Resolve Strategic: LNP 38, Labor 32, Greens 11 in Queensland

Further signs of weakening in state Labor’s position in Queensland, including a statistical tie on the question of preferred premier.

The Brisbane Times has published a set of Queensland voting intention numbers compiled over long range from four sets of Resolve Strategic’s monthly national polling, achieving a sample of 947 from a period running from mid-May through to last week. It adds to an impression from other polling this year by YouGov and Freshwater Strategy that Labor is likely to struggle at an election to be held in October next year, with the Liberal National Party opposition opening a primary vote lead of 38% to 32% after trailing by 35% to 33% in the period from January to April. The Greens are down a point to 11%, One Nation is up one to 8%, and a generic independent category is down two to 8%.

As always, Resolve Strategic does not provide a two-party preferred result, but a judicious estimate of four-fifths of Greens preference to Labor plus two-fifths of everybody else’s comes out at 51.5-48.5 in favour of the LNP, a swing of about 4.5% compared with the result in 2020. David Crisafulli also records a 38-37 lead over Annastacia Palaszczuk as preferred premier, after trailing 39-31 last time, and his name recognition is up ten points to 68%, with Palaszczuk on 96%. Palaszczuk’s “net likeability” has gone from plus 8% late last year to minus 5% early this year to minus 15% in the latest result, while Crisafulli has tracked from plus 8% to plus 1% to plus 7%.

Now to other electorally relevant news from the Sunshine State, encompassing the Brisbane lord mayoral election in March and everything I’ve been able to ascertain so far about preselection for the state election:

• Labor has announced Tracey Price, Brisbane lawyer and sewing shop owner, as its candidate for the Brisbane lord mayoralty when local government elections are held on March 16 next year. The LNP incumbent, Adrian Schrinner, who has held the post since 2019 and was re-elected in 2020, is seeking another term. The LNP has held the lord mayoralty since Campbell Newman’s win in 2004, together with majorities on council since 2008.

• In April, Labor state secretary Kate Flanders said the new affirmative action rules requiring female candidates in 45% of seats held by the party could only be met if three currently serving men made way at the next election. One such will be Jim Madden, who announced he would not seek re-election in Ipswich West after weathering bullying allegations. The Australian reported others who might be “tapped” included Sandgate MP Stirling Hinchliffe and Ferny Grove MP Mark Furner, both ministers and members of the Right, and Toohey MP Peter Russo, who like Madden is a back-bencher and a member of the Left. A further report from The Australian in April said that Wendy Bourne, Annastacia Palaszczuk’s “caucus liaison”, was “positioned as a likely replacement” for Madden in Ipswich West. Madden defected from the Right to the Left before the last election, whereas Bourne has recently done the reverse.

• In pursuit of David Crisafulli’s target of seven women candidates four the fourteen seats identified as decisive at the next election, a number of preselections have been rolled out well in advance of an election to be held next October. In the most recent case, local mayor Clare Stewart was preselected unopposed last weekend for Noosa, a normally conservative seat that has been held since 2017 by independent Sandy Bolton.

• The LNP unveiled three women as candidates in March: Yolonde Entsch, founding director of charity Wheels of Wellness and wife of veteran federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, in Cairns; Natalie Marr, real estate agent and former Townsville councillor, in Thuringowa; and Rebecca Young, managing director of Personalised Freight Solutions Global and former president of the local Chamber of Commerce, in Redlands. Entsch received unwelcome publicity in June over Indigenous grants awarded to her private company under the previous federal government.

• With the imminent retirement of incumbent Mark Robinson, the LNP preselection for the Redland City seat of Oodgeroo is developing into a high-profile preselection contest involving two former federal parliamentarians – Amanda Stoker, who failed to win re-election to the Senate last year and now hosts a show on Sky News, and Andrew Laming, who bowed out last year as member for Bowman, which he had held since 2004 – together with Daniel Hobbs, ordained Anglican priest and former staffer to Barnaby Joyce.

Lydia Lynch of The Australian reported in January that the LNP preselection for the Sunshine Coast seat of Caloundra, which Labor won for the first time in 2020, was expected to pit Alister Eiseman, a local car salesman, against Kendall Morton, former director of Home Care Assistance Sunshine Coast. The report said David Crisafulli was favouring Morton in pursuit of his target of women candidates, but that he was loath to push the issue out of fear of prompting the kind of local membership backlash that repeatedly thwarted Dominic Perrottet’s efforts to recruit women in New South Wales.

The Australian reported in June that Gold Coast councillor Hermann Vorster was expected to be the LNP’s candidate for Burleigh, with unidentified sources tipping the imminent retirement of Michael Hart, who has held the seat for the party since 2012.

Something for the weekend

Random notes: a WA only poll on coronavirus, some detail on the elections in Queensland last Saturday, and a look at Donald Trump’s counter-intuitive poll bounce.

The West Australian had a Painted Dog Research poll of 500 respondents on attitudes to the coronavirus, with field work dates undisclosed – or at least its website did, as I can’t see any mention of it in the hard copy. What the online report ($) tells us is that 71% believed the federal government should “enforce a full lockdown”; that 25% expected three months of social distancing, and 23% six months; that 18% were extremely worried about losing their job by September, with another 42% slightly worried; and that 68% were most concerned about the health impact, compared with 28% for the economic impact.

