Clayfield – QLD 2020

LNP 2.4%

Incumbent MP
Tim Nicholls, since 2006.

Brisbane. Clayfield covers inner suburbs of the City of Brisbane on the northern side of the Brisbane River, specifically Albion, Hamilton, Ascot, Clayfield, Wooloowin, Hendra, Windsor, Gordon Park and Pinkenba. The seat also covers Brisbane Airport and ports and industrial areas. The eastern half of the seat has practically no residential population.

The seat of Clayfield was first created in 1950, was abolished in 1977, and was restored in 1992. Apart from two terms from 2001 to 2006, the seat has always been held by the Liberal Party.

The seat was won in 1992 by Santo Santoro. He had first been elected in 1989, winning the seat of Merthyr off Liberal-turned-National Don Lane. Merthyr was abolished in 1992, and Santoro was elected in the restored seat of Clayfield.

Santoro served as deputy leader of the Liberal Party from 1992 to 1995, and served as Minister for Training and Industrial Relations from 1996 to 1998.

In 2001, Santoro lost Clayfield in a shock result to the ALP’s Liddy Clark.

Santoro was appointed to a vacancy in the Senate in 2002. He served as Minister for Ageing from 2006 to 2007, but in March 2007 resigned from the ministry and the Senate after he was caught up in a share scandal.

Clark is a former actor in Australian television shows. She was re-elected as Member for Clayfield and briefly served as a minister in the Beattie government before resigning over a scandal involving the bringing of alcohol into a dry indigenous community in North Queensland.

In 2006, Clark was defeated by Brisbane city councillor Tim Nicholls. Nicholls was soon challenging Liberal leader Bruce Flegg for the leadership of the small party, and through 2007 the party was deadlocked due to a 4-4 tie between Flegg’s supporters and Nicholls’ supporters. The issue was resolved with the election of Mark McArdle as Liberal leader.

Nicholls has been re-elected in Clayfield in 2009, 2012 and 2015. Nicholls took on the Treasury portfolio after the merger of the Liberal and National parties in 2008, serving as Treasurer after the party won power in 2012.

Nicholls was elected leader of the Liberal National Party in 2016, and led the party into the 2017 election, which they lost. He stood down as leader shortly after that election.


Clayfield is a marginal LNP seat but has stayed with the LNP since 2006. It’s not likely to flip in 2020.

2017 result

Tim Nicholls Liberal National 15,35947.8-4.8
Philip Anthony Labor 10,55932.9+0.6
Claire Ogden Greens 6,19019.3+7.3

2017 two-party-preferred result

Tim Nicholls Liberal National16,82952.4-4.2
Philip Anthony Labor 15,27947.6+4.2

Booth breakdown

Booths in Clayfield have been divided into three areas: central, east and west.

The LNP won a large majority of the two-party-preferred vote of around 58% in the centre and the east. Labor won over 60% in the west.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 14.9% in the east to 25% in the west.

Voter groupGRN primLNP 2PPTotal votes% of votes
Other votes20.854.06,76521.1

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

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  1. Was a real chance of a GRN gain until they lost their candidate. I think Libs will underperform and Labor will do well in small-l Liberal seats, but Labor aren’t going to win here without targeting, and they have too much sandbagging to do.

    A high profile late Green candidate could make it interesting, but otherwise LNP retain

  2. Of all Brisbane based LNP seats, this is the one that would fall the fastest.

    I don’t think the Greens disendorsing their candidate has harmed their chances at this stage. Labor are still the real threat.

  3. This was one of 3 seats that had a dis-endorsed candidate (Townsville – LCQ and Whitsunday – ALP) in the previous week. I don’t see it making much difference and I posted [I think Maiwar] this is 8th in primary vote score for the Greens at the last election. Greens better off to focus on McConnel and Moggil than here for now.

    Prediction (August 2020): LNP Retain

  4. The problem with a lot of these reforming blue-ribbon seats is that while the increasingly conservative bent of the LNP is turning these voters off, they’re also too rich to buy too heavily into the increasingly Left agenda of the Greens, who’ve leant very heavily into promoting the Green New Deal to appeal to younger progressive voters in seats like Maiwar, McConnell and South Brisbane (and Cooper, Miller and Greenslopes to a lesser extent, the three other ‘maybes but probably nots’). The fact that John Meyer’s campaign has suddenly run into a brick wall certainly doesn’t help either. So a possible Labor pickup, but more likely LNP retain.

