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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  1. Victoria @42It’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.

    Sometimes ridicule is the most effective form of attack.

  2. So what happens when Abbott realizes there’s no point in having the HoR sit over Christmas, and his own troops start complaining?

    Do the media point out he’s just bumbling and blustering his way without any thought or strategy?

    That’ll be the day.

  3. [Brennan told Guardian Australia the senior retired Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) agent, who is a prime witness in the Timorese espionage case against Australia in the international courts, was detained and searched, as was his wife.

    He told the ABC the whistleblower intended to provide “credible direct evidence” of the bugging of the Timorese cabinet rooms in 2004. Brennan described the Australian government’s actions as “cowboy antics”.]

  4. “@wolfblitzer: The @BillClinton interview w/ @jclopezcnn coming up in #sitroom 5PM ET Will @HillaryClinton run for Democratic nomination?”

  5. And even ignoring the Senate, which is the current real obstacle, and whose sitting dates Abbott has no control over, forcing the HoR to sit over Christmas is barely a threat at all.

    Besides the fact the ALP is probably ok with being inconvenienced over Christmas to go through this charade (although I’m sure they’d rather be with family), as far as I can tell the ALP don’t have to show up.

    The government has a significant majority in the House, the ALP cannot win a vote in the House – there is mostly no point in the ALP being there except to get their names crossed off for attendance to meet the Constitutional requirement, and missing Christmas isn’t going to be an issue with that.

    Sure, the ALP get an opportunity to posture and delay the House’s operation, but it would hardly be a big deal if they didn’t do that for a few weeks.

    Plus I think it would be kinda funny (yeah, I know I’m a tragic) to have just the LNP show up to self-imposed ‘detention’, and have them standing up and making speeches to themselves.

    Because while the ALP don’t really have any need to show up to parliament, the LNP MPs certainly would have to.

  6. [Because while the ALP don’t really have any need to show up to parliament, the LNP MPs certainly would have to.]

    Think of all the Aspen ski holidays that’ll have to be re-booked.

  7. I am pleased the High Court has reserved its decision. Now no matter the final decision we get to see Senator Corgi Bernard go puce watching SSM weddings over the weekend.

  8. Jackol:

    There is absolutely no point in having the HoR sit over xmas. But if Abbott wants to waste taxpayer’s money in pursuing a pointless exercise, let him.

    All he’ll do is piss off his own MPs.

  9. Steve 777

    ” 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.”

    Yes, unlike the trivialist persona of Pyne, Bernardi presents an aura of gravitas, sincerity, knowledge and wisdom, if you don’t bother to listen to his words.

    But he is an extremist on a mission.

    The hypocrisy of what he argued to FKelly. “the ABC is crowding Fairfax and Murdoch out of the internet space ….. it prevents competition and stops them from making a profit” is breathtaking.

    As to Fairfax’s difficulties in making a buck online, he should research Greg Hywood’s early 2000’s history and Hywood’s reluctance to enter the internet age, with his prediction that the internet would never be a goer as a news platform, this view significantly obstructing and delaying the SMH’s entre into the world of the www and impacting on its subsequent success online.

    Bernardi was totally disinterested in Kelly’s suggestion that there is a significant and rapidly growing demographic which sources all its news online, and that’s why the ABC should be there. The ABC’s role must be limited to radio and TV, says he.

    One can only imagine the negative contribution Bernardi makes in NBN discussions in the party room, given his backward views per se about the www.

    But at least he was honest in stating his views that the ABC budget should be cut and that the ABC charter prevent its online participation, unless it does so on a self funded commercial basis. This enables us to know what we reject when we reject his views, confident that he won’t just put his head up tomorrow with another claptrap version.

    In that sense I can cope with his views without the utter disgust and associated clenching of my fists as I experience whenever Pyne opens his mouth, going round and round in policy circles like a 3 year old in a lolly shop when he is minister of one of the most important of all portfolios.

    Bernardi is a true extreme conservo …..beloved of yesteryear, a bit worried about how today will unfold, and shit scared of the future …… and a very narrow view of the world and humanity to match, which enables his mind to minimise the possibility of change, the root of all evil.

  10. “@jasonlangenauer: I still contend that the Australian is turning into Quadrant: a pack of reactionary old farts warming over ideological battles of the 60s.”

  11. Wednesday laughs courtesy of The Australian.

    [REGARDLESS of what he is writing about – the Gallipoli centenary, Labor’s existential turmoil or the policy pratfalls of a new government, as he is today – our editor-at-large, Paul Kelly, brings his penetrating insight and peerless authority.

    – See more at: ]


  12. There can be no doubt that there are significant parts of the LNP that want to neuter the ABC, both by slashing its funding and by limiting its charter.

    I can’t see the ABC escaping unscathed through this term of government, despite Abbott’s promises.

  13. [“@jasonlangenauer: I still contend that the Australian is turning into Quadrant: a pack of reactionary old farts warming over ideological battles of the 60s.”]

    Just the bulk of baby boomers wallowing in the last stew of self importance …

  14. Jackol
    It just gets better and better – a member of the reps has to show up once every two months unless permission is given for a longer absence. The summer break for the reps is two months. Abbott can huff and puff as much as he likes, but not one MP has to turn up for Abbott’s detention. It could be fun – Abbott alone in the house, talking to himself.

  15. Ctar1

    [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.]

    Imagine if you built 25 of them and connected them together, five by five. And put it just off the heads at Sydney. I imagine you could land aircraft on that and have room for a terminal.

