Economic conditions partly responsible for return of Pauline Hanson and One Nation

Dennis Atkins had an excellent column in the Sunday Mail yesterday analysing the return of Pauline Hanson and One Nation, noting that One Nation voters had:

“…rejected the Turnbull mantra of embracing the future because of anxiety about the cost of living and high unemployment.

In the Townsville seat of Herbert, where One Nation came from nowhere to score more than one in 10 votes, the unemployment rate is 12 per cent.”

I have commented previously on the weak economic conditions in many Queensland regions, particularly in my old home town of Townsville, and have suggested that we need to urgently adopt policy settings (and attitudes) that promote economic development and job creation (see my Jobs Growth Summit post from April). As the State and regional economies in particular continue to suffer the after-effects of the mining downturn and drought, the short-term economic outlook is not encouraging. Certainly, job vacancy estimates released by the ABS last Thursday were disappointing for Queensland (see chart below).

Job vacancies May 16

Hence it is unsurprising that Queensland has been the source of several surprises in the federal election. We now wait patiently for the final outcome.

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12 Responses to Economic conditions partly responsible for return of Pauline Hanson and One Nation

  1. Glen says:

    Gene, a touch of irony I suppose but I would imagine if the federal coalition do form some sort of govt and at the same time Ewen Jones is not returned as the member for Herbert the federal funding for the stadium might just get a bit harder to get. The funding was part of the better cities program which is only coalition policy and not identified in the budget. The program identified urban renewal and other conditions as part of the funding, without a local member to implement the policy they just might find a variety of reasons for the funding to be delayed. Maybe the good old people of Townsville might have just shot themsleves in the foot, time will tell.

  2. Jim says:

    If one of the burning questions in regional Queensland is “how do we crank up the economy?”…… I’m a little perplexed that the good people of regional Queensland somehow thought that Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter are the answer(s).

    Bob Katter has been the chief architect of the Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Act, the biggest own goal by the industry in 20 years. And based on previous form it is only a matter of time (I suspect days) before Pauline Hanson says something profoundly ill-informed about halal certification and Muslims that will jeopardise sales of beef and education services to the 412,000,000 aspirational Muslim consumers in South East Asia and India.

    If regional Queensland is to have a prosperous future, it will only happen by being outward looking and export orientated. Hanson and Katter are the antithesis of outward looking political leaders.

  3. Toby says:

    An interesting piece linked below it would be great to get your comment on Gene – with echoes of the piece by Dennis Atkins above. This one is more on systemic failings of this type across many developed nations today (starting with Brexit) but arguably a significant contributor to our current state of affairs from this weekend and now showing more clearly in the QLD regions following the ebb of the mining boom.

  4. This is an international phenomenon. It’s happening in the UK, USA and other countries. I’m not sure whether Queensland can find a solution on it’s own (but finger crossed). What is clear is a large portion of the population feel left out of the economic and political system. A good article on the changing economic and political system and what this means for governance is by Thomas Friedman in the NY Times –…/another-age-of-discovery.html. Regional Queensland is a small pawn in this larger world-wide economic and political anxiety theatre.

  5. Jim says:

    Toby and Alistair have linked some pretty interesting articles. To a certain extent, I really think the major parties have brought this upon themselves. They have been quick to claim credit for gains in prosperity, so in the eyes of many voters, they must now be responsible for the declines also.

    In the absence of major parties proposing anything different, they have simply opened the political door for all of the fringe dwelling populist ideas (and their pundits like Pauline Hanson).

  6. There are some very strong international economic and political undercurrents at play. I don’t pretend to understand them despite my good education and understanding of economics. Many commentators in Australia seem to think we can stop these undercurrents in a similar vein to King Canute stopping the tide. They appear surprised when events like the recent election and Brexit vote occur. I am not. I think Thomas Friedman was right in that New York Times article, we need government to equip us with the tools to cope with the rapidly changing world. Politicians in Australia, particularly regional Queensland, are mere pawns for these strong international currents. Hold on tight!

    • NSSfT says:

      When it comes to the new economy that is developing internationally I often think that people in the regions (and some Australian cities too) are like an astronaut that has skirted too close to the event horizon of a black hole: Their space-time is twisted, buckled and distorted in strange, unimaginable ways totally beyond comprehension. Once there, there are only two choices, somehow work to escape, or fall into the void for all time…

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