Other than that, I have the following to relate about Queensland’s elections on the weekend, which I’ll put here as the dedicated post on the subject doesn’t seem to be doing much business:

• As the dust settles on the troubled counting process, it’s clear the Liberal National Party has enjoyed something of a triumph in the election for Brisbane City Council, extending their 16-year grip on the lord mayoralty and quite probably repeating their feat from 2016 of winning 19 out 26 wards on the council. Incumbent Adrian Schrinner leads Labor’s Pat Condren in the lord mayoral race by a margin of 5.5%, although the latter gained a 4.0% swing off Graham Quirk’s landslide win in 2016. The ABC projection is awarding 17 ward seats to the LNP, to which they look very likely to add Enoggera, while maintaining a slender lead over the Greens in Paddington. The Greens’ combined council ward vote is up 3.4% on 2016 to 17.9%, and they retained their sole existing seat of The Gabba with swings of 12.2% on the primary vote and 8.5% on two-party preferred.

• However, it was a less good performance by the LNP in the two state by-elections, where all the detail is laid out at my results pages for Bundamba and Currumbin. The party finished a distant third behind One Nation in Bundamba, which remains a safe seat for Labor, and have only narrowly held on in Currumbin, where Labor has achieved a rare feat for a governing party in picking up a swing of nearly 2% at a by-election. Party leader Deb Frecklington would nonetheless be relieved by the result, since a defeat in Currumbin, which a pre-election poll suggested was in prospect, would surely have imperilled her leadership, despite her being able to point to the highly unusual circumstances in which the election was held.

• Speaking of which, I offer the following numbers on the ways the enrolled voters of Bundamba and Currumbin did and didn’t vote, with the qualification that there is an indeterminate number of postals still to be counted — perhaps rather a few of them, given I understood that there had been a surge in applications (although it seems a number of applicants never received their ballots).

Finally, a few thoughts on the situation in the United States, elaborating on a subject covered in yesterday’s post here by Adrian Beaumont – you are encouraged to comment on that thread if you have something specific to offer on matters American, and in particular on Donald Trump’s confounding opinion poll bounce over the past few weeks. I sought to put the latter event in context in a paywalled Crikey article on Monday, the key feature of which is the following comparison of his approval rating trend, as measured by FiveThirtyEight, with comparable trend measures of my own for Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Scott Morrison.

The upshot is that leaders the world over are enjoying a “rally around the flag” approval bounce, and that Donald Trump’s looks meagre indeed compared with his colleagues across the Atlantic. I feel pretty sure that the lack of a clear bounce for Scott Morrison is down to the fact that there have been no new numbers since Essential Research’s poll of over a fortnight ago, with the surges for Merkel, Johnson and Macron being concentrated since that time.

It’s also interesting to observe that Trump’s improvement has not been consistently observed. The chart below records his trends so far from this year from the five most prolific pollsters. For some reason, Rasmussen, the pollster that is usually most favourable to him — and which is accordingly the most frequent subject of his vainglorious tweets on the odd occasion when it reaches 50% — has in fact found his approval rating going in the direction he deserves. There is also no sign of change from the Ipsos series. However, the improving trend from the other three is more in line with the many other pollsters included in the FiveThirtyEight series, hence its overall picture of his best ratings since his post-election honeymoon.

Bundamba, Currumbin and Brisbane City Council live

Live results for Bundamba here and Currumbin here, including booth level totals and swings.


11pm. I’ve actually turned off the booth matching now, so the 76.7% probability shown of an LNP probability win entails an expectation that the uncounted two-party vote (i.e. all pre-polls, postals and the rest) should behave similarly to the election day votes, when the primary vote numbers make clear that they will actually favour the LNP. So disregard the probability and treat this is near-certain LNP win. Other than the two-party numbers, there was next to no additional counting in the by-elections today. However, the picture for Brisbane City Council has become clearer, and it bears out expectations that postal votes would heavily favour the Liberal National Party — so much so that they now look like matching their performance in 2016, when it won 19 seats out of 26. Labor’s clearest hope of an addition to its meagre was for a surprise win in Calamvale, but that’s faded now; the LNP has also pulled clear from a hitherto precarious position in marginal Holland Park; and the general trend suggests they should also prevail in currently lineball Enoggera and Northgate. The same is probably also true of Paddington, where they presently hold a narrow lead over the Greens, who thus look unlikely to gain a second seat to add to The Gabba despite a generally strong performance.

5.30pm. There are now two-party results in Currumbin for all election day polling booths. This means my projections have come to life – and they are projecting a 1.2% swing to the LNP for a winning margin of 4.5%, with a 99.7% probability of victory. But as I noted at the very beginning of all this, this is based off estimates of where votes would be cast at the by-election that entailed a huge amount of guess work. The reason I have very different swing results in the tables at the top left and the charts at the top right is that the latter estimate two-party results where only primary votes are presently available, i.e. for pre-polls and postals. Other than that, no new numbers have been added today — indeed, the existing postal votes for Bundamba seem to have disappeared for some reason.


