Yesterday The Courier Mail reported that Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner, had launched a scathing attack on the Greens nine months out from the next council elections. He branded them the most divisive force in Australian politics. And in a swipe at Labor said their only path to victory is through an alliance with the Greens.

“Brisbane’s future is just too important to hand over to a destructive Labor/Green alliance,” the Courier Mail reports the Mayor saying.

Speculation is rife about the Greens’ candidate for Mayor in the upcoming March 2024 Council elections. The Courier Mail suggests Jonathan Sriranganathan, former Councillor for the Gabba, will take up the Mayoral candidature for The Greens. Sriranganathan remains tight-lipped, neither confirming nor denying the rumours. However, he believes that the Lord Mayor is growing increasingly apprehensive about the forthcoming election.

“It’s obvious now that the Liberals are very, very nervous about losing more seats to the Greens,” Jonathan Sriranganathan told the Westender.

Sriranganathan accused the Lord Mayor and his allies of perpetuating divisions and silencing those who expose injustice.[i]

“I don’t read the Courier Mail because it prints so much neo-con hard-right garbage and often gets key details wrong even on straightforward stories that are easy to fact-check, so I don’t actually know what Schrinner said, and I’m not particularly interested in his opinion of the Greens.”

“I also don’t really want to wade into the mud of parties just attacking each other without any substantive discussion of policy. I don’t think that’s constructive.”

“But if Schrinner wants to talk about divisiveness, someone needs to point out that the LNP still directs preferences towards One Nation, a party whose leader has made countless racist claims about Aboriginal people, has said Australia is being ‘swamped by Asians’ and ‘swamped by Muslims,’ and suggested that South African migrants were bringing AIDS into the country.”

“Accusations of ‘divisiveness’ are most frequently made by the people who actually cause and perpetuate divisions in society and are used to silence people who draw attention to those divisions and injustices.”

At present, no official candidates have been announced for Mayor from either Labor or the Greens. Nevertheless, the Lord Mayor is wasting no time setting the tone for the upcoming debate. Labor and the Greens will compete for the more marginal LNP seats, and Schrinner is no doubt hoping these battles and policy debates will divert attention away from the Mayor and his party. Schrinner is already signalling the key issues he wants the electorate to focus on: the housing crisis and the Kurilpa plan are among them.

Meanwhile – in the midst of the housing crisis – we’re still waiting for state government approval for our Kurilpa plan,” The Courier Mail reports Cr Schrinner saying.

With successes in three Queensland federal electorates in 2022, and a second spot in the Senate, the Greens have sent a clear message to the LNP that they are targeting their Wards. They have already announced candidates for Paddington, Central, and Walter Taylor, and say they are aiming to secure ten new council positions adding to their ranks alongside Gabba Ward Councillor Trina Massey.

Sriranganathan says prior to his election victory in 2016, the Greens primary vote in the Gabba Ward was around 17 per cent, and based on the most recent federal election results, there are now sixteen wards where the Greens primary is above that.

“The seats of Walter Taylor, Paddington, Brisbane Central and Coorparoo are now looking extremely strong for us. You could almost say they’re ours for the taking if we can build a strong campaign and select the right candidates”, Jonathan Sriranganathan told the Westender in June 2022.

“But there’s another layer of seats such as The Gap, Pullenvale, Holland Park, and Northgate or Enogerra that are also now winnable, because those seats will have federal Greens representatives and we’ve seen some big swings in those suburban booths now,” Sriranganathan added.

The Greens are particularly optimistic about their chances in Paddington, following a close call in the 2020 elections. With LNP councillor Peter Matic retiring, the Greens see an opportunity to capitalise on the vacancy.

While the Greens make their strategic moves, Labor leader in Council, Jared Cassidy, is talking up Labor’s prospects for the 2024 elections. Like the Greens, Labor has declared candidates for some seats, but their candidate for Mayor remains undecided. The identity of Labor’s candidate against Trina Massey in The Gabba Ward is also yet to be declared.

The stage is set for a high-stakes battle that will shape the future of Brisbane at a critical time for the city.


[i] The former councillor stresses that he is not currently a spokesperson for the party, and that these are personal opinions.


Image by Jan Bowman