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2022 Federal Election: Seats to Watch

Griffith University’s panel of politics experts, Dr Paul Williams, Professor Anne Tiernan, Professor Emeritus John Wanna and Jenny Menzies have identified the following Queensland electorates as seats to watch in the 2022 federal election.

To dive deeper into the social and economic make-up of Queensland’s federal electorates and to investigate the voting history of each sitting member, head to Griffith University’s data dashboard.


This Labor seat, based in Ipswich and takes in Kilcoy, Esk, and areas surrounding Wivenhoe and Somerset dams, became a target seat for the LNP on the back of a large 10% swing against sitting member Shayne Neumann in 2019. Neumann has held the seat since 2010 but whittled it down to a slim 1.2% majority.  The ALP will be hoping the 2019 election was a low point for Labor in Blair and that the local member has taken advantage of the powers of incumbency to shore up his support over the past three years.

LNP candidate Sam Biggins is a Director at Colliers International and has worked in the property sector for some time. Blair was won by Pauline Hanson running as a disendorsed Liberal in 1996 and still returns a strong One Nation vote, with a solid 16.8% of the vote at the last election.

The LNP is attracted to the seat by the slim margin and the opportunity to gain One Nation preferences but it should hold steady for Labor, particularly in light of perceived deficiencies in the federal government response to recent floods.


Bowman is located in the Redlands area and takes in North Stradbroke/Minjerribah, the Moreton Bay islands, Wellington Point and Victoria Point, respectively. Though Bowman was comfortably won by the LNPs Andrew Laming in 2019 with a 10.2% majority, his forced resignation for behavioural issues has opened the contest up.  The LNP candidate, Henry Pike, is an adviser to the Property Council and former state government candidate for the Redlands area. His pre-selection was controversial with claims of interference as was his time as a Young Liberal with a texting scandal.

Labor candidate Donisha Duff is coming off a low base with Labor only polling 26.6% of the primary vote at the 2019 election. Duff is a health professional with the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health and a First Nations Woman. With a solid professional career, she would be hoping to capitalise on the ‘women’s issue’ which has dogged both the previous member and current LNP candidate.

With a solid 12% Green vote at the last election and 7.3% for One Nation, the flow of preferences will be critical in deciding the outcome.


The seat of Brisbane covers the inner Brisbane suburbs of Ashgrove, Kelvin Grove, Spring Hill, Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Teneriffe, Ascot and Hamilton.

Brisbane was a Labor stronghold but the gentrification of the inner suburbs and changing demographics delivered it to the LNP in 2007.  LNP incumbent Trevor Evans has held it since 2016  but has been under pressure on aircraft noise since the opening of the second runway in 2020, and the green leanings of the electorate. As well, recent flooding, caused the sitting member to intervene in overturning a decision by the Federal government not to fund a flood recovery package for Queensland.

This election Evans is running against Labor candidate Madonna Jarrett who is a Director with Deloitte Australia and a long term resident of the seat. In 2019 the Greens came in just behind the Labor vote in 2019 with high profile former Senator Andrew Bartlett. This time Greens candidate Stephen Bates is a sales assistant with no enduring connection to the electorate.

The seat is marginal and identified as a target seat by Labor that will need to change hands for Labor to gain government.


The seat of Dickson has a mixture of strong Labor and strong LNP areas. Labor support is strongest in the suburban corridors of Kallangur, Strathpine, Bray Park and Murrumba Downs, while the LNP are strong in the acreage and rural areas of Dayboro, Albany Creek and Samford.

This outer Brisbane seat has been held by LNP senior Minister Peter Dutton since 2001. Since then, his margin has risen or fallen depending on the general swing of the election and is currently 4.6% after increasing it at the 2019 election, despite the high profile campaign from GetUp. Dickson has been held by Labor and is still vulnerable to a swing. Mortgage stress, childcare and health, as well as cost of living, are live issues in this electorate.

Labor candidate Ali France ran for the ALP in 2019 and has a reasonable profile as a former journalist, disability advocate and paralympian.

The high profile of Peter Dutton is hard to counteract but if there is a swing on in Southeast Queensland, Dickson is a seat to watch.


Leichhardt runs from the outskirts of Cairns and takes in the Torres Strait, Weipa, Aurukun and Port Douglas. This seat has swung between the LNP and Labor since its inception. Held by Warren Entsch since 2010 (also held by him between 1996 and 2007) it did not swing towards the LNP in 2019 making it the LNP’s most vulnerable marginal seat in Queensland. The question at the election will be whether Warren Entsch has outstayed his welcome in the seat? The ALP candidate, Elida Faith, is a long time Centrelink worker and union organiser. She gained a small 0.7% swing against Warren Entsch in 2019 and will need preferences to call time on Entsch this election.

