Booth map of the day: inner city Brisbane


For the rest of this week, each day I’ll be featuring a booth map of a seat or a handful of neighbouring seats, starting today with the three seats won by the Greens in inner Brisbane: Brisbane, Griffith and Ryan.

The map shows that the Greens did best in the central parts of each seat. Labor topped the primary vote in practically no booths, with the remainder split fairly evenly between the LNP and the Greens, but when you look at the LNP vs Greens 2CP, the Greens do much better with the benefit of Labor preferences.

The first layer shows the two-candidate-preferred count, which in all three seats was LNP vs Greens. This count wasn’t particularly interesting at this election, since there was a clear expectation that the LNP would lose to whichever progressive party made the count: thus we were more interested in the 3CP count, but we don’t have 3CP.

The closest we have to the 3CP is to look at the primary vote, and show whichever party came first. This is the second layer. Labor does come first in just two booths, with most dominated by the other two parties.

The next three layers show the primary vote for the three parties. The LNP did best in the western end of Ryan and in the north-eastern corner of Brisbane, but didn’t show much strength in Griffith, which fits with the seatwide trends: the LNP clearly topped the primary votes in the two seats they previously held but came second in Griffith.

The Greens vote was highest in the suburbs closest to the river and the CBD in all three seats. Labor’s vote was much weaker in Ryan, and did best in an arc to the north and east of the city centre.

Finally I added a layer showing the primary vote swing against the LNP.

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  1. One of the biggest challenges in winning Brisbane has been getting enough votes across the rest of the seat to counter the very strong support the Libs (still) get in the east of the seat – booths like Hamilton, Ascot, Hendra & parts of Clayfield (what could loosely be called the ‘old money’ area, although there’s still plenty of pockets there where people are doing it tough).

    So the Greens being able to get 70% 2CP against the Libs at Kelvin Grove & New Farm is a good counter balance to the 68% 2CP the Libs get at Ascot & Hendra.

    Of course with larger numbers of prepoll & postal voting, good figures on the day aren’t enough.

  2. @ Ben Raue, excellent map if you could do one of Inner Melbourne especially Higgins and Macnamara that will be great similar to this one as both seats were a 3 cornered contest.
    @ Andrew Bartlett. agreed the area East of Breakfast Creek is old money and a Liberal stronghold previously was in Lilley prior to 2010. Interesting to see what happen long term would inner city population growth especially close to Cross River Rail stations force these 3 seats to move inwards and shed areas better for Labor like Holland Park, Carina and Keppera

  3. It gives me a lot of hope for the council and state election. IMO the Greens should be looking at every seat neighbouring The Gabba except Tennyson as winnable, with the expectation of forming a working majority with a Labor mayor. For the Assembly, doubling their seats again would honestly be a mediocre result- Cooper and McConnel should be viewed as easy gains. Miller and Greenslopes are very achievable too, if they resource them like they did Griffith. Moggill’s next, though that could go any of three ways. Clayfield is probably a better target for Labor, but for whatever reason Labor has been reluctant to even try. There’s even a small possibility that Bulimba could fall, if it’s a bad year for Labor. A balance of power situation is not unrealistic. The problem is that they’re fast becoming the victims of their own success; the LNP vote has collapsed so far in so many suburbs now that they could end up running third place in a lot of these contests. Deb Frecklington caught an awful lot of flak for recommending preferences to Greens over Labor, so I wouldn’t count on that happening again.

    Some big surprises to me this election: Greens are nipping at Labor’s heels in the outer northwest, an area that’s a pretty low socio-economic up until around Mitchelton, and are now outperforming Labor in a handful of booths. They’re absolutely destroying Labor in The Gap. They did exceptionally well in the inner-ring suburbs around the CBD which is a good omen for McConnel. But they underperformed in the western areas of the Div of Brisbane and, I would argue, in parts of the north-east like Hamilton. They need to pump up those numbers if they want to guarantee Cooper and hope to win Ferny Grove, Stafford or Clayfield sometime in the future.

    Another big surprise: some of the largest swings from the LNP in the outer suburbs happened in the wealthier, conservative suburbs like Upper Kedron in the Northwest, and Albany Creek, McDowall and Bridgeman Downs in the North. Conventional wisdom might rationalize that as Labor neutralizing stage 3 tax cuts and negative gearing as an election issue, but actually, again, it’s the Greens that have been the major beneficiaries of that swing rather than Labor.