  5. The QLD Greens running at state level aren’t planning to raise taxes on the average affluent voter; just mining royalties. There’s less at stake for the rich. I think that’s why the wealthy voters of Kangaroo Point don’t mind radical left Sri. On council all that amounts to at that level is working extremely hard. Same reason why Daniel Andrews carried many affluent seats in Vic that couldn’t stomach voting Labor federally.

    A high profile Green like Andrew Bartlett, or a celebrity candidate, would still be able to seal the deal, but parties tend to shrink when they lose their candidate (even if they can still win, like Bayswater Vic 2018).

    No idea how hard Labor are trying here but it could work for them

  6. Even with a gutless moron like Tim Nicholls this will be be LNP everyday. Liddy Clark won this seat because no male with a pulse, could have resisted voting for her !!. I did courses with her in the 90s, & she almost unknowingly destabilised my marriage (for a time)!!. Maybe if Margot Robbie, or Miranda Kerr ran…..!

  7. Probs an LNP retain but Nicholls is a useless local member. Labor needs a strong Greens campaign to harvest prefs, which looks unlikely.

  8. @Winediamond

    Liddy Clark won this seat on the back of a Beattie landslide in 2001 where Labor won 66 seats. Your comment about her appearance is a irrelevant. She was a strong candidate though and in 2001 she played the role of ‘giant slayer’ knocking out the Liberals heavy weight Santo Santoro. Santora was considered a potential state Liberal leader when he lost his seat in 2001.

    She did get herself in trouble when she was Minister for Indigenous Affairs when a bottle of wine was taken aboard a government jet travelling to a “dry” indigenous community. She was cleared of any wrong doing but the controversy surrounding it she really couldn’t afford on such a narrow margin. It likely was a factor in losing her seat to Tim Nicholls in 2006.

    I don’t hear much about this seat on the grapevine which indicates to me its likely a LNP hold. I’m surprised Nicholls is recontesting considering he’s not likely going to make a comeback as LNP leader. He may be holding out for one more crack at it but he is likely grasping at straws.

    I went to Hamilton and was surprised that Labor ever won the seat considering it was so affluent. I have been told though the Brisbane Airport is strong Labor territory which is why the demographics are not as rosy for the LNP in this seat as it may seem on the surface.

  9. Might as well elaborate a bit. Hamilton/Ascott/Hendra/Clayfield obviously have some very wealthy neighbourhoods and will always undeniably be Liberal turf but there are apartments and more affordable housing even there, especially around Hamilton. Gordon Park/Lutwyche/Windsor etc are already favourable for Labor, if you’ve ever driven around there or taken the train through Windsor you’ll see that it’s not really all that different from the likes of Bardon/Ashgrove/Newmarket. And yeah the Airport-adjacent suburbs are probably more traditional Labor, though I admit I haven’t seen much of them. There’s enough demographic soup for strong Labor/Greens campaigns to work with, though like I said I see a Labor pickup being far more likely in the future. It would be nice to hear from a resident what kind of activity they’re seeing.

  10. Furtive Lawngnome
    This area will probably drift toward the LNP, rather than Labor as it becomes more affluent. The airport component appears to be minuscule . What is interesting is how much of a drag Nichols is on the LNP vote ?

    Lighten UP !!. Lidds got herself into trouble over a bottle of Wolf Blass red label which was like a bottle of “$2 buck chuck”!!. She said it was for personal consumption. The problem was two fold

    1/ everyone knows that our pollies spend plenty of our money drinking better( & far more expensive) wine than that !!. So it clearly wasn’t for personal consumption .
    2/ The Beatty govt cover up dept bungled. The cover up is always worse than the crime.

    To suggest that Santo Santoro was some kind of future leader is just intolerable. The man was a complete donkey. It’s like contending that Pat Conroy, or Graham Perret is a future Labor leader Although there is Michael McCormack, so perhaps anything really is possible…….! What do i know 1??

  11. I know Andrew Bartlett somtimes comes on here, Senator, do you think you have any chance of winning here? You should have been better running in Grace Grace’s seat

  12. Not a lot of time left to campaign, but it would be interesting to see how much Andrew Bartlett could salvage for the Greens.

    Anyone want to do the legwork and look at his 2019 result in overlapping booths?

  13. Andrew Barret is a very good campaigner who unlike most of Greens can relate to the unindoctrinated. He can take votes from people who previously did not vote Green.

    Clayfield is not a seat I expect Greens to do well in but Barret as candidate will increase their vote.

