South Brisbane – Queensland 2024

GRN 5.3% vs ALP

Incumbent MP
Amy MacMahon, since 2020.

Central Brisbane. South Brisbane covers suburbs in on the south side of the Brisbane River in central Brisbane, specifically West End, Highgate Hill, Kangaroo Point, East Brisbane, South Brisbane, Woolloongabba and Dutton Park.

The seat of South Brisbane has existed continuously since 1860. The seat had been won by the ALP at almost all elections from 1915 until 2020, when it was won by the Greens.

The seat was once held by Premier Vince Gair from 1932 to 1960. He was expelled in 1957 and formed the Queensland Labor Party, and later served as a Democratic Labor Party Senator from 1964 to 1973.

The ALP held the seat from 1960 to 1974. The seat was held by the Liberal Party for one term from 1974 to 1977 and has been held by the ALP since 1977.

Jim Fouras won the seat in 1977, and held it until 1986, when he lost ALP preselection to Anne Warner. He later held the seat of Ashgrove from 1989 to 2006, serving as Speaker from 1990 to 1996.

Warner had previously won the seat of Kurilpa in 1983, but her original seat was abolished in 1986. She served as a minister in the Goss government until her retirement in 1995.

Anna Bligh won South Brisbane in 1995. Bligh became a minister in the new Beattie government in 1998. In 2005, she became Deputy Premier, and succeeded Peter Beattie as Premier in 2007. She won another term as Premier in 2009.

In 2012, Anna Bligh led the ALP to a massive defeat, with the party losing all but seven seats. Bligh held on in South Brisbane by a 4.7% margin, after a swing to the LNP of over 10%.

Bligh resigned from her seat immediately after the election. Labor’s Jackie Trad won the following by-election by a slim 1.7% margin. Trad was re-elected in 2015 and 2017.

Trad was elected deputy leader of the ALP immediately after the 2015 state election, and thus became Deputy Premier. She served in a number of portfolios, but primarily as Minister for Transport until 2017, and as Treasurer from 2017 to 2020. She was forced to resign from her ministerial roles in May 2020 due to an investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission into her role in the construction of a new school in her electorate. She was cleared by the investigation in July 2020.

Trad lost her seat in 2020 to Greens candidate Amy MacMahon.


The Greens’ margin in this seat is not insurmountable, particularly if the LNP changed their preference policy to favour Labor.

2020 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Amy MacMahon Greens 12,631 37.9 +3.5
Jackie Trad Labor 11,471 34.4 -1.6
Clem Grehan Liberal National 7,616 22.8 -1.5
Rosalie Taxis One Nation 573 1.7 +1.7
John Meyer Independent 441 1.3 +1.3
John Jiggens Independent 398 1.2 +1.2
Marcus Thorne United Australia 206 0.6 +0.6
Informal 882 2.6

2020 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Amy MacMahon Greens 18,450 55.3 +8.9
Jackie Trad Labor 14,886 44.7 -8.9

Booth breakdown

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

The Greens won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 56% in the east to 59.2% in the centre.

Voter group LNP prim % GRN 2CP % Total votes % of votes
West 16.8 58.4 4,147 12.4
East 22.7 56.0 3,944 11.8
Central 19.6 59.2 866 2.6
Pre-poll 23.2 55.4 13,841 41.5
Other votes 25.1 53.4 10,538 31.6

Election results in South Brisbane at the 2020 Queensland state election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Greens vs Labor) and primary votes for the Greens, Labor and the Liberal National Party.

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  1. @Ben Raue
    I think the 2pp swing from last election is the other way around. It should be:
    MacMahon, Greens, + 8.9%
    Trad, Labor, – 8.9%

  2. Given the results of the last federal election, I would imagine the Greens wouldn’t be too worried about retaining South Brisbane, or Maiwar. It should be simple enough, and maybe this will allow them to shift their resources to other inner Brisbane seats.

  3. Agree Wilson, this seat may be like Balmain in NSW where the Greens are entrenched and thus can prioritise trying to win other seats.

  4. Weren’t the Greens just in a huge fight for their lives in Balmain? They have the incumbency advantage again I suppose, but if I were them I wouldn’t be taking Balmain lightly.

  5. That was when it was an open seat as then MP Jamie Parker retired. I think the general logic is that Green Party incumbents are generally quite secure, and their seats only become competitive as open seat contests.

  6. *Might* be an issue if LNP preferences switch back to Labor, but all indications suggest the Greens vote will increase statewide, which, combined with the Federal result, should mean this seat should be a fairly safe Greens retain.

  7. Could be possible, especially given Jackie Trad isn’t running. If the LNP direct preferences to Labor then this could be a tight race

  8. The LNP tends to get a lot of flack when the put the Greens ahead of Labor, especially when they lose big time e.g. QLD 2020, VIC 2022. LNP might go back to putting Labor ahead of the Greens.

