What makes the North tick
They might be called One Nation but Pauline Hanson’s political party has divided Queensland, and the major political parties only have themselves to blame.
North Queensland has always been frontier territory, maverick thinkers who are deeply cynical of Canberra and Brisbane. They see “southerners’’ as the enemy. They fervently believe they don’t get a fair go from decision-makers in the southeast, or in the nation’s capital.
Talk of secession from the southeast corner has been around for more than a century. They are stirrers and they love the fact that Senator Hanson is going to “shake things up’’ at the state election.
Today’s snapshot of the One Nation voter is a fascinating insight into what makes them tick. And make no mistake about the impact One Nation voters will have in 13 days. Not only will Pauline Hanson’s party win seats, her followers’ second preferences will shape the outcome of the election.
If, as our ReachTEL poll shows today, three-quarters of One Nation voters give their second preference to Tim Nicholls, the LNP can start outfitting 1 William Street. If the preferencing is closer to 60 per cent to the LNP, which Galaxy polls suggest, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk may well fall over the line.
For One Nation supporters, life is pretty simple, although they have serious concerns about jobs, law and order and immigration. They back Donald Trump, love rugby league, and still sit down at night to watch the television news.
They’ll vote for Senator Hanson’s party believing it will shake things up, and because they think the major parties don’t represent them properly.
They are mostly conservatives at heart and they despise the union movement. Interestingly, managing immigration, despite being a Commonwealth issue, was overwhelmingly their major concern at 34.4 per cent, followed by crime (17 per cent) and job creation (16.8 per cent).
Just as Trump swept to power on the back of middle America – with the “elites’’ on the east and west coast losing their mojo – the same phenomenon is at play in Queensland.
Those voters predominantly north of Noosa will be kingmakers. Whoever gets elected on November 25 must pay more than lip service to the debt problem. This attitude that it’s someone else’s problem is not good enough.
Fiscal responsibility goes with the territory of leading Queensland, and right now, putting tough economic decisions on hold is sending the state into a thundering fiscal abyss.
The interest rate alone on our debt is surging past the $3 billion a year mark. Imagine how many hospitals and schools could be built with that amount.
Queenslanders must be prepared to accept economic belt-tightening. The state’s future depends on it, and courageous leadership is at the forefront of that thinking.