Biden remains strong favourite for US election; Queensland Labor set for increased majority


Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

Two days before Wednesday’s US election (AEDT), the FiveThirtyEight national aggregate gives Joe Biden an 8.6% lead over Donald Trump (52.0% to 43.4%). In the key states, Biden leads by 8.3% in Wisconsin, 8.2% in Michigan, 4.8% in Pennsylvania, 3.1% in Arizona and 2.2% in Florida.

Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania is almost four points below his national lead, and that gives Trump hope of pulling off an Electoral College/popular vote split, as occurred at the 2016 election. Pennsylvania is the most likely “tipping-point” state that could put either Trump or Biden over the magic 270 Electoral Votes.

If Biden loses Pennsylvania, but wins Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona, he would have 269 Electoral Votes, one short of 270. Either Maine’s or Nebraska’s second Congressional District could in that scenario give Biden the narrowest of Electoral College wins. These states award one Electoral Vote to the winner of each of their districts, and two to the statewide winner. All other states are winner-takes-all.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost the tipping-point state (Wisconsin) by 0.8%, while winning the popular vote by 2.1% – a difference between the tipping-point and popular vote of 2.9%.

Analyst Nate Silver says while Trump can plausibly win, he would need the polls to be wrong by far more than in 2016. At this stage in 2016, the FiveThirtyEight forecast gave Trump a 35% chance; he currently has just a 10% chance. Trump only has a 3% chance to win the popular vote.

Trump had one very good poll result from a high-quality pollster: a Selzer Iowa poll gave him a seven-point lead in that state. But most high-quality polls have been far better for Biden: Siena polls for The New York Times gave Biden six-point leads in Arizona and Pennsylvania, a three-point lead in Florida and an 11-point lead in Wisconsin.

In FiveThirtyEight aggregates, Biden leads by 2.0% in North Carolina and 1.5% in Georgia. He trails by 0.3% in Ohio, 1.2% in Texas and 1.7% in Iowa. If Biden won all these states, he would win over 400 Electoral Votes. Florida is now in this group of states when it had previously been better for Biden.

Trump’s net job approval ratings have jumped three points since last week. In the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, his net approval with all polls is -8.5%, and -7.0% with polls of likely or registered voters. The RealClearPolitics average has Biden’s net favourability at +7, while Trump’s is -13.

I wrote for The Poll Bludger on October 22 that there are two key measures where Biden is doing far better than Clinton. First, Biden is over 50% in national polls, which Clinton never achieved. Second, he has a net positive favourability rating, whereas both Clinton and Trump were very unpopular in 2016.

The US election results will come through on Wednesday from 10am AEDT. You can read my wrap for The Poll Bludger of when polls close in the key states and results are expected. A key early results state is Florida; most polls close at 11am AEDT, but the very right-wing Panhandle closes an hour later.

In the FiveThirtyEight Classic Senate forecast, Democrats now have a 79% chance to win control. The most likely outcome is a 52-48 Democratic majority. The 80% confidence range is 48 to 56 Democratic seats.

Labor set for increased Queensland majority

With 68% of enrolled voters counted at Saturday’s Queensland election, the ABC is calling Labor wins in 50 of the 93 seats. The LNP has won 30 seats, all Others seven, and six seats are in doubt. Labor won 48 seats at the 2017 election, so they have already improved on that.

Current statewide primary votes are 40.2% Labor (up 4.8% since 2017), 35.8% LNP (up 2.1%), 9.0% Greens (down 1.0%), 7.0% One Nation (down 6.8%), 2.6% Katter’s Australian Party (up 0.3%) and a paltry 0.6% for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.

In Saturday night’s article, I wrote that the Greens could win four seats. They won Maiwar and South Brisbane, and appeared to have good chances in Cooper and McConnel. However, postal counting has pushed the Greens into third in both Cooper and McConnel, and they are now too far behind the LNP in both seats to realistically hope to overtake. Labor will win these seats on Greens preferences.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

View from The Hill: Victoria’s pain reinforced Pałaszczuk’s winning message


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

In an election victory driven by her management of COVID, the dire second wave in Victoria likely helped Annastacia Pałaszczuk. Defending her tough border policy and her message about keeping Queenslanders safe, she had a real life example to illustrate what happens when the virus gets away.

Her win reinforced the accepted wisdom that this crisis favours incumbents – provided people think they are doing the right thing.

The Queensland outcome might at one level be galling for the federal government – which has been sniping at Pałaszczuk’s border policy for months – but at another it is also reassuring for Scott Morrison, who has so far managed the pandemic response well.

That said, Morrison has a rockier road to navigate to his election. The federal poll is a year and a half away, and (assuming the virus now stays under control) the challenge for him is economic, which will be complicated as he juggles withdrawing the current massive fiscal support without any disaster.

While some details of the Queensland result are yet to be finalised, Pałaszczuk is set for an increased majority, with Labor securing a swing towards it. For a government seeking a third term, and one which had been – pre-COVID – under criticism for its performance, this is a remarkable achievement.

Despite some pre-election speculation, and the plight of the tourist industry, Labor’s seats in the north of the state did not collapse.

The difficulties of the Queensland economy and its high unemployment did not translate into electoral damage for the government.

And nearly a week’s campaigning by the prime minister produced not the slightest sign of a Morrison “miracle” for the Liberal National Party. On the other side, the absence of Anthony Albanese could have been a bonus for Labor.

The Pałaszczuk government was helped by its opposition, with recent fighting between the LNP organisation and the parliamentary party. On the main issue of this COVID election, LNP leader Deb Frecklington could only say she too would follow the health advice. She may not have not been believed, given the attacks on the closed border coming from the conservative side.

Apart from the result, the big story of Saturday was the collapse of the One Nation vote. What was left of that vote favoured Labor via preferences, probably reflecting older voters’ COVID fears.

Pauline Hanson was low profile during the election; whether she can gear up her party when the federal contest comes remains to be seen. It’s clear how “all about Pauline” is Pauline Hanson’s One Nation – if she’s not going flat out, there’s nothing much there.

