Griffith – Australia 2019

ALP 1.4%

Incumbent MP
Terri Butler, since 2014.

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.

Griffith lost a small area on its south-western boundary to Moreton. This area covered the remainder of Wellers Hill and Annerley. These changes cut the Labor margin from 1.6% to 1.4%.

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 had become relatively safe for the ALP since it was won by Kevin Rudd in 1998, but has since become more marginal.

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 again challenged for the Labor leadership in June 2013, and returned to the Prime Ministership.

Rudd led Labor to defeat at the 2013 election – he was re-elected in Griffith with a 3% margin, but resigned shortly after. The seat was won at an early 2014 by-election by Labor’s Terri Butler, in the face of a 1.25% swing to the Liberal National Party. Butler was re-elected in 2016.


Griffith is a very marginal seat, although it’s the kind of seat where you could imagine Terri Butler building up more of a personal vote and strengthening her hold over time.

2016 result

Fiona Ward Liberal National 37,71641.0-1.141.2
Terri Butler Labor 30,52433.2-7.233.1
Karen Anderson Greens 15,71017.1+6.817.0
Bronwyn AblettLiberal Democrats1,8802.0+2.02.0
John JiggensDrug Law Reform1,7891.9+1.91.9
Matt DarraghLiberty Alliance1,4771.6+1.61.6
Karel BoeleIndependent1,4631.6+1.61.6
Theresa GrahamFamily First1,4241.5+0.81.5

2016 two-party-preferred result

Terri Butler Labor 47,46451.6-1.551.4
Fiona Ward Liberal National 44,51948.4+1.548.6

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.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in three out of four areas, ranging from 53.8% in the east to 59.2% in South Brisbane. The LNP polled 51.2% in Bulimba.

The Greens primary vote ranged from 12% in the east to 27.6% in South Brisbane.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
South Brisbane27.659.212,18313.9
Other votes15.849.217,48720.0

Election results in Griffith at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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