Stafford by-election, 2014

July 19, 2014

Cause of by-election
Sitting member Chris Davis won the seat for the Liberal National Party at the 2012 election. Davis was appointed as Assistant Minister for Health following the election. In 2014, he came into conflict with the leadership of the Newman LNP government over health reforms and changes to the Crime and Misconduct Commission. On 13 May 2014, Davis was sacked as a minister after speaking out against the government’s policies on those issues.

After moving to the backbench, Davis voted with opposition members against Newman government laws reducing public funding and weakening restrictions on private donations to parties and candidates.

On 23 May 2014, Davis resigned from Parliament, in protest at his sacking from the ministry and the Newman government’s changes to electoral finance laws.

MarginLNP 7.1%

Brisbane. Stafford covers the northern Brisbane suburbs of Gordon Park, Stafford, Stafford Heights, Grange and parts of Wilston, Alderley, Lutwyche, Kedron and Chermside.

The seat of Stafford was first created in 1972. It was abolished in 1992 before being restored in 2001. The seat was a marginal seat throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but has been held by the ALP since its restoration.

The seat was first won in 1972 by William Harvey. He was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Terry Gygar in the 1974 landslide election.

Gygar held the seat at the 1977 and 1980 elections before losing in 1983 to the ALP’s Denis Murphy. Murphy was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1984 without ever speaking in Parliament.

Gygar regained his seat at the 1984 by-election, and held it until 1989.

Rod Welford won the seat for the Labor Party in 1989. When Stafford was abolished in 1992 he moved to the neighbouring seat of Everton. He held Everton until his retirement in 2009. He also served as a minister in the Beattie and Bligh governments from 1998 to 2009.

The ALP’s Terry Sullivan won the newly restored seat of Stafford in 2001. Sullivan had first been elected at the 1991 Nundah by-election. Nundah was abolished in 1992, and Sullivan moved to the new seat of Chermside. This seat was also abolished in 2001, and Sullivan moved to Stafford. He retired in 2006.

Stirling Hinchliffe, also of the ALP, won the seat in 2006, and retained it in 2009.

At the 2012 election, Hinchliffe lost the seat to LNP candidate Dr Chris Davis after a swing of over 14%.


  • Bob Anderson (Liberal National)
  • Sally-Anne Vincent (Family First)
  • Anne Boccabella (Greens)
  • Anthony Lynham (Labor)

The LNP government’s popularity has fallen significantly since the 2012 election, and the February 2014 by-election in Redcliffe saw a large swing to Labor, more than sufficient to see Labor gain the seat. The circumstances of Dr Davis’ resignation from the seat will damage the LNP further within Stafford. With a high-profile Labor candidate, and a new LNP candidate, a 7% margin will be very difficult for the government to defend.

2012 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Chris Davis LNP 13,423 50.23 +12.35
Stirling Hinchliffe ALP 8,972 33.58 -14.87
Peter Jeremijenko GRN 3,020 11.30 -0.49
Karin Hunter KAP 1,307 4.89 +4.89

2012 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Chris Davis LNP 14,302 57.06 +14.35
Stirling Hinchliffe ALP 10,763 42.94 -14.35
Polling places in Stafford at the 2012 state election. Central in green, North in blue, South in orange. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Stafford at the 2012 state election. Central in green, North in blue, South in orange. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths in Stafford have been divided into three areas: north, south and central. The ‘Central’ area is dominated by the suburb of Stafford, while the ‘North’ is dominated by the suburb of Chermside.

The Liberal National Party topped the poll in all three parts of the seat, with a slightly higher vote in the south and north than in the centre. The estimated two-party-preferred vote for the LNP was just under 59% in the north and south, and 55.8% in the centre. The LNP polled a majority in the north and south and not in the centre.

The ALP’s vote peaked at 35.6% in the centre, ranging down to 30.7% in the south.

The Greens came third, with the vote ranging from 8.2% in the north to 13.7% in the south.

The Electoral Commission did not release booth-level two-party-preferred results at the 2012 state election, so two-party-preferred figures are estimates based on primary votes and the seatwide distribution of preferences.

Voter group LNP % ALP % GRN % LNP 2PP Total votes % of votes
Central 49.40 35.56 9.67 55.84 8,701 32.56
South 51.79 30.74 13.74 58.97 7,164 26.81
North 52.72 33.92 8.23 58.66 3,452 12.92
Other votes 48.55 33.83 12.30 55.90 7,405 27.71
Liberal National primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.
Liberal National primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.
Labor primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.
Labor primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.
Greens primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.
Greens primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.
Estimated two-party-preferred votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.
Estimated two-party-preferred votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.



