Seat of the week: Brisbane

With the change in the state’s political breeze recently, Labor is hungrily eyeing Queensland as a potential source of seats to counterbalance anticipated losses in Sydney. An inner-city seat with the LNP’s lowest margin represents an obvious target.

The electorate of Brisbane has existed without interruption since federation, and presently covers the north shore of the Brisbane River from Milton through the CBD to Eagle Farm, extending northwards to Stafford at its western end and Hendra in the east. It was the most surprising of the Liberal National Party’s eight gains in Queensland at the 2010 election, as Labor had held the seat since 1931 outside of the interruption of 1975 to 1980, holding on even in the face of the 1996 disaster which reduced Labor to two Queensland seats. The defeated Labor member was Arch Bevis, who had held the seat since 1990 when he succeeded Manfred Cross, whose tenure went back to 1961. Peter Johnson held the seat for the Liberals from 1975 until 1980, when Cross recovered his old seat on the second attempt.

Brisbane’s complexion was changed somewhat by redistributions in 2004 and 2010, the more recent of which cut the margin from 6.8% to 3.8% by adding 26,500 voters at the eastern end of the electorate at the expense of territory out to Ferny Grove and Upper Kedron in the west and Stafford in the north. The former area included Clayfield and its highly affluent surrounds, which have contributed to the electorate’s current status as the highest-income electorate in Queensland. This proved doubly damaging for Labor as the swings around Clayfield were especially strong, in keeping with a national trend in which the air went out of the Howard-era “doctors’ wives” balloon. The effect was to counterbalance a relatively static result in the inner city, contributing to a decisive 5.7% swing to the LNP. The result was also notable for the 21.3% vote for the Greens (compared with a Labor primary vote of 30.4%), whose candidate was former Democrats Senator and party leader Andrew Bartlett.

The LNP victory facilitated a return to parliament for Teresa Gambaro, who had held the northern Brisbane seat of Petrie from 1996 until her defeat in 2007. Gambaro is a member of a family famous in Brisbane for its seafood business, its restaurant being located in the electorate at Petrie Terrace. Nonetheless, Brisbane did not seem an especially strong prospect for her at the time of preselection, which occurred at the peak of the Rudd government’s fortunes in the opinion polls. Gambaro held parliamentary secretary and assistant minister positions in the final term of the Howard government, and has served as shadow parliamentary secretary for international development assistance and citizenship and settlement throughout the current term. She made headlines in January 2012 when she called for migrants to be given hygiene lessons, for which she subsequently apologised.

Labor has preselected Fiona McNamara, an organiser with the Queensland Teachers Union, of which Arch Bevis was also an official before entering parliament. The union is not affiliated with the ALP, but is said to wield influence in the Labor Unity faction. McNamara has been twice unsuccessful as candidate for Peter Dutton’s northern Brisbane seat of Dickson, falling short by 0.1% in 2007 and 5.1% in 2010.

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.

2,333 comments on “Seat of the week: Brisbane”

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  1. The polls are steady and on track for the ALP government and Prime Minister Julia Gillard continues to put important runs on the scoreboard. 🙂

  2. [
    City Birds Stuff Nests With Cigarette Butts To Ward Off Parasites, Mexican Study Suggests (VIDEO)

    The Huffington Post | By Andres Jauregui Posted: 12/06/2012 1:36 pm EST Updated: 12/06/2012 1:37 pm EST
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    Video, Birds Cigarettes, Birds Cigarettes Nest, Birds Mexico City, Birds Tobacco, City Birds, City Birds Adapt, City Birds Cigarettes, City Birds Mexico, Mexican Bird Study, Mexican Bird Study Cigarettes, Science News

    Cigarettes may be deadly, but a new study shows that birds in urban areas of Mexico have turned to discarded smokes as a way to stave off parasites.

    The study, headed by ecologist Monserrat Suarez-Rodriguez, provides “the first evidence that smoked cigarette butts may function as a parasite repellent in urban bird nests,” the abstract states. The report was published online Dec. 5 in the Royal Society publication Biology Letters ]

  3. [Lord Adonis, the former Labour transport secretary and one of the party’s leading pluralists, says he has changed his mind about the desirability of forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

    In an interview with the Guardian, he said he had become “a lot more negative” about the attractions of coalition government having witnessed the outcome of the pact between David Cameron and Nick Clegg.]

    “I think there’s something in it for all of us Oz Labor, don’t you?”

