except that I suppose that his attendance at the World Economic Forum will be interpreted as a sign of his supposed undermining of Gillard.
    And, does every backbench Labor MP need to publicly tweet motions of condolence for the Gillard family, or is it just the MP for Griffith that this applies to?

  3. Kezza: Having just had a look at Kev’s Twitter account, it looks to me like he hasn’t tweeted anything for days. If he is currently OS, that would probably explain it.

    Not that it matters in any case. Kevin Rudd is certainly not a monster and would have privately conveyed his condolences, as I’m sure all of Julia’s other colleagues have (and no doubt a number of Liberals, Greens & Independents as well).

    Just because people haven’t made a public song and dance about it does not mean it hasn’t happened.

    Incidentally, Twitter is boring enough at times without every pollie now having to announce every private thing they do as well as every public thing …

  4. bemused

    There is plenty of interest on Corregidor that I have not mentioned: the Malinta tunnel included.

    The problem with the artillary was that it was designed to be anti-ship rather than anti-land or anti-air. The ammunition was armor piercing rather than HE.

    According to our guide, ‘I shall return’ was written in Melbourne by a filipino spin doctor for Mr MacArthur.

  5. @TLM/1954

    So your interpreting what we’re thinking and that thinking has leaded to Kevin Rudd undermining Gillard – when it’s the media is doing the talking….

  6. Danny Lewis @ 1955

    Thank you for that eminently sensible post.

    Many people prefer grief and condolences to be expressed privately.

    Public expressions can be seen as pitched at the public audience, and not just at the recipient, and to me would not be seen as necessarily as sincere.

  7. kezza2,
    That is one slow modem if it hasn’t logged this on 8 Sep:

    8 Sep Kevin Rudd Kevin Rudd ‏@KRuddMP

    All the best to Reece Byrnes, Michael Armstrong & the Tweed Labor council team. Good to campaign with you guys. KRudd

    Now, that is the last thing I wish to say on the matter. I have made my observation,fwiw.

  8. Boerwar @ 1956

    According to our guide, ‘I shall return’ was written in Melbourne by a filipino spin doctor for Mr MacArthur.

    I can believe that.
    I read a book which referred to MacArthur as “that most theatrical of Generals”. Everything the bloke did was of that nature, and he was a menace.

  9. We’ve got to the point where Kevin Rudd only has to utter a breath, and he’s criticised for it – some of the commentary on this site has regressed to the absurd.

  10. [Most of you would be thrilled that Rudd is out of the country for a week, except that I suppose that his attendance at the World Economic Forum will be interpreted as a sign of his supposed undermining of Gillard.
    And, does every backbench Labor MP need to publicly tweet motions of condolence for the Gillard family, or is it just the MP for Griffith that this applies to?]

    Could we please refrain from this sort of provocation?

  11. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 3m
    No issues with pairing for PM Gillard who is away from Parliament this week following the death of her father, John Gillard on the weekend]

  12. b
    He was caught with his pants down in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded. The killing of around 160,000 Manilans and the destruction of the Pearl of the Orient (aka Manila City) mainly by US artillary (but also by Japanese mass murder and general carelessness) is still a matter of some dispute.

  13. [James Massola ‏@jamesmassola
    A remarkable exchange between @Barnaby_Joyce & @mariusbenson on Newsradio this AM – listen
    10:47 AM – 10 Sep 12]
    Click on link, scroll down and look on left hand side to see audio link “Barnaby Joyce refuses to answer questions about his ‘freelancing’ on foreign investment”

  14. kezza2 @ 1972


    yep, that’s the same tweet. Can’t work out why my access to the account definitely says Sep 7.

    Weird eh?

    Just a thought. Do you both have your time and time zone set correctly?

  15. On another subject absolutely a world away from all the water that has passed under the Poll Bludger bridge this morning 😳

    I just figured out how to send a message direct to Latika’s phone, and I did!

    She may take no notice, but I believe she would have read it.

    It was about her double standards wrt Tony Abbott’s ‘The Punch’.

