Friday, 27 March 2009
If the recent state election in Queensland proved anything, it was a timely reminder that Queenslanders are different.
The pundits looked at the relative closeness of the polls, and concluded that the election would be a cliff-hanger. They don't understand how we think.
This state resembles more than anything else, a collection of provincial identities. It also has all the features of metropolitan, rural and remote communities, scattered across a wide geographical area.
This has come about because of our history. Queensland is the only state in the commonwealth where development occurred east-west before it did north-south. The railway lines from the inland to the ports on the coast were completed before the north-south link to the south eastern corner. Development was also concentrated across a range of different sites at different times. Power shifted from the rural heartland to the mining projects and the political history reflected this. Queensland was the home of the Labor party, as a direct consequence of the shearers' strike.
This has left us with a much stronger sense of identity based on location than other Australians, and the issues are rarely statewide. Apart from anything else, Queenslanders have a much stronger sense of contrary individualism than other Aussies.
More than anything else, we hate to be told what we regard as important.
Consequently, understanding political polling in this state is something of a black art, as many of the more arrogant pundits discovered to their cost last Saturday night.
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