Greens supporters at The Montague Hotel in the seat of Griffith in Brisbane (Image: AAP/ Darren England)

The Australian Greens have had a historic strong result in Brisbane’s inner-city seats, paving the way for Queensland to become the party’s new stronghold.

For weeks polling had suggested a strong showing in the sunshine state, and election night was no different. With 48.3% of the vote counted, the Greens had 13.2% of the vote with a 2.9% swing towards them. This has translated to Griffith and Ryan being likely pick-ups, and Brisbane is also in sight. 

Max Chandler-Mather looks set to become the next member for Griffith, besting Labor’s Terri Butler. Chandler-Mather worked as the strategist for previous Greens state campaigns and ran the election campaign of high-profile Greens councillor Jonathan Sri. In Griffith, once a seat belonging to former prime minister Kevin Rudd, a well-resourced campaign built on face-to-face conversations that Chandler-Mather likened to “social work” has paid off big time. 

In nearby Ryan, Elizabeth Watson-Brown is likely to defeat Liberal MP Julian Simmonds. In a seat that has been battered by flooding this year, Watson-Brown capitalised on the Morrison government’s inaction to push hard on climate action while also tying in her experience in architecture to spruik sustainable development.

Stephen Bates is also polling well in Brisbane where incumbent Trevor Evans has conceded. Labor’s Madonna Jarrett is behind Bates by less than 1% with 58.5% voted, although the party says it expects a strong postal result. 

Throughout the campaign, Queensland Greens had been quietly confident about the strength of their ground game in inner-city Brisbane. Greens leader Adam Bandt boasted they’d “knocked on every door and had over 30,000 conversations with voters” in Griffith. Cost of living, climate change and plane noise were big issues in the campaign, which also played to their strengths, plus an innovative online campaign sought to channel interest in these topics towards the Greens.

Despite its reputation as Australia’s most conservative state, a remarkable result for the Greens in inner-city Brisbane seats has earned it the nickname Greensland, at least for tonight.