    It’s getting to the stage where the party needs to start setting their sights further and reevaluate their neglect of the regions. It made sense to do this, Greens had basically no power until very recently and Brisbane was the only realistic target to build it. But if they hope to replace Labor as the mainstream party of the left, and that absolutely is their long-term goal, then it’s the time to start thinking about spreading tentacles. The Coasts are the most obvious targets, as are Cairns and Barron River. The major impediment with the last two is Labor’s entrenchment within the Indigenous community. The Greens simply do not have the same relationships and instinctive loyalty within that community that Labor does. That needs to change.

  4. Thanks Ben, much appreciated also if you also add primary vote winner as well to that page. In Higgins there are some booths where the Libs, Greens and Labor all came first.

  5. Brisbane is probably the only capital city where you can see an obvious Liberal to Greens trend in relatively affluent areas. At many Green-voting booths, Labor was placed third! The absence of Teal candidates as well as long-term Labor MPs like Albo and Plibersek made the trend a lot clearer.

    In inner Melbourne (and to a lesser extent Sydney), many of the Greens-voting areas used to be strong Labor-voting areas e.g. Melbourne’s CBD and surrounding suburbs and St Kilda. South Brisbane and West End in Brisbane used to be Labor-voting areas back when Kevin Rudd was the MP until 2013. Either Terri Butler (the local MP from 2013 to 2022) didn’t have the personal vote or the western parts of Griffith have become more Green ideologically.

    Brisbane has suburbs like Indooroopilly and Toowong which are interesting. They’re not super hipster areas and they don’t border the CBD but there’s a mix of young, educated professionals and uni students living alongside old-money, older professionals and nuclear families.

  6. Quite a few people down here in Sydney were stunned by these three wins

    But comments made to me by Greens in the know say it was the result of 3 years of massive, very skilled, on-the-ground, effort by the party.

    Well done!

  7. @ Votante good analysis, i am thinking Toowong and Indooroopilly, could be like Glenferrie (near Swinburne uni) and Camberwell Junction. High density near major railway stations (with uni students, young professionals) and more old money in the more residential areas?

  8. Andrew Bartlett knows what he’s saying about the eastern part of Brisbane- I remember, with affection, his dad regularly being the only person that would read out the communion antiphon at the appointed time at Mass at St Agatha’s Church, Clayfield. St Agatha’s is the Brisbane Catholic version of St Mark’s at Darling Point.

  9. Inner Brisbane would have been a really interesting contest if there had been teal independents running.

    I think the Greens vote was inflated at this election as a protest vote by disenchanted LNP voters. I think the Greens probably still would have won Griffith, but Ryan and Brisbane are full of wealthy white collar workers who historically would vote LNP but were unhappy with the lack of climate action and integrity.

    Time will tell if the LNP can restore its relationship with these voters or if the greens can convert them from protest voters who happened to vote Greens over to dedicated green voters, as Michael Berkman seems to have done in Maiwar.

  10. Inner Brisbane may have the highest green vote out of all inner areas of capital cities, possibly even beating Canberra and on par with inner city Melbourne. I haven’t done the maths but that’s what I’m guessing. By inner city, I mean the capital city seat and its neighbours i.e. Brisbane, Lilley, Ryan, Griffith. This is ironic because the LNP’s only statewide 2PP majority was in QLD (54% to 46%) and also because QLD is the birthplace of One Nation and UAP. The lack of teal independents bolstered the Green vote for sure.

    In Sydney (Sydney, Grayndler, North Sydney, Wentworth), Albo and Plibersek and the teal independents have split the Green vote or the progressive vote. In the ACT, 19% voted Greens but there are Labor incumbents that have done the same.

    In Melbourne’s neighbours (Fraser, Wills, Cooper, Kooyong, Higgins, McNamara), there was similar phenomena with incumbent Labor MPs, a high-profile Labor candidate in Higgins and a teal independent (Monique Ryan). The electoral geography in the north and west favours Labor because there are old-school, blue-collar suburbs plus gentrifying inner-city hipster suburbs in the same electorate. For example in Wills, there’s Glenroy and Oak Park as well as Brunswick. In Fraser, there’s St Albans as well as Footscray.

