McConnel – QLD 2020

ALP 7.9%

Incumbent MP
Grace Grace, since 2017. Previously Member for Brisbane Central 2007-2012 and 2015-2017.

Central Brisbane. The seat covers the Brisbane CBD and the suburbs of Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Newstead, Spring Hill, Herston, Bowen Hills, Windsor and parts of Kelvin Grove, Wilston and Newmarket.

The seat of McConnel was created in 2017, but is simply a new name for Brisbane Central, which had existed since 1977. This seat has been won by Labor at all but one election.

The seat was first won in 1977 by Brian Davis. He had previously held the seat of Brisbane from 1969 to 1974, when he lost to the Liberal Party. He held Brisbane Central from 1977 to 1989.

In 1989 Davis was succeeded by Peter Beattie, the former State Secretary of the Queensland ALP. Beattie was appointed as Minister for Health in the Goss government in 1995. In 1996, the Goss government lost power and the National-Liberal coalition took power without an election. Following this change Beattie was elected as leader of the ALP.

Peter Beattie led the ALP into the 1998 election and became Premier at the head of a Labor minority government, which quickly gained a majority following a by-election. He won landslide victories in 2001, 2004 and 2006 before retiring in 2007.

At the following by-election, the seat was won by Labor candidate Grace Grace, former general secretary of the Queensland Council of Unions. Without a Liberal candidate, Grace’s main opposition came from Greens candidate Anne Boccabella, but retained the seat comfortably with a 7.9% margin.

Grace was re-elected in 2009, but Beattie’s 2006 margin of 14.4% collapsed to only 6%.

In 2012, Grace was defeated by LNP candidate Robert Cavallucci, but she won back the seat in 2015, and won another term in 2017.


Labor’s margin against the LNP looks reasonably safe, but the bigger threat could come from the Greens. Labor only outpolled the Greens by 6.6% on primary votes, and only 5.85% at the point in the count where the Greens were excluded. If the Greens were to overtake Labor they would likely win on Labor preferences.

2017 result

Jamie Forster Liberal National 10,01736.5-5.5
Grace Grace Labor 9,23833.7-2.5
Kirsten Lovejoy Greens 7,43627.1+7.8
John DobinsonIndependent2831.0+1.0
Edward GilmourIndependent2420.9+0.9
Kamala EmanuelIndependent2170.8+0.8

2017 two-party-preferred result

Grace Grace Labor 15,87457.9+4.8
Jamie Forster Liberal National 11,55942.1-4.8

Booth breakdown

Booths in McConnel have been divided into three areas: centre, north and New Farm.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, with 56.4% in New Farm and around 65% in the centre and north.

The Greens came third, with a vote ranging from 28.5% in New Farm to 33.1% in the centre.

Voter groupGRN primALP 2PPTotal votes% of votes
New Farm28.556.47,37926.9
Other votes24.055.17,24926.4

Election results in McConnel at the 2017 QLD state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. Decided to have a look at the betting pools (via Ladbrokes), to see which seats are currently looking like changing according to the punters. This is one of the ones with a party other than the incumbent ahead in betting pools (the below show just the most notable parties for the seat)…

    Greens – 1.8
    Labor – 2.0

  2. Spent some time here this morning while catching up with friends at Industry Beans (deconstructed drinks are not for me). Saw probably an equal number of Green and Red corflutes but nary a Blue. Was in Annerley/Woolloongabba later in the day with, and South Brisbane seemed with a slight edge to red corflutes.

    Very unscientific as I obviously didn’t parse the entirety of either electorate.

  3. I’m still giving the edge to the Greens here, purely on the assumption that not much else has changed in this seat but for the fact that Kirsten Lovejoy managed to draw 1st place in candidate billing, and the 1 or 2% or whatever difference that makes makes all the difference in the world on those razor-thin polling margins.

  4. JM – the LNP signs here are half-pink 😂

    Advertising I’d say is a fairly even split across the electorate. Maybe slightly more green. And a few divided housesholds with corflutes for multiple parties adorning the front fence.

  5. JM
    Corflute predominance may be “unscientific” but it is indicative of party activity and party support.
    Only exception is Palmer where he may well have paid staff and paid home owners. I have no evidence of this occurring but he ( or one of his companies) were certainly paying poll booth workers in 2015? Keep us informed. Has anyone had leaflets? Apart from MP’s owns professionally distributed leaflets and those in MP’s offices I have seen none. Is this indicative of decline in importance of print or indolence of party volunteers.
    Street Stalls have occurred but once again very few volunteers
    certainly not the enthusiasm of previous elections. Definitely not much LNP activity.