    Most Green candidates are 21 year old over educated and under informed parasites who have never faced a coal miner or slaughter man in their life. They can not relate to business or working class. Barrett has and therefore should be treated with more respect than writing him off.

  14. Andrew Bartlett is one of the best possible candidates the Greens have available to them and also to my surprise he has a deep connection with the Clayfield electorate and actually lives there.

    It may be too little too late, but I wouldn’t write him off and it’s going to be down to either him or Nicholls (if the Greens muster a real campaign here).

  15. Hey maybe AB should call young people parasites and say that Liddy Clark was only elected cause she was hot. That’ll help him relate to the electorate, apparently.

  16. @John

    Greens won’t overtake Labor’s primary vote in this seat and finish in the final two party preferred vote. I think your prediction is exaggerating Andrew Bartlett’s star power and I mean this as no disrespect to Bartlett. And while Bartlett is a high profiled candidate- he has ran for the Greens in the federal seat of Brisbane in 2019 and didn’t finish in the final two party preferred count. What makes you think Clayfield will be any different? Particularly when he has been thrown in at the last minute. And the Labor candidate Philip Anthony not only has been preselected almost a year out. He has also contested the previous election for Clayfield which will have built up his name recognition.

  17. @Political Nightwatchman it’s quite possible, but the Greens didn’t try here last time (they had a late candidate change and I have heard reports they didn’t even staff the booths).

    Greens didn’t outpoll Labor in federal Brisbane but it was close, and even closer in the Senate. This year they did outpoll Labor in every single one of their BCC target seats (Hamilton ward wasn’t one of them but the Greens closed the gap 3.5%).

    If Labor are actually trying then it makes it harder for Greens to overtake Labor, but it makes it easier for whoever gets the higher vote to beat the LNP.

    Everything seemed to be lining up for LNP to lose this seat, especially with Tim Nicholls being a low profile has-been, and I only had them hanging on due to the Greens no longer having a presence. With Bartlett I see the LNP losing this seat (though it’s not entirely clear whether that will be to the Greens or Labor).

  18. Other Greens candidates have been hitting pavement for weeks now, particularly they’ve been doing tons of doorknocking with their volunteers on weekends (today not least of all). That’s in addition to letterboxing, putting up yard signs, phone banking and so forth. As far as I can tell Andrew hasn’t done a lot more than announce he’s running. His twitter feed is packed full of Julian Assange news while he’s had relatively little to say about the actual election he’s contesting in less than a month. Early polls start in two weeks. What’s the plan here?

  19. @Furtive Lawngnome everything you are saying is true and the Greens are in a far worse position here than if Bartlett was announced as the candidate months ago.

    However the Greens will be able to activate all of their lawn signs from the federal election (they can just use last year’s with stickers), the last 2 weeks can be big as Clayfield is brought back into their text, phone and doorknocking operations, and then a large prepoll presence will all help. Bartlett seems to have gotten some media attention for his announcement.

    The comparison that comes to mind the most for me is Bayswater 2018 in the Victorian State Election, which even with a land slide was a long shot seat. Labor lost its candidate, a former MP, shortly before the election. However due to strong campaigns in the Eastern Suburbs generally, and a strong booth presence, Labor were able to take the seat.

    I think the swing will be on against the LNP in Clayfield for various reasons, as an affluent seat in Brisbane that would be uncomfortable with the populist state version of the LNP, and with not much love for their has-been local member. However there will still be some hesitancy around Labor in such an area. When they show up to their booths, and they are all adorned in Purple, with friendly volunteers reminding them of their local 3rd party candidate with a familiar name (and one originally from a centrist party at that), I think he might just serve well as a good vote sink.

    Mind you the news has just changed my prediction from LNP retain to a genuine 3 way toss-up (lean LNP). The Greens would be overjoyed to win this one – all I’m saying is it’s possible.

  20. I admit this seat just became interesting and do wish Andrew Bartlett the best. A very good choice on the Green’s behalf but will it be enough beyond us political tragics. Nicholls hasn’t really set the world on fire and really is his to loose. I still think LNP will hold on, but it could really also become a genuine 3-way contest here and be when the music stops who ends up with most preferences. UAP may take on some disaffected LNP voters here. All this means is one seat that I will now be watching on election night!

