At the Brisbane City Council 2012 elections, sitting Councillor Helen Abrahams secured 45.12 percent of the vote (a swing of 5.3 percent to Labor) from the LNP’s Francis Quinlivan (37.18 percent). The Greens candidate, Gary Kane, garnered 17.70 percent of the vote. The Gabba was one of only three Wards in 2012 to gain a swing Labor’s way.
There have been changes in the Gabba Ward since 2012 and the elections on March 19th may bring a less predictable result than in previous years.
The Ward boundaries have been redrawn with The Gabba losing some of its turf to the new Coorparoo Ward. Pollster Antony Green predicts that the old ALP margin of 8.0% has increased slight to 8.3% with the new Gabba Ward boundaries.
The retirement of the long time and popular Cr Abrahams, leaves the field open to three new, and relatively untested, candidates.
Cr Abrahams says the rule of thumb is that only about 3% of the vote is attributable to personal following and her retirement may not be too great a factor this time around.
In 2012, the estimated resident population of The Gabba was 45,675 persons. The demographic is young, professional and highly mobile. Over 50% of residents are renters, and approximately half of the families residing in the Ward, are couples with no children.
The Ward, which stretches from Kangaroo Point, East Brisbane, South Brisbane, West End, Dutton Park, and Woolloongabba, is also culturally diverse with 33.9 percent of the total population born overseas, and of those, 22.3 percent coming from non-English speaking countries.
There were 25,807 residents enrolled to vote in The Gabba in 2015.
The Candidates’ Profiles
The Liberal National Party’s Sean Jacobs and Labor’s Nicole Lessio are standing for election for the first time. Jonathan Sri from The Greens was a candidate for South Brisbane in the February 2015 State Election, doing well, particularly in the West End booth, where he out-polled the LNP candidate.
Karel Boele of People Decided, who stood in both Griffith in 2013 and in South Brisbane in 2015, is yet to confirm his candidacy.
The Westender approached each of the three declared candidates with a series of questions.
Links to their responses are below.
STOP PRESS! Karel Boele has joined the Race for the Gabba Ward
There will be plenty of opportunities to hear more from all candidates and to ask them questions of your own.
The Westender and the West End Community Association will be holding a Meet the Candidates Forum at 6.30pm at The Loft on Wednesday February 10th.
The Kurilpa Futures Group will sponsor a forum of Gabba Ward and Mayoral Candidates’ Q&A a week later at South League Club from 6.00pm – 7.30pm, Wednesday, February 17th.