Is Queensland different?

It seems to be taken for granted in political commentary, particularly on the political right, that the Liberal and National Parties face a geographical problem in which pro-coal policies are an electoral loser in wealthy city seats in Sydney and Melbourne, but a winner in Queensland, and particularly in regional Queensland. The key issues are the proposed Adani coal mine and the idea of a publicly-funded coal-fired power station.

No one seems to have mentioned an obvious problem with this analysis. Queensland held a state election in 2017, in which the Adani proposal was a key issue. Labor won easily, holding the regional seats where Adani was supposed to create thousands of jobs, and picking up seats in the south-east corner.

Following the election, the state government announced that it would set up a publicly-owned renewable generator (rather unimaginatively called CleanCo). It remains well ahead in the opinion polls (53-47 as of last November)

Obviously, not everyone is happy. The mining division of the CFMMEU has joined the Queensland Resources Council to campaign for Adani. But there’s no sign that this move has had any real impact on public opinion.

The great majority of Australians accept mainstream science and want action on climate change. Denialism is a loser everywhere, including in Queensland. It’s only a winner with the right wing “base” amounting to perhaps 20 per cent of the population, but dominant within the Liberal and National parties.

22 thoughts on “Is Queensland different?

  1. You beat me to it.

    I have wondered why no journo has asked the various National MPs from up there why the ALP won if their political nose is so attuned!

    New coal power is not reliable and costs twice as much a new solar at present.

    New solar costs are still falling. New coal costs are not

  2. Some elements of the LNP are just desperate for some attention – they are intensifying the trolling in the hope that someone will take them seriously enough to bother responding.

  3. Capricornia is held by the Natys with a very small Margin.
    It will be interesting to see how that will go as the Labor candidate is a miner!

  4. Queensland is polling 51:49 to Labor for the election.

    The other states – NSW 52:48, Victoria 57:3, SA 57:43, WA 52:48. (Tas, no data).

    One Nation is at 9% in Queensland, and between 2% and 7% in the other states,

    Queensland is different.

  5. It’s pretty simple really – these pollies have made the traditional country politician’s mistake of only talking to the ‘big men’ (and yes it is men) in their parochial electorate – the shire presidents, stock and station agents, agribusiness owners, etc. They’re not really in touch with sentiment in their own electorates, let alone that of the nation as a whole.

    As I’ve often noted, it is frustrating that the Greens seem so focused on inner city issues – there is plenty of scope for them to do a lot better in the regions. As it is I expect “Country Labor” to surprise everyone by its strength in this election.

  6. I am currently doing doorknocking in the electorate of Dickson for GetUp and am in despair at the number of people who say they are “not interested in politics” or “I don’t vote , mate, they’re all the same” etc. I respect people who have an informed opinion (either way) but the vacuousness of those with no opinion or climate-denialism based on reading the Courier Mail is totally depressing.

  7. dd

    that’s a bit unfair. The Greens have been very vocal about the dead fish in the Darling. And some of them have talked about alliances with farmers, who should (and many do) care about the environment.

    But fundamentally, the Greens in varying degrees are anti-capitalist, and farmers are pro-capitalist, especially the profit part (the losses, on the other hand, they are of course very happy to see socialised).

  8. Well, let us hope that Labor win the next election with a big margin and even, maybe, a majority in both houses. It’s the only realistic hope under the two-party duopoly, so I hope for it.

    The question then will be this. Will Shorten and Labor make any genuine changes to our current economic system or will it remain an instantiation of two-party / one-ideology capitalist politics? In other words, will capitalist business-as-usual continue under Shorten? Or will he and his party make some genuine attempts at policies for the workers and precariat; policies which begin to structurally change our system in a different direction to the structural changes made by neoliberalism?

    Proofs of such fundamental change would be (sometimes in manageable stages);

    (a) repealing negative gearing;
    (b) implementing strongly progressive taxes at the higher levels of wealth and income;
    (c) banning new coal mines;
    (d) removing all fossil fuel subsidies;
    (e) implementing a full fossil fuel tax;
    (f) amending laws to re-legitimise union, worker and precariat actions;
    (g) recreating a genuine Industrial Relations Commission and legislating a living minimum wage.
    (h) re-creating a government owned Commonwealth (style) Bank;
    (i) re-nationalising natural monopolies.

    If Shorten and Labor don’t start serious work on this agenda in their first term then they are not serious and it’s more of the same old, same old, of two-party / one-ideology capitalist politics. I have to say I am not very hopeful. I hope I am proved wrong. I would like to see something (anything) change for the better, in the realm of political economy, before I die. Everything has been changing for the worse since I was about 25. That’s 40 years ago, almost my whole working life, and I am heartily sick of all this neoliberal capitalist rubbish which is destroying people and the climate and the sustaining biosphere. I still “maintain the rage” and I’m still “as angry as hell”.

  9. Iko

    Shorten’s rhetoric is raising expectations far above what he will be able to deliver, and that is going to be a big problem for him. By way of example, take the “living wage” minimum wage. Shorten can say whatever takes his fancy, but the Fair Work Commission might say differently.