    Prediction (September 2020): TOSS-UP (Lean LNP) [Changed from LNP Retain]

  21. As I said before it would be interesting to hear from residents or especially someone familiar with the Clayfield campaign, though I’m not holding my breath for that happening. And from where I’m sitting, I don’t think it’s worth holding my breath at all as far as Clayfield is concerned. Far too little, far, far too late. They should have immediately preselected as soon as Meyer spat the dummy.

    LNP hold. But I’d love to be proven wrong.

  22. While there is a remote chance of the ALP picking this seat up it is not realistic at all for the Greens

  23. Tim Nicholls has not got much of a presence and has very few signs up compared to previous campaigns – I wonder if all the LNP voters have been dying off, the swing away from LNP has been relentless since 2012. Maybe. Anyway the seat is gentrifying as old estates are sold off and tuned into townhouses and apartment buiildings, mostly filled with 1 and 2 bedroom apartments for rent down at Portside/Northshore and through Lutwyche

    I can’t see the Greens overtaking Labor primary, but if Labor manage to hang on to what they have (possible with COVID) the turquoise brigade of Green voters buyoed by a name candidate in Bartlett could get a swing and get Labor up here. The unknown is UAP who have a candidate here too apparently and will preference harvest for LNP.

    Just had a look at the Facebook for Nicholls, it’s pretty basic compared to Anthony’s, who seems to have been very active – but LNP did sent out a big postal campaign and I haven’t seen as much in the letterbox from Labor.

    Labor is $2.95 to win Clayfield at Sportsbet….hmmm. I predict LNP retain (barely) but $2.95 is juicy enough for a punt.

  24. Big money movement??? They limit me to betting $5 per seat. I’d be interested to know if that applies to everyone?

  25. I have no idea about limits but I would imagine that politics has too much inside trading Sportsbet.
    I think we should return to 1970’s situation where gambling on election results was an offence under electoral act.

  26. “Big money movement??? They limit me to betting $5 per seat. I’d be interested to know if that applies to everyone?”

    It comes down to how successful you’ve been on political betting in the past really. Sportsbet often limit people, Bet365 and Neds/Ladbrokes also offer electorate seat markets, so try those books as well if you want to put more money down

  27. Call me naive but I’ve never seen much evidence that the bookies are all that much better at calling elections than anyone else. They might have some sources with access to internal polls but likely not much more. Match fixing is a whole lot easier in actual sports.

  28. Any LDP candidates get an automatic 2-3% added to their vote if they draw pole position, because illiterate people vote. Unfortunately not here – Tim Nicholls gets it.

    If I bet on politics, I’d probably put a $20 I don’t mind losing on things like the independent in Oodgeroo, KAP in Thuringowa, Labor in Pumicestone… things like that. Not the favourite, but with decent odds and a decent chance of winning. (Two of those lose, the other I get $100 back!) Nobody’s putting $20 on Labor in Inala, even though it’s beyond obvious the premier will win her own seat – odds of $1.02 just aren’t that tasty. That sort of thing will skew the odds.

  29. Paradox, that “Liberal” confusion effect doesn’t matter when the LDP don’t have party registration in QLD and therefore can’t have their name on the ballot.

  30. The more I look into this campaign, the more it seems like the Greens aren’t actually trying here. Labor are posting lots of photos at prepoll, and while you can see hints of an LNP presence, there is nothing to suggest any Greens presence. Andrew Bartlett is not posting frequently on social media, and very little of what he posts has anything to do with the Clayfield electorate. The central Queensland Greens social media is not giving any attention to Clayfield.

    Unless someone on the ground can confirm that the Greens are working the prepoll hard, I think the Greens well and truly fumbled this one and it’s an ALP vs LNP marginal, and without strong booth presence the Greens preference flows may not be strong enough to get ALP over the line.

    However this is the kind of seat where I think the typical LNP voter will be thinking much more strongly about voting ALP this time, Labor seem to be trying a lot harder than 2017, and Nicholls is still a has-been.

    Prediction: Toss up leaning ALP

  31. Definitely a bare-bones campaign from the greens here. Just shoring up federal votes (house + senate), and grabbing a some relatively easy electoral funding. Bartlett has 0 expectation of winning, but is a good and loyal party man who was happy to make sure the greens at least ran someone.

  32. I’ve heard a few whispers about Clayfield being in play for Labor. Pretty well informed people doing the whispering.

  33. I was surprised when Clayfield was announced as a Greens target seat in the first place. Considering how late in the game their candidate issues went down – and that Kate Jones also resigned so very late in the game, making Cooper a much better chance – I don’t think it’s any shock that they’ve reallocated resources away from this one.


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