A geographical breakdown of Saturday results shows the most significant swings against Labor were in suburban Brisbane and Sydney. The seats with the biggest losses for Labor were in outer and mid suburban areas, especially in the west and south west of Sydney. While in urban areas, there was also above average swings against the ALP, with most voters switching to the Greens. But the real concern will be the result in outer suburban areas where the vast majority switched directly to the Coalition.
Labor’s overall swing against is running at 2.6%, probably losing 16 seats. But this only tells part of the story. 0An analysis of the seat-by-seat performance of the Labor candidates reveals some conspicuous trends — like the large-scale rejection of the ALP in some of Labor’s safe seats in west Sydney.
Labor’s safest seat Fowler, centred around the suburb of Cabramatta, enjoyed a margin of 22%. On Saturday, Fowler became the seat with the biggest swing against Labor — 15% shifed their vote directly to the Coalition. Labor suffered it’s next biggest significant swings in the seats of Barton, Banks and Watson in Sydney’s south and west. While in Rooty Hill RSL land, the seat of Chifley also in western Sydney had a 12% swing against the sitting Labor member.
In inner-Sydney, Labor lost substantial ground in the increasingly safe Liberal seats belonging to Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison and Joe Hockey. Hockey’s 9% gain contrasts crudely with the federal Treasurer’s 11% swing against him in his Brisbane electorate of Lilley.
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Naturally, Swan wasn’t the only one to suffer in Brisvegas, where Labor was abandoned right across the sunny suburban sprawl. Not only did Labor lose five of its seats in the area, eight of the 15 seats where Labor had its most significant swings nationally were in Brisbane’s suburbs.
While the average swing against Labor was 9.4% in Queensland, it was 14% in the once-marginal east Brisbane seat of Bowman, and 13% in the inner suburban seats of Moreton, Bonner and Ryan. While in the outer-suburban electorates of Oxley and Rainkin there was an 11% swing, nearly all of which passed directly to the Coalition.
The seat of Brisbane also had a double-figure swing against the government; the Liberals are now ahead in counting against former front-bencher Arch Bevis. Kevin Rudd skimmed the state average with a 9.3% loss in his Brisbane seat of Griffith, a fact which seems to kill the ‘you were nasty to our Kev’ theory of why the ALP’s vote was lost in Queensland. Interestingly, most of Rudd’s disaffected voters appear to have moved across to the Greens.
The Greens emerged as the major third force in this election — a fact also reflected in individual House of Representative results. Across the country, the Greens polled higher in seats which crossed urban areas. Along with Melbourne, the biggest swings were in the block of electorates crossing inner-city areas in Brisbane. The Greens also did well in blue-ribbon safe Liberal seats, gaining at least 6% of the Labor vote in Kooyong, Higgins, Wentworth, Fisher and North Sydney, further demonstrating Labor’s alienation from the inner-city Left this election.
Remarkably, every lower house cabinet minister (except the PM) had individual swings against them in their own seats. Along with Swan in Brisbane, suburban Sydney saw Tony Burke, Anthony Albanese, Robert McCelland and Peter Garrett all lose around 9% of their vote. While other high-profile members like Tanya Plibersek, Kate Ellis in South Australia and Stephen Smith in Western Australia also suffered moderate swings. Maxine McKew, of course, was swept out of Bennelong by an almost 9% swing against her.
Conversely, most of the shadow cabinet enjoyed moderate to significant gains.
Labor also had individual swings against them in 11 of the 12 marginal seats.
In the battle for middle-ground, a cautious and poll-driven Labor appears to have missed important blocs of voters to both it’s left and right. The lurk to the right has almost certainly lost them traditional left-leaning Labor voters.