Seat of the week: Ryan

The subject of a better-late-than-never Seat of the Week is the wealthiest electorate in Brisbane, which has reverted solidly to conservative type since a fleeting moment of glory for Labor in 2001.

Teal and red numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for the LNP and Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

The western Brisbane seat of Ryan is dominated geographically by the Taylor Range to the city’s north-west, but nearly all of its voters are drawn from the suburban plains to the east and south. The suburbs of Ferny Grove and Enoggera at the northern end are Labor-leaning, but in the south are wealthier Indooroopilly and Kenmore on the northern shore of the Brisbane River, with conservative-leaning The Gap and Bardon lying in between. The seat was created with the expansion of parliament in 1949, from territory which had been passed around over time between Lilley, Brisbane and Moreton. It has covered much the same area since, although between 1998 and 2010 the northern end was exchanged for Middle Park and Jindalee south of the river.

Ryan has been won easily won by the Liberals, and more lately the Liberal National Party, at every general election since its creation. Prior to 2001 it had had only two members, firstly Nigel Drury until 1975, and then Howard government Defence Minister John Moore. Then came the only interruption to the seat’s history of conservative dominance after Moore quit parliament when he lost his portfolio in a reshuffle. At a troubled time for the Howard government, the ensuing by-election in February 2001 was won by Labor with a 9.8% swing, giving them what proved an ill-founded confidence boost concerning their prospects at the election due later in the year. Labor member Leonie Short went on to defeat the following November at the hands of Liberals candidate Michael Johnson, a 34-year-old Hong Kong-born and Cambridge-educated barrister of part Chinese extraction. Johnson won a local preselection plebiscite amid loud complaints of branch stacking, and after a defeated candidate’s successful Supreme Court action against a move by the state executive to install its own candidate.

The statewide swing to Labor in 2007 cut the margin from 10.4% to 3.8%, from which it was further reduced to 1.1% by the redistribution that took effect at the 2010 election. Meanwhile opposition to Johnson was mounting within his own party, with reports emerging of an internal investigation into his expenditure records and fundraising activities. In May 2010 he was expelled from the party for attempting to broker an export deal between the Queensland Coal Corporation and a Chinese conglomerate during parliamentary sittings and with the use of his parliamentary email address. A preselection was then won comfortably by Jane Prentice, who served the Indooroopilly-based ward of Walter Taylor on Brisbane City Council. Johnson ran as an independent in 2010 but secured only 8.5% of the vote, with Prentice securing the seat for the LNP with a 6.0% swing. She picked up a further 1.4% swing in 2013, boosting her margin to 8.5%.

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.

991 comments on “Seat of the week: Ryan”

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    [The 488-metre-long hull of Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility has been floated out of the dry dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in Geoje, South Korea, where the facility is currently under construction. Once complete, Prelude FLNG will be the largest floating facility ever built. It will unlock new energy resources offshore and produce approximately 3.6 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per annum to meet growing demand.]

    Now that is a boat!

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Jacqueline Maley is unimpressed with Abbott and some of his mates.
    George Brandis SC A-G DH will handle this admirably.
    Turnbull sort of defends the ABC from attacks by his colleagues.
    Michael Gordon callout Morriscum on TPVs.
    Actually Christine Milne’s proposal to abolish the debt ceiling and to schedule a debate on debt level justification four times per year sounds a good one. I can’t see Sloppy and Abbott agreeing though.
    Read this and weep. More back door taxation and pharmacists’ profits at our expense.
    Kathryn Greiner is going to be a real burr under Abbott’s and Pyne’s saddles.
    Alan Moir on fire with Gonski. Also hit the arrow to the next cartoon.
    David Pope with another ripper.
    Abbott really gets under Ron Tandberg’s skin.
    David Rowe returns to his often used nautical theme to serve it up to Abbott and his motley crew.

  3. And from the Land of the Free –

    How can it come to this?
    Some cartoons on the Repugs’ attitude to the poor.
    And, like clockwork, FoxNews’ Bill O’Reilly comes on about the “War on Christmas”.
    Mike Papantonio on the continuing influence the religious right has on the Republicans.

  4. [The FLNG facility itself will be 488m long and 74m wide, and when fully loaded will weigh around 600,000 tonnes – roughly six times as much as the largest aircraft carrier. Some 260,000 tonnes of that weight will consist of steel – around five times more than was used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge.]


  5. yes, Pyne’s brazen cockiness is quite breathtaking. I think he should be targetted more in QT as he is likely to dissemble under his hubris.

