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”

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  1. @GMegalogenis: Respect for @robbiefarah & @barryofarrell tackling trolls. Same rule for all: nasty tweets against PM on her dad’s passing no less liable.

    As long as this is done properly and not to restrict content of speech. Just extend exisitng laws to apply to platform. Intimidation abuse etc you would expect on other platforms.

  2. @TLM/2046

    Coalition already have.

    “But Opposition Leader Tony Abbott today encouraged more “perfectly legitimate” investigation of Ms Gillard’s actions while a lawyer with Melbourne firm Slater & Gordon.”

    “Christopher Pyne was still insisting that “questions that need to be answered” by the Prime Minister this morning, but failed to say what they were, like Tony Abbott on Wednesday night. The opposition had four question times this week, including one after her marathon press conference yesterday, to ask them, and failed to. One of the problems the opposition faces is identifying in what way any of the issues from 17 years ago have any relevance to Julia Gillard’s actions as an MP or as Prime Minister, something The Australian and other Gillard critics have also failed to do.”

    I suggest you do some digging.

  3. Diogenes @ 2032

    The big question is will Psephos apply for Rudd’s position as his foreign policy adviser?

    You have a devilish sense of humour at times. 😀

  4. I don’t think it is sensble for PunchGate to be pursued by the govt in QT, or by minister statements – other than “You should ask Mr Abbott about that..” type of responses.

    Plenty of 3rd parties are sufficiently wound up on the matter, and Marr doing a good job giving Abbott’s character flaws airtime.

    For Spur, suggesting some people may think Abbott is “intellectual” for wanting a return to pre-Vatican II is definately post-modern. Most would think it is narrow and Taliban like.

  5. bemused

    thanks for the advice.

    it’s probably just as well I’m having these issues – getting lots of spring cleaning done in the meantime!

  6. sprocket

    I concur. The govt should not pursue punchgate.

    Btw the CFMEU office in the City (Melbourne) had to be evacuated. A suspicious package is being removed, and traffic has been affected

  7. Perhaps C@tmomma should be the one checking her timezone setting.

    I see the last tweet re Tweed Labor team from Kruddy at 2.11PM on the 7th.

  8. kevjohnno @ 2060

    Perhaps C@tmomma should be the one checking her timezone setting.

    I see the last tweet re Tweed Labor team from Kruddy at 2.11PM on the 7th.

    I concur.

  9. [Agnes Mack @AgnessMack 1m
    Interesting observation from David Marr on ABC radio, Tony Abbott expects to be given a clean slate with every new step in his career]

  10. Agree that Labor should leave ‘Punchgate’ alone. It has a life of its own, and they don’t need to get their hands dirty on this one.

  11. Sprocket

    That’s not what he was writing about. He wrote about his time as a minister and how he was generally liked by public servants. He writes about how there’s more to him than a simple junkyard attack dog and how he has some intellectual depth (which I disagree with). If I were psychoanalysing Marr, I’d say he subconsciously likes Abbott even though he’s very clearly against most of his policy positions. The university stuff takes up about 1/5 of the the essay and it was the only thing Abbott was willing to go on the record about during his interview with Marr

  12. Politicians Who Deny Climate Change Cannot Be Pro-Business (Bloomberg opinion piece)

    [It finally seems to be dawning on many Americans that there’s something to this climate change thing. The historic drought has been hard to ignore. While belief in a long-term trend because it’s hot out right now is a bit ridiculous, it’s a start.

    You can see a shift in how the media covers weather. The statement “because of climate change…” is often stated clearly without caveats such as, “what some scientists think may be a warming planet.” You see it in the UN calling for action to help the hungry cope with rising food prices “in an age of increasing population, demand and climate change.”

    And you see it in the growing number of mega-corporations — including America’s Alcoa, Coca-Cola, Cisco, HP, J&J, Nike, and P&G — signing on to the “2 Degree Challenge Communiqué,” a call for the world’s governments to take strong action to slow greenhouse gas emissions.

    Climate change is basically accepted as fact the world over. But you wouldn’t know it watching our political conventions (or at least one of them). So while the world seems to be waking up to a fundamental, existential threat to our species (and not to “the planet,” which will be fine with or without us), the US policy debate remains mostly deaf, dumb, and blind.]

    [There’s blame on both sides, but let’s not pretend the two parties neglect climate change equally. Yes, it’s a shame that most Democrats will not stand up and proudly stand behind many of the positions in their own platform. But the GOP’s denial of climate science, and all the risks and opportunities it presents, is surreal.

    Their views and policies on climate won’t help our businesses deal with, and profit from, the largest market shift we’ve ever seen. And they won’t help prepare our country for the hard realities of life in the 21st century.]

  13. LBB

    The union and Grocon have agreed to further talks to resolve this matter. I hope this latest event, is not going to be a set back.

  14. On reflection, having been out in the garden and in the fresh air, sunshine & solitude for a while, it is probably the case that I should not have cast aspersions at Kevin Rudd this morning in the way that I did.

  15. [Tony Abbott expects to be given a clean slate with every new step in his career]

    Sorry, Mr A, doesn’t work like that out here in the real world. Your past behaviour is the best guide we have to your future behaviour, and it ain’t pretty, son.

    We also all know you never grant any such indulgence to your enemies. So shove your self-serving confessional hypocrisy up your fundament.

  16. I am sure Abbott can be funny and likeable. That’s not the point. He is a dangerous, vicious, vindictive, arrogant, pre-Vatican II, reactionary deadbeat.

  17. [I am more peeved that Latika is ignoring the fact that a person has said that this occurred, and initially Abbott did not recall it and then flatly denies it occurred. Is Latika not interested in Abbott’s character?]

    victoria – I was surprised that La Grattan found Abbott’s forgetfulness and then denial a problem for him. You could have knocked me down with a feather when she said that.

    She said wtte that his Uni days were pretty boisterous but that was then but the response to the ‘punching the wall’ now is suss.

  18. Sad news of the death of th eyoung man, if it’s true.

    On the Abbott allegations, Labor shold leave them alone, but when the media falls conspicuously silent on them (and they will) sme front benchers should beat the media up about their double standards, especially the likes of the unctious Paul Kelly.

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