Maiwar – QLD 2020

GRN 1.6% vs LNP

Incumbent MP
Michael Berkman, since 2017.

Inner west of Brisbane. Maiwar covers suburbs on the north side of the Brisbane river ot the south-west of the Brisbane city centre, including Indooroopilly, St Lucia, Toowong and Auchenflower.

Maiwar was created for the 2017 election, as a merger of the seats of Indooroopilly and Mount Coot-tha.

Indooroopilly alternated between the Liberal Party (1992-2001), Labor (2001-2008) and the LNP (2009-2017), with a brief interregnum when Labor MP Ronan Lee joined the Greens in 2008, and held the seat until 2009, when he lost to LNP candidate Scott Emerson.

Mount Coot-tha had been held by the Liberal Party from 1950 to 1989, and then by Labor from 1989 until 2012. LNP candidate Saxon Rice won in 2012, and lost the seat to Labor’s Steven Miles in 2015.

Miles, now serving as environment minister in the Labor government, chose to move to the seat of Murrumba in 2017 upon the abolition of his seat. Miles went on to serve as Health minister following the 2017 election, and has served as deputy premier since May 2020.

Emerson, who had risen to the position of Shadow Treasurer on the LNP opposition’s frontbench, lost Maiwar in 2017 to Greens candidate Michael Berkman.


Maiwar is a very marginal seat, and both the LNP and Labor would be eager to reclaim the only Greens seat in the state. The Greens narrowly defeated the LNP on the two-candidate-preferred count, but they also narrowly defeated Labor in the preference count. The two-candidate-preferred count would do the Greens no good if Berkman were to fall into third place.

Having said all of that, the Greens often solidify their hold on seats like this after one term with an incumbent MP.

2017 result

Scott Emerson Liberal National 13,35241.9-5.8
Michael Berkman Greens 8,85027.8+7.4
Ali King Labor 8,77227.5-1.5
Anita DiamondIndependent8882.8+2.8

2017 two-party-preferred result

Michael Berkman Greens 16,44951.6+51.6
Scott Emerson Liberal National 15,41348.4-4.6

Booth breakdown

Booths in Maiwar have been divided into three areas: central, north and south.

The Greens won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred votes (against the LNP) in all three areas, polling 50.2% in the south and 56.6% in both the centre and the north. The LNP did better on the special votes, polling 52.4% on the pre-poll vote and 53.1% amongst other votes.

Labor came third, with a primary vote ranging from 27.7% in the south to 29.8% in the centre.

Voter groupALP primGRN 2CPTotal votes% of votes
Other votes25.546.97,04822.1

Election results in Maiwar at the 2017 QLD state election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (LNP vs Greens) and Labor primary votes.

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  1. Queensland Observer – have you factored in the sophomore surge? It seems implausible to me that LNP gets a swing to them, and simultaneously Labor hold steady enough to get ahead of the Greens, during the sophomore phase.

    I highly doubt that the Greens would ignore their one seat enough to lose it after one term, when it’s literally right next door to the other two primary target seats for the Greens. It would be different, perhaps, if Maiwar was in Cairns, and thus well separated from the other two.

  2. Although Scott Emerson was incumbent in only ~60% of the seat after redistribution you would expect Michael Berkman’s sophomore effect to be comprised mostly of changing behaviour of LNP primary voters (ones that were voting for Emerson on name recognition, seeing him at a school fete, etc.). Yeah it’s only going to be ~1% of the electorate but that’s significant in a close contest.

    There’s a secondary effect that needs a different name than “sophomore surge” to explain the collapse of the Labor primary vote in Green seats, the “only Labor can win” vs “oh wait, I guess the Greens won” dichotomy which obviously puts the Greens far more front of mind to anti-LNP voters in seats the Greens have incumbency. I expect this behaviour to deliver quite a large swing away from Labor here, to be revealed Saturday night.

