Pauline Hanson knows how to tap into the fury of regional Queensland, and they have plenty to be angry about.
Pauline Hanson knows how to tap into the fury of regional Queensland, and they have plenty to be angry about. Chris Ison ROK170715chanson3

Premier Pauline? Why One Nation could win big in Qld

NOW is the time for Pauline Hanson and One Nation to strike in Queensland.

The fire-haired figure who courts the angry, the dejected and the fearful has never had a better shot at galvanising voters to her cause and positioning her party as a serious force in state politics.

The ruling Labor Government barely has the support to hold on to power - it was elected under protest as Queenslanders rushed away from the incompetence of the LNP under Campbell Newman.

Ms Hanson said on Wednesday it was time to "get a One Nation person to lead the state of Queensland".

"I've got issues to try and get some prosperity back to Queensland, give people hope."

Ms Hanson is in the Senate, which could hobble her ground game.

But if One Nation can recruit someone with charisma and skill to lead its charge, it will be unstoppable.
 

Can One Nation find a charismatic leader to take on Queensland politics?
Can One Nation find a charismatic leader to take on Queensland politics? Evan Vucci

Her stance on Muslims, same-sex marriage and other hot-button topics won't be enough to dissuade those who have been left jobless and forgotten by the majors.

She is already on message.

Last month she told the ABC: "Rural and regional Queensland is the heart of Queensland and they have been forgotten for many, many years".

 

The anger of the regions could soon be felt at the state's ballot box.
The anger of the regions could soon be felt at the state's ballot box. Contributed


After so many years of Labor rule, the LNP was the great hope for conservative voters.

Its time in office showed it was too clever for its own good, and pursued its own ideological battles against bikies, same-sex marriage and asset sales.

It betrayed its heartland by tearing jobs out of regional mining areas and exporting them to Cairns and Brisbane under the ridiculous fly-in, fly-out policies it kept from the Bligh Labor Government.

For a conservative Queensland voter, 2012 to 2015 should have been a golden age where rail infrastructure through the blue-ribbon seats of the Sunshine Coast would be a priority. It wasn't.

The LNP is supposed to represent farmers but was the driving force behind the state's booming coal seam gas industry in the state's south-west food bowl, as so many hung out their Lock The Gate signs.

In Mackay there are 3000 homes sitting vacant - their owners no doubt battling to pay the mortgages as the renters left town.

Labor's Jim Pearce apologised to Central Queensland for his government not doing enough for his voters.
Labor's Jim Pearce apologised to Central Queensland for his government not doing enough for his voters. Allan Reinikka

One Central Queensland Labor MP has apologised to voters this week for his government not doing enough.

That region has form in supporting conservative causes.

It consistently delivers George Christensen a super-safe seat in Dawson for his hard-right musings. But he is an outsider in the greater Coalition, and regularly rallies against his colleagues for their elitism.

The latest regional youth unemployment figures compiled by the Queensland Government showing parts of regional and rural youth in Queensland suffering enormous hardship
The latest regional youth unemployment figures compiled by the Queensland Government showing parts of regional and rural youth in Queensland suffering enormous hardship

Whether you're a boomer or a millennial in regional Queensland, there is reason for you to share the anger felt by those who felt left behind in Barack Obama's America.

Governments of both shades have failed to stop rising unemployment in the regions.

No seat is safe when voters are struggling to put food on the table.

Youth unemployment in the outback is 34.9%, 13.9% in Ipswich, about 10% in Mackay and Toowoomba and 22% in Wide Bay.

That means almost one-in-four young people are out of work.

Compare that to inner-city Brisbane, where youth unemployment is at just 5.8%.

That means even if you're a well-off retiree, you're watching your children struggle to find a job.

At the same time, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk tells you the the state is doing well and the Prime Minister tells you how exciting it is to be Australian.

For regional Queensland, the system feels broken. And Ms Hanson's One Nation knows how to exploit that.

She is performing beyond expectation federally, and if she can keep it up, it will translate in the state poll due in late 2017, early 2018.

The fury that these voters could unleash at the ballot box will tear into both of the established parties that took so much for granted for so long.

All it needs is a leader.

 

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