  4. kevin do you think its getting so monotonous and
    rather tedious for the public to read about mr rudd
    ever fortnight. has immunity set in
    even he should be embarrassed

  5. .

    shattering indeed, ducky. just so terrible we humans seem to be bearing to much these days.
    it was strange that i should do my little post on technology making our life harder in some ways.
    we are having to do things we never use to do.
    the things that use to arrive in the mail, we now have to log on and down load ,bills ect.
    grapple with paying for thing eg my example of the car parking attendant gone, ect
    sound very small considering the above
    but the pressure on us all to perform and keep performing till the grave, just think, what use to be a service is now something we have to do for ourselves and the number of these things is growing.

  6. Hartcher on the attack against Abbott

    But you didn’t imagine that it would take so long. You thought that Gillard’s grip on the Parliament would slip in the first year, and, when that didn’t happen, you expected that Kevin Rudd would force her out in the second. You didn’t expect that Gillard would still be in power, and you’d still be in opposition, when the carbon tax actually took effect and your dire prophecies proved false. Your unpopularity is at new highs and your party’s lead has weakened too.


  7. TLBD:

    [Nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who was working on reception when Australian DJs made prank call, dies in suspected suicide]

    Truly horrible news. Apparently she had children. That’s simply shocking. I do hope the Hospital admin went out of their way to support her and the attending nurse.

  8. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    This just goes to show what the frenzied media-hyped bullshit that surrounds royalty (and so-called celebrities) can do.
    Hartcher may have been tipsy when writing this but there are some telling points in it for Abbott.
    What will Sloppy say about this?
    Mike Carlon on a variety of subjects – including a well-aimed spray at facile Tone.
    David Pope on the Doha round of CC talks.

    Ron Tandberg continues to ridicule Trucker Tone.


    This is the sum-total of what the shit-merchants of the fourth estate now contributes to the public mind: Radio “jocks” making sexist remarks and inciting racial hatred. “Journalists” hacking the phones of dead teenagers. Current affairs “reporters” Provoking neighbourhood fights that lead to cops getting killed in the line of duty.


    It’s time for those who listen to shit radio to switch it off.

    It’s time for those who read shit newspapers to wipe their arse with them.

    It’s time for those who watch shit TV to abandon it.

    Workers in radio, TV and newspaper: Get yourselves out of the gutter or get washed down the drain.

    Yours obviously,

  10. will a lot of people out there be shocked to see what people in the media earn , considering
    our dr scientists ect spend years at university.

    to quote ducky again what is the world coming to

  11. captain obvious i had not read your post, now isnt that interesting

    i made my observation after reading the hard copy of the paper today
    i suggest we all turn off our tv our radio and go back to music we select our sleves, i still remember my parents and my mother and father in law
    dancing on the polished boards at home to music
    life was so simple it seemed

  12. gosh wish we could get some sort of thing going on this

    turn off the media week / bliss
    i wonder how others feel , interesting to as tweeters

    we need to clear our minds,

    we could do it memory of the poor lady that felt she had to do that.

  13. just sent the mr gittins piece to a few liberals i know and thats not many

    also to the children re their business, i know they also have liberal people they hae to deal with in business
    so its good for thier talking points

    can i suggest we all do this, sometimes

  14. I for one don’t listen to much radio at all. If I do now I stream it through my puter as I work.

    I have refused point blank to listen to radio programs that involve a funky dude and dudette as co-compares.

    I don’t know where or when it started but it has given me the edgar britts for a long long time. The dear wife still enjoys listening to such radio and it has become the source of many a dispute within the house and car.

    I class such crap in the same class as the ‘moron’ tv the stations now expect people to watch.

    Thank the Gods for the OFF BUTTON

  15. Notice how all of the #MSMhacks have to say now is simply: “horrible, horrible, horrible” it’s their obsession with the Royals that did it

    It’s time for the #MSM #OM, print, radio, TV, to STOP THE STUNTs

    Let me repeat – who gives afuck about the “Royal Baby” and anything to do with them parasitic Royals.

    The 2DayFM stunt should be a warning to the man who is addicted to stunts – Tony Abbott

    Not wonder the old media are dying because they’ve to rely on stunt to survive, good riddance

    the line between journos and celebrities are no longer there

  16. [Hartcher may have been tipsy when writing this but there are some telling points in it for Abbott. ]

    Hartcher is poll obsessed.

    This supposedly “serious” writer – a “Political and International Editor” no less – has written a thousand words or so on… a polling beauty contest.

    There’s no analysis of the rights or wrongs of the Carbon Tax, or any other government policy Abbott has been attacking.

    While he recognizes that Negativism was a short term tactic that went too far, the only damage he lists is the damage to his hero’s popularity.

    In doing so, he completely misses the damage that’s been done to the nation by the Coalition’s urging it to go on “Hold”, waiting for the inevitable handover that never happened.

    Think of all those businesses that swallowed Abbott’s thick-headed, phoney doom-saying, re-spruiked by Hartcher and his pontificating pals, all the people who got angry, stayed angry and stayed home instead of getting on with life. Collectively they talked themselves into a national funk that saw them waiting for the other to make the first positive move.

