By-election win may have sealed Frecklington’s fate
THE weekend's triple electoral contest offers more confusing messages than a drunken dyslexic Morse code operator.
The fact that a number of people outside Brisbane asked me to identify their local LNP and Labor-aligned candidate tells me many voters want the major parties to run local government tickets in the regions.
How else can regional voters sift through fields of vaguely described independents (all labelling themselves an "honest and hardworking local") and identify candidates' real ideological bents?
But that doesn't make the Brisbane City Council election a clear signpost for the October state election. In fact, all three significant parties - Labor, LNP and the Greens - can claim some level of success.
Labor, of course, appears to have lost most, with that party again failing to capture Brisbane City Hall despite holding state government for 26 of the past 31 years.
As of Tuesday morning, the party's Pat Condren had won just 31 per cent of the lord mayoral vote, compared with LNP incumbent Adrian Schrinner's 47.
That's mixed news for both parties: Labor suffered only a tiny swing against it while the LNP's primary vote declined by six points.
It seems the Greens' five-point increase came at the expense of the LNP.
Importantly, the Green surge was even more pronounced in inner-Brisbane wards.
Incumbent Jonathan Sri recaptured The Gabba - a seat overlapping Treasurer Jackie Trad's South Brisbane electorate - with a 16 per cent swing.
With Labor's vote falling five points and the LNP's by 10, it's clear disaffected LNP voters are also fuelling the Green vote in the inner city.
The pattern was repeated elsewhere: the Greens enjoyed a five-point swing in Central, a 10-point swing in Paddington, and a 12-point increase in Coorparoo.
Why? Growing antipathy to alleged climate change inaction and a Labor Party many younger voters see as too similar to the LNP are the most likely reasons.
But it's not all bad news for Labor in wards farther from the CBD.
Condren's team enjoyed a five-point swing in Doboy and a seven-point increase in Deagon. Critically, the smaller Green surge in the middle and outer suburbs again appears to have come at the LNP's expense.
Yes, Condren's attack on alleged City Hall rorts did find an audience, if only on Struggle Street.
The two by-elections offer us a clearer picture, and Labor can congratulate itself for not only retaining Bundamba, but for containing the primary swing against it to 11 points.
The loss of Jo-Ann Miller's personal vote - and the fielding of the first One Nation candidate there since 2004 - could have spelled catastrophe for the Government.
But we shouldn't read too much into One Nation's 28 per cent, which is six points short of its 1998 debut in a seat unrepresentative of the rest of the state.
Currumbin, however, offers the clearest insight into what we can expect politically over coming months.
First, an extremely rare two-point swing to the Government - and a four-point fall in the LNP's primary vote - might not be replicated in Toowoomba or Townsville, but it does confirm LNP leader Deb Frecklington's failure to cut through in the southeast.
The great irony is that Currumbin may finally prompt the LNP to spill Frecklington and install David Crisafulli - an obvious leader-in-waiting and very popular in the southeast.
The result? Labor can celebrate a moral victory in Currumbin today, but it might have already sown the seeds of its own defeat come October.
Originally published as By-election win may have sealed Frecklington's fate