  3. Bennee – that’s an interesting observation. I figured I’d look into it further. When the Greens have gone from no seats to one seat, they often get a sizeable bump at the following election. However, where the bump comes from appears to depend on the case.

    Adam Bandt got a bump of 7% primary in Melbourne, which appears to have come off Labor’s vote. On the other hand, in the NSW state seat of Balmain, Jamie Parker got a bump of 6.3%, which seems to have come off the Liberals’ vote (with Labor also gaining primary vote). In Victoria’s state election, Sam Hibbins of Prahan got a 3.3% boost, which appears to have come from the Liberals, while Ellen Sandell of Melbourne actually saw a drop in primary vote.

    So I guess the question is, will it be the “only Labor can win” -> “Greens have a chance” voters flowing to Berkman? Or will it be LNP voters who have actually been impressed by Berkman? Or will Berkman go backwards in the way that Sandell did?

  4. Vic 2018 was a very bad election for the Greens and Hibbins and Randall were both lucky to hold on against an insurgent ALP. But I don’t think ALP are on track for a landslide this time, and additionally the Greens aren’t yet represented at any other tier in Maiwar, while they had ample familiarity in inner Melbourne.

    The Walter Taylor and Paddington ward results earlier this year ould make any result other than a GRN retain an upset. No way were those swings despite Berkman

  5. Sandell, not Randall.

    Also worth pointing out that with 7 Greens, Hibbins and Sandell were “nothing special” in Vic Stare politics. Berkman IS the Greens in QLD state politics and he is often on his own. It makes him seem really hard working (because he is).

  6. Glenn that would be a worthwhile analysis, but you have to compare the Green incumbent versus the wider tide of the Green vote, as John says.

    Also, be very careful to infer that a swing against the Liberal and towards the Greens describes a cohort of voters flipping directly from Liberal to Green. Way fewer voters than you think would have done so, with the Labor party being the real mechanism for both swings (with previous Labor voters swinging Green while those loses gets hidden by gains from former Liberal voters).

  7. I still think the Greens will hold here but it will be closer than I originally thought. As a Maiwar resident and voter, I can attest to the strength of the LNP campaign. They have a big presence and Lauren Day is a much better candidate than Craig Emerson was 2017, focusing on local issues and getting good media coverage. The LNP positioning of Berkman as “too extreme” for Maiwar has bitten, particularly in the more suburban parts of the seat. Speaking with neighbours and friends, many seem to have positive things to say about the LNP candidate and her name recognition is high. The battle here has devolved into a local race and statewide issues don’t seem to be influencing as much as they were six weeks ago. However, it still seems a tough ask for the LNP to secure a primary vote in the mid to high 40’s to win here given the ALP/Green preference exchange.

  8. Bennee – I know that a notable portion of the swing is a double-stage swing, LNP->ALP and ALP->Greens, but you underestimate the crossover that can happen in inner-city seats between LNP and Greens. There is a certain subset of middle-to-upper class individuals who support the LNP for economic issues, but are also environmentally conscious and socially more liberal than conservative. The left/right dichotomy is a false one.

    And I recognise that there are other factors involved. But that’s kind of the point – there are multiple factors involved, and if you focus exclusively on one of those factors, you may miss the other ones. For instance, voters who went Green last time but want to support Palaszczuk, or who want to support female candidates in the LNP, or who voted that way in 2017 to send a message. There are many factors.

    Let me be clear – I think the Greens will hold, with additional margin. I just don’t think you can draw conclusions from the “Greens hold on to seats they win in general elections” logic, without at least first exploring other factors.

  9. “They have a big presence and Lauren Day is a much better candidate than Craig Emerson was 2017, focusing on local issues and getting good media coverage. ”

    @Elise A

    I think you mixed up the candidates names. Craig Emerson was the federal Labor MP for Ranken. The previous LNP member for Indooroopilly before the seat was abolished and merged into Maiwar was Scott Emerson. I have not seen anything of Lauren Day so I can’t really comment. But I doubt she is a patch on Scott Emerson. Emerson was a future leadership contender and may be leader of the opposition now had he held his seat. LNP would have wanted Emerson to recontest as he was considered their best chance but he declined.