    Not enough of them did.

    Hartcher, who should have been reporting on the wrecking ball that was going through our society, one that has turned it from the world’s most successful, optimistic economy into one that’s loaded with ennui and misery.

    He should have been slicing it into little pieces, breaking it up with a 16 pound hammer, and Abbott along with it.

    But he was too obsessed with Rudd’s big comeback, or “the government’s greatest crisis”, or that school speech-night he attended where some kid said something about “trust” that Hartcher riffed off for three or four columns (oh, and yes, Hartcher had written a book on the subject too).

    He could have written about how, against all odds, the Gillard government had passed hundreds of pieces of legislation, had broken new ground, and about how this was a good thing, or at least something interesting.

    Instead he mentioned the legislation only as a counterpoint to the crocodile tears of which he he cried a river, saying how, when his man Tony got into power, the government’s entire program of reform would all be thrown out with the rest of the garbage, sans regret from Mr. Hartcher.

    He could have given Labor some due consideration instead of writing off everything it did as incompetence and club-footedness.

    He might have retained some of his Labor-leaning readers – about half the population – if he hadn’t been so stridently cock-sure, in that plummy-voiced, pin-stripe-suited, better-than-you way of his that they were idiots for thinking the way they did. To make matters worse, he told them what he thought of them.

    The shareholders of Fairfax must be cheering Peter Hartcher. Their share price is now around 50 cents… less than the price of an ordinary postage stamp, down from $5 just a few years ago.

    Why were all those artisans and, sub-editors and back office staff retrenched? So that money would be available for Hartcher could to indulge himself making up “failure” scenarios? For the big intellectual “Political and International Editor” to write about polls, nitpicking about a point here or there, telling us Labor’s doom was inevitable?

    Apparently so.

    What a waste!

    I have rarely seen a more incompetent body of work, dressed up as High Thinking than the rubbish Hartcher continues to turn out week after week. I can only guess what they must be paying him. They may as well have pissed it up against a wall for all the good it’s done Abbott, Hartcher or the Fairfax organization.

    He never has comments turned on, so must have negotiated a deal whereby he remains loftily ensconced on a marble pedestal, dishing it up to the proletariat. No feedback shall sully a finely-honed, exquisitely phrased Hartcher column.

    And for what? So he can dump on the grubby poll-junkies, not in favour of discussing esoteric policy. No… so that he can trawl through the results of the same polls he condemns himself, and tell us what’s really going on, to wit: Tony Abbott’s negativity has cost him polling popularity and suddenly winning the election doesn’t seem to be the doddle we were once assured it was, by Hartcher himself.

    Hartcher’s column today is his admission of failure. Failure to cover policy, failure to analyse beyond crass commentary on polls, turgid references to his own remainder-bin political philosophies and fan-boi cheerleading for the Liberal cause.

    Naturally, in true Hartcher style, he blames someone else. Today it’s Abbott. The man who wrote up every jerk of Abbott’s little finger as if it was an exercise in genius, has now turned on his chosen Narcissus and tells him it’s all his fault.

    At least Carney had the decency to leave The Age when he realized all his patrician fermenting was making him a laughing stock.

    Even Latham has at last turned the corner and twigged to the reality of the situation. It took a media campaign of irrelevant “sleaze and smear”, similar to the many directed against himself, to wake Latham up, but he finally has done so.

    He wrote today of the Old Media:

    [Journalism as we know it is dying, choking on its own incompetence. It is going the way of every commercial organisation which takes its customers for granted, offering low-grade services.

    For the sake of our democracy, this cannot happen fast enough. One of the reasons the Australian people are so disengaged from politics is their deep-seated distrust of journalism.]

    Too bloody right, Mark.

    Yet Hartcher remains. The World wonders why.

    With air-headed twits like Hartcher, writing whatever they feel like as if somebody cared, I would prefer der Gotterdammerung to come sooner, rather than later. It’s never too late to clean that rotting fish out of the back of the freezer.

  17. [BK
    Posted Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Ron Tandberg continues to ridicule Trucker Tone.

    Glad to see you back with your morning list of recommended reading.

  18. thank you all for your best wishes,
    as we had the solar power installed yesterday
    my oh tells me its the best and biggest pressie has given me in 44 years.

    not with standing the children lol

    yes i am for having a turn off media time
    wish we could get it going, you know just like the turn off the lights day
    o well doubt very much it would happen
    so much to do
    have a lovely day all of you.

  19. [The Hartcher article is amazingly sane.]

    I disagree Fred. It’s just Hartcher blaming someone else for his failure to do his job.