As you can see on the links above, my results reporting pages are in action, but they only have primary votes to work with — it doesn’t appear notional two-party counts are being conducted, and I am not making use of preference estimates like Antony Green. Nonetheless, they are of value in being the only place you can find booth results short of poring through the XML media feed, and exclusively feature swings for polling booths and vote types.

The situation in Bundamba and Currumbin seems to be that most of the election day and pre-poll primary votes have been counted; that there should be roughly 5000 postals for each electorate and maybe 1500 to 2000 of various other kinds of vote, of which respectively 2191 and 998 formal votes have been counted in Currumbin, while only 747 postals have been counted in Bundamba. In Currumbin, the current primary vote shares are LNP 43.1%, Labor 39.6%, Greens 10.9% and One Nation 6.5%, with postals heavily favouring the LNP as expected, and “other” votes so far leaning their way as well. My back-of-envelope reckoning is that the LNP’s 3.5% primary vote lead should increase to upwards of 6%, which Labor should only be able to reduce by a couple of points on preferences — Antony Green has scrutineer info that Labor is only getting 71% of Greens preferences, while the LNP is getting 62% from One Nation. So the LNP went into the by-election with a 3.3% margin, and should probably come out of it with about the same.

In Bundamba, Labor does not appear to be losing ground on postals, so their 42.4% is likely to be more or less solid. The Greens are, however, which may rein their 13.5% by upwards of 0.5%. That would mean Labor’s routine three-quarter share of Greens preferences would put them fairly comfortably over the line even without accounting for preference leakage from the LNP, which should be pretty substantial. Labor weren’t claiming victory last I heard, but I don’t see why they shouldn’t.

The LNP are claiming victory for Adrian Schrinner in the Brisbane lord mayoralty race, where Antony Green projects a final margin of 5.0%, which I see no reason to question. The LNP also looks assured of retaining its majority on council: yesterday I said they only had five of their council wards in the bag, but that this said more about the slow grind of the count than the weakness of their position. With today’s counting providing further clarity, it is now clear they have won 13 out of the 26 seats and would not be writing off any of their complement of 19 from 2016. They have retained the more-or-less marginal wards of The Gap, Marchant, Doboy and Runcorn, are very likely to hold Holland Park as well (although the ABC computer isn’t calling that one yet), and appear to have overcome early scares in the seemingly safe wards of Bracken Ridge and Jamboree.

Labor’s clearest shot at a gain from their existing tally of five seats looks to be Calamvale, a rather spectacular result given the existing 14.3% margin. Two LNP marginals, Enoggera and Northgate, look like going down to the wire, but Labor suffered a disappointing failure in Doboy, where the LNP margin had been erased by the redistribution. The Greens are in a tight race to take Paddington off the LNP, which would give them a second seat to add to The Gabba. However, they look to have done well but not well enough in Central, Coorparoo and Walter Taylor.

Saturday night overview

Tonight’s counting and reporting of results was an incomplete and highly chaotic affair, reflecting these times. All that seems clear is that Labor will retain Bundamba, and that Adrian Schrinner seems near certain to retain the Brisbane lord mayoralty. Currumbin is impossible to call at this stage. The council ward results in Brisbane so far look rather weak for the Liberal National Party, but that seems likely to change when counting of postal votes begins. By the same token, the Greens look to have done extremely well, but that too seems likely to moderate. Nowhere do we appear to have two-party preferred counts.


The ECQ website has 56.0% of the primary vote counted in Bundamba, but there are only 25.4% counted (9301 votes) on the media feed, which is the only place where booth results are available. Presumably the former is all the election day and pre-poll results, leaving a big bunch of postals outstanding. Labor are on 42.9% on the latest count, but it was a good result nonetheless for One Nation (27.8%), who far outpolled the LNP (15.9%). The best that can be said for the LNP is that they haven’t come last, as one poll suggested they might, with the Greens on 13.4%. Presumably most of the LNP vote will exhaust, and Labor should get a good flow of preferences from the Greens. I have my results facility back online, but a) as noted it’s well behind the ECQ website count, being based off the feed, and b) my primary vote and swing projections are screwy — they should say Labor 40.3% (-13.0%), Liberal National 16.8% (+1.7%), Greens 16.3% (5.4%). If nothing else, they offer an opportunity to look at booth swings in an easy-to-read format, with due regard to the collapse in traffic at polling booths.


The Currumbin results look to have been removed altogether from the media feed, leaving us with raw totals only the ECQ website’s to go off, accounting for 12,988 votes or 37.1% of the enrolment. So clearly there are plenty of pre-poll and perhaps even election day results to come here on top of the postals.

Brisbane lord mayoralty

The count as recorded on the ECQ website is relatively well advanced, accounting for 41.6% of enrolment. It’s a very different story on the media feed though, so the projection on the ABC site, which makes use of booth-matching, is not illumating. LNP incumbent Adrian Schrinner is on 45.6%, which should presumably be enough. Labor’s Pat Condren is on 31.8%, and while he can hope for a solid boost for preferences from Greens candidate Kath Angus 15.8%, postals should favour Schrinner.