    I’d like to know more about the phenomena of Liberal voters swinging to the Greens in Brisbane. Why didn’t they swing to Labor? Did the Greens out-campaign Labor?

  11. The traditional TPP has been calculated for all three of these electorates now. In both Brisbane and Griffith Labor won by a larger margin against the LNP than the Greens did, but as I expected, in Ryan the Greens (albeit narrowly) had a larger win over the LNP than Labor did.

    This is as people have pointed out before generally the opposite of what happens in the other states. It’s very interesting and something that needs to be watched/looked into more in the future.

    @Votante this election was more just a continuation of what has been happening in much of inner Brisbane for a while at both the state and federal elections. The major parties are fools to dismiss this high Green vote as merely a stand-in for teal independents or a protest vote against them. They’re just asking to lose more seats in the future if they have that mindset.

  12. I agree @Laine.

    While Labor did reasonably well to increase their primary in the seat of Brisbane, albeit with a fair bit of extra resources thrown in somewhat late in the piece when they felt they weren’t getting enough traction in Longman or Dickson, overall Labor’s vote has been trending down in this electorate since 2010. And while it’s been a bit more bumpy, overall the Greens vote has been trending up since that time. I think it’s much more the cumulative effect of a lot of campaign at federal, state and local government level over especially the last 6 years or so that gradually eroded resistance to people voting Greens (although that has to be balanced with the fact that Brisbane & Griffith & parts of Ryan have a lot of people moving in and out, but they tend to be younger and more & more are renters so they are more receptive to the Greens messaging anyway).

    Obviously it helped not having a strong ‘Teal’ (I prefer the term ‘community independent’ myself), but I think part of why there weren’t any was because the strong alternatives were already there.

    Congrats that with the Greens wasting lots of money & diverting lots of media attention to the one-off sugar hit in Kooyong in 2019 of a celebrity candidate that powerbrokers knew never really had a chance of winning. (That’s not a criticism of Julian Burnside, who I have a lot of respect for & worked with over many years on refugee issues – although he perhaps should be a bit wiser about some of his tweets, but so should we all).

    Relentless hard slog by a large number of volunteers – most of who are anonymous & happy to be & the cast of who they are also evolves from election to election – played a key role. But it also needs some stars to align, which I think happened this time for the Greens in Qld – but if you haven’t done the work in advance, you can’t take advantage when the stars do align for you.

  13. @Votante, I do not seek to be inflammatory but I believe that there is also a division between Greens and Labor support along diversity/ethnicity lines. This division partially explains the Greens success in inner-city Brisbane but also their struggles to overcome Labor in parts of Melbourne as well as Sydney.

    As it stands, Greens have been successful in establishing a base amongst educated and socially-conscious young professionals and students. Whereas Labor support remains strong amongst communities of established migrant groups where languages other than English are overwhelmingly spoken at home.

    Based on ABS data, much of the state of Queensland including the inner-ring suburbs of Brisbane encompassing Brisbane, Griffith and Ryan would score quite low on diversity given metrics like “people born overseas” and “languages spoken at home” at least in comparison to parts of Melbourne and Sydney which the Greens target.

    The best electorate in my opinion to observe the fault-line between the Greens and Labor support is Wills. The southern end of the electorate encompassing Brunswick features a high Greens vote and the hallmarks of gentrification by young and educated electors extending out from the neighbouring division of Melbourne. Moving north into Coburg and beyond are the established Greek and Italian communities but also more recently arrived migrant families which speak Arabic at home. It is these parts of Wills that vote more strongly for Labor. Labor’s candidate Peter Khalil represents the diversity of these Wills communities.

    There is a similar divide in Griffith that is worth mentioning. West End and South Brisbane is the traditional heart of Brisbane’s established Greek community. However this Greek community have been largely displaced by the gentrification taking-place. This population of Greeks is an aging community and their descendants have become fairly ubiquitous members of society, spread out all over Australia and just as likely to vote for Greens or the Coalition. There also hasn’t been an influx of more recent international migration to Brisbane with the same magnitude or proximity to the CBD as Melbourne and Sydney’s waves of migration. In Brisbane, much of the diversity lies much further out from the CBD, not within the inner-ring. Instead they are found in the outer-rings like Logan in divisions like Rankin and Oxley.