Six minor parties are running candidates from the Socialist Alliance and Greens through to One Nation, United Australia and Informed Medical Options. Last time the minor parties gained over 30% of the vote between them, making the allocation of preferences critical in this seat.

Expect to see the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition planes heading to the Cape during the campaign.

The electorate of Lilley covers the north-eastern Brisbane suburbs of Banyo, Brighton, Chermside, Geebung, Kedron, Northgate, Nudgee, Nundah, Pinkenba, Sandgate, Shorncliffe, Taigum, Virginia, Wavell Heights, Zillmere, and Aspley.

The retirement of long-term member Wayne Swan in 2019, saw an 8% swing against current ALP incumbent Anika Wells. Now on a wafer-thin margin of 0.6%, the ALP will be hoping the work put in by the member will increase the margin to a safer level.

They will be aided by the late withdrawal of the LNP candidate Ryan Shaw who was replaced by Vivian Lobo, an education administrator, in March.  The support of Greens preferences will, once again, be critical for Labor to hold this seat.


Longman is a sprawling outer-metropolitan seat north of Brisbane consisting of three separate regions: a central commuter-belt corridor based in Caboolture, Morayfield and Burpengary, Bribie Island and Deception Bay, and a rural hinterland spreading across Samsonvale and Woodford.

The seat has swung between the LNP and ALP since it was created in 1996. It was won by retail small businessman Terry Young in 2019 with a narrow 3.3% margin. Labor candidate Rebecca Fanning is a long term local and Labor health policy adviser. She will run hard on the federal government’s failings during the COVID 19 pandemic, hoping to capture any ongoing anger of their perceived failings.

One Nation gained 13% of the vote in 2019 and their preferences will be critical for Terry Young to retain the seat.

Our experts expressed differing views on the likely outcome in Longman. The advantages of incumbency were noted, which could see this seat resist a swing to Labor and be retained by the LNP. However, it was also noted that substantial interstate migration to this area could be an overlooked factor that could see Labor take the seat. Definitely a seat to watch.


The seat of Moreton takes in Fairfield and Annerley in the north to Kuraby and Sunnybank to the south and Acacia Ridge and Oxley in the west.

Moreton is a permanent slog for Labor to hold onto with a current margin of only 1.9% for sitting member Graham Perrett. Perrett has held the seat since 2007 and has worked hard across the southern suburbs of Brisbane to retain the seat. This election, LNP candidate is Steven Huang, a Taiwanese-born local Brisbane City Councillor. Moreton is a diverse multicultural seat with a large Asian population based around Sunnybank and Huang’s background and profile through the Council will appeal to many sections of the electorate.

Graham Perrett relied on Green preferences in 2019 and will again rely on hard work to keep this seat in the Labor fold.


The electorate of Ryan runs through the leafy Western suburbs Ferny Grove, The Gap, parts of Ashgrove, Bardon, Auchenflower, Toowong, Indooroopilly, St. Lucia, Kenmore, Pullenvale and Upper Brookfield and is a ‘blue ribbon’ Liberal seat. LNP member Julian Simmonds won it in 2019 and has had three years to consolidate his vote.

What makes this seat interesting is that at the last election the Greens vote was only a few percentage points behind Labor’s primary vote of 24.4%. Understandably, Ryan is now a target seat for the Greens, particularly as they hold the state seat of Maiwar which covers part of the federal electorate.

Labor is running the same candidate as in 2019. Peter Cossar works in the performing arts as an actor and teacher. The Greens candidate Elizabeth Watson-Brown is a well known architect and has appeal to the middle class voters of the electorate.

The race on election night will between Labor and the Greens to see who comes second and will be the beneficiary of the other’s preferences.


Another one of those outer-urban seats, Petrie takes in the northern part of Brisbane of Aspley and Carseldine, Bracken Ridge, Deception Bay and the Redcliffe peninsula.

In the past, Petrie was an ultra-marginal seat and now has been held by the LNPs Luke Howarth since 2013.  Howarth was a small business man and a lifelong local. The seat swung hard to the LNP in 2019 and they now hold it with an 8.4% margin.  This election will see that percentage reduce and the seat return to its marginal status.

