Queensland election 2015


Margin: Liberal National 1.6%
Region: Brisbane Bayside
Federal: Bonner

Candidates in ballot paper order



Labor (bottom)

Liberal National (top)







Electorate boundary outline courtesy of
Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

Perhaps the most unexpected Liberal National Party victor of the 2012 election washout was Lytton candidate Neil Symes, a 23-year-old who had previously been working at a Woolworths deli, although his CV also includes a criminology and human services degree and a stint as a community engagement officer. Symes secured a 1.6% margin off a swing of 13.8%, a result well in line with the overall election result, although it may have received a boost from the retirement of Paul Lucas, the member since 1996 and Deputy Premier from September 2007 to September 2011.

Lytton covers the Wynnum-Manly area at the southern end of the mouth of the Brisbane River, 10 kilometres east of central Brisbane. It encompasses a particularly strong area for Labor at Manly on the coast, together with more marginal territory further inland at Wynnum West. The seat was created at the 1972 election and held for Labor from 1974 to 1996 by Tom Burns, who served as Opposition Leader from 1974 to 1978 and Deputy Premier throughout the period of the Goss government from 1989 to 1996. Burns retired shortly after Labor lost office in February 1996, and was succeeded by Lucas at a by-election.

Labor’s campaign to recover the seat hit a speed bump in December following the withdrawal of its initial choice of candidate, Daniel Cheverton, a former adviser to Bligh government minister Rachel Nolan, who also ran in 2012 for what was assumed would be a safe passage into parliament. Cheverton withdrew after a female colleague accused him of inappropriate behaviour after a campaign training session, pre-empting a move by Annastacia Palaszczuk to have him dumped by the state executive, saying the issue had brought him to realise he “had a problem with alcohol”.

The surprise election announcement three weeks later left Labor scrambling for a new candidate, the favoured choice of Palaszczuk being Peter Davis, who had quit as Bar Association president in protest against the government’s contentious appointment of Tim Carmody as Chief Justice. However, Davis was evidently not responsive to Labor’s overtures, and the endorsement has instead gone to local party activist Joan Pease. Others mentioned as possible contenders were Mike Kaiser, former party state secretary and briefly the member for Woodridge from 2000 to 2001, when he fell foul of the Shepherdson inquiry, and Laura Fraser Hardy, who ran unsuccessfully in Bonner at the September 2013 federal election.

cuThe electorate was a specific target of Campbell Newman’s vote-for-us-or-else strategy a week out from the election, with Newman stressing that Neil Symes was the only conceivable person who he would wish to hear a word from in regard to delivering a promised (if that’s the right word) $300,000 upgrade to the facilities of the Wynnum Manly Seagulls rugby league club, and $100,000 for lighting upgrades for the Wynnum Bugs Rugby Club.

Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.

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