Queensland 2009 Archive



The Brisbane Times:

The Queensland Greens’ sole MP, Ronan Lee, isn’t unduly fazed that the party’s best ever result in Saturday’s election didn’t translate into extra seats.

The statewide result will almost certainly ensure that Queenslanders elect a senator from the Greens at the next federal election, he says.

Mr Lee, who defected from Labor last year over their environmental record, says he’s not prepared to concede his seat of Indooroopilly to the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) Scott Emerson.

Mr Lee said it would be two weeks before a winner would be declared in Indooroopilly, adding that it was arrogant of the LNP to claim it.


I repeat – the Greens WENT BACKWARDS on Saturday. The only reason the overall primary vote held up and didn’t plummet was that the Greens stood in an extra fourteen seats. The Greens went backwards in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Ipswich (although, really, those areas never matter in a Queensland election).

Even if you ignore that, the point remains that the Greens only polled 8.2%. That on its own isn’t bad for the Queensland Greens, and the party managed to avoid its vote collapsing. But Greens supporters should be spoken to honestly. Unless the Greens can win 13-14% in primary votes at the 2010 election in Queensland, the election of a Senator will all be about the ALP and Coalition votes, as well as preferences.

It turns out that the chances of a Green being elected in Queensland (and in NSW and Victoria) have increased because of the swing from the Liberals to the ALP, which should give the party a surplus and give the Greens a chance to take the third Coalition seat in all three large states. But to say the Greens will “almost certainly” win a seat in Queensland is dishonest in the extreme.

Another thing, is why the hell hasn’t Lee conceded in Indooroopilly? Everyone knows the LNP has won the seat, the ABC has called the seat, and Greens scrutineers tell us that there are large numbers of ALP voters going out of their way to put Ronan Lee last. The Greens lost. The ALP and LNP candidates who lost tough races on Saturday had the humility and respect for democracy to concede when the race was over. So should Ronan Lee.


More information on Indro bogus flyer

Today’s Australian carries an article reporting on fake how-to-vote cards handed out by a “Kristy Burchert”  in Indooroopilly calling Greens MP Ronan Lee a “turncoat” and asking voters to “Just Vote 1”. I reported on the flier yesterday morning while voting was going on, and I’ve now got my hands on some details which add credibility to the argument that the flier was distributed as part of the Liberal campaign.

I’ve uploaded a PDF version of the flyer. Below I have included photos demonstrating links between the flyer and the Liberal National Party.

Photo of "Phil" handing out the bogus how-to-votes while talking to a News Limited journalist

Photo of "Phil" handing out the bogus how-to-votes while talking to a News Limited journalist

"Phil" talking to Senator George Brandis (left, in the LNP hat)

"Phil" talking to Senator George Brandis (left, in the LNP hat)

Make of this what you will.


Queensland ’09: winners and losers


As the results shake out, the biggest winner, of course is Anna Bligh and the ALP. In spite of the party ruling for 18 of the last 20 years, and the last eleven consecutively, the party has emerged relatively unscathed from what appeared to be a close campaign. The party’s campaign in the final days successfully discredited Lawrence Springborg as alternative Premier and scared people out of a large protest vote. The party remains twenty seats ahead of the opposition, and could end up only losing two seats, compared to Beattie’s last election in 2006.

The biggest winner on the opposition benches is the right wing of the (former) Liberal Party. The Liberal/National merger was spun by some as a takeover of the Liberal Party by the Nationals, and that isn’t wrong. But it has also been an opportunity for a shift in the balance of power within the LNP. The 2006 election saw the Nationals with 16 seats, double the Liberal contingent. A similar division existed between seats outside South-East Queensland and those in the metropolitan area. Yet former Liberals now hold 12 of the 30 seats won by the LNP, with 17 former Nationals and one seat impossible to classify as either. The merger,  combined with this shift in the internal balance of power, opens up the prospect of a Liberal from the right-wing of the former party becoming Leader of the Opposition. Even if such a leader (like Tim Nicholls) is no more progressive than a traditional National Party leader, his urban roots and image could be enough to put the party over the line in 2012, and solidify the urban Liberals’ control of the conservative side of politics, just as they dominate in every other state and in the federal Parliament. The LNP, without Lawrence Springborg, could be the key to ending the paradox that has helped keep Labor in power for 20 years: the conservatives can’t win the seats they need to take power without shedding their country image in Brisbane.

Another winner, you’d have to say, is the people of Queensland. In the end, it’s a good thing to have heavily contested elections, and this was the first time in a long time that the ALP has had its supremacy challenged, which can only be a good thing, as well as the fact that a stronger opposition makes for a better political environment. The LNP also promised a gross feed-in tariff, which forced the ALP to agree to that, which will be a significant advance in encouraging private innovation to deal with climate change.


Lawrence Springborg – In spite of managing to unite the Liberals and Nationals as a single party, and put the ALP on the run, in the end Springborg proved too much for the Queensland public to digest. The ALP won the campaign in the last days by directly campaigning against Springborg, both by reminding the public that he would be the LNP’s Premier, and using the photo of Springborg scratching his head, which screamed “country bumpkin”. In the end the public wasn’t willing to accept Springborg as Premier, even once he’d successfully shifted the image of the LNP to be acceptable to the public.

