Lord Mayor – Brisbane 2016

Incumbent Lord Mayor
Graham Quirk, since 2011.

The City of Brisbane has had a popularly elected mayor for most of its history, including from 1934 to 1975.

The popularly elected mayoralty was restored in 1982, when Labor’s Roy Harvey was elected. Labor had been in power since 1961.

In 1985, Harvey lost to Liberal candidate Sallyanne Atkinson, the first Liberal to win the Brisbane lord mayoralty.

Atkinson held the mayoralty for two terms, losing to Labor’s Jim Soorley in 1991.

Soorley held office for four terms, being re-elected in 1994, 1997 and 2000.

In 2003, Soorley resigned and was replaced by Labor councillor Tim Quinn.

In 2004, Quinn was defeated by Liberal candidate Campbell Newman. Labor suffered a 15.6% drop in their primary vote. Newman was re-elected with a Liberal council majority in 2008.

In 2011, Newman resigned when he was elected state leader of the Liberal National Party. He went on to win the 2012 election and serve one term as Premier of Queensland before losing the election, and his own seat of Ashgrove, in 2015.

Liberal deputy mayor Graham Quirk was appointed to finish Newman’s term, and he was re-elected in his own right in 2012.


The LNP holds the Brisbane mayoralty by a massive 18.5% margin, and won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all 26 wards (following the redistribution).

It’s likely the Labor campaign will focus on chipping away at this margin and winning back a few more council wards, and Graham Quirk should comfortably win a second term in his own right.

2012 mayoral result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Graham Quirk Liberal National 333,637 61.9 +1.9
Ray Smith Labor 135,534 25.2 -3.9
Andrew Bartlett Greens 57,641 10.7 +2.3
Rory Killen Independent 7,125 1.3 +1.3
Chris Carson Independent 4,733 0.9 +0.9
Informal 11,778 2.1

2012 mayoral two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Graham Quirk Liberal National 340,464 68.5 +2.4
Ray Smith Labor 156,357 31.5 -2.4
Exhausted 41,849

Ward breakdown
At the 2012 election, the LNP won a majority of the mayoral two-party-preferred vote in 25 wards, with Labor winning only Richlands. The redistribution made dramatic changes in the Richlands area, and the LNP has a notional majority in all 26 new wards.

The LNP gained a swing towards them in 20 out of 26 wards, but the pro-LNP swing was strongest on the fringes of Brisbane, with four wards in the outer south along with Enoggera and Bracken Ridge on the northern fringe of the city all seeing pro-LNP swings over 5%.

The LNP suffered negative swings in a contiguous block of five wards in the centre of the city, along with strong Labor ward Richlands.