Just as the Victorian wave played into Pałaszczuk’s story line, so did the federal pressure on the premier. The smaller (in population) states are parochial: Palaszczuk benefitted by being seen pushing back against the “open up” brigade.

The benefit was in net terms – she lost skin when some hardline decisions hurt interstate families who needed health care or who wanted to visit sick relatives or to attend funerals.

Apart from the warm glow of a fraternal success, the Queensland result doesn’t bring a lot that’s positive for federal Labor.

For it, the message about incumbency is not encouraging.

The ALP also knows Queenslanders are quite comfortable with federal and state governments being of different stripes. The voters can judge who’s who, and just because they trust Pałaszczuk Labor doesn’t mean they are more likely to embrace Albanese Labor.

Morrison goes down well in Queensland when he’s campaigning for his own government.

Federal Labor must work out its detailed positions on key policies – climate, energy and resources – and more effectively sell its leader, before its fortunes can improve in that state.

Both will be difficult. Attempts to paper over the internal differences on climate and energy won’t cut it, but forging genuine agreement is a struggle.

Albanese is up against it when the times are suiting Morrison.

Post Saturday’s result, the premier has indicated Queensland’s border ban on people from greater Sydney and Victoria won’t be reviewed for another month. That would still leave time for Christmas reunions, but it could be a tight-run thing.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday: “we’re now, I think, in a position where we would like to see New South Wales and Queensland be able as soon as possible to have free movement between the jurisdictions. And once everybody is comfortable that Victoria does have its contact tracing to gold standard levels, then I think we’ll see a single national bubble in due course.”

With Victoria on Sunday recording zero new cases and community transmission in Australia virtually stamped out, Australia is at this moment in an extraordinarily good place on the health front.

But with COVID rampaging again in Britain and many other countries, and the memory of the Victorian experience fresh, there can be no complacency.

Update: In an about-face, Frecklington says she won’t seek to stay leader

Deb Frecklington announced on Monday she will not seek to remain as LNP leader – after on Saturday night declaring firmly “I will continue as the leader”.

Her Saturday statement surprised observers, coming not only after a devastating loss but against the background of an automatic spill of leadership positions post-election, when she would have faced a challenge.

Asked what had changed her mind, she said probably her husband and daughters. While “my first instinct is always to fight on”, she’d had a great day with her family on Sunday and reflected on her future. “Family is really important to me,” she said.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

‘Three-peat Palaszczuk’: why Queenslanders swung behind Labor in historic election



Darren England/AAP

Chris Salisbury, The University of Queensland

Queensland’s state election was always going to deliver an outcome for the record books.

This was Australia’s first poll at state or federal level contested by two female leaders. It was also the first state general election conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic.




Read more:
Labor wins Queensland election, as Greens could win up to four seats


Counting continues after record numbers of pre-poll and postal votes, and a handful of seats remain in doubt. Regardless, the Labor government has been returned with what looks like an increased majority in a history-making third term for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

This shores up her political stocks in the continued battle with federal and state governments over border closures.

A tick of approval for Palaszczuk

The election campaign was run of the mill in many ways. It wasn’t so much dominated by the pandemic as framed by aspects of it, such as borders and plans for economic recovery.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk waving, claiming victory
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is back for a third term.
Darren England/AAP

But Queenslanders, by and large, appear to have given Palaszczuk’s government a tick of approval for its health and economic responses to coronavirus. Swings to the government were recorded in most parts of the state, with some surprising shifts towards Labor in areas like the Sunshine Coast.

The result reinforces the theory pandemic conditions favour incumbents and, similarly, the major parties. Western Australia’s Mark McGowan, who like Palaszczuk was a target of Coalition criticism over closed borders, will take heart ahead of a state election early next year.

However, this was not a straightforward repeat of recent election outcomes in the Northern Territory, ACT and New Zealand. Rather, this election panned out in ways particular to Queensland’s regional diversity, but still with ramifications for outside the state.

One Nation, Palmer barely register

The expected battleground over government-held marginal seats around Townsville and Cairns didn’t eventuate, with these seats holding firm against a concerted effort to get rid of Labor incumbents.

The LNP opposition’s pitch for a “crime crackdown” in the state’s north and plans for a youth curfew didn’t resonate, as at the last state election in 2017.




Read more:
Queensland’s LNP wants a curfew for kids, but evidence suggests this won’t reduce crime


The headline story of the election was a dramatic collapse in the One Nation vote. The party nominated an unprecedented 90 candidates, yet leader Pauline Hanson was barely sighted during the campaign. What messages did emerge from Hanson’s camp — largely criticisms of COVID-19 measures — didn’t wash with an electorate seeking leadership and protection through the crisis.

Notably, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party hardly registered, with about 0.6% of the popular vote. This follows another big spend on often misleading advertising. The electorate may have woken up to Palmer’s “spoiler” agenda, with his investment perhaps only resulting in a push for stricter truth in political advertising rules.

There are now realistic doubts over the ability of either Palmer or Hanson to recover electorally from these setbacks. For its efforts, One Nation did hold on to its sole seat in north Queensland. Katter’s Australian Party, likewise, retained its three northern seats.

Clive Palmer walks away from a press conference.
Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party failed to pick up a single seat.
Darren England/AAP

The single biggest upset result — although widely expected —– came in South Brisbane, where Labor’s former Deputy Premier Jackie Trad lost the seat she’s held since 2012. A rise in Greens support in inner-Brisbane suburbs, as seen in other capital cities, was long viewed as a threat to Trad’s grip on the former Labor stronghold.

This result shows there are subtexts to this election result, and it is not all about the pandemic. For 30 years, Labor has often won state elections on its ability to hold onto “fortress Brisbane”. However, the party can’t take that position for granted now.

Even with the LNP’s continuing inability to bridge the Brisbane bulkhead, Labor can’t rest on its laurels after this win. Inner-Brisbane electorates like Cooper and McConnel will be next targets for the Greens, whose support at this election was concentrated in the capital where they now hold two seats.

On track to beat Beattie

Palaszczuk is now the most successful female leader in Australian history, as the first to win three elections. If she serves the full four-year term, she’ll be Labor’s second-longest serving premier in this state, surpassing Peter Beattie. Labor by then will have governed Queensland for 30 of the past 35 years.




