The recent Brisbane City Council election result reminds me of Sally-Anne Atkinson’s win in 1988, although I think that Sally-Anne did slightly better.
In 1988, Sally-Anne received about 2/3 of the vote, and the Liberal Party won 17 of the 26 wards. The Labor Party won 9 wards: essentially it’s then-stronger wards of Deagon, Eagle Farm (similar to Northgate), Spring Hill (covering a large part of the existing Central), Paddington, The Gabba, Doboy, Wynnum-Manly, Inala and Enoggera. I recall that the Liberals won the ward of Coopers Plains, which covered (from memory) Salisbury, Archerfield, Algester, and nearby areas: a Ward that Labor should have won. The Liberal alderman, Greg Stegman, became known as the alderman to eradicate canetoads, possibly in a hope to retain his seat next election. A memory I have from that time is that an ex-Science teacher of mine was the Labor candidate for Jamboree, a then-very-safe Liberal seat in Council and State elections.
In 2008, Liberal Campbell Newman received slightly less than 2/3 of the vote, and the Liberal Party won 16 of the 26 wards. The Labor Party won 10 wards: Deagon, Northgate, Central, The Gabba, Morningside, Doboy, Wynnum-Manly, Karawatha, Moorooka and Richlands. Two of these wards (Central and Doboy) were barely won by long-serving Labor councillors. The Liberals, for the first time in a Council election in an extremely long time (if ever) won Enoggera, the people of which have generally voted Labor in State and Council elections for decades.
It looks as if Labor did slightly better in 2008 than in 1988 as it didn’t lose some arguably more marginal areas in the southern suburbs, but it did lose a “core” seat (Enoggera) in the same way it lost a core seat (Coopers Plains) in 1988.
A lesson from the 2008 Council elections is that there are “swinging” suburbs a team wants to win (e.g. in the ward of Marchant) and that people can swing dramatically in council elections.
Lastly, at the University of Qld I somewhat knew Milton Dick, the new Deputy Labor leader in the Council. I wonder if he’ll be Lord Mayor one day?