The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) last Friday released the draft boundaries for the Brisbane City Council election, due in March 2020. I’ve now put together a map of the electoral boundaries, and I’ve also calculated margins in all 26 wards, as well as primary votes for the three main parties.
The changes have helped Labor in a couple of marginal LNP wards, but overall has not had a big impact on Labor’s prospects of gaining control of the council in 2020.
The Brisbane Times story last Friday reported that the redistribution would make the election much more competitive for Labor, but I don’t really see much evidence for this claim in the data.
The Central ward did shrink in size, but it had practically no impact on the LNP’s margin, reducing it from 8.2% to 8.1%.
The LNP’s margin in Doboy has been reduced from 4.3% to just 0.04%, making it very vulnerable to Labor in 2020. Apart from this one ward, the changes in most other marginal wards have been small.
Labor currently holds five out of 26 wards, alongside one Green and one independent. The LNP would need to lose six wards to lose their majority, or eight wards to give Labor and the Greens a majority.
On a uniform swing basis, a swing of 5.6% away from the LNP would see six wards flip, while 7.5% would shift eight wards. Prior to the redistribution, these figures were 5.7% and 8%.
It is, however, true that the shift from optional preferential voting to compulsory preferential voting, which is currently being considered by the Queensland government, would significantly boost the chances of Labor and the Greens in marginal LNP seats.
The Greens did strengthen their hold on their inner-city ward of The Gabba, increasing their margin against the LNP by 1.8%. The Greens only won in 2016 because they managed to overtake Labor. The redistribution has also helped the Greens in their efforts to fend off Labor, increasing the primary vote margin between the two progressive parties from 1.7% to 2.5%.
The Greens are also closer to overtaking Labor in Central ward, just 3.5% behind, compared to a gap of 4.2% in 2016.
|Ward||Party||Old margin||New margin||Change|
|Paddington||LNP vs GRN||5.8%||5.6%||-0.2%|
|Pullenvale||LNP vs GRN||18.1%||18.0%||-0.1%|
|Tennyson||IND vs ALP||26.3%||23.3%||-3.0%|
|The Gabba||GRN vs LNP||5.0%||6.8%||1.8%|
|Walter Taylor||LNP vs GRN||16.5%||15.7%||-0.8%|
I’ve also included the below map. By default it shows the outline of the existing boundaries (red) and the proposed boundaries (green) but can be toggled to show a map of the new wards coloured by the incumbent party. Click on those coloured wards to see the primary vote and two-candidate-preferred margin for each ward.
I will be returning to Brisbane City Council regularly over the next seven months, including with a full Brisbane City ward map. If this is something you’re looking forward to please consider signing up as a Patreon donor to support this important but lower-profile work.
You can download the draft boundaries as a Google Earth layer from my maps page. I will be making a complete set of wards for all Queensland councils later this year.