Brisbane City Council

The counts for the council wards are less advanced than for the mayoralty, with progress ranging from barely over 10% to the low forties as a percentage of enrolled voters. While the LNP has only a handful of its existing seats bolted down (Chandler, Hamilton, Macgregor, McDowall and Pullenvale), they seem to be holding up well in some fairly dicey wards (The Gap, Holland Park, Marchant, Doboy). They aren’t doing brilliantly on the early count in the double-digit margin wards of Bracken Ridge, Calamvale and Jamboree, but it’s early days in each case and my guess is that they will pull through. Labor can at least be hopeful of gaining Enoggera, Northgate and Runcorn, which may be the decisive contests in determining if they can wear away the LNP majority.

Early results have been encouraging for the Greens, who have clearly retained The Gabba, are in the hunt to take Paddington off the LNP and can’t be ruled out in Central, Coorparoo and Walter Taylor, although my feeling is that the LNP will pull clear in the latter three. Independent Nicole Johnston has easily retained Tennyson, but Kate Richards failed to pull a rabbit out of the hat in Pullenvale. My best guess is that the LNP, after winning 19 wards out of 26 in 2016, will drop a few seats but retain a majority, but there are very wide error bars on that assessment.

Election night commentary

9.31pm. The ECQ relates: “Preliminary counts are underway. Results are coming into the ECQ as expected. We’re having technical issues displaying results online. We are are working on the issue. Preliminary count continues tonight till around 10pm. The official count begins tomorrow.” Furthermore, the lack of scrutineers means party insiders can’t offer the insight they usually would. Antony Green relates on twitter that “from a hand-scribbled A4 sheet, it seems the LNP leads Currumbin 3200-3167 from 10 counting centres, but 12,000 pre-polls to be counted and then the LNP leaning postals after that”. Given postals are likely to favour the LNP, this suggests they are more likely to hold on that not, but the bulk of the uncounted pre-poll vote suggests nothing should be taken for granted – and it would seem we are unlikely to have much joy on that front tonight.

8.47pm. With 6.9% counted in Central ward, LNP incumbent Vicki Howard is on 42.8% with the Greens running second on 34.0% and Labor third on 23.2%, suggesting it’s worth keeping an eye on as a potential Greens gain. No or next to no votes counted in the Greens existing seat of The Gabba and other potential gains in Coorparoo and Paddington.

Labor are running third in Central ward with 6.9% counted, suggesting it’s worth kee

8.40pm. There are no two-party numbers in the feed, so I presume Antony Green’s numbers are based on preference estimates.

8.20pm. A big hit of results for the Brisbane lord mayoralty with 44,720 votes now counted, though still only a bit more than 5% of enrolment. Adrian Schrinner leads Pat Condren 43.4% to 30.4%, though a lot depends on where those votes are from — probably inner urban areas, judging by the 18.7% Greens vote, which should feed Condren quite a few preferences. This update hasn’t made it through to the feed and the ABC site yet, so no booth matched calculations available.

8.14pm. Slow progress all around. Nothing to report since the last updates.

7.50pm. Antony Green is detecting a 10% swing to Labor in the lord mayoralty race, which should bring it down to the wire. But the qualification remains that projecting results is uniquely challenging at these elections. No further progress in the Currumbin count.

7.40pm. There are nine booths in from Currumbin, with at most 563 formal votes. Antony Green projects no swing at all, which is good news for the LNP, but we’re still only talking 1107 votes counted, or 3.5% of the roll. A different dynamic on pre-polls and postals might yet change things.

7.36pm. Clearly my results facility isn’t about to come to life any time soon, so I’ve put it on ice and will fix it this evening so it will at least be of use in following the late count. Just eyeballing the media feed, I can report that eight booths are in from Bundamba, none of which recorded more than 563 formal votes. Antony Green is calling it for Labor; the LNP look like coming third, not fourth; but One Nation are in second place on a substantial 28.2%, but projected to fall 8.6% short after preferences.

7.21pm. For what very little it’s worth, the Greens lead in the race for the lord mayoralty with 0.12% counted. So presumably an inner city booth.

7.18pm. Some small numbers are starting to appear for Brisbane City Council on the ECQ, but I fear the media feed may have tanked — still nothing on Antony Green’s results page.

7.14pm. Now there are some primary results on the ECQ site for Currumbin, which look reasonably encouraging for the LNP in that they lead Labor 47.9% to 37.6%, but again we don’t know what part of the electorate this is from.

7.11pm. More numbers in from Bundamba on the ECQ site, but still nothing on the feed (no updates on Antony Green’s page either so the problem doesn’t seem to be on my end). The latest update does not change the situation noted previously. We don’t what booths these votes are from, but Bundamba is homogenous enough an electorate that it’s unlikely to matter much.

7.06pm. There are some numbers from Bundamba on the ECQ site but they’re not on the feed yet. They suggest that uComms poll might not have been far off the mark, with the LNP coming last out of four and Labor poised to win easily.

7.00pm. An hour in, and there’s not a single result yet anywhere across Queensland. Might be that social distancing is slowing the process.

6.18pm. I’ve mostly got it working now, I hope, though a niggling error means I’m unable to provide rows for non-ordinary (i.e. mostly postal) votes, which shouldn’t matter until later in the evening and hopefully I’ll have fixed it by then. In any case, the projections have to be regarded as experimental due to the extraordinary circumstances of the election: with voters abandoning polling day voting en masse for postal and pre-poll voting, I’ve had to shift results around for purposes of booth-matching in a rather arbitrary fashion.

