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29 May 2022

In a disastrous election for the Liberal Party of Australia, it seems that there may be a silver lining in New South Wales, as Andrew Constance, the Liberal candidate for the Division of Gilmore looks like he might be able to flip the Labor-held seat.

The seat has seen a 2.71% swing away from the sitting Labor MP, Fiona Phillips, in what appears to be an exception to the national trend in Australia, where Labor has increased its number of seats in the House of Representatives from 68 to 75, one away from the 76 seats needed to form a majority government.

In 2019, Phillips enjoyed a 3.34% Two Party Preferred swing away towards Labor, ending over two decades of Liberal control over the seat, which the Liberal Party had held since 1996.

Although first preference votes indicate a 13.27% towards Constance, this figure is misleading, as in 2019 both the Liberal Party and the New South Wales branch of the National Party of Australia contested the seat, with the Nationals receiving 12.5% of the primary vote. Meanwhile, the Labor first preference vote remains virtually unchanged, with only a 0.05% swing against Phillips.

The seat remains on a knife-edge, with only 214 votes separating Constance and Phillips, at the time of writing, increasing from the roughly 150 vote margin reported by Sky News on May 26, suggesting that the Liberals can breathe a small sigh of relief.

Nonetheless, this election has been devastating for the Liberal-National Party coalition government. With the ABC having called all seats but Labor’s Macnamara, Gilmore, and Liberal-held Deakin, the Coalition has dropped from 75 to 59 seats. Losing 18 seats to Labor, the Greens, and independents, the Coalition was only able to regain the Divisions of Hughes and Dawson.

Hughes was held by Craig Kelly, who had left the Liberal Party in 2021 and spent some time as an independent, before joining the United Australia Party later that year.

Dawson was held by George Christensen, who was a member of the Liberal-National Party of Queensland and caucused with the Nationals, before resigning in April 2022 to run for the Queensland Senate as a Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party candidate, which he lost.

The possibility of the Liberals flipping Gilmore is not the only break with national trends in that seat. The Greens experienced a swing of 0.12% against them in Gilmore, on first preferences, against the 1.35% swing towards the Greens nationally.

This election saw the Greens pick up their first House of Representatives seats outside of Victoria, where Adam Bandt won the Division of Melbourne in 2010. A strong Greens campaign in the city of Brisbane paid off, with the Divisions of Ryan and Griffith being all but called for the Greens on election night.

The Greens declared victory in the seat of Brisbane on May 28, exactly one week after Election Day, according to SBS. The Labor candidate, Madonna Jarrett, conceded defeat on the same day, reported 9 News.

The sitting LNP MP Trevor Evans, saw a first preference swing against himself that almost reached double digits, at 9.28%. with the swing towards Labor of 3.01% and Greens’ candidate Stephen Bates seeing a 4.39% swing in their favour. The result in Brisbane emphasises the importance of preferences Bates is sitting at 3rd on primary vote, with 26.76%, while Labor is at 27.5% and the Liberals are at 38.56%, Bates is winning on preferences.

With 73.9% of the vote counted, and the ABC reporting that preferences from the right-wing ‘freedom parties’ of One Nation, the United Australia Party, and the Liberal Democrats, as well as the Animal Justice Party, are flowing primarily towards the Greens, rather than the two major parties, the Greens will win Brisbane with a comfortable TPP margin of 52.2% to 47.8% against the Liberals, and a 7.1% swing on preferences.

The Divisions of Ryan, Griffith, and Brisbane overlap with the state-level seats of South Brisbane and Maiwar, both of which are held by the Greens. The Greens managed to flip the inner-city seat of Maiwar from Labor’s Jackie Trad in the 2020 state election.

With the Greens expected to have 12 Senate seats, 3 up from their 9 before the election, and with Penny Allman-Payne expected to win the 4th Senate seat in Queensland and Lidia Thorpe retaining her Senate seat in Victoria, it seems that Queensland and Victoria will be at the front of the “Green wave” in Australia.

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Stuart Jeffery, aka LibertyDownUnder, is the founder of the Australian Liberty Network. He is also the host of the Gumtree of Liberty and Gumtree of Liberty Live podcasts, and is editor of the Liberty Review. Stuart is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in international relations, at the University of Southern Queensland.

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