Labor candidate Mick Denton works in the resources sector at the Lytton Oil Refinery and is running on a campaign for local jobs. For this election, One Nation is not running a candidate which will change the preference flow from 2019 where they gained over 7% of the vote.

Petrie lost its status as a bellwether seat but this election may well return it to the fold.


Griffith covers the inner-southern suburbs of Brisbane, and includes Murrarie, Bulimba, Hawthorne, Kangaroo Point, South Brisbane, Highgate Hill, Carina, Cannon Hil, Stones Corner, Greenslopes, Holland Park and Dutton Park.

Griffith was the seat of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Now held by the ALPs Terri Butler since the 2014 by-election, who is Shadow Minister for the Environment. In 2019, the LNP outpolled Butler in the primary vote but the large Green vote in the electorate saw her retain the seat.

The same LNP candidate, Olivia Roberts, is running again, as is the Greens Max Chandler-Mather. Both Roberts, a local lawyer, and Chandler-Mather, a Greens strategist, are targeting Labor’s slim 2.9% margin. Griffith is a Greens targeted seat and their aim is to come second in the primary vote and win on Labor preferences.

With the same cast as 2019, it will be interesting to watch to see if the outcome will change in 2022.

Herbert, based in urban Townsville and includes Pallarenda, Magnetic Island, Thuringowa, Bushland Beach and Saunders Beach, it has been held by both parties and is now held by the LNPs Phillip Thompson with an 8.4% margin.

Thompson is an ex-serviceman who was injured fighting in Afghanistan. Labor candidate, John Ring, is also an ex-serviceman, and now works in aviation fire fighting. Both candidates underlie the importance of the service vote in Townsville.

The seat attracts the full range of minor parties including Greg Dowling running again for the United Australia Party, a Katter Australia Party candidate and a Green. One Nation came in third in 2019 with 11% of the vote but no candidate has yet been announced.

Labor would love Herbert back in the fold and is their best hope for a North Queensland foothold.



Dr Paul Williams

Dr Paul Williams is an Associate Professor of politics and journalism at Griffith University’s School of Humanities, with a special research interest in Australian federal and state elections and voter behaviour. He is also a weekly columnist with The Courier Mail newspaper, and is published in various scholarly journals, including The Australian Journal of Political Science, The Australian Journal of Politics and History and the Australian Journal of Public Administration. He is also a regular political commentator across radio and television, and is co-editor of three books, including (with John Wanna) Yes, Premier: Labor Leadership in Australia’s States and Territories (2005).

Professor Anne Tiernan

Dr Anne Tiernan is a leading Australian scholar in public policy. Her career spans higher education, federal and state government, consultancy and teaching. Now managing director of mission-led consultancy firm Constellation Impact Advisory, Anne consults regularly to organisations committed to purpose and positive impact. She has written extensively on the political–administrative interface, governmental transitions, policy capacity and executive advisory arrangements. Her publications include The Oxford Handbook of Australian Politics (co-edited with Professor Jenny Lewis, 2021), Lessons in Governing: A Profile of Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff and The Gatekeepers: Lessons from Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff (both with RAW Rhodes, Melbourne University Publishing, 2014), Learning to be a Minister: Heroic Expectations, Practical Realities (with Patrick Weller, Melbourne University Press, 2010) and Power Without Responsibility: Ministerial Staffers in Australian Governments from Whitlam to Howard (UNSW Press, 2007).

Dr Tiernan is a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). Anne is Adjunct Professor with Griffith University, and previously a member of the university’s senior leadership team.

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Professor Emeritus John Wanna

Professor Emeritus John Wanna is a Professor Emeritus at Griffith University and also the ANZSOG National Director of Research in Public Administration.

Author of over fifty books, Professor Emeritus Wanna is a regular political commentator across the Australian media landscape (ABC, SBS, Sky, The Australian, The Courier-Mail, The Saturday Paper, the Australian Financial Review, and The Conversation) and regularly appears as an Australian politics expert on international media (Bloomberg, the New York Times, the Daily Mail, and Reuters).

Jenny MenziesJenny Menzies is a consultant in the Policy Innovation Hub at Griffith University. Jenny has over 25 years experience in policy and public administration in both the State and Commonwealth Governments.

As a senior executive within the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet she developed the government’s strategic policy agenda including the Smart State Policy (1998).

She was Cabinet Secretary from 2001 to 2004 and the inaugural Secretary for the Council for the Australian Federation from 2007 to 2009 and a member of the Commonweath Grants Commission 2011-2016. She publishes in the fields of caretaker conventions, federalism and intergovernmental relations.

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