  10. Scott Emerson has the ignoble distinction of being the only politician in Australia (the world?) to win a single member electorate seat from a Green and then lose it to a Green, but yes I think he was the ideal candidate for the LNP in such a seat.

    Lauren Day’s campaign has to me seemed far too incendiary. Yes the “be afraid of crime” rhetoric might be well received by entrenched Liberals, but I don’t think it’s winning back any “teal-green” voters that swung Green over growing environmental consciousness or social policies like same-sex marriage (the 2017 campaign was right in the middle of the Marriage Law Postal Survey which drove up enrolment by a heck of a lot in this seat).

  11. PN,Bennee
    I find your view, assessment of Scott Emerson ….challenging ! I did post on the lad last month so i’ll provide the relevant excerpt :

    2/ Scott Emerson was a really poor local member.
    He thought because he was treasurer he was magnificent, & everyone should have just understood how great, & important he was. AND that was just the beginning , it all went from there.
    Reminds me of Dan Andrews , & the PM. It seems we have a virtual epidemic of this “achiever” personality type(3) in politics ATM. This accounts for the new level of (sophisticated) denial, deceit , & deception.
    Wow what an achievement !!, What a success !!. All these pricks (achiever personality type 3s) have achieved in essence, is to take political representation DOWN to a whole new level, of denial, deceit , & deception. Yeah I’m repeating myself. Andrews is the best i’ve ever seen. If he were interested in money, instead of power he’d have gone to Wall St, & run a more famous ponzi scheme than Berni Madoff !. Well that is a success , & achievement of sorts…..! That is always the problem : It is the image OF success , rather than the substance. Therin lies the fundamental deceit,& deception, & consequently, the danger. A political success is very often NOT in the public interest, & very frequently it is against the public interest.

    Lauren Day could not possibly be a worse candidate . Sorry but i’ll bet she doesn’t need everybody to acknowledge how worthy of being loved she is. And yes it is almost a pathology.

  12. Mrs WD, & i think Lauren DAY is a challenger personality type 8. A real force to be reckoned with. I hope she stands again in a winnable seat.

  13. I don’t think Lauren Day is a very good candidate for this seat, she is too conservative for this area and comes across paranoid and condescending in her latest Facebook videos. I think if she loses Maiwar she might pop up in a future election in North Queensland or the Sutherland Shire where she is from where she would resonate better. Ironically, one of her supporters in Toowong had the police called on him after harassing female Labor volunteers. They are clearly not sending their best.

  14. For Maiwar I suspect a Greens retain but Lauren Day appears to be an excellent candidate and the LNP would be wise to keep her on ice (perhaps as a media advisor) for any future vacancies.

    For the LNP to scrape home they need a few things to go their way – the crime issue to bite. There was another record month of stolen cars if you believe the local councillor and Lauren Day has pumped this issue since 300 people were moved into Atira.
    The thousands of left-leaning people (suspect students?) who enrolled (primarily for SSM plebiscite) and voted in and around St Lucia booths last election have moved out.
    They need the ALP vote to be really depressed. The ALP seem to be helping them with this.

    From 2017, I suspect the LNP knew the seat was going to be tough once CVP came in as Scott Emerson was based on pre-poll everyday. This is not where you would want one of you high profile shadows during a campaign.

  15. No where near as confident as I was a month ago that Berkman will hold but Laura Day has done a good job of rabbling rousing the patricians with NIMBY bullshit, especially in the debate, which was terribly glib and just terrible in general. Nonetheless you’ve gotta roll with the punches and Berkman absolutely didn’t, he had no real answers for a lot of her questions, let his opponent frame the debate entirely and wasted a lot of time blithering and hand wringing. I suppose you’ve got to weigh that against the changing demographics of the electorate, how they feel about the direction of the LNP generally versus how many yucky poor people are stealing a few bikes here and there, and the incumbency factor. Still guessing this as a Green hold but definitely much more of a nail biter than it ever should have been.