Read more:
Why this Queensland election is different — states are back at the forefront of political attention


This win cements the premier’s authority in her party, which is particularly important when it comes to relations between her administration and the federal government. Discussions over states border closures and other pandemic responses at the National Cabinet will be watched with renewed interest.

At the same time, the election result raises pressing questions for defeated Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and the LNP. After recent inner-party turmoil agitating against Frecklington’s leadership, it’s expected there will be jostling for new party leadership.

Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington.
Deb Frecklington has signalled she wants to stay on as LNP leader, but may not get that chance.
Glenn Hunt/AAP

As now seems ritual after state elections, calls are expected for the unsuccessful LNP to de-merge. The often uneasy marriage of Queensland’s Liberals and Nationals — apparently at risk of a lurch to the arch-conservative right — appears incapable of broadening its support in both the state’s capital and the far north simultaneously.

As the final results come in, they will continue to provide important lessons for both the federal Coalition, as well as federal Labor, in how best to appeal to Queensland’s varied constituency.The Conversation

Chris Salisbury, Research Assistant, School of Political Science & International Studies, The University of Queensland

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Labor wins Queensland election, as Greens could win up to four seats



AAP/Darren England

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

With 48% of enrolled voters counted in Saturday’s Queensland election, the ABC is giving Labor 47 of the 93 seats (a bare majority), the LNP 33, all Others seven and six seats remain in doubt.

Statewide vote shares are currently 39.6% Labor (up 5.3% since the 2017 election), 35.2% LNP (up 1.2%), 9.7% Greens (up 0.1%), 7.8% One Nation (down 6.7%) and 2.3% Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) (down 0.1%). Other seats are three KAP, two Greens, one One Nation and one independent.

There are many more votes still to be counted from pre-polls and postal votes. It is clear the LNP has no viable path to a majority (47 seats). Labor is likely to win a small majority, as occurred in 2017. They have gained Pumicestone and Caloundra from the LNP, and all current doubtful LNP vs Labor contests are LNP-held.

The Greens have retained Maiwar and defeated Labor’s Jackie Trad in South Brisbane. They are third, just behind the LNP in Cooper, and in a close third in McConnel. The LNP recommended its voters preference against Labor in all seats. If the LNP finishes third in Cooper and McConnel, the Greens are likely to win on LNP preferences.

Labor had been behind in Queensland polls until early October, when a YouGov poll gave them a 52-48 lead. The swing back to Labor was likely attributable to the state’s handling of coronavirus, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recording strong personal ratings.

The final Newspoll gave Labor 37%, the LNP 36%, the Greens 11% and One Nation 10%. Currently, this is understating Labor’s advantage over the LNP, but Newspoll will be relieved it did not have a Queensland failure like at the 2019 federal election.

At federal level, state election victories tend to assist the opposite party. So the federal Coalition is likely to do a little better in Queensland at the next federal election than it would had the LNP won this election.

Ipsos state polls: NSW and Victoria

Ipsos last week conducted polls of NSW and Victoria for Nine newspapers, each with samples of about 860. The Victorian poll was taken before Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state would reopen on Monday. Figures are from The Poll Bludger.

In NSW, Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian had a 64-16 approval rating, while Opposition Leader Jodi McKay was at 25% disapprove, 22% approve. Berejiklian led McKay by 58-19 as better premier. Nationals leader John Barilaro was at 35% disapprove, 18% approve. Berejiklian’s personal relationship with Daryl Maguire has had no negative impact for her.

In Victoria, Andrews had a 52-33 approval rating, while Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien was at a dismal 39% disapprove, 15% approve. Andrews led as better premier by 53-18. By 49-40, voters were satisfied with the state government’s handling of coronavirus, but they were dissatisfied by 44-16 with the opposition. The chief health officer, Brett Sutton, had a 57-20 approval rating.

Greens won six of 25 seats at ACT election

At the October 17 ACT election, Labor won ten of the 25 seats (down two since the 2016 election), the Liberals nine (down two) and the Greens six (up four). Vote shares were 37.8% Labor (down 0.6%), 33.8% Liberal (down 2.9%) and 13.5% Greens (up 3.2%).

The ACT uses the Hare-Clark system with five five-member electorates. The Greens won two seats in Kurrajong after overtaking the Liberals’ primary vote lead, and one seat in each of the other electorates. Analyst Kevin Bonham has more details of how the Greens won 24% of the seats on 13.5% of the vote.

US election update

The US election results will come through next Wednesday from 10am AEDT. You can read my wrap of when polls close in the key states and results are expected for The Poll Bludger. A key early results state is Florida; most polls close at 11am AEDT, but the very right-wing Panhandle closes an hour later.

In the FiveThirtyEight national poll aggregate, Joe Biden continues to lead Donald Trump by 8.8% (52.1% to 43.2%). Biden leads by 8.8% in Michigan, 8.6% in Wisconsin, 5.2% in Pennsylvania, 3.2% in Arizona and 2.2% in Florida.

The Pennsylvania figure gives Trump some hope. Pennsylvania is currently the “tipping-point” state that could potentially give either Trump or Biden the magic 270 Electoral Votes needed to win. It is currently almost four points better for Trump than the national polls.

Owing to the potential for a popular vote/Electoral College split, the FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Trump a 10% chance to win the Electoral College, but just a 3% chance to win the popular vote.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How political parties legally harvest your data and use it to bombard you with election spam



Robin Worrall/Unsplash, CC BY-SA

Erica Mealy, University of the Sunshine Coast

On Monday October 26, five days ahead of Queensland’s election, many voters received an unsolicited text message from Clive Palmer’s mining company Mineralogy, accusing Labor of planning to introduce a “death tax” and providing a link to an online how-to-vote card for Palmer’s United Australia Party.

Screenshot of campaign text message
Screenshot of a text message sent by Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy.
Author provided

Many recipients angrily wondered how Palmer’s firm had got hold of their contact details, and why they were receiving information that had already been thoroughly debunked.