  20. jeffemu

    [I for one don’t listen to much radio at all. If I do now I stream it through my puter as I work. I have refused point blank to listen to radio programs that involve a funky dude and dudette as co-comperes.]

    I’ve occasionally switched over to 2WS in the car going to work when Fran Kelly has become too vomitous, but by and large, I agree. It’s much too banal for me. I don’t mind the nostalgia of an occasional trip down the musical memory hole of 1964-1978 though.

    I don’t know anything at all about Mel Greig and her sidekick, but I’d be surprised if, in their wildest nightmares, they imagined this would be the result of their prank. It seems they thought they’d be rumbled from the start. It did have a rather artless Colonel-Hogan-plays-German-officer quality about it. By the time they got through, it was clear Mel had run out of material and was winging it. It was cringeworthy.

    Reading Twitter, there’s a twitter storm around them, with some even calling for them to be charged with murder or manslaughter, which to my mind is grossly OTT.

    Outside perhaps of those who are terminally ill and in irremediable pain or really have no prospects of dignified existence and have made a considered decision to do die on their own terms, anyone taking their own life is a dreadful thing. I don’t know how these two announcers will respond to this, but I don’t accept that they are guilty of anything but being banal and crass — like the environment that produced them.

    If nobody at the hospital or who knew this nurse well ought to have suspected she was at risk of self-harm when she went to work that day then one can scarcely blame these two announcers for the tragic events.

    When bad things happen, there’s often a search for blame. That’s understandable. Human beings mostly prefer an orderly and predictable world. Some things really are unpredictable however, and if we start holding people accountable for things that even reasonable, experienced well-educated people – still less radio announcers – could not foresee, then we are going to have a much less pleasant world to live in.

    One may say that the whole mad celebrity culture thing is a predisposing or distal cause and I’d agree. At one end, this story was interesting because it concerned members of the elite and the fascination of the press with even the most banal and trivial facts attending Kate Middleton’s pregnancy. At the other end, there are people needing to trade on this for some mindless fodder for discussion at the coffee machine in offices in Sydney. I’d agree. We should be concerned not with celebrity but with the needs of humanity as a whole. We should live in a world in which the media is focused on social justice and progress and in which privilege is modest if it exists at all and earned by service to equity.

    Chance would be a fine thing.

  21. [ Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The Hartcher article is amazingly sane.

    I disagree Fred. It’s just Hartcher blaming someone else for his failure to do his job.]

    Read it to the end, the end is sane.

  22. Geoffrey Blainey sets out to write a hagiography on “Newspapers”.

    [Many of the fascinating items in the early Victorian newspapers were simple statements: ”We have nothing to report.” After Burke and Wills set out from Royal Park in 1860 with their camels on an expedition exploring the continent, the newspapers reported again and again that no news had been heard of them.


    Nowadays, of course, when there’s nothing to report, journalists just make it up, or write an op-ed, telling us what they think… as if we care.

    While newspapers may have been useful once, due to technological limitations on communications media, they are much less so today, wedded as they are to to big business and a big business agenda.

    So, sure, let’s not forget the contribution that newspapers have made in the past, but let’s not think that they belong anywhere else but in a museum, if what we’re seeing lately is the best they can dish up.

    Inevitably, Blainey’s piece turns from hagiography to eulogy:

    [Every profession, every calling, has its defects. The media – because they have to meet deadlines and often report controversial events – have perhaps more than their share of imperfections. This is all the more reason why Australians should acknowledge the thousands in the media who, living or dead, did their best, and honour the few whose best was superb.]

    The speech was given to the Melbourne Press Club. I wonder whether they got the real meaning of what Blainey was saying?

  23. I wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed happy with the world to see the remains of a car crash/fire on the road at coomera and come home and google the news 5 dead.

    I also read that the nurse that took the call to Kate Middleton from Australian DJ’s is now dead. A mother of two committed suicide.

    All of a sudden I feel weary and old.

  24. Good morning, Bludgers!

    Re the seat of Brisbane: Does anyone know why Teresa Gambaro chose to stand for Brisbane rather than recontest Petrie where she already had considerable name recognition?

    Seems rather odd …

  25. @BK

    Thanks a lot for your morning digests of the news. I’m time poor on weekday mornings so they are much appreciated.
    You must be an early riser.

    @My Say

    Congratulations on 44 yrs. Hope you both have many more happy years.

  26. Puff, the Magic Dragon.@4

    Oops, sorry about all that guff, I don’t have a PB preview function on my Mac.

    Puff, I have a mac, never had anything else, and both with and without cccp I have a preview function.

    If CCCP doesn’t run I get the preview at the top of the page, with CCCP I get it at the bottom, plus a lot of extra features.

  27. Looking forward to reading Peter Hartcher’s article.

    Always fair and objective, who calls it as he sees it much to the chagrin of many on this site.

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