6.05pm. Welcome to live coverage of the count for Queensland’s Bundamba and Currumbin state by-elections, and to a lesser extent for the Brisbane lord mayoralty and council. I am hoping to have my live results facility in operation for the first two shortly, provided I’m able to iron a few last teething problems.

Queensland elections: Currumbin, Bundamba and Brisbane City Council

Two polls find the Liberal National Party opposition struggling in Queensland’s two state by-elections. Also: a quick look at the lord mayoral and council elections in Brisbane.

In spite of everything, elections will proceed on Saturday in Queensland’s state by-elections for Currumbin and Bundama, together with its local government elections. It appears pre-poll voting has more than doubled since 2016, and postal voting has doubled almost exactly, though I’m hearing anecdotal evidence of applicants who struggled with a floundering website before the deadline last Monday failing to receive their ballots. By my rough reckoning, the proportions in 2016 were 63% ordinary, 23% pre-poll and 14% postal, but should now be at around 18%, 54% and 28%. I will have live results pages in action for the by-elections, but the radical changes in voter behaviour just noted will make it unusually difficult to get an accurate read on the swing.

The Courier-Mail had polls for Currumbin and Bundamba that paint a bleak picture for the Liberal National Party, showing Labor at level pegging in their bid to snare Currumbin, and the LNP crashing to fourth place in Bundamba, where Labor is credited with a 62-38 lead over One Nation. The polls were conducted by uComms last weekend from samples of 700 in each seat — I’m unclear if they were commissioned by the newspaper. Both Currumbin, which covers the Gold Coast at the New South Wales border and has an LNP margin of 3.3%, and Bundamba, covering eastern Ipswich and with a Labor margin of 21.6%, are straightforward four-cornered contests involving Labor, the LNP, the Greens and One Nation. One Nation are directing preferences to the LNP, the Greens to Labor, and the LNP to One Nation. However, the impact of this will be limited as parties are not allowed to distribute how-to-vote cards at polling booths.

The other big story on Saturday is the election for Brisbane City Council, Australia’s biggest, most powerful and most conventionally partisan local government. There will be a direct election for the lord mayoralty and elections for the 26 single-member wards of the council, conducted with optional preferential voting. The Liberal National Party achieved crushing victories in 2016, when Graham Quirk was re-elected as mayor over Labor’s Rod Harding with 59.3% of the two-candidate preferred vote. Quirk retired in March 2019 and was succeeded by Adrian Schrinner, as chosen by the council from among its own number. He had previously been deputy mayor, a prize of the majority party. His Labor opponent is Patrick Condren, a journalist with a high profile as former state political editor for the Seven Network. Reflecting a general impression that current circumstances will favour incumbency, Ladbrokes has Schrinner a clear favourite at $1.22 to Condren’s $3.

The LNP won 19 of the 26 council seats in 2016, with Labor winning only five and the Greens and an independent scoring one apiece. One of the LNP wards, Pullenvale, will be contested by incumbent Kate Richards as an independent after being referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission and dumped as LNP candidate. Another ward, Doboy, was won by the LNP on a 4.3% margin but now credited with a post-redistribution notional margin of 0.3% by Ben Raue at the Tally Room, although Antony Green gives it a tiny LNP margin of 0.03%.

There are nine wards with margins of under 10%, including two, Coorparoo and Paddington, for which the Greens are at least partly hopeful. These wards respectively neighbour the Greens’ existing seat of The Gabba to the north-west and east, the three collectively covering inner-city territory immediately west and south of the central business district. Jonathan Sri holds a solid 7.0% margin over the LNP in The Gabba, but Labor could threaten him if voters defect to them from the LNP.

Labor’s potential gains are further afield: Northgate (1.7%), The Gap (4.5%), Enoggera (5.6%) and Marchant (7.6%) in the north of Brisbane, and Holland Park (4.1%) and Runcorn (8.7%) in the south. A roughie might be the CBD ward of Central, which the LNP holds with a margin of 8.2% over Labor, but the Greens were within striking distance of second place last time. Former LNP independent Nicole Johnston looks secure in Tennyson, but it’s anyone’s guess how Richard might go in Pullenvale.

The state’s other councils do not have declared party alignments, but they are often present if you know where to look. Outer Brisbane and the coastal sprawl to its north and south are covered by (in descending order of population) the cities of Gold Coast, Moreton Bay (think Dickson, Longman, northern Petrie), Sunshine Coast, Logan (most of Moreton and northern Forde, plus some low-density hinterland from Wright), Ipswich and Redland (which perfectly corresponds with Bowman), with Toowoomba, Townsville and Cairns being the largest municipalities regionally. The first five of these are usefully explained by Ben Raue and guest Alexis Pink at The Tally Room.

Queensland state by-election(s) and the Brisbane lord mayoralty

Queensland state by-elections loom in at least one seat, almost certain to be held on the day of the state’s council elections.