It’s not clear how many voters received the message, although Deputy Premier Steven Miles accused Palmer of sending it to “hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders”. The message was also sent to many permanent and interstate residents not eligible to vote in the election.

Screenshot of election text message.
Not all of the recipients of this message were in the relevant electorate.
Author provided

But the issue goes deeper than Palmer’s dubious tactics, although his message was a particularly egregious example. This and similar messages have been sent to voters outside the relevant electorate. For example, one message from an independent candidate for the electorate of Macalister was received by a resident of Stafford.

In fact, there’s no law to prevent registered political parties — and the contractors and volunteers who work on their behalf — collecting your contact details and bombarding you with messages, regardless of whether you consented or not.

The problem of spam text messages was also prevalent during the 2019 federal election, when the tactics of Palmer’s United Australia Party in particular were called into question, prompting the party to pledge to stop the practice.




Read more:
From robo calls to spam texts: annoying campaign tricks that are legal


Political candidates, including independents and members of registered political parties, can request access to the Australian Electoral Commission’s database of voters’ contact details, to use in their campaign messaging. And it doesn’t stop there: they can also buy access to voters’ data from “information aggregator” companies such as Sensis, including voters’ names, home addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Information aggregators also collect and analyse your publicly available data. Your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tiktok or Instagram posts can easily be scraped. If your phone number or email address appears publicly, such as on an advert for a community event or public comment on a town planning submission, it can be collected. Few people realise how large their digital footprint really is.

This can reveal not only your contact details but also your political views. Publicly share a post about environmental concerns or social justice issues and you may have just pigeonholed yourself as a left-leaning voter, potentially putting you in line for targeted campaign messages.

Australia has laws against unsolicited spam, so how do political parties get away with this? Because they are entirely exempt from anti-spam legislation.

How politicians dodge spam laws

Private businesses have to abide by strict federal laws about data privacy and spam. The Privacy Act 1998 and the Spam Act 2003 were enacted to protect the public from unwanted and harmful information sharing.

The Privacy act regulates who may have access to your personal information, how it must be stored and what must happen should that data be compromised. For example, if your data is hacked you must be notified.

As summarised by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Spam is unwanted marketing messages sent via email, text or instant messaging containing offers, advertisements or promotions. Permission to contact you by these means can be part of the terms and conditions of sale or use of a product, through a specific check box or if you make your e-mail or phone number public. Specific exemptions are made in the Spam Act for registered charities, government organisations, educational institutions and registered political parties.

Of course, in an open democracy it makes sense to allow elected officials to communicate directly with the voting public, particularly at election time. But aside from the nuisance and (legal) invasion of privacy, there are two main problems with the current free-for-all.

Problem 1: data security

If a data breach occurs for a non-exempt organisation, such as a bank or government organisation, any person who could be harmed from having information shared must be notified. The types of harm include the potential for identity theft and fraud.

But political parties, being exempt from privacy laws, are also exempt from this responsibility. This means if a political party has a data breach and shares your contact details, it doesn’t have to tell you.

Political parties reportedly maintain detailed databases of their constituents. These databases contain not just personal information held by the electoral commission, but any interactions with elected members, including complaints and contacts with electorate offices.

Problem 2: misinformation

Palmer’s text messages were a blanket salvo rather than tailored to particular voters. Hundreds of voters, and many non-voters, received the same message, despite repeated explicit denials from Labor it’s considering introducing a “death tax”.

In Australia, with an arguably free press and available fact-checking, the public can seek balanced, factual information if they are motivated to do so. But in the internet age, many people are vulnerable to “fake news”, whether through naivete or because of “confirmation bias” — the increased likelihood of believing information that fits with their pre-existing worldview.

What can you do about it?

Screenshot of election campaign message
Clive Palmer’s follow-up message sent on October 29.
Author provided

Until the law changes, there are limited ways to combat political text and email intrusion. The first is judicious use of the block and delete buttons and e-mail spam filters. While not foolproof, this does reduce the potential for receiving messages again from that same number or email. However, this tactic would not have helped avoid a second round of messages sent by Palmer on October 29 from a different number.

The second way to combat these messages is to prevent your data and opinions from reaching political databases. In Australia, there is currently no reliable service to help remove your data from the public view, so the best option is to keep it from getting out in the first place.

To do this, you must always read the terms and conditions before giving away personal data. If you have time, audit your entire public online presence to find all the places on the internet that store your personal data, including on all social media platforms and on personal, professional or community web pages. You must always remain vigilant about protecting your information, which is no simple task.The Conversation

Erica Mealy, Lecturer in Computer Science, University of the Sunshine Coast

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Labor politicians need not fear: Queenslanders are no more attached to coal than the rest of Australia



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Bruce Tranter, University of Tasmania and Kerrie Foxwell-Norton, Griffith University

It’s written into electoral folklore that Labor was wiped out at the 2019 federal election because Queensland didn’t like its position on coal. As the story goes, Labor’s lukewarm support for the Adani coal mine and its ambitious climate policies antagonised Queensland’s mining communities and cemented another Coalition term.

But our recent research casts doubt on this conventional wisdom. Our findings challenge claims that the issue of new coal mines in Queensland was largely to blame for Labor’s election loss.

We examined how support for coal mines was linked to voting at the last federal election. We found Queensland voters supported new coal mines, and this was definitely a factor in the federal election. But the influence of coal mines as an election issue in Queensland was similar to that in most other mainland states.

Queenslanders head to the polls tomorrow to decide the state election. Throughout the campaign, the Palaszczuk Labor government has vocally backed expansion of the resources industry – but our research suggests the issue will not necessarily decide the election result.

Annastacia Palaszczuk being heckled
Annastacia Palaszczuk has strongly backed the Queensland resources industry.
AAP/Darren England

A shock loss

After Labor lost the election in May 2019, many analysts and commentators – not to mention the party itself – were left scratching their heads. Labor had been thumped in what was billed as the climate change election, despite its policy on cutting greenhouse gas pollution being far more ambitious than the Coalition’s.