  1. Stafford is a similar saet tio Ashgrove .
    Strable Population little movement predominantly Australian born with a high percentage of public servants. Close proximity to Hospitals in both South and North. relatively Close to Airport. With a 7% Margin to play with and a MLA walking because of what he described as anti democratic tendencies , Newman has no hope of keeping the seat. He will know this and once his back bench know the result he is heading for the back bench so this bye -election is going to be the equivalent of Whitlam’s Bass Bye-election. IT is the beginning of the end for the worst Parliamentary Government in the Western world since Whitlam.

    In the very South sits an Office works store that started life as a US Navy Torpedo Warehouse eventually becoming an Education Department warehouse. The staff of this warehouse were Corporatized by Goss and eventually merged with another Government Store. Like all public servants they were promised that they had nothing to fear from a Newman LNP Government yet lost their jobs before the end of the first week in Government.

    Newman is loathed by the great majority of Brisbane’s population but I do not think the result will be as bad for LNP as Redcliffe was (16% Swing to ALP) my estimate is a 10% swing away from LNP meaning that this is a certain ALP gain.

    Andrew Jackson

  2. QLD has optional preferental voting so many votes detached from the LNP help the ALP
    people who vote KAP & PUP can choose to vote for their own party only….. so the swing required maybe less than 7%
    This is a seat normally held by the ALP since 1989 as well

  3. Increasingly dysfunctional Government, MP jumping ship – all signs say that Labor should win this. Any word on if a PUP candidate will run? That could be a spanner in the works, but I would think would hurt the Libs more than the ALP.

  4. Easy ALP gain, for reasons already mentioned.

    The most interesting analysis from this by-election will be how PUP and the Greens poll, and whether any Independents throw their hats into the ring.

  5. Early prediction:

    ALP: 41%
    LNP: 31%
    PUP: 11%
    GRN: 7%
    OTH/IND: 10%

    10% may be a bit generous for Oth/Ind, but I’m assuming Family First, the DLP and perhaps a couple of credible indies will run. In any case, a safe enough Labor win, not dissimilar to the Redcliffe result.

    If Palmer throws some money around, perhaps PUP will do even better…

  6. yes PJ a pup candidate will certainly be running and the whisper is that the person has been selected

  7. The writs have been issued, and nominations close July 3rd. The ECQ website mentions the new voter ID laws. I wonder how many people will be caught out?

  8. I am going to be bold, swing less then 8 percent two party preferred. Labor vote stays below 37 first preference with the majority of the swing going lnp to pup. This votes exhaust at a rate where labor doesn’t catch the lnp.

  9. I have not seen the situation on the ground but the Brisbane Times has had an expose on the LNP Council enforcing by-laws with respect to A Frame signage with ETU Save our State Signs but ignoring the LNP Signs.

    It is fairly obvious Newman is heading for another result similar to Redcliffe . The ordinary man in the street does not like retrospective legislation that favours LNP donors.

    The ETU should make Newman a life member the mere sight of him makes individuals know that they need to join a Union.

    Nothing has changed since my initial comment on 24 May. There will be at least a 10% swing away from LNP and ALP will win this seat easily. The LNP MLA’s need to dump Newman this week if they want to keep their seats in 200 days time.

    Andrew Jackson

  10. Anne Boccabella, who has contested neighbouring Brisbane Central a few times, is the Greens candidate. I’ve seen a tweet saying PUP have decided not to run, but I can’t find any other reference to this.

  11. Only a few more days until nominations close. Surely a few independents will pop up. Although after todays state newspoll (ALP ahead 51:49), Labor would surely be favourite in this by-election.

  12. Four candidates only (no PUP!)

    My prediction (primary vote):
    ALP 48
    LNP 34
    Greens 15
    FFP 3

    2PP ALP 61:39

  13. Food for thought: there were two by-elections during the Borbidge govt (Lytton and Kurwongbah), and One Nation didn’t run in them. A year later they won 11 seats at the general election. Palmer could be keeping his powder dry, and wondering how much history repeats.

  14. Interesting decision not to run. New guess:

    ALP: 45
    LIB: 37
    Green: 11
    FFP: 7

    Comfortable if not overwhelming Labor victory. Any word on minor party preferences? I can see FFP benefitting from disillusioned Libs with nowhere else to park their vote.

  15. One Nation wasn’t formally established until some time in 1997. They probably weren’t in a position organisationally to contest any by-elections during that time. PUP has two sitting state MPs and you would think no organisational barriers to contesting. It’s a strange tactic from the party being lauded by some as the ‘new centre in Australian politics’. I suppose by not contesting these by-elections they can’t fail to win them, and can thus preserve the notion that they could win the general election.

  16. My prediction

    LNP 36% ie -14%
    ALP 45% +11%
    GRN 11% PAR
    Conservative Minor +4%

    Therefore more important than primary votes will be Minor Parties No 2 Preference. Any major part that risks Just Vote 1 may be electing their opposition.

  17. If your prediction is correct, Labor will win comfortably. Even if you assume all 4% for FF flow to Labor (which won’t happen), the LNP would need to catch up 5% on Labor from 11% of Greens votes, whereas they actually will help the ALP.