    Another notable migrant community is the Chinese diaspora in Sunnybank within Moreton. This is where the Greens might face challenges overcoming the Labor vote if they choose to emphasise Moreton as a primary target (their next best performing division in Queensland behind Griffith, Ryan and Brisbane).

    It is this fault-line in diversity between Labor support and the Greens that also makes Richmond, which includes the towns Byron and Mullum, a more likely Greens prospect than any electorates within Sydney.

    As a random aside, I personally believe that the proven Queensland Greens team should co-operate and co-ordinate with the Ballina Greens to lock in Richmond at the next election instead of going all out in Moreton. While also recognising Bartlett’s point that it is still important to put in the hard-slog ground-work in long-term prospects like Moreton.

    A final component of the Greens success in Brisbane that I want to mention is population-change. I would need to see some actual compelling data on the interstate migration that has occurred throughout the pandemic. But based on my own anecdotal observations, much of the new waves of home-buyers and renters in inner-ring Brisbane were young educated professionals from Sydney and Melbourne seeking to start and/or raise a young family. Of course this interstate migration would have been people rationally seeking more affordable homes given the housing crisis in Sydney and Melbourne. It also would have included those with lockdown and pandemic fatigue. It also would have included returning young professionals who might have been born or raised in Queensland but were attracted to the alternative “cultural” offerings (vibes) or education & employment prospects in Sydney and Melbourne when they were younger. Everyone here knows that SEQ has just as much “vibes” now as Sydney and Melbourne does and an appealing year-round outdoor lifestyle on top.

  14. @Votante another one of the points you mentioned was your idea of blue-collar professionals and their support for Labor. You also mentioned the irony of the Greens winning in Brisbane and Queensland being the birthplace of ONP, UAP and such a strong base of support for the LNP.

    Both of these points go hand in hand and are quite interesting. Let me explain.

    One great irony is that Queensland was the birthplace for the Labor movement in Australia, so why does the Labor party not receive the same level of support in Queensland today? There are a lot of factors but one of them is related to the point you raised about blue-collar workers. Labor’s traditional base WAS blue-collar unionised workers. But there are many factors which make this base more precarious and unreliable in delivering votes to Labor.

    “Blue-collar” work is an evapourating category within the overall employment composition of Australia, particularly starting mid-late last century – coinciding with globalisation and the loss of onshore manufacturing. Today some of the largest growing sectors of employment are in health and the “care economy”, ie. aged-care, nursing, etc.

    “Blue-collar” work is also no longer as unionised as it previously was in Australia. Construction workers or “tradies” are increasingly atomised contractors and small business operations rather than massive unionised permanent workforces. This has severed a large amount “blue-collar workers” directly from the Labor movement and at the same time made them more receptive to the policies of the Coalition which attempt to craft policy and a brand attractive to “small-business owners”.

    Rather than representing the blue-collar type worker you might imagine unions represent, the largest unions today represent nurses and teachers. These workforces are predominantly female and are embedded in the public sector. The Labor party were receptive to the changing composition of union membership and have since pivoted to focus increasingly on issues in health and education. They also adopted the ideas of the “New Left” to be more appealing to affluent urban progressives and became more animated by progressive social policies, not just economic policies and industrial relations. Recognising this pivot by the Labor party, the Coalition opted to start attempting to poach off their diminishing base of “blue-collar” workers.

    Queensland, with a large amount of employment driven by things like mining, transport, manufacturing, coal, energy generation, etc were especially vulnerable to the decreasing job-security due to globalisation, casualisation and atomisation towards the end of the last century. The pivot by the Labor party towards urban & progressive voters in the capital cities was also perceived by some voters in Queensland as an abandonment. The disillusionment that resulted due to these factors led to the emergence of Pauline Hanson’s electoral success in Ipswich.

