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Queensland is not backward: it’s an early warning system

Jason Wilson comments in The Guardian (15.7.16) on the results of federal election voting in Queensland, which on face value were distinctive owing to the strong showing of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, especially in regional seats outside the southeast corner of the state.

‘Before writing off One Nation voters, take a look around Herbert: this is what political frustration in a low-growth, post-boom economy with a popped real estate bubble looks like.

‘The election may have been called but they’re still counting in Herbert, in north Queensland. It’s been held by conservatives since the Keating collapse of 1996. This year, as in 2007, Labor is close but may well fall short when the pre-polls, absentees and provisionals are all accounted for.

‘It’s achingly close – at the time of writing Ewen Jones was ahead by 44 votes. In 2007, Peter Lindsay won by around 300 votes. The biggest difference is that while in 2007 the One Nation candidate received 0.9% of the vote, this time they got 13.5%, a swing of 12.9% from their last outing.

‘Their preferences will, of course, play a large part in determining who occupies the seat. In Herbert, as in the nation as a whole, Pauline Hanson’s party may well find themselves in the role of kingmaker.’

Not so much the ‘battleground’, as the ‘bellwether’ state

Peter Brent analyses the two party-preferred swings across the nation at the federal election, finding that the smallest swings against the Coalition government were in two states with first-term Labor governments, Victoria and Queensland. But it was in the latter that the ‘disruptive’ force of the anti-major party vote was most prominent, in the shape of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.

The death knell of the political duopoly?

With the strong showing of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party in Queensland, and similarly the Nick Xenophon Team in South Australia, the warnings are writ large for the major political parties that their electoral dominance might be coming to an end.

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