The LNP facing a tough challenge from Labor and Greens in Ryan at this election | #socialmedia


At the Kenmore Bridge Club the political numbers game is weighing heavily on players’ minds ahead of next week’s federal poll.

They live in the seat of Ryan held by LNP high flyer Julian Simmonds, which he holds by a margin of 6 per cent.

But while they may be old-timers in the traditional blue ribbon seat they insist their vote cannot be taken for granted.

Sixty-five-year-old Elizabeth Handley said she was sick of both major parties complaining about each other.

“I am very disappointed in them,” she said.

The former consultant said Ryan was often described as part of “Brisbane’s wealthy western suburbs” but she maintained the electorate had changed in a socio-economic sense and so had its traditional vote.

“If you went through the area you could find pockets of poverty and there are people who are absolutely just getting by and our governments are not doing anything for those people,” she said.

Elizabeth Handley says the major parties have been taken Ryan’s voters for granted.(ABC News: Lexy Hamilton-Smith)

A federal integrity body and action on climate change are what the Kenmore grandmother wants action on and it was pushing her vote towards an independent or the Greens.

“I have been shifting because what I have found is the major parties are not talking to me, they are not looking after my future and they are not looking after my children’s future,” she said.

‘We need to change something’

Fellow bridge player and former engineer Andrew Sharp has lived in the electorate for 55 years and said nothing has changed in that time.

He also maintains the LNP takes Ryan’s “conservative” vote for granted.

The 69-year-old said there was a lack of “real and intelligent” debate in this election campaign and he was also looking to switch his vote towards an independent.

“My vote will probably change this election, I will try something else. We need to change something,” he said.

While politics is not part of the small talk during their daily bridge competition, fellow players Anne Russell and David Douglas said they were also disillusioned with the major parties.

A woman with curly grey hair smiles into the camera while playing cards.
Anne Russell says she is unsure of where her vote will go on May 21. (ABC News: Alice Pavlovic)

Ms Russell, a former lecturer at QUT, said she was a traditional LNP voter but was open to change at this poll.

Mr Douglas was leaning towards the Greens or Labor as he pushes for action on global warning and integrity in government.

“But I am over the election campaign,” the 72-year-old said.

Meanwhile over at the University of Queensland some first-time voters were variously disengaged or overwhelmed by the spectacle of a federal election campaign.

Common answers on campus this week to the question about “who to vote for?” had a common thread.

“Not quite sure yet who I am going to choose, I do not know what to do or how to vote.” 

“I don’t follow politics so it is probably something I need to look at before the election.”

“I feel a bit under-educated about all of it to be honest.”

“I’ll just ask Mum and Dad what to do.”

But when asked about the issues mattered most, climate change and cost of living came to the fore.

Greens and Labor hoping to make inroads

Mr Simmonds was sensationally parachuted into the seat to bring in “generational change” after a hostile branch takeover that saw popular Jane Prentice, who had served as an assistant minister for social services and disability services, dumped ahead of the 2019 election.

Julian Simmonds smiles.
LNP federal member Julian Simmonds was vocal for financial support during recent floods. (ABC News: Lexy Hamilton-Smith)

Labor’s Leonie Short caused an upset in the seat in 2001 at a by-election, but was only in for eight months, before the LNP won it back.

This time around Labor and the Greens looking set to give Mr Simmonds a run for his money.

Actor Peter Cossar is standing for the ALP for a second time while the Greens have a “newbie” in architect Elizabeth Watson-Brown.

There is a question around which party is actually the main rival.

As in other inner-Brisbane seats, there has been a substantial rise in Green first preference support (20.3 per cent in 2019) at the expense of Labor.



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