  18. Ben is quite right ALP will win comfortably and from the look of both Monday morning’s The Australian & The Courier Mail Newman’s cabinet colleagues know they are attached to a leaden anchor.

    They have to behave differently to float otherwise they sink to the bottom.

  19. Greetings Queenslanders from Western Australia. Congratulations are in order for you all. Western Australia and Queensland are the “two red-necks” states of Australia. Glad to say that you are finally seeing through the trees. Glad you have another feather in your cap. Hope the brains continue to grow in all your heads, evict those Liberal scoundrels and the misery they bring to your state. Let’s hope a few brains grow in the West as well. That dirty dog Barnett will have his ass kicked in the West. God only knows what ever possessed you Queenslanders to put that peanut Newman into power to begin with. I do understand, I am a West Aussie, your red-neck cousin, a bit thick…….takes us a while use the grey matter, but our two states will finally figure it out.

  20. I am amazed. I thought at least some of the Redcliffe Swing had to be put down to Scott Driscoll so expected a smaller swing in Stafford than Redcliffe.

    If this result were to be repeated in 200 days time LNP would lose an additional 60 odd seats leaving them with about 26 seats. Who will be LNP leader of opposition John Paul Langbrook, Flegg, Bleijie or SPringborg All other cabinet ministers will have been defeated.

    In fact it looks like a team which has a similar quality to the new ALP Government that will replace it.

    LNP’s only hope to self preservation is to Dump Newman. They have rocks in their head if he is still Premier on Wednesday..

    ALP should award Newman Life Membership of the Party for services to ensure that ALP returns to government.
    Andrew Jackson|

  21. the byelection result has roughly the primary votes of LNP and ALP reversed from the the
    state election result

  22. Well I got the 2PP correct, but underestimated the ALP primary! What a shellacking. Ashgrove is surely gone for Newman…..does he cut and run?

  23. Don’t worry Ant you were not the only one who got the ALP 2PPV wrong. MOst of Newman’s rteam are waking up this morning knowing that they will need to consult CEntrelink in 207 Days time.
    LNP MLA’s might like to put the Number for Centrelink in a phone book somewhere for your use in 201 days’ time.
    Newstart Allowance (22 years of age and over)
    Exceptional Circumstances Relief Help
    Special Benefit and Employment Services Providers Mon – Fri
    8 am – 5 pm 132 850

    One clue is you need to talk to long term unemployed about commun ication with CEntrelink . on the dot. Centrelink is like Queensland Government Call Centres staffed to level of perceived budget not staffed to perceived need.

    Andrew Jackson

  24. I think most people were surprised by the swing.

    QLD is not my patch, but I’d be interested to know if the anti-Newman sentiment is as strong as it seems. Thoughts?

  25. PJ Queenslanders have traditionally been prepared to be accepting of governments which were activist in the economy and socially conservative. WE have had government play a larger part in the economy than other states. Queensland at one time had State Abattoirs & Butchers shops, we were the last state with Government Stores and Printers yet our governments have been socially conservative.

    The Newman Regime is the opposite of Queenslanders it is activist socially promising prior to the election to abolish civil unions but as soon as it got into power reversing this decision. Promising not to privatise prior to the election and then as soon as the election was over implementing a plan that clearly was leading to privatisation..

    The Gair government celebrated our Centenary with a book Triumph in the Tropics . The Bjelke Petersen Government built power stations, coal mines, roads, dams, bridges as well as hospitals throughout Queensland. Newman on the other hand has pretended to build tunnels but only in Brisbane whilst at the same time getting Private Industry to do so. WE expect governments to help build factories Yatala Brewery, Virgin Airways and Coal mines. The Borbidge National Party Government was nearly brought down by 2 National Party members threatening to cross the floor of Parliament rather than vote to Privatise School Cleaning. Thankyou Kevin LIngard and Vince Lester your courage in standing up to your own government of the day is remembered 10 years later. Newman has wiped out the influence of National Party members in Parliament but he can not wipe out the influence in the community.

    Long before Medicare the Hanlon Government of the 1950’s introduced free hospitals when all other states still had fee for service hospitals. Newman has closed hospitals.

    We tolerated Regulation of Factories and Shops long after other states had de-regulated.

    WE see no need to play with the clock and voted to keep Australian Eastern Standard Time 12 months of the year.

    We are a conservative mixed economy state whilst Newman wants to turn us into a socially liberal laisez faire state. He is out of step with us and that is why we are turning on his style.

    WE would probably have tolerated his megalomania but not his social and economic policies.

    Either the LNP become Queenslanders again or they will cease being Queensland representatives in 200 days time.

    We want economic growth and expect governments to deliver. Newman has not even attempte to do this.
    Peter Beattie attempted to satisfy us but failed. Anna Bligh like Newman did not try so we turned on both of them.

    Andrew Jackson

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