Labor had pledged to cut Australia’s emissions by 45% between 2005 and 2030. It wanted renewable energy to form half the electricity mix by 2030 and would have implemented an emissions trading-type scheme to limit pollution from industry.

During the campaign, Labor was accused of fence-sitting on the Adani coal mine. Leader Bill Shorten had stopped short of saying it shouldn’t proceed, instead insisting it should stack up environmentally and financially, and should not receive Commonwealth funding.

On election night, Labor received an electoral walloping in Queensland, and its messaging on coal and climate was widely blamed.




Read more:
New polling shows 79% of Aussies care about climate change. So why doesn’t the government listen?


Several commentators, and even Coalition MPs, said the government owed its re-election to a convoy of anti-Adani protesters, led by former Greens leader Bob Brown, which travelled through Queensland and purportedly alienated voters.

While the Coalition strongly supported the construction of new coal mines, Labor struggled to articulate its position – wedged between its blue-collar base in regional areas, and urban voters concerned about the environment.

After the election, Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon conceded Labor’s positioning on the Adani mine overlooked the importance of investment and jobs, and left coal miners worried.

But does the empirical evidence support the view that Labor lost Queensland – and the election – over the issue of coal?

Bill Shorten and wife Chloe Shorten
Bill Shorten’s election defeat was largely attributed to the Queensland coal issue.
David Crossling/AAP

Our surprise findings

To answer this questions, we examined data from a 2019 national survey, the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES). The data indicated 46% of Australians supported the construction of new coal mines, and 52% were against.

On average, people who favoured new coal mines tended to be Coalition supporters, less likely to have a tertiary education, more likely to be men than women and were older than average. In contrast, those who accept that human-driven climate change is occurring tend to be tertiary-educated Greens or Labor supporters. They are more likely to be women than men and are younger than average.

Support for new coal mines declined as interest in politics increased in NSW and Victoria. Yet in Queensland and (to a lesser extent) Western Australia, the pattern was very different. In these so-called “mining states”, support for new coal mines increased with political interest.




Read more:
Why this Queensland election is different — states are back at the forefront of political attention


What’s more, as interest in politics increased among Labor identifiers, support for new coal mines decreased. However as political interest increased among Coalition identifiers, support for new mines increased.

These results suggest coal mines influenced voting behaviour in regional and remote areas of Queensland in the 2019 election.

However, our research also suggests the issue was no greater a factor for voters in Queensland than in other states. Those who supported new mines were more likely to vote for the Coalition than for Labor. But the association between new coal mines and voting was not stronger in Queensland than in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia or Western Australia.

Coal mine
Queenslanders support for new coal mines is not greater than anywhere else in Australia.
AAP/Dave Hunt

Labor should not abandon climate ambitions

Just days after federal Labor’s 2019 electoral rout in Queensland, Palaszczuk swung into action. Obviously fearing for the electoral prospects of her own government, she ordered state officials to give a “definitive timeframe” on approvals for the Adani mine within days.

The Queensland state election campaign has been dominated by the issues of economic recovery, job creation and infrastructure. Early in the campaign, the Palaszczuk government signed off on a new metallurgical coal mine in the Bowen Basin, further affirming its support for Queensland’s resources industry. Climate action, and the need to move away from coal, has been mentioned in the campaign, but it’s not at the fore.

Federal Labor is still struggling to regroup after its election loss. It has not revealed the emissions reduction targets it will take to the next federal election, and reportedly this month resolved to support the Morrison government in developing new gas reserves.

But at both a state and federal level, Labor should not hasten to back fossil fuels, nor should it abandon an ambitious climate policy agenda. The issue of new coal mines may not be a huge election decider in Queensland after all.




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The Conversation


Bruce Tranter, Professor of Sociology, University of Tasmania and Kerrie Foxwell-Norton, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities, Griffith University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Why this Queensland election is different — states are back at the forefront of political attention



Glenn Hunt/AAP

Graeme Orr, The University of Queensland

On October 31, Queensland will become Australia’s first state to go to the polls during the pandemic.

Normally, state elections pass amiably. They matter to the MPs, ministers and senior public servants concerned. But aside from what the tea leaves might imply for national electoral politics, they cast few ripples.

This year is different. State governments matter now, in ways they have not for decades.

Expect a Labor victory

This does not mean the Queensland election will produce any shocks. On the contrary. The pandemic has been good for incumbents.

Leaders, Australia-wide, are enjoying high approval ratings during the pandemic. During the tumult of the first wave, a Liberal National Brisbane City Council was returned with not a single ward changing hands.

In the past two months, Labor governments have been re-elected in the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory.




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The Palaszczuk government will, I bet, be similarly returned. Whether it deserves to, after five quiet years and given a challenging economic climate, is another matter. But it has one trump card: north of the Tweed, barely one person in a million has died of COVID-19.

This puts Queensland in a select group of democratic jurisdictions of any significant size. Only Taiwan and East Timor have done better on that metric, and they are more communal and less individualistic than Queenslanders.

There has been a fundamental shift

Why then is 2020 different? In all the focus on statistics — health, economic and electoral — we’ve paid little attention to a fundamental shift. State governments, long relegated to second or third order by our escalating focus on international and national politics, have soared back to prominence.

Alex Ellinghausen (Pool)/AAP
States have important powers and have had to use them during the pandemic.

This reminds us that we live within a federal system of government, and this affects our daily lives. Not just in the lofty and indirect sense — how the Commonwealth carves up GST amongst the states, for example — but in an everyday sense.

The cause of all this should be obvious. States have what constitutional lawyers call the “policing power”. Not only can they police individuals under criminal law, they can also make movement and gathering orders.




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States also have the power to license (or limit) businesses and other organised activities. In the pandemic, those powers have been front and centre of the public health response.

Previously, we had come to see state borders as fusty lines from colonial times. Yet right now, the sorest issue in Australian politics involves those lines being taken seriously.

The High Court, at the behest of Clive Palmer, may yet unwind such controls. But it will be years before we return to conceiving of state borders as merely lines on a map.

More than just service providers

Pre-COVID, states had come to be seen as mere service providers, akin to local government in the UK with their local health boards and educational authorities.