    Generally first-term Greens increase their primary vote because of incumbency. Add to that, I reckon votes for minor right-wing parties like One Nation will be negligible and ON tends to put Labor ahead of Greens.

  9. Right-wing minor party preferences typically tend to favour the Greens a little over Labor actually. Unintuitive but fits with a ‘put the majors last’ attitude.

    The LNP’s preference decision shouldn’t matter here (though it could really help the Greens in seats like Greenslopes and Miller) – the Greens should get an incumbency boost to their primary and Labor’s general struggles should put it out of reach for them.

  10. Exactly the. Goal was to get rid of trad. Now the libs should be able to work some sort of deal in exchange for labor preferences in maiwar

  11. The LNP would probably run dead as they aren’t going to finish in the final two anyway.

    @Babaluma, ON and UAP classify the Greens as a major party. Their voters more often than not, put Labor ahead of the Greens.

    @John, I doubt that Maiwar would flip. An LNP surge would need to be coupled with good preference flows. It’s unlikely Labor would preference LNP ahead of the Greens. An LNP and Labor deal would definitely make a difference if it were to happen. Like in South Brisbane, votes for minor right wing parties like ON are negligible.

  12. @Nimalan The general view is that, where LNP preferences are counted, preferences should be used to reduce the number of “safe” seats. It’s very much a Blender strategy, where Labor or Green candidates who want a long-term future in politics would never run in those seats because they would only get one term in office (as opposed to seats like Ipswich or Inala).

    @John The Labor base would revolt if the ALP ever preferenced the LNP in Maiwar, no matter how good the long-term elimination of The Greens would be for them.

    @Votante Preferences from the UAP put The Greens over the ALP in Griffith, giving them the seat. I’m not sure if people realise how fragile The Greens position is in Brisbane, Ryan and Griffith.

  13. Labor came 3rd in Griffith and all UAP and PHON preferences did was give the LNP even more of a lead over Labor for 2nd place.

    If you’re talking about Brisbane the point where Greens overtook Labor in the Brisbane preference count was when AJP was eliminated. They did better than Labor off UAP and PHON preferences but the main beneficiary was the LNP

  14. @John Sorry, I put Griffith instead of Brisbane.

    For Griffith the Greens were the major beneficiary of the drop in the LNP vote, but I don’t think it went directly there, instead having LNP votes transfer to the ALP and the ALP losing votes to The Greens. The ALP only made small gains out of the LNP drop and also went backwards in UAPP and PHON preferences. However The Green primary vote was only 34.59%, with an additional 25.87% coming as preferences. Theoretically for a three-cornered contest (not counting the UAP) 33.34% is as low as you want to go. So while the TCP shows 60.46%, the actual margin between second and third is only 4.2%.

    For Brisbane the AJP distribution put The Greens ahead of the ALP but there was still enough of the non-LNP vote left to make the the UAP preferences decisive. The reason for that was the number of UAPP votes that paused at PHON before being distributed to The Greens – that’s why I count the UAPP to PHON to Green as effectively UAPP to Green.

    And to round it off, Ryan was a lot closer to being a traditional race but it’s switched from LNP/ALP to LNP/GRN. The swing against the LNP was a shade over 10 percent and almost matched the swing to The Greens, with the ALP finishing third on a declining vote.

    With a redistribution due after the next election I think that The Greens are at risk in at least two of the three seats. Which two seats they are depends on where the boundaries are drawn.

  15. Brisbane traditional swinging seat
    Ryan most times a liberal seat can have a 10% margin in bad times for Labor
    Griffith.. alp inclined marginal seat
    Future results will depend on boundaries in the future but also liberal party preferences esp in Griffith

  16. In South Brisbane 2020, UAP polled last and Labor got more of their preferences than the Greens did. Its preferences mainly went to ON followed by LNP. In Maiwar however, the Greens got more UAP preferences than Labor did.

    To be fair, (Clive Palmer’s) UAP hasn’t taken any state election seriously since 2015 when it debuted at the state level.

  17. Predictions:

    Greens: 42.4% (+4.5%)
    LNP: 30.5% (+7.6%)
    Labor: 22.3% (–12.1%)

    Greens: 57.1% (+1.7%)
    LNP: 42.9% (+42.9%)

    The swing against Labor here is going to the Greens and the LNP. Unlike Maiwar however, the Greens have a decent swing to them (in Maiwar I’ve predicted only a small swing to the Greens on primaries). This is why the Greens have an increased margin here but a slightly decreased margin in Maiwar. The drop in the Labor vote has allowed the LNP to finish second.

  18. I don’t agree that South Brisbane will end up a GRN v LNP contest. I think the LNP finishes third, behind Greens and then Labor.

    I do think the LNP will reverse their decision to preference the Greens above Labor this time, especially in South Brisbane. This won’t change the outcome – Greens will still comfortably win, but a swing against them.


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