Seat of the week: Griffith (plus ReachTEL polling)

Brisbane’s inner south again finds itself represented by a Prime Minister after another absorbing week in federal politics.

First the ReachTEL polling. Yesterday morning the Seven Network brought us a big sample automated phone poll of 3018 respondents which broadly corroborated the Morgan SMS poll in returning the Coalition lead to margin-of-error territory. The poll had Labor at 38.3% on the primary vote, the Coalition on 45.1% and the Greens on 8.7%, panning out to 52-48 in favour of the Coalition after preferences. Now Fairfax brings electorate-level ReachTEL polls of Maribyrnong (located in western Melbourne and held by Bill Shorten), Chisholm (eastern Melbourne, Anna Burke), Blaxland (western Sydney, Jason Clare) and McMahon (western Sydney, Chris Bowen), which have Labor’s two-party vote at 58.6%, 55.2% and 58.9% for the first three, with McMahon annoyingly not provided but Labor evidently in front. Earlier ReachTEL polling showed Labor losing all bar Maribyrnong. Now on to a Seat of the Week I’ve been holding back for a special occasion …

Kevin Rudd’s electorate of Griffith covers inner city Brisbane immediately south of the Brisbane River, from South Brisbane east to Bulimba and Queensport, south to Annerley and south-west to Carina Heights. The seat was called Oxley until 1934, the name later being revived for an unrelated new Ipswich-based seat in 1949. Highly marginal historically, Griffith changed hands between Liberal and Labor in 1949, 1954, 1958, 1961, 1966, 1977, 1996 and 1998. Don Cameron won the seat for the Liberals at the 1966 landslide and then had his position strengthened by redistribution, enabling to hold on to the seat through the Whitlam years. A redistribution at the 1977 election moved the seat heavily in Labor’s favour, resulting in Cameron switching to the new Gold Coast seat of Fadden and Griffith being won for Labor by Ben Humphreys.

When Humphreys retired at the 1996 election the Labor preselection was won by Kevin Rudd, the former diplomat who wielded great influence as chief-of-staff to Wayne Goss during his tenure as Queensland Premier from 1989 to 1996. In doing so he established a factional association with the locally dominant AWU sub-faction of the Right, which secured his preselection despite grumblings that the state branch was failing to meet affirmative action standards. However, the statewide rout that Labor suffered at the 1996 election saw Rudd fall it his first electoral hurdle, with Graeme McDougall gaining Griffith for the Liberals off a 6.2% swing. Rudd returned for a second attempt amid the far more favourable circumstances of 1998, picking up a 3.9% swing to unseat McDougall by a margin of 2.4%.

Rudd established a formidable electoral record in Griffith, picking up a 3.3% and 2.4% swings against the trend of the 2001 and 2004 elections. The electorate was substantially reshaped by redistribution at the 2004 election, absorbing inner city areas at East Brisbane, South Brisbane and Dutton Park while its eastern parts were hived off to the new seat of Bonner. In what may have been an early portent of Rudd’s electoral impact, the booths which were transferred out of the electorate contributed to a surprise defeat for Labor in Bonner by swinging heavily to the Liberals in his absence. As his party’s candidate for the prime ministership in 2007 Rudd enjoyed a further 3.8% swing in 2007, and as its recently spurned ex-leader in 2010 he suffered what by Queensland standards was a relatively mild swing of 3.9%.

The Liberal National Party candidate for the coming election is Bill Glasson, former president of the Australian Medical Association. Glasson’s father, Bill Glasson Sr, was a state National Party MP and minister in the Bjelke-Petersen, Cooper and Ahern governments.

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.

1,189 comments on “Seat of the week: Griffith (plus ReachTEL polling)”

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  1. One good thing on being on the other side of the world you have the blog more or less to yourself this time of morning or early evening over here :devil: Save you William??? Although notice it is just on hour since this blog was opened and no other comments! But away to pack as up early to move on again

  2. Anyone else feeling back in the game? 🙂

    [A Fairfax ReachTEL poll conducted on Thursday found a turnaround of about 10 per cent for Labor in four key seats – Melbourne’s Maribyrnong and Chisholm and Sydney’s McMahon and Blaxland – since Mr Rudd regained the top job.

    The poll showed that Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten had climbed back to an 8.6per cent two-party preferred lead in his electorate of Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s west. Mr Shorten controversially shifted his support from Ms Gillard to Mr Rudd at the last minute in the leadership showdown.In Chisholm, Speaker Anna Burke was ahead 55.2 to 44.8.

    The poll suggested the leadership change has impressed enough Labor heartland voters in western Sydney to save key Rudd backer and new Treasurer Chris Bowen and rising star Jason Clare, the Home Affairs Minister who holds Paul Keating’s old seat of Blaxland.]

  3. Hi mari

    It’s a bit weird being on the other side of the world.

    Labor have finally made the right decision in terms of short term benefit but I’m still not sure how this will be viewed in a few years.

    They are in with a silly chance now this election.