Constitutional lawyers have a term for this — “vertical fiscal imbalance”. The federal government collects about 80% of tax revenue, so it can play puppeteer, in everything from education to roads.




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It is not that money is unimportant in the pandemic. Indeed, money has reinforced the Commonwealth government’s focus on macroeconomics and social security during COVID-19. Meanwhile, its other great leitmotif is national security.

So, we came to see the states as service deliverers and the federal government as holding the purse strings and looking after defence. This is even reflected in a more “blokey” politics at national level and a more nurturing one at state level, where female leaders are much more common.

Since a post-industrial Labor Party emerged 40 years ago, Labor has held office almost 60% of the time at state and territory level. Whereas the conservative Coalition has held office 56% of the time at national level.

Premiers Mark McGowan, Daniel Andrews and Steven Marshall hold a press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison
States have traditionally been viewed as the service deliverers, with the federal government holding most of the money.
Mark McCormack/AAP

However, the “social-democratic states”/“conservative nation” contrast can be taken too far. Palaszczuk has positioned herself as a resolute Border Queen. This invokes the ghosts of parochial predecessors, like Peter Beattie and Joh Bjelke-Petersen, as much as it appeals to the trope of the mother figure, worrying about her constituents’ health.

The states are back

In short, the states are back at the forefront. While this may wane as we transcend the pandemic, it will also recur as other natural disasters become more common, thanks to global warming.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at a press conference with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
States and their leaders have taken centre stage during COVID-19.
Mark McCormack/AAP

Alongside the rebound in the role of the states, national attention has also fallen on the style of leadership that is more common at state level.

Palaszczuk, like her NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian, is ideologically centrist but presents a velvet glove over an iron fist.

That style may yet infuse national politics. That will depend on whether a communal spirit, of pulling together, survives from the pandemic to counterbalance interest group warfare.

Meanwhile, Queensland is about to decide whether to endorse Palaszczuk’s leadership, or embrace a different one.




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The Conversation


Graeme Orr, Professor of Law, The University of Queensland

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

As the Queensland campaign passes the halfway mark, the election is still Labor’s to lose



Glenn Hunt/ AAP

Paul Williams, Griffith University

We’re at the mid-point of the Queensland election campaign.

Pre-polling opened on Monday, with about two million Queenslanders expected to vote before election day on October 31.

But with just 12 days to go, despite the Liberal-National Party (LNP) opposition stumbling a little more often than the Labor government, neither side has emerged as a clear front-runner. However, the ALP has its nose in front.

Pandemic conditions favour incumbents

Unusually, for a state that produced the likes of Bob Katter, Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer, the campaign’s first two weeks have been notable only for a low-energy blandness. COVID-19 conditions and too few federal leaders appearing on the hustings have only added to a quiet air of sober austerity.

Fortunately for the Palaszczuk government, flavourless campaigns very often play into the hands of incumbents.

For example, the March 2020 election for the Brisbane City Council saw LNP Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner easily re-elected after a colourless campaign, despite early pandemic fears.

Indeed, it appears the pandemic has been a boon for incumbents everywhere. Between August and last weekend, Labor/Labour governments have been easily re-elected in the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand.

Voters, at least for now, appear to view leaders, parties and issues through a unique COVID-19 lens, and give governments free passes on such traditional vote-killers as debt, deficit and unemployment.




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Put simply, opposition parties are getting little traction when making the case for change. This phenomenon will not have escaped the attention of federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

Newspoll puts Labor ahead

The Queensland opposition’s own lack of traction was confirmed in a weekend Newspoll.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington at a press conference.
The Liberal National Party is trailing Labor, according to the latest Newspoll.
Cameron Laird/ AAP

Currently, Labor and the LNP are evenly pegged in their primary vote at 37%, with Labor enjoying a narrow lead, after preferences, of 52 to 48%. That’s a swing to Labor of about one percentage point since the 2017 state election. If uniform, that swing could see Labor seize three additional LNP seats.

Newspoll also revealed a slightly higher Greens vote, with One Nation’s vote down by about five points since 2017.

Role reversal

That lack of appetite for change has seen something of a role reversal between the major parties.

Where the LNP is spruiking a “vision” via costly infrastructure projects — a $15 billion “New Bradfield” irrigation scheme and a $33 billion Bruce Highway upgrade — Labor is painting itself as the party of steady growth and public safety amid the greatest health crisis in a century.




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Even so, the campaign is firmly aligned with the traditional pillars of Queensland political culture. In the words of political scientist Colin Hughes, this means it is about “things and places rather than people and ideas”.

It’s therefore hardly surprising that jobs, infrastructure, crime and frontline public service delivery are dominating.

But a theme of political stability also emerged during the first week. After eight decades of majority government, since the mid-1990s, Queensland has seen three hung parliaments.

Both Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and LNP leader Deb Frecklington warned of instability being brought about by a vote for minor parties, then pledged “no deals” with crossbench members. Few believed either leader.

Integrity issues distract second week

The campaign’s second week turned to integrity when the ABC reported Frecklington had been referred by her own party to the Electoral Commission of Queensland after attending a dinner in August hosted by a property developer.

Under 2018 legislation, political donations from property developers are illegal.




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Frecklington denied any wrongdoing. The LNP also denied reporting Frecklington, noting it “regularly communicates with the ECQ to ensure that [they] comply with the act.”

This came as the state’s Crime and Misconduct Commission (CCC) took the unprecedented step of writing to every candidate with a stark warning,

[…] the lines between government and the private sector are blurring, with overlapping networks of association involving consultants, influencers, lobbyists and executives.

Labor briefly played up integrity questions last week, but the Frecklington story soon faded.

Even so, the issue robbed the opposition of a valuable campaign oxygen and made Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s (probably only) visit to Queensland something of a non-event.

Economic issues still dominate

Indeed, the fact that Morrison’s intervention caused few local ripples underscores the fact this campaign is very clearly about Queensland affairs.

