Brisbane – Election 2010

ALP 4.6%

Incumbent MP
Arch Bevis, since 1990.

Central Brisbane. Brisbane covers the Brisbane CBD and inner suburbs north of the Brisbane River including Fortitude Valley, Paddington, Ashgrove, Kelvin Grove, Newmarket, Clayfield and Hendra.

Brisbane was redistributed towards the east, losing the suburbs of Ferny Grove, Bardon, Grovely to Ryan and Everton Park to Lilley. In exchange Brisbane gained suburbs to the east of the 2007 seat from Lilley including Gordon Park, Clayfield, Hamilton and Hendra.

Brisbane is an original federation electorate. It has been held by the ALP for most of its history interrupted by short periods of conservative MPs.

The seat was first won by Thomas Macdonald-Paterson, who joined the Protectionists when Parliament first sat. Macdonald-Paterson was not endorsed by the local Protectionists for the 1903 election, and the split in the protectionist vote gave the seat to the ALP’s Millice Culpin.

Culpin was himself defeated after one term by Justin Foxton of the Anti-Socialist Party (formerly the Free Traders). Foxton served as a minister from 1909 until his defeat at the 1910 election by the ALP’s William Finlayson.

Finlayson held the seat until 1919, when he was defeated by Donald Charles Cameron of the Nationalist Party. Cameron held the seat until 1931, when he lost the seat against the tide of conservative gains against the Scullin Government. Cameron returned to serve one term in the neighbouring seat of Lilley from 1934 to 1937.

The ALP held the seat continuously for the next fourty-four years, with only two MPs holding the seat from 1931 until 1975. George Lawson won the seat in 1931 and held it until 1961. He served as Minister for Transport from 1941 until the 1943 election. The seat was then held by Manfred Cross until his defeat by Liberal Peter Johnson in 1975. Johnson defeated Cross again in 1977 before Cross won the seat back in 1980.

Cross held the seat until his retirement in 1990, when the ALP chose Arch Bevis, who has held the seat ever since. While Brisbane has never been held by a large margin, it came closest to being lost to the Liberals in 1996, when Bevis’ margin was cut to 0.36%.


Political situation
Brisbane is a marginal Labor-Liberal seat, but its history shows very little swing in the seat, suggesting that it will be difficult for the Liberals to gain this seat, even if they were to gain the 4% swing nationally that would correlate to Brisbane changing hands. New suburbs added to Brisbane from Lilley are better for the Liberals, with the Liberals winning the area overall, but they are unlikely enough for the Liberals to win.

The Greens are clearly focusing on the seat by running such a high-profile candidate as Andrew Bartlett. Brisbane is not as strong for the Greens as the corresponding inner-city seats in Sydney and Melbourne, but is still one of the best Greens seats in Queensland, and a strong campaign by Bartlett could substantially increase the Greens vote and transform the status of Brisbane.

2007 result

Arch BevisALP37,71545.04+2.58
Ted O’BrienLIB32,98939.40-0.58
Elizabeth GuthrieGRN9,88211.80+2.47
Don SinnamonDEM1,2261.51-0.10
Mark WhiteFF1,1831.41-0.94
Ewan SaundersSA5560.68+0.28
Nick ContarinoCEC1370.16+0.06

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

Arch BevisALP47,52656.76+2.82
Ted O’BrienLIB36,21243.24-2.82

Results do not take into consideration effects of the redistribution.

Booth breakdown
I have divided booths into three areas. Those in the north-east of the seat are those previously contained within Lilley, and gave a majority to the Liberals and recorded a markedly lower Greens vote. The remaining booths were divided between those in the centre of the electorate, including Fortitude Valley, New Farm and Windsor, and those in the west of the electorate, including Kelvin Grove, Newmarket and Paddington. There is not a large difference between the votes in those two areas.

Polling booths in Brisbane. Central in blue, West in yellow, North-East in green.
Voter groupGRN %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Other votes11.8755.2318,150
Polling booths in Brisbane, showing two-party preferred results of the 2007 election.
Polling booths in Brisbane, showing Greens primary votes at the 2007 election.


  1. Good work as usual Ben.

    Might it be worth adding the West Ashgrove booth at Ashgrove State School to the map? It’s located on Glory St on the far west edge of the electorate. It’s a big booth and a good proportion of votes tend to come from people living within the new Brisbane electorate boundaries west of Jubilee Tce and south of Enoggera Creek. I reckon that this booth alone would account for about 25% of your ungrouped votes.

  2. A strange redistribution indeed.
    There seems to be no real common interest in the Federal seats these days.
    Here with have Ashgove, Hamilton and Fortitude Valley in the same Federal Electorate. (What commonality would they have).
    I can’t see much of an improvement coming from the greens here. Teresa Gambaro is better suited to Brisbane than she was to Petrie but my money would be on the none to flashy (very boring actually) member Arch Bevis.

    Ashgrove was my old stamping ground (grew up in the area) so I will be doing a bit of Senate campaigning in this area.

    No takers for us in the lower house here yet.

  3. @Tony

    Yes, you could argue that there is a far more solid community interest between the Fortitude Valley, CBD, Kangaroo Point and West End / Highgate Hill areas south of the river than exists in the current Brisbane electorate.

    Unfortunately that would involve quite a bit of encroachment upon Rudd’s turf in Griffith and so is unlikely to happen in the short-medium term.

  4. Imagine if you had you office in Ashgrove near the state school and were called to a an emergency meeting at Hamilton.

    How would you get there…….. By helicopter ? You couldnt risk it by car thats for sure.

    The areas your mentioned certainly should make up the seat of Brisbane so one wonders who draws up these ridiculous boundaries.

    Have a look at Ryan ….. Indoroopilly Shopping centre to Brookside Shopping centre and around to Ferny Grove. You’d need a fighter Aircraft to get there in the same day during the week.

  5. Arch Bevis is one of the most useless members in the house of reps. I cannot believe that people in the electorate of Brisbane keep blindly voting for him.

  6. My prediction: Labor retain, 1% swing to Liberals, and Bartlett to get 3-4% more than whatever it was I predicted last November.

  7. Do we seriously consider that either of the primary party candidates might do an more than contribute to a body of party votes that comply with a proposal incubated by social technocrats advocating for the retention of the divide between the disenfranchised and the affluent that perpetuates a self-serving governmentality that is assured pillar-status on which a subsequentially dependent mass must leans?

    And what of the minor parties? While ever the weight of voice is confined within party not partisan politicking what good any form of minority – even were they to hold a stick that purported swathed in a ‘balance’ of power masquerade where a supposedly democratic ideal sadly becomes a greater representation of an enhanced myth.

    I value my vote. However, just for a moment imagine if every eligible voter walked into a polling booth tomorrow, had their name checked-off and walked out without voting – how might the procession orchestrators perceive this?

  8. Bevis is a useless waste of space. He will be swept away on Gambaro’s blue tide of prawns and other assorted seafood!

Comments are closed.