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Climate and cost of living reform key electoral issues for undecided voters in Queensland

After a marathon campaign, Australians are a day away from deciding who will rule the country for the next three years.

Since voters in Queensland delivered the coalition the “miracle” victory of 2019, they have weathered traumatic bushfires and floods, dealt with the far-reaching effects of a global pandemic, and managed the escalating costs of living and housing.

While Election Commission figures show that around a quarter of voters in Queensland have taken a pre-poll – even more than in 2019 – a large proportion of voters remain uninspired by major parties and have yet to decide who will be placed first.

As the global climate changes – meteorological, economic, and military – it appears that the priorities of the Queensland battlefield have also changed.

Queensland, by the numbers

Coalition leaders visited Queensland at least 35 times during the campaign. (By Nick Haggarty)

While the southern states are experiencing a real crisis, there’s no doubt that the coalition has still been trying to win over its voter base in Queensland – look at the numbers.

Queensland voters have received 35 visits from the Prime Minister and his deputy – comparable to New South Wales.

Labor leaders showed up 19 times in Queensland, fewer than in New South Wales.

In Blair’s second-most fringe seat in Queensland, the coalition hopes to fire Shayne Neumann, a long-standing Labor member.


The seat has seen Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce no fewer than six times during the campaign.

Likewise, rocking chairs in central Queensland have attracted much Coalition attention, with six visits to California and four to Flynn.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese spent most of his time in Queensland in the Far North Leichhardt electorate. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Labor hopes to expand its footprint north of Brisbane’s suburbs by securing Leichhardt’s Far North Queensland clock.

The seat saw four visits from opposition leader Anthony Albanese – the most of all voters in Queensland.

Political scientist Anne Tiernan of Griffith University said that although Queensland is not the focus of both campaigns this time, neither side can afford to lose seats.

“Those routes tell you all about where the parties think they need to work hard to get the result they’re looking for,” Professor Tiernan said.

ANALYSIS: Check out the latest news from the campaign journey with Patricia Karvelas

Professor Tiernan said the coalition had almost conceded defeat in Lilley, Queensland’s most fringe seat, where incumbent Labor MP Annika Wells won the seat by fewer than 1,500 votes in 2019.

Plagued by veteran Ryan Shaw’s late withdrawal and his replacement under investigation by federal police, coalition leaders have not once stopped at the seat.

“I think Lilley is just a bridge too far, so there are other places they’ve turned their attention to,” Professor Tiernan said.

Pension at the poverty line

During her 50-year career as a bookkeeper, Jennifer Andrews, a retiree from Greenbank, took less than two years of maternity leave and rarely any vacation.

For the most part, she did not earn a pension and raised three daughters as a single mother.

Jennifer Andrews said big parties had forgotten retirees. (ABC News: Jemima Burt)

She retired at age 70 but now lives on the poverty line.

“Retirement makes it very tight indeed, as far as I have phased out as much as possible.

“If you don’t spend a lot, there isn’t much you can cut back on, which is why I thought health insurance would be the thing that should go away.”

In March, the federal government increased the pension by $20, but Ms. Andrews said a rent increase around the same time would not move her forward.

“All of a sudden, I’m going backward, and gas and food have gone up astronomically,” she said.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to search, and up and down hands for volume. Watch Duration: 3 minutes 2 seconds 3m 2s Scott Morrison plays attacks from his side.

She considered returning to work but said she doubted anyone would hire her.

The retiree had already cast her vote in her electorate of Forde, which spans Logan and the Gold Coast, and said she felt the prime minister had no contact with people living by word of mouth.

“There are a lot of people in this particular community and other communities who just feel like the government doesn’t care,” she said.

“They’re trying to get votes from the younger people and forget that there are an awful lot of us oldies.”

Farmers at the bottom of the food chain

Frank Sciacca’s banana farm is caught between labor shortages, rising fuel and fertilizer costs, and adverse weather conditions. (ABC News: Brendan Mounter)

Farmer Frank Sciacca in far North Queensland took a risk 20 years ago when he started producing the world’s most environmentally friendly bananas – the organic red-tipped bananas you’d recognize from your local supermarket.

But after extreme weather events and the pressure of rising costs, he’s unsure about the future of his family’s pioneering farm.

Last year, a severe weather event caused 100 percent crop losses, forcing the plantation to suspend banana shipments for months.

“Climate change is something I’ve seen and something that’s happening. I’ve been here a long time and seen those changes,” Sciacca said.

“What we’re seeing here is the greater rainfall at certain times of the year that we’ve traditionally not had, which puts more pressure on the pest problems.”

The price of fertilizer has almost doubled for Frank Sciacca due to supply problems related to the crisis in Ukraine. (ABC News: Brendan Mounter)

During the COVID pandemic, Mr. Sciacca has had major difficulties finding labor, and production costs have skyrocketed.

“The cost of fertilizer has increased from $700 to over $1,500 a ton — it’s doubled,” he said.

“It’s one thing to be flat or traumatized by a weather event; it’s another to come back and pay the money you borrowed to keep going.”

He lives and works in the Kennedy electorate, held by Queensland’s only independent MP, Bob Katter, who has held the seat since 1993.

Mr. Sciacca said he felt political parties had left behind farmers.

“Sad to say, I don’t hear anyone reaching out to farmers and acknowledging the problems farmers have and wanting to support those farmers,” he said.

Changing Tide for Small Businesses

Matthew Hodson, the owner of Tingalpa, goes to the polls for the first time undecided after nearly two decades as an LNP voter. (ABC News: Lucas Hill)

Matthew Hodson bought his first boat from the Tingalpa shipping company he now owns.

Mr. Hodson has voted for the LNP in every federal election for the past two decades, feeling it best supports companies like his to thrive and generate employment.

Matthew Hodson says that any party that can provide the best future for its children will get its vote. (ABC news: Lucas Hill)

He was pleased with how the federal government handled the COVID crisis, but this year he heads to the polling booth for the first time indecisively.

“This is the first year that we’ve looked at our children, our present life – middle age, our future, retirement, and also our aging parents,” said Mr. Hodson.

“We see a little bit of every party we like, making it hard to determine which votes should get.”

Hodson, a resident of Griffith’s electorate, said he would vote with his three children in mind — for the party that best supports a clean environment, steady work, and a future for his children.

He said the environment had become a concern since his company suffered significant losses during the February floods.

“The GFC we’ve worked our way through, the Gulf War we’ve worked our way through, fuel prices have been going up and down, interest rate cycles that we’ve been through,” he said.

“So to sit in this same office with a passion for boating and to see these waves come through and see governments through and possibly the greatest transition in our society right now, with the shift to renewables, I’m concerned about the future .”

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Dorothy R. Barrett

I’m a full-time blogger by passion. This is my first blog, and I'm excited to share everything that I love about technology, business, and lifestyle with you. I’m a writer by trade, and I can be found writing about tech, business, and lifestyle on my personal blog.

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