  6. This seat is either going green or red so, I don’t get why the LNP is pouring resources into this seat. They could just let the Greens and Labour battle it out and waste resources. Also, the LNP prefencing the Greens over Labour might actually come to fruition in this seat more than the relatively less affluent seat of South Brisbane. I am basing this assumption on the propensity of uber-rich (Malcolm Turnbull-type) liberals to care about environment and vote for the Greens just like in a lot of affulent suburbs in Sydney. If Lovejoy gets atleast the second place unlike the third place last time, I would bet money on her winning this one.

  7. @Soyboy’s Mullet
    I guess the LNP see it as valuable campaigning for the federal election to try and keep Trevor Evans propped up. But I must say, it has been one of the most lackluster campaigns I have ever seen, with a hellbent focus on crime in an electorate that doesn’t seem to be buying it. There doesn’t seem to be much more valuable intel since the neck-and-neck poll came out a month or so ago, so it seems everyone believes it’ll go down to the line, and should be based around whether voters have COVID response at the top of their agenda or not.

    Overall, predicting a Greens gain (and have campaigned a fair bit to help that be the case!)

  8. LNP have no chance at winning this seat. This will go to ALP or GRN. What will be interesting is where the 3 parties will place. Polls currently have them relatively close to each other, give or take a few points, around the low 30s mark.

    I see there being 3 possibilities:
    ALP vs GRN. The LNP vote falls far enough that it will be a battle between Labor and the Greens for this seat. In this case LNP preferences will decide who will win. This will be interesting because LNP are putting Greens ahead of Labor.
    ALP vs LNP. Greens fall short and Labor would win with Green preferences.
    GRN vs LNP. Labor falls short and Greens would win with Labor preferences.

    Something to mention is that unlike last time, Greens have got top spot on the ballot paper (last time they were last). It will probably be a close race between GRN and ALP but Greens have been targeting heavily and polling and betting odds indicate they are doing well in these city seats.

    My prediction: Marginal GRN victory.

  9. @Vinnie Batten – Yeah the focus on crime baffles me. They are doing it in Maiwar too. I saw a banner the other day in Maiwar with the LNP candidate there promising to get a beat in Toowong. No one in Toowong and St Lucia is scared to walk down the street becuase of high crime. Atleast there are some homeless people in Fortitude Valley and West End, so you can fabricate a crime problem but talking about those issues in Maiwar is beyond me. I really hope the Greens take it too but it is gonna a long shot. The Greens need to get more seats than the KAP to be in a good position for bargaing unless Labour manages to lose more than four seats but that’s unlikely. It would be great if they retain Maiwar and gain three more but I guess putting my hopes on the seat of Cooper is wishful thinking.

  10. I think Labor have been too late to realise how serious the threat from the Greens is here, which is surprising given Maiwar has already gone Green and South Brisbane is about to go. If the Greens hold three inner city State seats it creates structural problems for Labor in forming majority State Governments in the future as that means finding more seats outside of Brisbane to make up for the loss – not an easy task.

  11. Spent quite a bit of today at the City Hall prepoll. Labor and Green HTV holders outnumbered and out “fervoured” the Liberals by quite a bit and no other parties/independents had a single HTV holder at all.

    The only thing I would glean from this is that the Liberals may indeed drop into 3rd in McConnel if that asymmetry of organisation is maintained.

  12. *62% counted at time it writing. Primary votes ALP 35.8, LNP 30.8, GRN 28.2, OTH 5.2. Absentees to come, but the remaining postals almost certainly ensure the Greens do not overtake LNP.

    Well, looks like the Greens will miss by 2% ish. Once again the Greens have beaten the bare minimum primary required to win in McConnel (aka the “Maiwar 2017 special”) but the relative strength of the LNP and ALP votes were not favourable and they are excluded in 3rd place.

    The word is that LNP preferences would have flowed at least 60-40 in the Greens favour had the LNP been excluded so if the see-saw of red to blue swing had been slightly more red the Greens would have won. Conversely if the swing had been massively to blue the Greens would have won (not that far-fetched, the LNP had 42% primary here in 2015!)



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