  16. Thanks Maverick for your first post… yours is a fair description of how I see it too. Herein is the dilemma: people voting Green 1 and Labor 2 think they are satisfying both parties but the 0.3% difference between them or 78 votes was what propelled Greens past the most popular paty, the LNP (at 13,000) – going from 8 to 16,000. Such is the extent of the problem with our voting system. Add to this one-sided media coverage problems and we are way off being a real democracy. But we are also a young democracy… still green. Sigh.

  17. FN
    Very astute analysis. Sorry you found it terrible. Perhaps the contrast between forcefulness & weakness was the critical one. Sounds like it.

    If you want your rep to fight for you, do you care if they are too conservative or progressive ?

  18. If Maiwar is anything like Cooper next door there is a very big swing to the Greens. However some of the VERY obvious swing in Cooper could be personal Kate Jones votes that now have moved on. If it is Brisbane wide then there is a huge shift to the Greens.

  19. LNP voter here. My prediction. The Greens will romp home. Berkman has worked solidly on local bread-and-butter issues for 3 years. He’s put in the work and is well-known. I voted LNP but in total awareness that I was voting for an all-but-invisible, unknown political pack. The Greens deserve to win.

  20. This is my local seat, in fact I live right on the border of Maiwar and Cooper, which confuses the Cooper candidates who think I am a Cooper resident. Notwithstanding that Lauren Day is probably the best of the new LNP candidates (and that is a low bar given some of the dud candidates the LNP has put up in other seats), the simple fact is that the LNP will need about 45% of the Primary Vote to win, and that is not going to happen. Michael Berkman is seen as a moderate green, not from the crazy marxist faction of the Greens. The crime issue plays well here at the moment with the 300 odd Atira residents and the crime problems. Mrs Surfgod will not go to Toowong Village after some encounters she had recently there.

    I can see the Greens winning with a slightly higher margin.

  21. Grrreens slimed their way in with half-truths and other dazzlers, as usual. Their ‘modus operandi’ seems to be to say what people want to hear, make promises they know full well they’ll never need to deliver. The rest of us now have 4 years in which to dismantle their hollow victory: there is too much goodwill in the young Greens voters and other environmentally aware voters that we can’t let them all be continually misled.
    Meanwhile, Labor needs to ramp up their ‘green’ credentials and attract some of that goodwill. High school students these days are becoming environmentally charged up at a young age and Labor’s challenge will be to instill some reality in their dreams of a greener future – without sounding too patronising.

  22. Firstly whether you like it or not need to dispute the legitamacy of Green Victory in Maiwar to agree with the rest of your comment. Kids are being indoctrinated at schools into Green eco-fascism. The Greens are doing as good a job at indoctrination as Goebbels did.
    Approx 33 Years ago Dennis Shanahan wrote a series of articles in The Australian “The Lies they are teaching our children”. Kevin Donnelly has over the last twenty years has revealed the bias of school education but the Liberals and ALP in just about every jurisdiction have failed to address this. It is no good waiting till the indictrinated have elected Green’s to scream. Remember the Liberals have actively assisted the Greens to win by preferencing Greens ahead of ALP.

  23. Good to see that the usually suspects all apoplectic that the people of Maiwar believe in climate science and don’t believe political parties should take their marching orders from corporate donors.

    Is the entire field of environmental/climate science an eco-fascist indoctrination campaign? Just to get you on record. I would have thought it would be fossil fuel companies running propaganda campaigns to protect their profits not teachers and scientists.

  24. Bennee
    This is way beyond the remit of tallyroom but my position on Climate Science is that I am not qualified to discuss it. My qualifications include a major in Geography as part of Dip T, BA and some Geography in B Ed.
    Whilst this amounts to half a dozen climatology subjects they were all very much descriptive climatology not meteorology.
    I will leave it at that.


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