  4. Hi Diogenes I didn’t refresh so though I was still the only one on, think you are over this way Lefty also?
    Are you and family in Italy or France? hopefully warmer than here in Scotland but preparing me for Iceland next week. Have a great time Diogenes with your family

  5. Hi MOD LIB are you over here too,or next month?
    Unfortunately or fortunately the link won’t open for me on my tablet, so in blissful ignorance
    Will be very interested in you giving an honest opinion on what is like over here, as compared to Australia and the reason why? I have enjoyed Gibraltar but not Spain as was told not to got out at night, now a very sad country so much unemployment and shops just closed. Loved Jersey know Scotland so well looking forward to Iceland next week.
    Have a great time, BTW how is the currency going? I was very lucky and got mine the day before the $A went down not sure what it is now? BUT much better than some of the years when overseas eg $A to pound 33p to dollar and 40 c US to AS

  6. BTW Diogenes and MOD LIB came over on the new Qantas route through Dubai on the A380 loved the plane it is so quiet compared to the 747-400

  7. $1 AUD = $0.92 USD
    $1 AUD = 0.60 British pounds
    $1 AUD = 0.70 Euro

    Not sure whether I am ahead or behind with my currency conversions as I put money on my travel cardages ago (cant remember exactly when) and just use it as I need it.

    I am back from Europe and had a fab time, mostly in Scandinavia but a few days in London as well. You must tell me about Iceland as that is a place that is definitely on my must go list! I don’t think I can give you an honest opinion about the places I went as they were not suffering as much as the southern parts of Europe. London was bustling and energetic and I can tell you I couldnt get into any of the good restaurants I tried in Europe (albeit with just a couple of weeks notice) other that Scott’s in London……so they obviously are not travelling that badly in the top end restaurants!

  8. A380 is by far my favourite plane (although have never been on the dreamliner)
    Went on the 777 mostly, which aint bad either!

  9. Good morning Dawn Patrollers (special hello to mari and Diog!)
    Maybe more than the furniture can be saved!
    Abbott would have been in sparkling form after the rousing and inspiring warm up from Warren Truss!
    Let’s hope this story can gather steam before the election.
    Lenore Taylor in the Oz Guardian gives a good summary of Rudd’s first presser.
    Oh! Such rotten luck!
    Alan Moir on the departure of Gillard and Swan.
    Andrew Dyson with the Light on the Hill.
    David Pope is not convince of the New Kevin.
    Ha ha! Ron Tandberg on election timing.


    Interesting factoid:

    Of the 20 members of the Gillard Cabinet after the 2010 election, only 3 remain unscathed!

    Anthony Albanese
    Jenny Macklin
    Penny Wong

    …and I am not sure unscathed is the correct term even for those three! All others have either left, resigned, been sacked or are not standing at the next election, or have left and then returned after the leadership change.

    That is quite an amazing turnover in the Cabinet over the course of 1 term….totally unprecedented.

  11. I’m absolutly discussed with the ABC. They could not bring themselves to refer to Gillard as the PM, no trouble doing so with Rudd.

  12. Good morning, Dawn Patrol.

    Special Good Morning Mari & Diog

    Guess you’re feeling a bit as I did in 2010, when we were in England for all but the first days of the coup.

    Feeling envious. Feet are getting very itchy again & I’d just love to be in wonderful Durham for big celebrations of the Lindisfarne Gospels. Back at the beginning of 80s, when Deans’ letters opened UK archives & museum/art gallery reserve collections, I got to ‘read’ the “real deal” in the British Library. Magic! Illustrations & calligraphy are gob-smackingly, unforgettably beautiful. I was hoping good facsimiles would be made; but, sadly, no. I haven’t see the Book of Kells so can’t compare.

    Enjoy your holidays.

  13. The relentless bagging of Julia Gillard will remain a stain on our nations cardi for years to come. I personally would like to give a big pants down to the media of Australia, possibly the biggest bunch of losers ever to walk this earth (bar Mike Secco). And for all those voters out there that couldn’t get their head around having a great PM and would rather have an average balloon headed twat or a narcissistic imbecile, you can all suck it up big time.

    Meanwhile I’m loving the south of France.

  14. [mikehilliard
    Posted Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 6:47 am | PERMALINK
    The relentless bagging of Julia Gillard]

    The relentless bagging of Gillard resulted from the relentless mistakes from Gillard.

    The evidence of this can be seen by the paradigm shift as soon as there was a competent leader of the ALP!

  15. [Mod Lib
    Posted Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Posted Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 6:47 am | PERMALINK
    The relentless bagging of Julia Gillard

    The relentless bagging of Gillard resulted from the relentless mistakes from Gillard.

    The evidence of this can be seen by the paradigm shift as soon as there was a competent leader of the ALP!
    No modlib the gardian got it right:

  16. Thats because Rudd is controlling the agenda now, whereas Abbott totally controlled the agenda during Gillard’s reign.

    It is quite amusing to watch you guys so bitter about your own ALP leader doing so well!