  16. At the time PMKR (v1.0) uttered the phrase “detailed programmatic specificity” people laughed at the verbosity and pretentiousness. For my part, I thought the word “detail” would have served equally well and without offering grist for parody.

    At the moment however, I daresay we could use a bit of “detailed programmatic specificity” out of Canberra. Maybe Rudd was onto something.


    It seesm to me that we need a new term to describe the excuses and evasions of the new(ish) regime — bafflegab — which as I now define it describes syntactically complex and contrived verbiage aimed at mystifying the provenance of a problem in circumstances when the utterer of the verbiage seeks to avoid responsibility.

  17. guytaur

    Adam Bandt had a good line at the doors this morning

    It seems Senator Brandis thinks he is J Edgar Hoover]
    His dress sense ? 😉

  18. From that fine reference Wikipedia –

    “Bafflegab”: the word was defined by its inventor, Milton A Smith, as “multiloquence characterized by consummate interfusion of circumlocution or periphrasis, inscrutability, and other familiar manifestations of abstruse expatiation commonly utilized for promulgations implementing Procrustean determinations by governmental bodies.”

    Thus defining “bafflegab” using bafflegab.

  19. Steve777

    [Thus defining “bafflegab” using bafflegab.]

    yes … I found that after I’d posted. It’s a lovely piece of text. I wish I’d thought to compose it.


  20. Jonathan Holmes hitting his straps. Is Sheridan fit to be called a “journalist”?

    [Foreign editor Greg Sheridan intoned solemnly that ”the ABC emerges from the Indonesian spy scandal … morally compromised and journalistically discredited”.

    This from a man whose idea of journalism is to trot out the strategic leaks he receives from the intelligence establishment, as he is doing this week, and as he did time and again before and during the Iraq War. Not once has he conceded, since then, that his role in trumpeting as certainties ”intelligence” about Saddam’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction left him ”morally compromised and journalistically discredited”.

    Naturally, Sheridan has made no allusion whatsoever to one of the central issues of the Snowden leaks: that Australia’s intelligence agencies seem to have allowed unencrypted documents in their hundreds or thousands, describing highly sensitive operational details, to be stored and circulated by their ”five eyes” partners; and that their biggest partner, the United States, has made them accessible even to a part-time contractor like Edward Snowden.]

    Read more:

  21. Never mind our second-rate scores in maths, reading, etc. Our score in climate policy is shameful.

    [@geeksrulz 2m
    Australia ranks 57th out of 61 in the World on Climate Policy Slow clap Abbott/Hunt. #auspol ]

  22. Shorten was asked about the lawyer being raided. Will ask for private briefing from govt. Journo asked isnt it the right of taxoayers to know if their money was used to bug timor govt offices for commercial gain. Shorten would not enter into any discussion
    My question to the coalition and to Brandis would be

    Why is ASIO and Brandis trying to gag a key witness for East Timor at the Hague Court of Arbitration?

  23. This on twitter

    [@geeksrulz This is going to blow up in the government’s face. Downer used ASIS for the benefit of a corporation went on to work for.]

  24. confessions

    Presser re Gonski policy. Basically telling coalition to implement this policy as promised at election and stop playing games

  25. Re Lizzie @82: I also like this from the article linked:

    “…Pyne has never actually been allowed to do anything.

    Perhaps there’s a reason. He’s apparently been too busy making points-of-order to get across the detail of the education portfolio he’s been shadowing since 2008”

    Christopher Pyne seems to have absolutely no grasp of his portfolio, in spite of having been shadowing it for five years. He has little idea or no idea how to proceed now, except that he doesn’t like the Labor Reforms – probably because they reduce the relative privilege of private schools and also because they are Labor reforms.

    Christopher Pyne lacks dignity and gravitas and cuts a ridiculous figure on the national stage. He can’t even lie properly, surely a mandatory qualification for a career on the Coalition front bench. His bluster is just too transparent.

  26. [Under an arrangement hurriedly struck by Education Minister Christopher Pyne this week, WA would get $120 million over the next four years.

    Mr Pyne and Prime Minister Tony Abbott indicated this amount reflected the revised amount offered by then prime minister Julia Gillard to Premier Colin Barnett in June.

    But Federal figures from June show that WA was actually offered $178 million in Federal funding for 2014-18, or 65 per cent of a total funding package of $273 million that assumed a State contribution.

    Perth Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan said that even on the “most generous analysis”, WA was being offered $58 million less than offered by the Gillard-Rudd government.]

    No wonder Barnett was looking less than pleased the other day. But it’s more proof that his rejection of a deal with Labor was for no reason other than playing political games.

  27. BK@30

    don and poroti
    The Good Ship Blowfly is back on east/west oscillations by the look of it.


    To be frank, I hope it stays oscillating. Too many people have drowned already, and this is coming into cyclone season now. We had a gale warning a few days ago, there will be more, for sure.

  28. Socrates@35

    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.

    Coroners Assistants (cops attached to the Coroners Court) frequently outsource the investigation to the lawyers representing a party whose interests are threatened, in this case possibly Grocon.

    They do so because the lawyers offer to collect witness statements etc for them and they accept the invitation because they are either lazy or have too much on their plate.

    An investigation like this should be guided, in part, by a structural engineer and cops should be pro-actively using their powers to search and seize evidence, and question suspects witnesses, not waiting to see what sanitised material is given to them.

  29. “@TheKouk: It looks like @joehockey is capitulating to the demands of the Greens over debt ceiling. Who would have thought the Greens had such control?”

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