  10. He can abolish the Fair Work Commission lock stock and barrel if he wishes and replace it with say a genuine IRC in the old style. The only limit on such actions is political will. Does Shorten have any?

  11. “He can abolish the Fair Work Commission lock stock and barrel if he wishes”

    Not if the Senate says he can’t. Remember, only half the Senate is up for election. As Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull found out, you can claim mandates until the cows come home, but if the Senate says no deal, then it’s no deal.

  12. rog says: “Interesting that the RBA has now joined the fray.” And a protector of bau and “us” take it away Trevor “sin-jn”.

    Smith9 says: “especially the profit part (the losses, on the other hand, they are of course very happy to see socialised).”

    IMHO Trevor St Baker, who learnt the industry as a qld bureaucrat, organised the first Qld electricity generation privatisations, then became the 4th biggest elect co. in Aust, is probably the biggest whinger ever who needs to recuse himself from any comments. And “we” gave him an AO for giving our legally foregone tax to his philanthropic “policy’ ventures. No clothes, no care and I think I can hear him laughing now.

    “Coal baron and LNP donor blasts RBA for sounding alarm on climate change
    “Trevor St Baker says deputy governor’s speech warning of risks to Australia’s economy is ‘totally inappropriate’
    ” The politically connected founder of the business electricity retailer ERM Power, 
    …. the guardian today environment/2019/mar/13/coal-baron-and-lnp-donor-blasts-rba-for-sounding-alarm-on-climate-change

    And please somebody, how can a company legally “eliminated more than $6.9 billion in gross income via expenses over the three year period. ”

    3 Yr. Total Income-$6,945,455,014
    3 Yr. Taxable Income-$27,148,318
    3 Yr. Taxable Income Margin-0.39%
    3 Yr. Tax Payable-$7,782,313
    3 Yr. Tax Rate-28.67%
    Auditor – PwC (I’d bet my house)

    Top 40 Tax Dodgers 2018
    #24. ERM Power Limited
    “ERM is on this list because it eliminated more than $6.9 billion in gross income via expenses over the three year period.


  13. Electrical power is a natural monopoly. It should be in state hands with affordable power to the people and any profits to the state for other social uses. All this money going to private owners from power is just a scandal, morally and politically. The root of “privatisation” is the latin privo – “deprive, take away, release, liberate, fleece”. I guess whether its a liberation or a fleecing depends on your point of view. For 99% of the people it has been a fleecing.

  14. “The great majority of Australians accept… ” or should accept that they do not matter in the Australian system of government by duopoly-for-sale, nor in the said duopoly’s rigged electoral system. Some marginal electorate voters may sometimes receive a partial electoral return through the sheer luck of simply being in the right place at the right time while those at the upper marginals of corporate power and wealth are assured that things will always mostly swing their way no matter what an election may deliver.

  15. With respect to their views on coal-fired power generation, Queenslanders are perhaps slightly different from the nation as a whole, but not materially so, this opinion polling by Galaxy Research in 2017 indicates:

    Click to access Galaxy%20Research%20Climate%20of%20the%20nation%20Quantitative%20April%202017.pdf

    Asked to rank eight potential energy sources for Australia to utilise, 21% of Queensland respondents included coal in their top three, only a little above the 18% figure for the nation as a whole. Twenty-three per cent of Queenslanders never want coal-fired power completely phased out, compared with 16% overall.

  16. Luke Elford

    Your comparisons underestimate how different Queenslander attitudes are, since Queensland is one fifth of Australia as a whole. On your figures, 14% of the rest of Australia never want coal phased out. That’s a lot less than Queensland at 23%,

  17. @Smith9

    Since the discussion concerns Queensland versus Sydney and Melbourne, perhaps a better comparison would be with New South Wales and Victoria—there’s no city-specific breakdown. Coal is in the top three energy sources for 21% of respondents from NSW and 20% from Victoria. Never phasing out coal-fired power is the preferred option of 16% of NSW respondents and 11% of Victorian respondents.

    The first set of percentages is more relevant to proposals for new government-built coal-fired power stations. But taking the second set, do you think the fact that a larger—though still small—minority of voters in Queensland oppose the complete phasing out of coal-fired power makes a pro-coal stance a good electoral strategy in Queensland, but a poor one elsewhere?

  18. Unless the law is made accessible and stiff penalties apply, a minimum wage- for many workers- is not worth a single red cent.

  19. @Luke Elford

    it depends on how strongly people feel about whether coal should be phased out, and over what period of time, in deciding their vote. It depends on what they perceive as the consequences of the phasing out: loss of jobs or not, cleaner environment or not, higher electricity prices or not. The survey is silent on those questions.

  20. Is Queensland different?

    Fraser Anning is from Queensland. No other state has a senator like him. Compare him to, say, Corey Bernardi, who is representative of the far right not ftom Queensland.

    Come to think of it. Pauline Hanson is also from Queensland.

    Queensland is different.

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