  17. Thanks MOD LIB for your report, currency conversion you got pretty good, I used to deal quite a bit in currency conversion when working as financial controller for O/S companies
    Glad nothing much politically has happened while I have been away :devil: Assume you hope Turnbull does a big challenge? 😀
    Will let you know about Iceland

  18. Just catching up with Four Corners. The ABC did a terrible job of obscuring the appearances of workers claiming they are abused. Their employers would be able to identify them easily, and probably already have.

  19. [ Mod Lib
    Posted Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Thats because Rudd is controlling the agenda now, whereas Abbott totally controlled the agenda during Gillard’s reign.

    It is quite amusing to watch you guys so bitter about your own ALP leader doing so well!]

    I’m not bitter about him doing well, I am bitter about the why!

  20. [ Assume you hope Turnbull does a big challenge]

    The clock has started clicking down to the inevitable Turnbull Prime Ministership! 🙂

  21. Go Glasson, he remains a slight hope that sanity will prevail in the electorate.

    We have a personality based election with a choice between mad and maddder.

  22. Good Morning


    A lot of that had to do with the media narrative. Yes PM Rudd has a different narrative, but do not mistake. The MSM did campaign against PMJG.

    IMO in a low despicable way. Yes this ended up with the decision caucus made. The lack of respect for the Office was appalling. Things like Jones comments, the menu, Howard Sattler did not come from nowhere.

    History will have no doubts about the low unfair attacks on PMJG. I admire the way PMJG stayed to have victory after victory in the parliament.

    Like PMJG herself I respect the choice of cabinet because I can see why many people like Senator Wong felt they had no choice. Vindicated because already the MSM has changed the tone of its narrative.

  23. [I am bitter about the why!]

    The why is because he is an effective political operator. It will become very clear over the next few months just how ineffective Gillard was in this regard…

    You will be happy if Rudd gives you an election win or a narrow loss won’t you- compared with the generational loss Gillard was about to deliver the ALP?

  24. Mike H was wondering where you were this lovely night. Take care my friend and enjoy France then UK. What you said in your comment was quite correct MOD LIB put a sock in it please and give the woman some credit instead of constant bagging, are you afraid of strong women????

  25. [MOD LIB put a sock in it please and give the woman some credit instead of constant bagging, are you afraid of strong women????]

    Criticism of a female politician does not have to be viewed only in the context of her gender.

    Remember we all agreed that it was reasonable to criticise Thatcher without it being sexist?

  26. Mod Lib; Gillard is a doer, Rudd is a salesman, on that point I do not disagree.

    It would however seem the power of the press could not accept a female PM. The ABC overnight change from the “the opposition says” to the “PM says” underlines the point. The old males at the ABC could not bring themselves to call a women PM.

    The gardian got it right.

  27. Was Julia Gillard the most productive prime minister in Australia’s history?

    [We measure the legislative output of all of Australia’s governments and prime ministers..

    From this dataset, I counted the total acts for each PM, party, and parliament. Then, I determined the number of days in office for each PM, and the number of days each parliament and party governed. Using these figures you can calculate a rate of acts per day, which accounts for different lengths of prime ministers’ or governments’ terms.]

    The results?

    [Julia Gillard had the highest rate of passing legislation with a rate of 0.495, followed by Bob Hawke at 0.491:]

    followed by Fraser, Keating, Whitlam … then Howard, Mcmahon, Rudd

  28. MOD LIB What on earth are you talking about I do not even recall speaking about Maggie Thatcher let alone agreeing with you about her. Stop changing the subject or no Iceland report for you

  29. [frednk
    Posted Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 7:31 am | PERMALINK
    Mod Lib; Gillard is a doer,]

    She has got a lot of things done, fair enough. The trouble is saying she wasn’t going to do them first and then backflipping.

    In fact, my view about her is that she had the fatal flaw in an Australian politician- pride. Keating had it as well, and Australians will tolerate it for a while but will get the baseball bats out whenever things get rocky (1996 and 2010-2013). Howard was able to admit that he had got things wrong and change his mind. Gillard has never admitted to getting anything wrong and when she changes her mind she pretends that she hasn’t and that she was right all along and its just that others weren’t brave enough to hold their nerve.

    Had the ALP caucus held their nerve and kept her, the ALP would have been wiped out at the election. You can blame the media for this if you want, but the media was just reacting to the population’s disgust with her.

  30. ML

    BS. There are certain conventions in how the media refers to the PM because that is the Office held.

    With PMJG the MSM abandoned those conventions. They traduced the respect for the Office to the detriment of all future holders of the Office

  31. [mari
    Posted Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 7:34 am | PERMALINK
    MOD LIB What on earth are you talking about I do not even recall speaking about Maggie Thatcher let alone agreeing with you about her. Stop changing the subject or no Iceland report for you]

    Its not changing the subject if you think any criticism of Gillard is sexist.

    The blog in general was in consensus that it is OK to criticise Thatcher- that criticising Thatcher did not mean you were sexist. You agree with that don’t you?

  32. This I think sums up the last three years.

    Freezer Geeza ‏@beezageeza 10h

    I look forward to hearing Julie Bishop referred to as “Nick Minchin’s bitch”. #auspol

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