Queensland clearing conflict could change course of national poll

QUEENSLANDERS are a proud and parochial lot and the dialogue of their elected leaders usually transparently reflects the views of core constituents, particularly when it comes to issues affecting the state’s food and fibre producers.

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In fact, love or hate the way they go about it, Queensland electorates have been highly successful in positioning themselves for the maximum attention of our country’s policy-makers.

Why? Well, the state’s voters have had a very consistent habit in the last couple of decades of making or breaking election results on the back of issues that are close to their hearts. However, they are heavily conflicted at the moment as two iconic mainstays of Queensland both fight for survival, in the opinion of each set of proponents, and in the face of potentially contradictory policy positions.

The whole nation (and most Queenslanders) want the Great Barrier Reef to continue its reign as a UNESCO world heritage-worthy international tourism attraction. But the dominant rural voice doesn...