Griffith by-election 2014

February 8, 2014

Likely by-election date
With the vacancy arising barely five weeks before Christmas, it is not possible to have a by-election this year. Generally it is considered to be undesirable to hold a by-election during the summer holidays, so the by-election will likely take place in February or March 2014.

Cause of by-election
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced his resignation from Parliament and retirement from politics on Wednesday 13 November 2013, after losing power at the September 2013 federal election.

Read the profile for the seat of Griffith at the 2013 federal election.

Margin – ALP 3.0%

Geography
Southern Brisbane. Griffith covers the suburbs of Brisbane on the south side of the Brisbane river across the river from the Brisbane CBD, including South Brisbane itself, as well as Greenslopes, Holland Park, Kangaroo Point, East Brisbane, Coorparoo, Carina, Seven Hills, Morningside, Balmoral and Bulimba.

History
Griffith was created for the 1934 election, replacing the original seat of Oxley which was abolished at that election. Both Oxley and Griffith have been marginal seats, with Griffith swinging back and forth regularly between the Liberal Party and the ALP since 1949, although this has not usually coincided with national changes. The seat has become relatively safe for the ALP since it was won by Kevin Rudd in 1998.

The seat was first won in 1934 by Labor MP Francis Baker, who had previously won the seat of Oxley off the United Australia Party, ironically at an election when the UAP swept away the federal Labor government.

Baker was re-elected in 1937, but was killed in a car accident in 1939 at the age of 36. Ironically his father was elected to federal parliament in Maranoa in 1940, after his son’s term in Parliament.

The 1939 Griffith by-election was won by Labor candidate William Conelan. Conelan held the seat until he lost Griffith to Liberal candidate Douglas Berry in 1949.

Berry was re-elected in 1951 but lost to the ALP’s Wilfred Coutts. Coutts held on in 1955 but failed to win re-election in 1958, losing to the Liberal Party’s Arthur Chresby, and winning it back in 1961.

Coutts lost the seat once again in 1966, when the seat was won by Liberal candidate Donald Cameron. Cameron held the seat for eleven years, moving to the new seat of Fadden in 1977. He held Fadden until his defeat in 1983, and returned to Parliament at the 1983 Moreton by-election, which he held until his retirement in 1990.

The ALP regained Griffith in 1977, with Ben Humphreys winning the seat. Humphreys served as a minister in the Hawke/Keating government from 1987 until 1993, and retired at the 1996 election.

The ALP preselected Kevin Rudd, but he lost to Graeme McDougall (LIB). McDougall only held on for one term, losing to Rudd in 1998. Rudd joined the ALP shadow ministry in 2001 as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, a role he held for five years.

Rudd’s profile rose as Shadow Foreign Minister, and he was considered a contender for the ALP leadership when Simon Crean resigned in 2003 and when Mark Latham resigned in 2005, but he waited until late 2006 when he challenged Kim Beazley, and was elected leader, and then proceeded to win the 2007 federal election, becoming Prime Minister.

Kevin Rudd was removed as Labor leader and Prime Minister in June 2010, and was re-elected in Griffith as a Labor backbencher. He returned to the ministry as Foreign Minister following the election. He returned to the backbench as part of a failed challenge to Julia Gillard’s leadership in February 2012.

Kevin Rudd defeated Julia Gillard to regain the Labor leadership in June 2013, and led the ALP to defeat at the 2013 federal election.

Candidates
The ALP is running Terri Butler. The Liberal National Party is are running former AMA President Bill Glasson, who ran for the seat in 2013. The Greens are again running 2013 candidate Geoff Ebbs. Katter’s Australian Party are running Ray Sawyer.

Assessment
Governments, even new governments, don’t usually gain seats off an opposition.

Kevin Rudd has always had a strong personal vote, and the loss of that vote could see Glasson gain even more ground in an area where he has a very high profile.

It is quite easy to see a scenario where Labor loses, but the LNP may not perform as strongly in its new position in government.

2013 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Bill Glasson LNP 36,481 42.22 +6.42
Kevin Rudd ALP 34,878 40.36 -3.72
Geoff Ebbs GRN 8,799 10.18 -5.21
Karin Hunter PUP 2,903 3.36 +3.36
Greg Sowden IND 705 0.82 +0.82
Adam Kertesz FF 643 0.74 -0.71
Luke Murray KAP 595 0.69 +0.69
Anne Reid SEC 445 0.51 +0.51
Sherrilyn Church RUA 418 0.48 +0.48
Liam Flenady SA 377 0.44 +0.44
Jan McNicol SPP 165 0.19 +0.19

2013 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Kevin Rudd ALP 45,805 53.01 -5.45
Bill Glasson LNP 40,604 46.99 +5.45
Polling places in Griffith at the 2013 federal election. Bulimba in green, East in red, Greenslopes in blue, South Brisbane in yellow. Click to enlarge.

Polling places in Griffith at the 2013 federal election. Bulimba in green, East in red, Greenslopes in blue, South Brisbane in yellow. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas. Bulimba in the north, Greenslopes in the south, South Brisbane in the west and a series of booths along the eastern boundary.

The ALP won a majority in three areas, ranging from 54% in the east to just under 60% in South Brisbane. The LNP won a slim majority in Bulimba. The ALP suffered a swing in all four areas, ranging from 2.6% in South Brisbane to 6.6% in Bulimba.

The Greens vote varies widely, from 6% in the east and 7% in Bulimba up to almost 17% in South Brisbane.

Voter group GRN % ALP 2PP % ALP swing Total votes % of votes
Bulimba 7.10 49.42 -6.63 19,116 22.12
Greenslopes 10.15 54.85 -3.67 18,880 21.85
South Brisbane 16.93 59.74 -2.62 12,686 14.68
East 6.21 54.07 -4.28 7,772 8.99
Other votes 10.35 50.87 -7.45 27,955 32.35
Two-party-preferred votes in Griffith at the 2013 federal election.

Two-party-preferred votes in Griffith at the 2013 federal election.

Greens primary votes in Griffith at the 2013 federal election.

Greens primary votes in Griffith at the 2013 federal election.