Queensland looks like it may have a practice run for its October state election on March 28, in the shape of by-elections for two state seats together with its council elections, which are themselves of unusual interest due to the extent of the City of Brisbane and the partisanship of its council politics. Certainly a contested by-election looms in the southern Gold Coast seat of Currumbin, after Liberal National Party member Jann Stuckey resigned on Wednesday, trumping her announcement last June that she would not seek another term. The other potential by-election is in the seat of Bundamba in eastern Ipswich, a seat safe enough for Labor that it was among the seven retained at the party’s 2012 election wipeout. The situation there arises from suggestions that Jo-Ann Miller, a long-standing thorn in the side of her party’s leadership, is considering jumping ship to run for the mayoralty of Ipswich. The ABC quotes the Electoral Commissioner, Pat Vigden, as saying the cost of a by-election would be cut from $350,000 to $210,000 if it was held on the same day as the council elections.

Jann Stuckey’s announcement on Wednesday that she was retiring due to a battle with depression carried the sting that political life had exposed her to “bullying, personal attacks and insults”. This follows threats to her preselection after she and two other LNP members voted to remove abortion from the criminal code in November 2018 in what was supposedly a conscience vote (the only Labor member who voted against was the aforementioned Jo-Ann Miller), and her publicly voiced displeasure that the party’s candidate vetting committee knocked back the preselection nomination of her favoured successor, Chris Crawford. However, LNP leader Deb Frecklington insisted Stuckey’s comments in her retirement announcement referred to attacks on her by Labor, which Stuckey has endorsed to the extent of telling Seven News she had been “humiliated” by recent government attacks on her in parliament.

Stuckey has held Currumbin for the Liberals and then the LNP since 2004, most recently on a margin of 3.3% at the 2017 election. This followed a 2.4% swing to Labor, reducing the margin to its lowest point since her first two wins in 2004 and 2006. The seat was previously held for Labor from 1992 to 2004 by Merri Rose, a Beattie government minister whose career ended ignominiously. Labor’s candidate will be Kaylee Campradt, a part-time campaign officer for the Queensland Council of Unions who was preselected to run at the state election last October. No word on the LNP preselection that I’m aware of, other than a statement from the party’s administration that it will be “expedited”.

The Brisbane lord mayoralty election will pit LNP incumbent Adrian Schrinner against Labor candidate Patrick Condren, a television news journalist. Labor originally selected its unsuccessful candidate from 2016, Rod Harding, but dumped him in favour of Condren in September. The Liberals (technically the LNP since 2010) have won four successive lord mayoral elections since 2004, the last three by landslide margins. Campbell Newman was the winner in 2004 and 2008, and was succeeded on his entry to state politics in 2012 by Graham Quirk, the winner of 2012 and 2016. Quirk in turn resigned in April last year and was succeeded by Schrinner, the choice of the LNP-dominated council.

The LNP won 19 of the 26 council wards in 2016 to Labor’s five, with the others going to an ex-Liberal independent and the Greens. In the ward of Pullenvale, former federal Ryan MP Jane Prentice suffered another preselection defeat on Wednesday at the hands of Greg Adermann, as both vied to succeed incumbent Kate Richards, who has been disendorsed and referred by her own party to the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Queensland four-year terms referendum and council elections

A primer on tomorrow’s electoral events in Queensland: a referendum to introduce fixed four-year terms for the state parliament, and council elections that include the big prize of the Brisbane lord mayoralty.

Post-match report (posted late Saturday)

The referendum has passed with a modest majority, having recorded a 53.3% yes vote with 46.0% of enrolled voters counted. The yes vote tended to be higher and the city and lower in the country, but the range was fairly narrow, from 44.9% in rural Dalrymple to 64.7% in Surfers Paradise. The other big news is Labor’s surprisingly poor show in Brisbane, where LNP lord mayoral incumbent Graham Quirk ended the night with a raw 58.7% after preferences with 62.6% of enrolled voters counted. While this represents a swing against him of nearly 10%, it’s nonetheless a heavy defeat for Labor – and also a bad show for pollsters who had the LNP two-party vote 6% to 7% lower. The news gets even worse for Labor in the wards, where they actually look to have gone backwards from their disastrous 2012 result. The LNP appears to have retained its share of 18 out or 26 seats, and further looks to have nabbed Northgate with the retirement of Labor’s Kim Flesser. Furthermore, the Greens are leading in the Labor-held ward of The Gabba, with 33.0% of the vote to Labor’s 30.8%, and preferences certain to decide the result for one or the other ahead of the LNP candidate on 34.0%. Independent Nicole Johnston has been easily returned in Tennyson. The likely result is LNP 19, Labor five, independent one and Greens one, with the Greens’ win in The Gabba probably being the most doubtful.

Preview (posted Friday)

Queensland has some big electoral action in store tomorrow, with a statewide referendum on fixed four-year parliamentary terms, and council elections offering the big partisan prize of the Brisbane lord mayoralty. If the referendum gets up, Queensland will lose its distinction as the only state still hanging on to three-year terms, with elections henceforth set for the last Saturday in October, starting at the end of the current term. Should the term run to its natural conclusion in early 2018, the new system would kick in with the next election behing held in October 2021. Queensland-based electoral law authority Graeme Orr explains what’s wrong with this in Crikey – specifically, the weakening of electoral accountability in a state with no upper house, and the government’s failure to prepare voters for it through an adequate education campaign. A Galaxy poll of 540 voters in the City of Brisbane found respondents breaking 48-35 in favour, but there are views abroad that voters in the regions will be less keen, and that late deciders will break in favour of no.

