Battle for Brisbane waged on tax and business

May 25, 2016 Bennet Nichol
Photo: Wikipedia Commons.
Sitting Member:
Gambaro, T (LNP)
Size of electorate:
58 sq. Km

Sitting Member

Previously a member for Petrie and was in Parliament in 1996 until she lost her seat in 2007. Gambaro re-entered Federal Parliament as the member for Brisbane in the 2010 election.

Key Comments

The area is inner metropolitan containing mostly residential homes but also some light industry. It includes the Queensland Parliament House and Brisbane City Council Chambers. Many Commonwealth Government, State Government and business administrative offices are found in the area.

Electorate Profile

The federal seat of Brisbane will have an undoubtedly important role to play in the 2016 election. The electorate includes a vast array of people, multiple levels of industry and business, and diverse residential areas.

Running along the Brisbane River, from the Gateway Bridge to Milton, and expanding northward until the end of Lutwyche Road, the electorate includes the suburbs of: Kelvin Grove, Enoggera, Bowen Hills, Newstead, Windsor, Newmarket, Wilston, Clayfield, Hamilton, Albion, Stafford and Wooloowin.

Historically, the Brisbane electorate has been a relatively safe Labor seat. The ALP held Brisbane for 30 consecutive years, from 1980 to 2010.  However, the 2010 election saw the Brisbane electorate boundaries changed to include Hamilton and surrounding areas, suburbs which have a very strong LNP vote.

This change in voter demographic caused a major shift in the voting habits of the electorate. In 2010 the ALP lost their firm grip on the seat, losing to the LNP’s Teresa Gambaro with a 5.7 percent swing. The inclusion of heavy LNP voting areas dramatically changed the outcome of the election that year, and for the years to come. In the 2013 election, Gambaro further solidified her 2010 victory, gaining an additional 3.2% to her margin.

Notably, Greens candidate Andrew Bartlett had a significant portion of the votes in 2010, tallying a total of 21.3 percent, displaying a significant shift in the habits of the electorate. However, this trend was diminished somewhat in 2013 as Green candidate Rachael Jacobs suffered a -6.9 percent swing. 

As it stands currently, the Brisbane seat is looking quite marginal. According to the ABC’s most recent federal election pendulum, Brisbane is held by the coalition by a margin of 4.3 percent. The seat is also being thrown into contention by the retirement of Gambaro. This leaves the seat of Brisbane with two new ALP and LNP candidates vying for the open position.

Both the LNP and Labor have selected relatively young, male and - a first in Australian politics - openly gay candidates. Running for the LNP, Trevor Evans is the CEO of the National Retail Association. Labor candidate Pat O’Neill served as an officer of the Australian army for 17 years.

Transport is undoubtedly one of the most significant political issues that hold sway in the Brisbane electorate. With major congestion problems, expensive CBD parking and less than reliable public transport, it’s fair to say that Brisbane will be won or lost on the issue of transportation, as it was during this year’s Queensland Council election. On the back of his recent re-election, Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk has announced a $1.54 billion plan for a metro system to ease congestion, however leaks from the Department of Transport and Main Roads suggested the cost may blow out to $3 billion. As a result, Quirk may need state and federal funding for the project, which places transport and the support of the Metro project on the forefront of the agenda for the election in Brisbane.

Small and medium sized businesses are a key part of the Brisbane electorate, as the CBD contains a significant number of retail and hospitality venues. The Coalition’s recent budget and the increase of the turnover threshold for small businesses will play a significant part in the Brisbane debate, as the two major party candidates battle for votes.

Brisbane small retail business owner Jason Moloney thinks that competition from big companies is a key issue, and that the government should perform more regulatory action in order to make small business viable.

“Big business is extremely greedy, they make it hard for small business and wipe you out. They will discount the same product to stop you from making a profit,” Mr Moloney said.

“If there could be a bit more of an even playing field that would be good, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.”

As Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten debate the national tax system, and push for the elimination of large company fee avoidance, business tax reform will also be on the forefront of the Brisbane debate. Many small, medium and large businesses will be directly affected by the impact of changes to the system.

Mr Moloney said the taxation system is unfair for smaller businesses such as his, and that should be rectified.

“If you look at [large companies] tax on a percentage basis, they're paying four percent or five percent, whereas small business pays 15 to 20 percent tax on their products, because of import and duty fees.”

“We are looking at 20 percent of our turnover going in tax, and large businesses get closer to four percent.”

2013 Election Results

Candidate Party Votes % Swing(%)
ROLES, John Stable Population Party 564 0.65 +0.65
ROSE, Tony Secular Party of Australia 602 0.69 +0.69
GAMBARO, TeresaElected Liberal National Party of Queensland 41681 47.99 +2.10
CICCHINI, Connie Katter's Australian Party 951 1.09 +1.09
FORD, Veronica Mary Ann Palmer United Party 3643 4.19 +4.19
JACOBS, Rachael The Greens 12452 14.34 -6.94
JOYNER, Sharyn Family First 801 0.92 -0.65
McNAMARA, Fiona Australian Labor Party 26163 30.12 -0.26
...... Socialist Alliance 0 0 -0.88


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