Former Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett has announced he will be contesting the federal seat of Brisbane for The Greens. That’s my local electorate, and I’m looking forward to an interesting contest!
Antony Green has much more. He points out that Bartlett’s chances aren’t fantastic, because it’s easier for a minor party to take a marginal than a safe seat, as they need to outpoll one of the major parties to be in with a shot. I don’t necessarily agree with Green, though, that Teresa Gambaro brings anything particular to the Liberal cause. She was a pretty lacklustre member for Petrie, and I don’t know that the seafood angle in the name recognition stakes is worth all that much. The Libs have run fairly high profile candidates in the seat before – notably Ingrid Tall in 2004. Tall is a well known doctor whose sexuality disgracefully prompted the Nationals to run a “family values” candidate.
The Libs have usually run well organised campaigns, and Labor has been worried about gentrification and shifting demographics for some time. But the sorts of potential Liberal voters who’ve been moving into the seat are more the types who’d be attracted by a hypothetical Liberal party where Malcolm Turnbull had actually fulfilled his small l Liberal promise. Gambaro doesn’t seem to me to be the best candidate – and we still need to factor in whatever chaos the LNP label might wreak on the Liberal vote in inner city Brisbane.
Arch Bevis probably doesn’t have much of a political future – he’s unlikely to ever sit on the front bench again. But he hasn’t been the member for almost 20 years for no reason – he’s well liked and respected, and works the electorate assiduously. I think he’d have had no trouble holding it whatsoever, and I suspect that’s still more than likely to be the case, though Bartlett’s candidacy certainly promises a less predictable contest.
At any rate, I’ll now be thinking about where to direct my first preference.