    For example yesterday, he let slip that there was no detail in the “national agreement” he was trumpeting, and his officials and those from Qld, NT and WA would “work through the detail”. In one careless remark, he has opened the door to his political chicanery being exposed more.

  6. Captain Sobriety is back in charge of the OP.

    That Louie da Fly substitute skipper was given the Flick.

    On the other hand, they did pick up some AS, 8 hours ago:

    gordonthomsonci gordonthomsonci @gordonthomsonci 8h
    StateSecret#21 Xmas Is 4.30pm 32 mid-east male asylumseekers picked up by Ocean Protector from SIEV 866 Speculation 12 boats out there.

  7. Heh… Libs negotiating with the Greens.

    Sounds like horse-trading going on too, re. goss v. nett debt, forward estimate period, justification of debt before it’s permitted etc.

    I thought they weren’t going to do any deals with the Greens?

    This one sounds like a doozy.

  8. [yes, Pyne’s brazen cockiness is quite breathtaking. I think he should be targetted more in QT as he is likely to dissemble under his hubris.]

    Pyne (and the rest of them actually) are carrying on as if parliament is a high school debating forum.

    They make cheap points, sledge-off Labor, tell exaggerated lies, call people names etc., as if they trying to score points for wit rather than wisdom. They’re playing it for the entertainment value.

    All very good and so on, but I thought they promised a more serious Question Time, and parliament in general.

  9. “What will realistically be achieved if the government promises something four decades hence?” Hunt said. “It doesn’t actually mean anything.”

    That, in a nutshell, sums up everything that is wrong about what the current government thinks about climate change action.

    Yes, significant structural change to the economy needs to be tackled in manageable steps, and yes Australian governments can’t really say too much about what is guaranteed since the next government, or the one after that, or the one after that can come in and “change it all”.

    But climate change is something to be tackled over decades. There needs to be an overall goal – and most people have accepted that an almost entire elimination of GHG emission by 2050 has to be that goal. Without that goal, the steps we take now have no context, no point.

    If you don’t see the 2050 or beyond goal, then of course minor cuts by 2020 seem arbitrary and meaningless. No wonder the LNP can’t even contemplate why 5% by 2020 is inadequate – there is nothing to compare it against in their minds, because there is no contemplation of what has to happen by 2050.

    They’ve fixated on the 2020 commitment to the exclusion of all else. No wonder they can’t see why (or refuse to admit why) Direct Action is a red herring, wasting the precious time we need to begin genuine economic restructuring.

  10. Morning all, and thanks BK. The reality of Abbott emerging even despite the press minding shows what a brilliant job Credlin did of hiding his nature before the election. She can’t hide it in office though.
    [Abbott is going the whole bully.]
    It is all he knows. A bully is what he IS.

  11. don @20

    […….picked up by Ocean Protector from SIEV 866 Speculation 12 boats out there.]
    Perhaps that explains the morteined fly course ? Checking on all boats.

  12. poroti@27

    don @20

    …….picked up by Ocean Protector from SIEV 866 Speculation 12 boats out there.

    Perhaps that explains the morteined fly course ? Checking on all boats.


    I reckon we should assume in future that any weird boat gyrations are the OP picking up AS from boats, checking on floating wreckage or picking up swimmers.

    Realistically, there is no reason to do loop-de-loops, apart from giving us something to think about!

  13. There is finally coverage of the fact that Australia has slipped a lot in education rankings in the recent PISA tests. The results were actually released a while ago, but now ACER has done a report on the report journalists are taking notice.
    [The 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) measures the mathematics, reading and science skills of half a million 15-year-olds from around the world.

    It found Australian teens placed equal 17th in maths, equal 10th in reading and equal 8th in science.

    Asian countries like China, Singapore, Korea and Japan are pulling ahead of Australian students in maths and reading.]

    I would love to see a repot on how much of our education budget is wasted on a huge education bureaucracy of administrators and policy “experts”, many of whom have never seen the inside of a classroom in decades, if ever. Less policy, less reporting, fewer administrators, and better wages to a smaller number of better trained teachers is what we need, Gonski or not. Many of the nations that outperform us spend less.