That’s why Palaszczuk and Frecklington spent about half of their first two weeks in the regions, where economic pain is so often felt hardest.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington elbow bumps Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Queensland last week.
Cameron Laird/AAP

It’s also why the LNP is pledging an unemployment rate of 5% (down from the current 7.7%) and why Labor talked up its enthusiasm for coal mining via the approval of a $1 billion Olive Downs mine near Mackay.

Moreover, while Treasurer Cameron Dick insists Queensland must “borrow to build”, the LNP promises it could balance the budget by by 2024 without new taxes, asset sales or forced redundancies.

Last week, Labor jumped on Frecklington’s refusal to rule out “natural attrition” in the public service as a cost-saving measure — drawing comparisons with former LNP Premier Campbell Newman’s unpopular cuts. This is despite Labor’s own public service hiring freeze sounding remarkably similar.

Campaigns already ‘launched’

In a campaign already marred by vandalised corflutes and nasty tweets, the LNP has pledged to put Labor last on how-to-vote cards.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Labor and the LNP both had their campaign launches over the weekend.
Glenn Hunt/AAP

It’s a curious strategy that will have an effect only in a small number of seats where the LNP finishes third behind Labor and a minor party or independent. Later, the LNP said it would put the Informed Medical Options Party — an anti-fluoridation, anti-“forced” vaccinations group — last in the 31 seats the IMOP is contesting.

Will pre-poll voting beginning this week, up to 70% of electors could vote before October 31, when postal votes are also considered. This pressure to “front-end” their campaigns saw the major parties bring forward their campaign launches to Sunday, October 18.

Few surprises were offered, although Labor’s long-pledged euthanasia legislation and free TAFE for students under 25 years have generated headlines. The LNP’s $300 car registration rebate and plans for cheaper electricity for 16,000 manufacturing businesses will also provoke interest.

This election is still Labor’s to lose.The Conversation

Paul Williams, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities, Griffith University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Labo(u)r easily wins in both New Zealand and the ACT, and leads in Queensland



AAP/David Rowland

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

At Saturday’s New Zealand election, Labour won 64 of the 120 seats (up 18 since the 2017 election). This means a Labour eight-seat majority. The opposition National won 35 seats (down 21), the right-wing ACT ten (up nine), the Greens ten (up two) and the Māori party one (up one).

Vote shares were 49.1% Labour (up 12.2%), 26.8% National (down 17.6%), 8.0% ACT (up 7.5%), 7.6% Greens (up 1.3%) and 1.0% Māori (down 0.2%).

Under New Zealand’s system, parties are entitled to a proportional allocation of seats if they either win at least 5% of the overall vote, or win a single-member seat. The Māori party entered parliament by winning one of the seven single-member seats reserved for those on the Māori roll. The Greens and ACT also won single-member seats.

Since the 2017 election, Labour has governed in coalition with the Greens and the populist NZ First. NZ First will not be returned to parliament, as their vote slumped to 2.7% (down 4.5%), and they failed to win a single-member seat.

This will be the first single-party New Zealand majority government since the adoption of proportional representation in 1996.

In February, two polls had National ahead of Labour. But Labour recorded massive poll leads in May owing to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s handling of coronavirus. Labour’s lead narrowed somewhat as the election approached, but final polls understated Labour’s lead; they won by 22 points, not the 15 in final polls.

Greens could win six of 25 ACT seats

With 78% of enrolled voters counted at Saturday’s ACT election, vote shares were 38.4% Labor (down 0.1% since 2016), 33.1% Liberals (down 3.6%) and 13.9% Greens (up 3.6%).

The ACT uses five five-member electorates, with candidates elected using the Hare-Clark system. A quota is one-sixth of the vote, or 16.7%. Preference distribution sheets have been released based on votes cast electronically. Paper ballots will be manually entered.

In Brindabella, Labor has 2.5 quotas, the Liberals 2.3 and the Greens 0.7. The Poll Bludger’s analysis of preferences has it very close between Labor and the Greens for the final seat.

In Ginninderra, Labor has 2.4 quotas, the Liberals 1.6 and the Greens 0.8. Labor leads the Liberals for the final seat, but it could be overturned on late counting.

In Kurrajong, Labor has 2.3 quotas, the Liberals 1.6 and the Greens 1.4. Preferences from Labor and minor parties give the Greens a solid lead over the Liberals in the race for the final seat. So Kurrajong is likely to split two Labor, two Greens and just one Liberal.

In Murrumbidgee, Labor has 2.2 quotas, the Liberals 2.1 and the Greens 0.7. This is a clear two Labor, two Liberals, one Green result.

In Yerrabi, the Liberals have 2.4 quotas, Labor 2.1 and the Greens 0.6. This will be two Liberals, two Labor and one Green.

In summary, Labor is likely to win ten of the 25 seats, the Liberals eight and the Greens five, with two in doubt, one Labor vs Greens and one Labor vs Liberal. In 2016, the result was 12 Labor, 11 Liberals, two Greens. The current Labor/Green coalition has easily retained power.

Queensland Newspoll: 52-48 to Labor

The Queensland election will be held on October 31. A Newspoll, conducted October 9-14 from a sample of 1,001, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, a three-point gain for Labor since a late July Newspoll. Labor’s lead is the same as in a YouGov poll that I covered in early October. YouGov conducts Newspoll, so it is effectively the same pollster.

Primary votes were virtually identical to that YouGov poll, at 37% Labor, 37% LNP, 11% Greens and 9% One Nation; the only difference a one-point drop for the Greens.

63% were satisfied with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s performance and 33% were dissatisfied, for a net approval of +30. These figures are identical to a September Newspoll of the Victorian and Queensland premiers’ ratings.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington had a net approval of -7, up one point since the late July Newspoll. Palaszczuk led Frecklington as better premier by 57-32 (57-26 in July).

More state polls: NSW and Victoria

Channel 10 commissioned a uComms NSW poll after revelations of Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s affair with former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire. 63% said Berejiklian should not resign, and just 28% thought she should go.

The only information provided on voting intentions was that the Coalition led Labor by 38-30. William Bowe says that uComms includes undecided in the initial table, and that this implies little change from the 2019 election result.

A YouGov poll for The Sunday Telegraph gave Berejiklian a 68-26 approval rating. By 49-36, voters did not think she had done anything wrong. By 60-29, they wanted her to stay as premier.

A Victorian SMS Morgan poll, conducted October 12-13 from a sample of 899, gave Labor a 51.5-48.5 lead, unchanged since late September. Primary votes were 40% Labor (up one), 40% Coalition (up 0.5) and 9% Greens (down one). Premier Daniel Andrews had a 59-41 approval rating (61-39 previously).

Trump still down by double digits nationally

The FiveThirtyEight national polls aggregate currently gives Joe Biden a 10.6% lead over Donald Trump (52.4% to 41.8%). It’s somewhat closer in the key states with Biden leading by 7.9% in Michigan, 7.8% in Wisconsin, 6.8% in Pennsylvania, 4.0% in Florida and 3.9% in Arizona.

Pennsylvania has returned to being the “tipping-point” state, and is currently polling 3.8% better for Trump than nationally. But Trump needs to get within five points to make the Electoral College competitive.

There appears to be a new surge of coronavirus in the US: over 70,000 new cases were recorded Friday, the highest since late July. Trump is perceived to have handled coronavirus poorly, so the more it is in the headlines, the worse it will probably get for him.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Meet North Queensland First, the party that wants to kill crocs and form a new state



http://www.shutterstock.com

Claire Brennan, James Cook University

Many of the minor parties vying for votes in the Queensland election will already be very familiar to Australians.

But Pauline Hanson, Clive Palmer and the Katters are not the only minor party players worth watching in the lead up to October 31.

A new party has recently emerged in northern Queensland, with crocodiles and the balance of power on its mind.

It is also a prime example of how issues in northern Queensland can vary wildly from those in the south.

North Queensland First

North Queensland First was set up in October 2019 by member for Whitsunday, Jason Costigan.

Jason Costigan speaking in the Queensland Parliament.
Jason Costigan has been the member for Whitsunday since 2012.
Glenn Hunt/ AAP

Costigan was expelled from the Liberal National Party earlier last year, following harassment allegations (the woman who made the complaint has since withdrawn it and apologised).

NQ First is aimed at appealing to voters disillusioned with the major parties. It lists establishing a separate state of “North Queensland” among its primary aims and is promoting itself as a possible balance of power holder.

North Queensland’s history of feeling separate

The north Queensland separatist movement has a long history and separation remains a popular cause in the region.




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Some north Queenslanders feel every inch of their distance from the state government in Brisbane: the notion of resources being extracted by a negligent, remote government has featured in northern politics for over a century.

Separatism was promoted by Palmer at the 2013 federal election and remains a Katter’s Australian Party policy.

Croc killing

That sense of remoteness also manifests itself in policies against crocodiles. Katter’s Australian Party and Bob Katter himself periodically make announcements about killing crocodiles.

Saltwater crocodile swimming in a river.
Anti-crocodile policies are common in north Queensland.
http://www.shutterstock.com

Last last month, NQ First sought to establish its northern credentials by announcing a “shoot to kill” policy.

This “croc culling” polling has a focus on “public safety”, according to Costigan.

If there is a crocodile on one of our beaches in a populated area, perhaps a tourist spot or in a swimming hole or where workers are at risk of being attacked, it’ll be shot by a licensed contractor whose job it will be to go in and deal with the problem as a matter of urgency.

Do Costigan’s crocodile proposals make sense?

Costigan’s policy was triggered by a September 23 crocodile attack on a snorkeler off Lizard Island.

By the time Costigan released his policy, that crocodile had already been euthanised by government wildlife officers. The current Queensland government crocodile management plan allows for the removal of crocodiles located near centres of population or that attack humans. So, further legislation, as proposed by Costigan, would not speed up that process.

In fact, NQ First’s enthusiasm for killing more large crocodiles might be counterproductive and increase the number of crocodile attacks.

Crocodiles are territorial and when large crocodiles are removed, other crocodiles move in. When the crocodile hierarchy is disturbed, it increases the risks to humans and livestock.

Why do politicians want to kill crocodiles?

Northern Australia is crocodile country, and saltwater crocodiles are capable of killing and eating humans. Australian crocodiles have been fully protected from hunting since 1974 and populations have recovered from heavy hunting after the second world war.

But living with crocodiles can be frightening. Costigan’s press release described crocodiles as “maneaters” and “monsters”, playing on primal human fears.




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Politicians talking tough about crocodiles are speaking to residents of northern Australia’s suburban frontier, which is pressing into crocodile habitat as urban areas expand. Crocodile sightings and attacks are increasing as more humans spend time in regions where crocodiles have always lived.

Politicians also target crocodiles because hunting — of other animals, particularly pigs — is popular in the north and big game hunting is big business. Australia still has a safari hunting industry, which started by hunting crocodiles, but now targets other species.

Politicians promoting crocodile shooting appeal to a sense of rugged Australian individualism and environmental competence among their constituents.

However, the reality of legal crocodile hunting in Australia is very different. Safari hunting tends to be restricted to the wealthy.

Will being tough on crocodiles help Costigan?

Costigan has been elected to the seat of Whitsunday three times before, but all three times he was a member of the LNP and only won by slender margins (in 2017 he won by 372 votes). In 2020, he faces numerous challengers.

Both major parties are fielding candidates in Whitsunday, as are the Greens, One Nation, Katter’s Australian Party and the United Australia Party.

Palm trees and umbrellas on a beach in the Whitsunday Islands.
Costigan faces numerous challengers to be re-elected on October 31.
http://www.shutterstock.com

Those last three parties are all vying to occupy similar populist territory to Costigan.

Whether suggesting crocodiles should be shot will help Costigan retain his seat remains to be seen. One danger is NQ First’s policy may in fact alienate tourist operators and residents who live off the crocodile’s back.

However, promising even a limited ability to “shoot to kill” crocodiles will still resonate with some north Queenslanders.

Indeed, with a high profile as the sitting member and the LNP struggling with internal divisions and questions about donations, NQ First may well be part of the next Queensland parliament.




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The Conversation


Claire Brennan, Lecturer in History, James Cook University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.