At the time of writing, I’ve finished the first 21 out of 150 seat profiles – covering marginal Coalition seats on margins of 4.4% or less.
This work continues behind the scenes but isn’t often seen by casual readers, so in this post I thought I would run through some of the most interesting maps I’ve produced while making these guides.
The three seats I wanted to cover are Banks, Brisbane and Lyons. Coincidentally, these are all seats the Liberal Party now holds, but were previously held by a longstanding Labor MP who managed to retain the seat from the early 1990s all the way through the Howard government, before losing in 2010 or 2013.
Comments are now open on every seat guide and quite a few have got lively conversations now running about the likely result in that seat.
Banks covers suburbs in the Bankstown, Kogarah and Hurstville areas in southern Sydney. The seat was held for 23 years by Labor’s Daryl Melham, who held on despite the seat becoming very marginal at a number of elections.
In 2013, Melham lost to David Coleman of the Liberal Party.
What interests me about Banks is the way in which the area is shifting – suburbs along the Georges River have been becoming wealthier, and have become quite safe for the Liberal Party, while areas further north remain solidly Labor.
The two state seats in this area, East Hills and Oatley, were both considered to be key marginals on very slim margins at the state election, and a uniform swing would have seen both seats go back to Labor. But while Labor regained ground elsewhere, the Liberal Party gained further swings in both these seats.
Brisbane covers the inner suburbs of Brisbane, and is unlike many other Liberal marginals.
The LNP’s Teresa Gambaro won the seat off Labor’s Arch Bevis in 2010. Bevis had survived in Brisbane for twenty years, including being one of only two Queensland Labor MPs after the 1996 election. Gambaro herself had represented Petrie for the entirety of the Howard government before losing in 2007.
What I find fascinating about the two-party-preferred map of Brisbane is how so much of the seat is incredibly marginal, while the north-eastern corner is very solidly pro-LNP.
There’s a block of five booths where the LNP two-party-preferred vote is over 60%, and in two of those booths it is over 70%. If you take out this area, the seat is basically a tie. If the LNP holds on in Brisbane, it will be due to this crucial conservative block in a much less conservative seat.
Lyons covers the vast middle of Tasmania. Denison covers Hobart, Franklin covers the rural south along with the suburbs of Hobart on the eastern shore of the Derwent River, Bass covers Launceston and areas to the north-east, and Braddon covers Burnie, Devonport and the west coast. Lyons covers everything else.
In practice, Lyons’ population is divided in two. The population in central Tasmania is very small, so most of the seat’s population is clustered near Launceston or near Hobart.
Like Banks and Brisbane, Labor held on to Lyons throughout the term of the Howard government, with Dick Adams retaining the seat for twenty years from 1993 until his defeat in 2013 by the Liberal Party’s Eric Hutchinson.
When you look at the results of the 2013 election on a map, there is a huge divide. The Liberal Party wins most booths in the north, including the large booths. Generally they win the small booths by over 60%. In the south, Labor dominates most booths, many of them with a two-party-preferred vote over 60%.