The (Former?) Liberal Party Stronghold of Ryan

The Queensland electorate of Ryan was created at the redistribution of 1948.

The first election for Ryan was held in 1949 and resulted in the election of Nigel Drury of the Liberal Party. Drury held the seat until the 1975 election when John Moore, also from the Liberal Party, was returned.

Ryan

The seat has never been held by the Australian Labor Party.

The ALP has never polled more than 42.37% of the primary vote in Ryan, a performance it achieved in the large swing to Labor in the 1969 Federal election.

The Liberal Party has consistently polled between 50% and 60% of the primary vote, except on those occasions when there was a three-cornered contest with the National Party, or the Democratic Labor Party.

On a two-party-preferred basis, the Liberal Party has consistently polled around 60% or more.

Ryan Electorate
Two-Party-Preferred
Year Lib % ALP %
1983
57.6
42.4
1984
60.4
39.6
1987
58.87
41.13
1990
57.20
42.80
1993
60.61
39.39
1996
66.87
33.13
1998
59.52
40.48
2001
49.83
50.17
Ryan Results
1949-2001
Year Lib Primary % ALP Primary %
1949
60.26
39.74
1951
60.86
39.14
1954
58.54
41.46
1955
60.76
39.24
1958
58.03
29.80
1961
52.17
39.95
1963
58.21
33.58
1966
59.59
30.18
1969
49.32
42.37
1972
46.19
40.32
1974
57.22
38.27
1975
43.24
31.87
1977
61.02
33.22
1980
55.08
33.99
1983
53.09
35.59
1984
40.74
34.01
1987
42.60
35.36
1990
43.77
29.48
1993
52.59
30.43
1996
59.85
25.13
1998
50.40
30.35
2001
43.19
38.68

As a safe Liberal seat, the electorate has often been a training ground for Labor candidates.

In 1980, the ALP candidate was Peter Beattie, the current Premier of Queensland. He polled 33.99% of the primary vote.

Ryan is classified as an outer metropolitan division, centred mainly on the south-western side of the City of Brisbane. Most of the electorate is located north of the Brisbane River with a small part extending south of the river where the suburbs on either side are linked by the Jindalee Bridge.

The main suburbs and localities in Ryan are Bellbowrie, Brookfield, the “Centenary suburbs”, Chapel Hill, Corinda, Darra (part), St. Lucia, Taringa, The Gap and Toowong (part).

The electorate is mainly residential and the main industries are the University of Queensland, light industry and farming.

The electorate is named after Thomas Joseph Ryan, the Labor Premier of Queensland between 1915-19. Ryan led a reformist, even socialist government in partnership with his deputy Premier, E. G. Theodore. He established an Industrial Arbitration Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act. Under Ryan, the Queensland government entered into trading activities, purchasing pastoral stations and even opening butcher shops in Brisbane and elsewhere.

Ryan clashed with the then Prime Minister, William Morris Hughes, over conscription. At one state, Hughes even threatened to seize copies of the State Hansard containing an anti-conscription speech made by Ryan in Parliament.

Ryan entered Federal politics in 1919, representing the NSW electorate of West Sydney. He became deputy leader of the ALP, but died in 1921. He was seen by his contemporaries as a future prime minister, but will be remembered most for his time as Queensland Premier. His biographer, D.J. Murphy, wrote: “He stood out as a giant among his political contemporaries and remains, perhaps, Queensland’s most outstanding Premier.”


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