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Useful Notes / Brisbane

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The Southern end of the CBD from the Brisbane River.

The capital of the state of Queensland and its economic hub, Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia by population behind Sydney and Melbourne. It is located about halfway up the east coast, 700 kilometres north of Sydney, and is the core of a region home to 3.4 million people out of the state’s 4.8 million, many of whom live in the cities of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Brisbane itself has a population of 2.4 million.

Within Australia, Brisbane is famous for its laid back culture and beautiful weather, but is also infamous for its summer heat. While the city itself has no beaches and is in general more inland than the other state capitals, the Gold Coast 60km to the south provides some of the best in the world. It is also located close to major rainforests and mountains, such as those found in Lamington National Park and Mount Glorious, and Moreton Bay 15km to the east is bordered by the scenic Moreton and Stradbroke islands.


Being in Queensland, notorious for its conservative voters and often compared to the USA’s Deep South, Brisbane is often considered to be one of the least progressive cities in Australia. While the reality has changed in recent years, exemplified by the state showing greater support for same-sex marriage than New South Wales (the state Sydney is capital of) and the election of a Greens candidate to the state legislature, much of its reputation stems from the leadership of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the 1960s-80s. He is well remembered (if not in a favourable light) for his policy of banning peaceful protests and employing the police to break up such protests, often with violence and arrests resulting. Queensland at the time was often compared to a police state. Bjelke-Petersen’s leadership ended in 1988 with a series of corruption scandals with the premier himself being tried and acquitted (mainly due to the leader of the jury being planted by his supporters).


Politically, Queensland has a different system to other Australian states, having a unicameral system. This often results in majority governments easily passing large infrastructure projects for Brisbane or canning those passed by the previous government (examples include the back-and-forth Cross River Rail and Bus and Train tunnel supported by the Labor party and Liberal party, respectively). Again, Queensland in general is more conservative than other states, with its division of the Australian Labor Party (generally considered to be more left-leaning) pursuing more right-wing policies.