In the City of Brisbane, whose million-strong population accounts for just under half the overall population of the metropolitan area, voters will decide whether to extend the Liberal National Party’s 12-year grip on the lord mayoralty, which began with Campbell Newman’s first victory in 2004. The current incumbent, Graham Quirk, assumed the role when Newman quit in April 2011 to make his run for the premiership at the next year’s state election, having first been elected to council at the age of 27 in 1985. Quirk won election to the lord mayoralty in his own right in April 2012, a month after Labor’s decimation at the state election, with 61.9% of the primary vote, translating to a 68.3-31.7 win over his Labor opponent after preferences.

The two published polls suggest it will be a great deal closer than that this time, with the aforementioned Galaxy survey of a fortnight ago giving Quirk a lead of 53-47 over Labor candidate Rod Harding, and a ReachTEL automated phone poll of 1116 conducted for the Sunday Mail last Thursday having it at 52-48. The big news of the late campaign has been the LNP cutting loose Tennyson ward candidate Ashley Higgins, over accusations he had sent sexually explicit images to a teenage boy from a Catholic school at which he served as a minister. Observers of the campaign also tend towards the view that the LNP has been outcampaigned by Labor.

Councillors will also be elected to Brisbane’s 26 wards, which also tend to produce rigid two-party contests. The 2012 landslide delivered the Liberal National Party 18 seats, with a former LNP independent winning the aforementioned Tennyson ward, and Labor managing only seven. Antony Green has a pendulum and accompanying ward profiles here. Elsewhere, the Sunday Mail’s ReachTEL poll indicated that incumbent mayors are set to be returned in the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba.

Queensland part two: April 28

UPDATE 2 (26/4): Another ReachTel poll, this time of a large sample of 1085, finds the lord mayoralty race set for a repeat of Campbell Newman’s landslide in 2008. Newman’s LNP successor, Graham Quirk, is on 58%, Labor’s Ray Smith on 25% and Andrew Bartlett of the Greens on 14%. Whereas sentiment in the South Brisbane poll (see below) was that the size of the LNP parliamentary majority was reason against voting for them again, nearly as many (31%) lord mayoralty poll respondents said the election result was more reason to vote LNP as less (35.5%).

UPDATE (24/4): ReachTel has published an automated phone poll for South Brisbane, and while the sample is small (300), the result is good news for Labor, putting their primary vote at 44% (up five on the election) with the LNP down three-and-a-half to 34.5% and the Greens up one to 19%. Tellingly, 56.5% say the size of the LNP’s majority makes them less likely to vote for them (against 19.5% more likely), with “size of the LNP’s majority” ranking second on a list of six issues rated as most important (less happily for Labor, cost of living ranks first). A ReachTel poll on the lord mayoralty will follow tomorrow.

Another trip to the polling booth for Queensland voters next week, this time to vote in local government elections and, for the lucky residents of the capital’s inner south, to choose a successor to Anna Bligh in South Brisbane, one of just seven seats in which Labor was spared defeat on March 24. Bligh survived a 10.3% swing to hold on by a margin of 4.7%, her primary vote down from 48.4% to 38.6% with the LNP up from 27.9% to 38.1% and the Greens up from 17.5% to 18.1%.

South Brisbane follows the southern bank of the Brisbane River from East Brisbane through South Bank, Woolloongabba and Dutton Park, also extending southwards to Stones Corner. Electorally speaking, it can be roughly divided into three parts: inner-city West End, where the Greens scored about a quarter of the vote, Labor about 40% and the LNP about 30%; the more conventionally working-class south-east of the electorate, where Labor and the LNP were slightly higher and the Greens vote was in the mid-teens; and East Brisbane, more affluent and less bohemian than West End, where the LNP vote was at around 50% compared with a little over 30% for Labor and a little over 10% for the Greens. It was the Labor heartland area of the south-east that swung most heavily at the election, and since these booths reported earliest, the ABC’s early swing projections made Bligh appear in more trouble than she was. The map below shows two-party preferred results by polling booth, with the size of the numbers varying according to number of votes cast (from below 500 to approaching 3000).

The by-election has attracted eight candidates, in ballot paper order: Jason McKenzie (who says his piece in comments), Penny Panorea (Daylight Saving Party), Penny McCreery (Family First), Jo-Anne Bragg (Greens), Clem Grehan (LNP), Liam Flenady (Independent), Jackie Trad (Labor) and Robert Wardrop (Katter’s Australian Party). Grehan, Bragg, Wardrop and Flenady were all candidates at the state election, respectively polling 39.2%, 18.1%, 3.4% and 1.9% to Bligh’s 38.6%. Jackie Trad is the party’s assistant state secretary and a former staffer to Anna Bligh, who reportedly had long groomed Trad as her successor. Trad won Labor preselection without opposition, after defeated ministers Andrew Fraser and Cameron Dick promptly declared their lack of interest in using the seat to return to parliament. Clem Grehan boasts that his “career has progressed from labourer and chainman to surveyor to lecturer to construction planner to project manager”. Jo-Anne Bragg is “director of a non-profit community legal centre that helps people with advice on planning, pollution, nature conservation, mining and gas”. Antony Green offers details on the other candidates, and much more besides.