  14. It is hard to imagine how the investigation into Grocon and the Swanston Street wall collapse could have gone slower. From an engineering viewpoint, the cause of the failure is obvious. I am not a lawyer, but I do not understand why charges have not already been laid. Obstructing justice is also a crime.
    [Construction giant Grocon faces stinging criticism for obstructing investigations into the collapse of a brick wall in Swanston Street that killed three young pedestrians in March.
    Fairfax Media understands the coroner is expected to raise the company’s failure to provide information on key aspects of the inquiry at a public hearing on Wednesday morning.]

    If a lawyer out there wanted to do some good, they could represent the families of the deceased to sue Grocon and the site managers. The police waiting for Grocon to supply information means it is not going anywhere. They should have searched Grocon’s offices a few days after the collapse.

  15. This is fantastic stuff. A crew member of a tug that capsized survived three days in an air pocket.

    South African divers went down to retrieve bodies. Imagine their surprise when a hand reached out of the darkness and grabbed one of them!

    This is a 14 minute video showing diver “Nico” being guided through the ship by his controller on the surface. They have a two-way umbilical with voice, video and (I guess air). Nico speaks like a chipmunk because he’s breathing helium, due to the depth of the dive…

    If you want to cut to the chase, the action starts around 5:15.

    Worth watching for the calmness and professionalism of the dive crew, and the look on the face of the rescued guy when he sees a monster with a light and a camera on its head come up out of the water.

    The man was in total darkness for three days. All he could hear was fishes eating his fellow crew members’ bodies. He was the only survivor.

  16. Morning bludgers

    Thanks to all for today’s offering. This piece takes the prize for absolutely nailing Prissy. Ouch

    [Pyne appears incapable of perceiving how ridiculous his assertions of superior process actually are. When even the thinnest twig hits a calm pool, it sets off ripples. That’s Pyne. The perception that he’s shallow, superficial and trivial has now become political reality. Everything that’s occurred since he became minister simply reinforces this perception. It actually doesn’t matter if he’s very, very clever; many people already suspect he’s not.]

    Read more:

  17. Just listening to Cori Bernadi on Radio National now and on previous occasions. He differs from so many other Coalition spokespeople when discussing controversial matters in that he doesn’t bluster like Joe Hockey or Scott Morrison; he doesn’t get angry or hysterical like Christopher Pyne; unlike Tony Abbott he can string together a proper sentence. He’s gone right through the whole interview without bagging the other side or assassinating characters. He can come across sounding calm and reasonable when he wants to and is likely to be all the more persuasive for it. I expect the the Coalition will make more use of him in future and he’ll soon be on the Coalition front bench. Given that his view on so many matters, including climate change and social matters like gay marriage, are on the extremist fringes of the Coalition, this man is dangerous.

  18. “I was more interesterd in their respect than their love.”
    Keating in response to O’Brien’s statement that many people “hated his guts.”

  19. It was quite funny to see how Abbott’s threat to continue parliamentary sittings into xmas was received by Labor. What did Abbott expect? Labor to have a tantrum. What a joker

    [Manager of opposition business Tony Burke released a statement saying Labor was ready if Mr Abbott wanted to bring back the Parliament.
    ”Labor MPs have their sleeves rolled up ready to work. It’s extraordinary the PM thinks that he needs to manufacture a crisis situation for his members of Parliament to turn up to work,” he said.]

    Read more:

  20. About the latest arivals on Christmas Island –

    There’s this thought, from Boat Leaks on Facebook-
    ‘While there are 32 reported arrivals there is no guarantee that all are from a single vessel. Any further arrivals will, I predict, be landed after 9am WST Friday so as to be “On Water Operations” at the next press conference. There is no certainty that the number of vessels reported will be correct.’

    OP has now resumed its old, boring, back-and-forth course.

  21. BK:

    Keating’s final statement last night as the interview closed was one of the best I’ve heard him make.

    What a shame that we no longer have political leaders with such vision and an ability to articulate that vision to people.

  22. [It’s extraordinary the PM thinks that he needs to manufacture a crisis situation for his members of Parliament to turn up to work,” he said.]

    The govt look out of control, while the opposition just look calm and collected.

  23. Good Morning


    An astute observation. It will be worse for them today with the spy gate heating up. No wonder its now they chose to attack the ABC and Guardian

  24. Abbott can have parliament sit every day from now until 30 June next year but it won’t help. His damned repeal bills have been knocked back by the senate and they won’t be changing their votes.

    Abbott seems to have forgotten, if he ever knew, that the senate sets its own sitting dates. They won’t be there after 12 December to pass or reject anything, they won’t be back until 11 February next year.

    Abbott, as usual, is talking through his arse.

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