    Ipswich and the other-suburban fringes of Brisbane were somewhat of a blue-collar heartland, but this was also true for much of the industrial towns and provinces throughout regional Queensland. So it is not generally a phenomena of traditional Liberal voters to shift towards One Nation (actually these are the voters that arguably gravitate towards “teals” and “greens”). It is actually instead a phenomena of traditional Labor voters who are disillusioned, have diminishing standards of living or feel abandoned, to pivot towards One Nation and the populist-right. This realignment is being observed in other democracies amongst the traditional heartlands of “social-democracy” and “Labor” parties that were driven by a blue-collar base. Queensland seems to be much further along in this realignment than the rest of Australia but the other more urbanised and centralised states also did not have much of a blue-collar workforce so late into the 20th century.

    In the most recent election, Labor attempted to reverse or slow the realignment. Labor were able to hold onto their support amongst their blue-collar base in the division of Hunter by going out of their way in specifically targeting provincial blue-collar workers and selecting a candidate which would be perceived as appealing to them. But as Lech Blaine recently noted, this is a high-wire act when they are also trying to simultaneously appeal to diverse and progressive urban electorates. Targeting this base of blue-collar workers which is declining in numbers yields diminishing rewards. Labor were running a similar campaign in regional Queensland to their Hunter campaign in places like Gladstone. It didn’t lead to a win in Flynn, but it did arguably soften the ONP votes and strengthen Labor’s primary vote. It also softened the TPP margin held by LNP in 2019. This was a double-edged sword, the placating to the concerns of regional Queensland with their messaging in regards to renewables also arguably backfired and hurt the ALP’s vote in inner-city Brisbane, bolstering the Greens campaign.

  15. It would be really interesting to understand why exactly the Greens did so well in inner Brisbane. My sense from afar is that with a unicameral state parliament in Qld it’s more apparent here that the only path to electoral gain for the Greens was a strong grassroots campaign – these wins would probably have been the cumulative effect of multiple and targeted election campaigns at a state and federal level. The recent floods would have probably only heightened environmental issues in many peoples minds, and there weren’t any teals competing.

    The results of this election probably vindicate the Greens strategy to micro target seats they think they are in with a shot to win. Now they have a 4 seat platform perhaps they may expand their targeted seats to include seats like Canberra, Perth and Adelaide.

  16. @Malcolm

    The SA ALP did just that (targeting individual seats) in the years running up to their 1965 victory, so I can see the Greens doing a similar thing with their better seats (which also includes Clark, Grandyler and Sydney once their MPs retire)

  17. @SEQ Observer 
    I agree that Greens perform better electorally in areas with relatively younger populations and uni graduates. I also agree that suburbs with large migrant populations (naturalised citizens) are less likely to vote Green. They lean towards the major parties. Coicindentally, those areas are more likely to have free-standing houses, married couples, nuclear families, mortgage-holders and retirees. For example, Ashfield, Marrickville, Leichhardt and Haberfield in the western parts of Grayndler. There are large overseas-born populations elsewhere but they tend to be non-citizens like students, migrant workers, backpackers etc.

    You made some good points about QLD’s economic history. There is a lot of polarisation in QLD it seems. Interestingly, suburban Brisbane seats like Bonner, Bowman, Oxley and Moreton have Greens votes >13%. Brisbane has a more diversified, service-based economy that has benefited from trade liberalisation and globalisation whilst to the an hour west is One Nation terrirtory. It was going to be difficult for Labor to appeal to the traditional working-class as well as the inner-city service-based economy workers and university sraduates.

    According to the AEC, Metropolitan Sydney’s Green vote was 10% – the lowest of any capital city. Even though NSW has the most seats, it has not had a federal Greens seat since 2004. It may be because of vote-splitting in the main inner-city electorates and where Teals ran. In Grayndler and Sydney, Albo and Plibersek. In Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, and then Kerryn Phelps, a left-leaning indepedent, and more recently, a Teal, sucked up a lot of Green votes. For these reasons, the Greens vote has been surpressed for many years.

    Metro Melbourne has twice as many people as Brisbane but only one Greens seat. The way the boundaries are drawn can partly explain why. Within a 7km radius of the CBD, the Greens won or scored >30% in almost all booths. However, the Greens vote is carved up and it works in Labor’s favor. Kensington, Brunswick and Northcote are in three different electorates but if were grouped together in one electorate and there were no-name Greens, Liberal, Labor candidates and no indepedents, the Greens would win for sure.


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