Contributed from Queensland
On the face of it, One Nation’s decision not to field candidates where the Liberal National Party (LNP)is vulnerable to losing seats, is self-defeating for the party.
More so, when it is in a position to benefit from rising disillusionment with the NLP, among its supporters. One Nation could pay a price for this.
It should not come as a surprise, given that its leader Pauline Hanson has been busy reshaping the party as an adjunct to the Liberal Party nationally and the LNP in Queensland. This is the quagmire she came from as a failed aspirant and seeks to return to, with the offer of One Nation.
But this is a risky strategy. It may bring the LNP a bigger primary vote in its most vulnerable seats, but deprive it of One Nation second preferences.
Two examples are Gaven, where One Nation is polling at 15 percent and Bonney, where it is 12.8 percent.
It seems the hope is that the LNP will be able to return the compliment, by delivering preferences to One Nation, in seats where its primary vote is higher. The difficulty is that there is no formal agreement and it might not eventuate.
If the gamble pays off, One Nation will end up with about 6 seats. If it doesn’t, it will exacerbate internal divisions that already exist. In this case, it will be a disaster on the scale of the debacle it faced it Western Australia last year.
One Nation’s chance exists because the major parties do not have a high standing among many Queenslanders, who are looking for alternatives, whether they offer a real difference or not. This is true in Brisbane, regional centres and the country.
This is the most important political development.
Labor has harmed itself by an association with Adani, his Carmichael coal mine and Abbots Point terminal to ship the coal overseas. Some of its support has bled to the Greens. They are now sitting on 9 percent support, compared with One Nation’s 16 percent and may even win a seat.
The LNP is not trusted and disadvantaged by its association with the unpopular Turnbull government in Canberra.
Many people will not happy to see One Nation scoring a win and for good reason. This is a force that has been channelling genuine discontent down the blind alley of hate politics as the solution to real problems, while in practice, it serves as a prop for what it is supposed to stand for; opposition the political control of an elite, giving ordinary Australians a voice and restoring gutted services.
It might be that One Nation needs to be put to the test, so that those who are seduced by it can see the difference between the claim and the reality.
Then again, it might have shot itself in the foot.