The final loser of the election campaign was Ronan Lee and the Greens. The Greens only gained a swing of 0.2%, despite the election demonstrated great levels of apathy and disappointment amongst supporters of both the ALP and LNP. The result has been spoken of as a success, but these stories neglect the fact that the Greens have never before run in all 89 seats. In 2006 the party only ran in 75, and you would find, once more comprehensive analysis is done, that the Greens vote in the seats contested in both elections would likely have gone backwards. This can be seen in William Bowe’s post at Pineapple Party Time, which demonstrates that, in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the Greens vote clearly went backwards. It’s natural for a party to look for a positive spin on a result after working hard, but if I were a Queensland Green I would be disappointed both with the campaign’s strategy and result.

When you consider that the Greens have managed major swings in recent elections in Western Australia and the ACT, the Mayo by-election and council elections in New South Wales and Victoria, you would have to question what went wrong with the Greens’ strategy.

The Greens focused most of their energy, and expectations, on the seat of Indooroopilly in the person of Ronan Lee. I’m not commenting on the wisdom of Lee’s defection for either Lee or the Queensland Greens, but you would have to say that, looking at the numbers in Indooroopilly, the decision to focus resources on Indooroopilly was a major strategic blunder.

Despite the benefits of  incumbency and most of the party’s energy being focused on his seat, Lee managed a dismal 26%, while Larissa Waters managed almost 24% with much less profile and support in neighbouring Mount Coot-tha. You would have to think that the chances of winning Lee’s seat were always miniscule. All of the energy drawn into Indooroopilly to limit the swing against Lee to a large 14% has seen the party suffer swings against it in most seats in Brisbane.

The party isn’t a complete loser though. As far as I could see, the statewide campaign was the most professional run by the party in Queensland, and the party’s effort in running a candidate in every seat has to be commended. The party should be in a strong position in 2012 to challenge an even-more-tired Labor government in seats like Mount Coot-tha.


Interim results

So it’s pretty obvious the ALP has won a fairly solid victory. The LNP has gained seven seats: three in Brisbane (including one from the Greens), two in the Gold Coast, one in Central Queensland and one near Cairns.

There are a further four seats that are too close to call, three in southern Brisbane: Chatsworth, Cleveland and Redlands, and Gaven in the Gold Coast.

So here are the electoral maps. Seats won by the LNP off the ALP or Greens are light blue, while the four undecided seats are coloured white.


Greater Brisbane area

Cairns-Townsville area

Cairns-Townsville area

Gold Coast region

Gold Coast region

Central Queensland (including Hervey Bay)

Central Queensland (including Hervey Bay)


Liveblogging Queensland

8:57pmI’m signing off now. I just posted my electoral maps.

8:36pm – Lawrence Springborg will resign as LNP leader.

8:20pm – By popular demand, here is minor party news: Pauline Hanson is on 21.7% in Beaudesert. The DS4SEQ won 0.95%, which comes out to about 3% average in the seats they contested. The Greens polled 8.3%, up from 8% in 2006. In the four key Greens seats, Gary Kane suffered a 4% swing against him, polling 17.4%, Anne Boccabella polled 17%, down from 18% in 2006 for Larissa Waters and 33% for Boccabella at the 2007 by-election. In Indooroopilly Ronan Lee has polled 26.1%, just behind Sarah Warner. This is down from 40% as the ALP candidate in 2006, and not very impressive considering how much Greens resources was poured into the seat. The big winner for the Greens is Larissa Waters, who gained 1.9% in Mount Coot-tha, polling 23.8%, just 2.3% behind Ronan Lee despite Lee’s resources and incumbency.

8:11pm – Why is Anna Bligh speaking before Springborg concedes? Wtf?

8:08pm – George Brandis accused Wayne Swan of pulling out as ABC panelist because he was worried that they would lose, before turning up later. Swan denies it and Kerry O’Brien “corrects the record” in Swan’s favour.

8:05pm – I’m getting somewhere in completing an interim electoral map, which I’ll try to post before I leave for the tally room or the party.

7:58pm – Antony mentioned Twitter on the air. Gotta be a first.

7:35pm – The Borg has failed to assimilate Queensland. What a shame.

7:31pm – This is looking pretty damn pathetic for the LNP. Seats like Whitsunday, Mirani and Barron River should have been pushovers, but they are holding up.

7:10pm – Antony Green – “It looks like Labor is back, and it may not even be close”. Andrew Fisher says it’s too early.

7:08pm – The ABC overall has the ALP on 52% two-party-preferred statewide.

7:04pm – The swing to the LNP is far below what they need to win overall. Then again, Brisbane is where you expect a big hit, and Aspley and Pumicestone are both “Greater Brisbane” seats.

7:01pmABC computer is predicting LNP gains in Aspley and Pumicestone.

6:48pm – Our scrutineer in Indooroopilly suggests that many ALP voters are preferencing LNP before Ronan Lee. Meanwhile Pauline Hanson is on 25% in Beaudesert, and Antony is making good sounds for the LNP candidate in Condamine (against former LNP MP Stuart Copeland).