Then there are the council elections, which are uniquely interesting in the case of Brisbane City Council owing to the municipality’s size, the extent of its powers and the partisanship of its electoral contests. They are also quite unlike elections at higher tiers of government in that voters separately elect an “executive” (the lord mayoralty) and a “legislature” (the council), as as the American custom, with victory in the former not ensuring control of the latter. Like the South Brisbane by-election, this election will also offer an interesting case study of voter psychology in the aftermath of an unprecedented electoral landslide. It’s worth remembering that Campbell Newman came to the lord mayoralty in a surprise win a few weeks after the Coalition parties were trounced at the 2004 state election (although conversely, the Nationals lost the state seat of Surfers Paradise to an independent at a by-election when Rob Borbidge quit parliament in the wake of the 2001 bloodbath).

The incument in the lord mayoralty is Graham Quirk, the former councillor for Macgregor ward who succeeded Campbell Newman in April 2011. Labor’s candidate is Ray Smith, chief executive of television production company Cutting Edge. Former Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett is running for the Greens, and the unregistered Australian Sex Party is behind the candidacy of independent Rory Killen. Labor goes into the election off a low base, Campbell Newman having been re-elected in 2008 with 60.1% of the primary vote compared with 29.0% for Labor’s Greg Rowell, following what had been a fairly desultory Labor campaign. At that time, Newman was famously the most senior Coalition politician in the country, with all federal, state and territory governments in Labor hands. The LNP won 16 of the 26 wards with the remaining 10 won by Labor, although one Liberal councillor, Nicole Johnston in Tennyson, has since quit the party to sit as an independent. The most interesting of the ward contests to lay observers is that for Labor’s most marginal ward, Central, which is being contested by Peter Beattie’s wife Heather. As for the others, the indefatigable Antony Green has come good with a ward-by-ward guide.

Armadale and Araluen and Walter Taylor

Time for a new thread. Politics watchers have had pretty big fish to fry recently, but as electoral minutiae are this site’s raison d’etre, here’s a review of looming events which might have escaped your notice. Feel free to discuss what you’d usually discuss in comments.

• Voters in the safe Labor WA state seat of Armadale go to the polls on Saturday to choose a successor to Alannah MacTiernan, following her unsuccessful stab at the federal seat of Canning. I’m wondering if the date might have been chosen so as not to clash with the AFL grand final, and whether events on that front might result in a very low turnout on Saturday. With the Liberals sitting the contest out and no significant minor challengers emerging, the only other point of interest is how the Labor primary vote holds up with talk building of a threat to Eric Ripper’s leadership. Labor’s candidate is Tony Buti, a law professor at the University of Western Australia. Buti heads a ballot paper filled out by Jamie van Burgel of the Christian Democratic Party, independent John D. Tucak (who had extremely limited success as an upper house candidate for Eastern Metropolitan at the 2007 state election) and Owen Davies of the Greens. More from Antony Green.

• On Saturday week, voters in the Alice Springs seat of Araluen will choose a successor to outgoing Country Liberal Party member (and former leader) Jodeen Carney, who on August 19 announced she was retiring for health reasons. A by-election in the Northern Territory offers interesting parallels with the federal situation, as the Labor government has been on a parliamentary knife edge since the 2008 election returned a result of 13 Labor, 11 Country Liberal Party and one independent. The government assumed minority status when its member for Macdonnell, Alison Anderson, quit to sit as an independent in July 2009 – prompting the existing independent, Gerry Wood of the normally conservative electorate of Nelson, to guarantee Labor on confidence and supply in the interests of “stable government” (there was also a brief period in which Arafura MP Marion Scrymgour was on the cross-benches). As a CLP seat, Araluen gives Labor the remote prospect of improving their position, although the 24.6 per cent margin leaves them with little cause for optimism (it should be noted that election results can be hugely variable in the Northern Territory, where bite-sized electorates make candidate factors crucially important). The CLP candidate is Alice Springs deputy mayor Robyn Lambley, described by Ben Langford of the Northern Territory News as a “mediator and dispute resolution expert”. Labor’s candidate is Adam Findlay, a chef with no background in politics to speak of.

• On October 23, a Brisbane City Council by-election will be held in the ward of Walter Taylor, which has been vacated by Jane Prentice, the newly elected LNP member for the federal seat of Ryan. The LNP have nominated a former policy officer for Prentice, Julian Simmonds, who seems unlikely to be troubled given the 21.0 per cent margin from the 2008 election. Labor’s candidate is Louise Foley, who according to Tony Moore of Fairfax has “worked in the Queensland public service during the Beattie Government as a ministerial advisor in local government, planning, transport, education, main roads and with the office of Premier and Cabinet”. Also in the field are Tim Dangerfield of the Greens and independent William Borbasi. Walter Taylor was one of 16 wards won by Liberal in 2008, with 10 being won by Labor. Lord mayor Campbell Newman of the LNP serves a fixed four-year term regardless of the numbers on council.