Electorate analysis: South Brisbane follows the southern bank of the Brisbane River from East Brisbane through South Bank, Woolloongabba and Dutton Park, also extending southwards to Stones Corner. The electorate has existed in one form or another since the first Queensland election in 1860, and has only been lost to Labor on three occasions: at the 1929 and 1974 disasters, and when former Premier and future Democratic Labor Party Senator Vince Gair took it into the Queensland Labor Party fold from 1957 to 1960. Demetrios “Jim” Fouras held the seat from 1977 to 1986 when he lost preselection to Anne Warner, later returning as member for Ashgrove from 1989 to 2006. Warner was succeeded in 1995 by Anna Bligh, whose margins have ranged from 10.7 per cent to 24.9 per cent. The Greens have long harboured hopes of taking the seat, but are encumbered by an optional preferential voting system that deprives them of preferences.
Anna Bligh rose to the shadow ministry when Labor went into opposition in February 1996, seven months after she was first elected, and carried her families, youth and community care portfolios into government when Peter Beattie came to power in June 1998. She was further promoted to Education Minister in February 2001, as talk grew that Beattie was grooming her for the premiership. This perception was strengthened when she became Deputy Premier upon Terry Mackenroth’s departure in July 2005, at which time she moved from education to finance, state development, trade and innovation. After the 2006 election she was entrusted with a new “mega-ministry” of Treasury and infrastructure, and despatched to tough gigs such as protests against the Mary River dam in Gympie. Bligh’s ascension to the leadership when Peter Beattie resigned in September 2007 was remarkable not only in that she was Australia’s third female premier and Queensland’s first, but also that she achieved the elevation from the Left faction. In March 2009 she became the first female leader to win an election at federal or state level.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.