6:28pmSmall sample from Indooroopilly: LNP 80 votes, ALP 50 votes, Ronan Lee 50 votes, with little preference flows between Lee and Warner.

6:24pm – With practically no votes cast, ABC elections has the ALP suffering a 13% swing.

6pm – I’m going to be liveblogging tonight in a variety of ways. I’ll be joining in with Pineapple Party Time’s liveblog, along with Possum, William Bowe, Mark Bahnsich of Larvatus Prodeo, Bernard Keane and Graham Young of Online Opinion. I’ll also be posting updates to this post, as well as on my twitter feed.


Borg Water!

I spent the day in Kelvin Grove handing out for Greens candidates Larissa Waters (Mt Coot-tha) and Anne Boccabella (Brisbane Central).

I’ll tell some more stories tomorrow when I have more time, but I wanted to share one experience: the LNP’s very own brand of bottled water! The water was being consumed by LNP booth workers and I managed to recover two of them for my archives.

iphone-march-09-035iphone-march-09-051The text next to the Borg’s face says:



Isn’t that fantastic.


Indooroopilly adventures

I’m about to start handing out for the Greens at Kelvin Grove, on the border of Mount Coot-tha and Brisbane Central, but I’ve heard some information from friends handing out in Indooroopilly.

Earlier today I posted on my twitter feed a picture of a “just vote 1” sign in Indooroopilly, which is also here in Brisbane Central. I assume that the LNP is responsible for these corflutes.

Just vote 1 poster found in Indooroopilly

"Just vote 1" poster found in Indooroopilly

Also, at Ironside in Indooroopilly, there is at least one person handing out a leaflet saying the following:

Ronan Let Us Down

Don’t Vote for Ronan the Turncoat

Don’t Even Give Him a Preference

Just Vote 1

Authorised by K. Butchert, 21 Campbell St, Toowong QLD 4066

While the word ‘turncoat’ would suggest a Labor person, you would think that Labor wouldn’t do this, considering that they are preferencing Ronan. And you’d be right. My friend, as well as having a copy of the leaflet, has also got photos of the person handing them out talking to Senator George Brandis of the Liberal Party, calling this man “Phil”. We’ll post the photos when they come to hand.

Meanwhile the numbers of polling booth workers for the Greens and the LNP respectively in Indooroopilly suggest it will be extremely difficult for Lee to retain the seat tonight.


Final Galaxy poll: 51-49 to LNP

Today’s Courier Mail carries the final poll of the campaign, with the Galaxy poll holding steady, giving a two-party-preferred vote of 51% for the LNP and 49% for the ALP.

While the LNP’s primary vote stays steady on 43%, while the ALP goes from 42% to 40%, with the 2% swing going to the Greens  and Others.

The most interesting point is that only 52% believe the ALP will win, down from 64% in the last poll. It suggests that, while the ALP has been successful in confronting the voters with the reality of Springborg actually winning the election, it hasn’t actually resulted in a swing back to the ALP.


It’s getting ugly

I just went a walk through the CBD and picked up a copy of xX, the free News Limited afternoon newspaper distributed in the CBD and at train stations in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

As well as a smaller ad on the front page saying “Do you really want this man running Queensland?” mX featured the following full-page ad covering the back page:


Moggill stories

I spent last night attending a candidates’ forum in western Brisbane electorate of Moggill. An unusual choice, certainly, considering it is the only notional LNP seat in the entire Brisbane area, but that’s where I ended up.

On a map, Moggill appears as the largest Brisbane seat by far, however this includes large swathes of land with little or no residents, meaning that most of the voters live in the southeastern corner of the electorate, close to Indooroopilly.

The seat is held by Dr Bruce Flegg, who was first elected in 2004 and led a generally disastrous campaign for the Liberals at the 2006 election as Liberal leader. Dr Flegg has raised the ire of many local Liberals, but was protected from a preselection challenge by the LNP merger, which guaranteed the preselections of all sitting LNP MPs.

The crowd last night may have been dominated by local environmentalists, but it appeared to me that both local environmental groups and many local Liberals are now seriously offside from Flegg, and a serious campaign could knock him off.

But that’s not gonna happen this time. The ALP candidate appears to have given up, unsurprising considering their fears for supposedly-safe Brisbane seats, and he didn’t turn up last night. The Greens are focusing energy on the seat, but nowhere near enough to present themselves as the clear alternative to Flegg. And the independent Barry Searle, despite the appearance of an attack leaflet from Liberals criticising his position on roads, is unlikely to make much of an impact.

(Left to right) independent Barry Searle, Liberal Bruce Flegg, DS4SEQ candidate Andrew Bradbury and The Greens' Philip Machanick

(Left to right) independent Barry Searle, Liberal Bruce Flegg, DS4SEQ candidate Andrew Bradbury and The Greens' Philip Machanick

While this seat won’t be going anywhere on Saturday, it’s one worth watching in future elections if the Greens can manage to strengthen in inner Brisbane.