Looking through the votes in different polling booths across an election gives a reminder of just how diverse our community is, even within a single electorate.
I was certainly pleased that the Greens managed to break the 20 per cent mark in the seat of Brisbane. This is obviously well above the 9 per cent I managed when I stood for the seat as A Democrat candidate in 1996, and is also higher than the best House of Reps result the Democrats ever managed to achieve in Queensland, which was 19.1 per cent in the seat of Ryan back in 1990. The Greens look likely to poll about the same figure in Ryan this time around.
Looking at the individual booth results in the seat of Brisbane, out of the 40 booths (incl 2 pre-poll booths), 23 of them polled over 20 per cent. Out of these, 11 polled over 25 per cent, and of these 4 polled over 30 per cent. The Greens outpolled Labor to come in second in 3 booths (Ithica South (which is in Red Hill), Petrie Tce and Kelvin Grove) and came within 5 votes of topping the primary vote count in Kelvin Grove. To focus on the negatives for a moment, there were two booths below 10 per cent – which were Ascot at 8.9 per cent and the nearby booth at Clayfield, which polled a strangely low 2.9 per cent. (I’m more than used to polling low figures, so I’m not complaining about that per se, but it does seem strange that this booth is so markedly lower than all surrounding booths, and is the only one to actually go backwards from the last election, with the primary vote more than half what it was in 2007).
Whilst the Greens polled a bit lower in Ryan, it was actually far more successful when it came to outpolling one or both of the other major parties. Coming in second isn’t as good as coming in first, but with our preferential voting system, getting above one of the other major parties on primary is a crucial goal in being able to win the seat.
In Ryan, the Greens polled above 20 per cent in 16 booths out of 38, with 5 of those polling above 25 per cent, and 2 of them polling above 30 per cent. The Greens also outpolled Labor in 10 of those booths – mostly around Indooroopilly, Toowong, St Lucia and Milton – and won the Brisbane City election day booth (which is not based in the electorate, so it is similar to a sizable absentee booth).
Outpolling Labor in so many booths in that seat is partly due to the much weaker vote Labor achieved in Ryan compared to Brisbane, but it none the less shows that a rigid insistence on a two party mindset just does not reflect the reality in many parts of the state, or the country.