  16. davidwh – a while ago someone said that there are 4-5 people on each side of the Rudd/Gillard PB wars who will regularly restart it without provocation, largely as a pretext to attack each other. We’ve seen a few on display just now.

  17. C@tmomma @ 1977
    If you don’t have the date/time and your time zone set correctly, you may get anomalies in the date/time of emails and other communications.

  18. bemused

    [Just a thought. Do you both have your time and time zone set correctly?]

    I’ve been having problems since my youngest son moved out and he bought me a new modem to replace the one he was taking.

    The only pages that will load quickly is “yahoo” and abc sites, although not sbs. PB is a nightmare, refresh and get booted out; then half a dozen “the site unavailable messages” before gaining access again. Fairfax sites abominable and News Ltd, only couriermail.

    Obviously the settings are wrong, and I wouldn’t have a clue how to go about fixing them.

    But, all that aside, why would those problems alter the date on Rudd’s twitter account?

  19. [Thanks for expressions of condolence and #hugs4JG pouring in on the death of the PM’s father, John Gillard. They’re being passed on. Team JG]

  20. A little while ago on ABC774 “Shirley” critiqued David Marr for “probably not having Christian values”, and when told that Abbott had denied The Punch announced that she believed him because he “generally” tells the truth …

  21. PB is boring again today – surely the Rudd/Gillard stuff was exhausted yesterday? I am more interested in finding out if Abbott can be proven a liar. The way he tells lies as a bona-fide approach to public life needs to be exposed. He lacks honour and integrity.

  22. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 7s
    Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says he has signed the instrument to designate Nauru as an offshore processing country. #asylum]

  23. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 10s
    Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says the Salvos will work on #Nauru and supporting #asylum seeker detainees.]

  24. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 16s
    Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says the first #asylum seekers will be transferred to Nauru in the ‘latter part of this week.’]

  25. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 5s
    Immigration Minister Chris Bowen – the Opposition said it would take them 3 months to get Nauru ready – its taken me 1 month. #asylum]

  26. bluegreen
    [Wow. Barnaby has gone feral!!!!!]
    No,it is all good and wonderful stuff .Just ask Coorey.Sure if a senior Labor person did the same there would be talk of cracks,splits,crisis,sackings or even a leadership challenge any tick of the clock but this is different. It just is.

    [Team players get top jobs but mavericks make a difference]

    Read more:

  27. A great article on education and funding matters here:
    If Australia is egalitarian, its schools funding plan is wrong

    Of course, the economic and cultural dimensions of class frequently go together. Those with economic capital are in a better position to possess cultural capital, and to pass both on to their children.

    This explains why the well off like to send their children to elite private schools. It is as much to do with gifting their children with the elusive cultural capital of knowing how to win and succeed, as it is with high test scores.

    Which brings me to why class should matter. It matters because class advantage and disadvantage – however you define it – still gets in the way of social mobility.
    It is the mark of a good society that careers be open to all talents. Individuals should be able to transcend the position of their birth or upbringing through ability and effort. By the same token, the state shouldn’t reward those who have the fortune of being born into good circumstance.

    This should be the philosophical background for the current debate about school funding. While the Gillard government has been strong in framing the debate in terms of opportunity, it has dealt gingerly with the issue of class. It desperately wants to avoid a fight with the private school sector, fearing a backlash from aspirational voters who want to send their children to private schools with government assistance. A truer stand for opportunity would see a more emphatic effort to put money into the schools that need it most, plain and simple.

    I was discussing this issue with my eldest son recently and I said to him: “Have a look at LinkedIn and see who mentions their secondary school. Overwhelmingly it is only those who have gone to a Private School. Why is this? It shows they are the ‘of the right type’ and not of the riff-raff. Private Schools are all about access to networks, privilege, and career advancement independent of ability. The taxpayer should not fund this.”

    Am I a class warrior? You betcha.

    Read Bob Connell’s book Ruling Class Ruling Culture to see why. h­ttp://

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *