In the wake of the 2019 federal election, at which Queensland voters swung to the Coalition and Labor’s standing took a hit, Jason Wilson writes in The Guardian (21.5.19) about the conditions and voter sentiment in central and northern Queensland which underpinned those results.
‘As I write, metropolitan journalists are doubtless making their way to north Queensland, whose voters have been cast as a principal actor in Labor’s defeat.
‘I’m from Townsville, my family still lives there, and I visit as often as I can. I can easily imagine the articles coming our way. Reporters will certainly find people who are less guarded in expressions of racism than white Australians in metropolitan areas. Others will utterly deny global heating, or perhaps talk in dark or conspiracy-minded terms about opponents to Adani’s Carmichael coalmine.
‘This kind of quasi-anthropological trekking to conservative rural areas is depressingly familiar fare in Trump-era America. Calling it fetishism won’t stop it happening.
‘But this prospect has some people offering a pre-emptive defence of Queenslanders. On Twitter, some have insisted that these people are no different to other Australians, sharing similar attitudes and anxieties.
‘It seems to me that both of these perspectives are wrong but in complex ways.
‘There clearly is something quite specific going on in north Queensland. It’s obviously partly related to the mine, which local media obsessively highlighted as the only real issue. Just look at the numbers.’