Brisbane – Australia 2013

LNP 1.1%

Incumbent MP
Teresa Gambaro, since 2010. Previously Member for Petrie 1996-2007.

Central Brisbane. Brisbane covers the Brisbane CBD and inner suburbs north of the Brisbane River including Fortitude Valley, Paddington, Ashgrove, Kelvin Grove, Newmarket, Clayfield and Hendra.

Brisbane is an original federation electorate. It has been held by the ALP for most of its history interrupted by short periods of conservative MPs, up until the last election.

The seat was first won by Thomas Macdonald-Paterson, who joined the Protectionists when Parliament first sat. Macdonald-Paterson was not endorsed by the local Protectionists for the 1903 election, and the split in the protectionist vote gave the seat to the ALP’s Millice Culpin.

Culpin was himself defeated after one term by Justin Foxton of the Anti-Socialist Party (formerly the Free Traders). Foxton served as a minister from 1909 until his defeat at the 1910 election by the ALP’s William Finlayson.

Finlayson held the seat until 1919, when he was defeated by Donald Charles Cameron of the Nationalist Party. Cameron held the seat until 1931, when he lost the seat against the tide of conservative gains against the Scullin Government. Cameron returned to serve one term in the neighbouring seat of Lilley from 1934 to 1937.

The ALP held the seat continuously for the next fourty-four years, with only two MPs holding the seat from 1931 until 1975. George Lawson won the seat in 1931 and held it until 1961. He served as Minister for Transport from 1941 until the 1943 election. The seat was then held by Manfred Cross until his defeat by Liberal Peter Johnson in 1975. Johnson defeated Cross again in 1977 before Cross won the seat back in 1980.

Cross held the seat until his retirement in 1990, when the ALP chose Arch Bevis, who has held the seat ever since. While Brisbane has never been held by a large margin, it came closest to being lost to the Liberals in 1996, when Bevis’ margin was cut to 0.36%.

In 2010, the Liberal National Party ran former MP Teresa Gambaro. Gambaro had served as member for the marginal seat of Petrie from 1996 until she was defeated in 2007.

Alongside Bevis and Gambaro, the Greens ran former Democrats leader and former Senator Andrew Bartlett. Bevis suffered a 5.7% swing, and Gambaro won the seat. Bartlett polled 21.3%, the highest vote for the Greens in Queensland.


  • John Roles (Stable Population Party)
  • Tony Rose (Secular Party)
  • Teresa Gambaro (Liberal National)
  • Connie Cicchini (Katter’s Australian Party)
  • Veronica Ford (Palmer United Party)
  • Rachael Jacobs (Greens)
  • Sharyn Joyner (Family First)
  • Fiona McNamara (Labor)

Brisbane is not the typical Liberal seat – it includes progressive inner-city areas, but unlike in Sydney and Melbourne these areas aren’t sufficiently concentrated to create a straight Labor-Greens contest.

The seat is a centre of Greens support in Queensland and will be a focus of the Greens campaign. The slim two-party margin is only achieved thanks to Greens preferences to the ALP – Labor falls far behind the LNP on primary votes. If Labor is to win they will need to win back some Greens votes and ensure they keep a high flow of preferences.

Due to the special nature of this seat, it is considered one of the most likely Labor gains at this election.

2010 result

Teresa GambaroLNP37,19145.89+4.08
Arch BevisALP24,62330.38-13.22
Andrew BartlettGRN17,24421.28+10.12
Mark WhiteFF1,2741.57+0.44
Ewan SaundersSA7170.88+0.36

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Teresa GambaroLNP41,44051.13+5.73
Arch BevisALP39,60948.87-5.73

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into three areas:

  • Central – Brisbane, Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Spring Hill, Windsor.
  • North East – Ascot, Clayfield, Hendra, Stafford
  • West – Alderley, Ashgrove, Ithaca, Kelvin Grove, Newmarket, Paddington, Red Hill

The LNP only won a majority in the north east, with a 58.6% majority. The ALP won a majority of 52% in the other two parts of the seat. The Greens vote polled around 23-24% in the centre and the west, and under 16% in the north east.

Polling booths in Brisbane at the 2010 federal election. Central in blue, North East in green, West in orange.

Voter groupGRN %LNP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
North East15.8658.5818,82023.22
Other votes21.6251.0621,03425.95

Two-party-preferred votes in Brisbane at the 2010 federal election.

Greens primary votes in Brisbane at the 2010 federal election.

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room.If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.