Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten will take part in The Courier-Mail's People's Forum in Brisbane.
Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten will take part in The Courier-Mail's People's Forum in Brisbane.

What Queenslanders really want from our leaders

KINGMAKER Queenslanders are demanding politicians fix their local traffic snarls and take direct action on climate change.

The issues are set to dominate tonight's Sky News/The Courier-Mail People's Forum, where Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten will go head to head to win over the battleground state.

The Courier-Mail and its associated publications interviewed 1000 Queenslanders across all 30 electorates face-to-face to find the top local and national issues.

Busting congestion, improving public transport and providing better local infrastructure were among the top locally based issues Queenslanders raised.

Tackling climate change and investing in the environment, the cost of living as well as concerns over the immigration system were among the top three nationally focused issues highlighted.

With more than 1000 responses, the issues raised ranged from the importance of health care and education to the level of distrust for our country's politicians.

The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are expected to hit the campaign hustings in Queensland today, ahead of tonight's Sky News/Courier Mail People's Forum, where 100 undecided voters will put the two men to the test.

With several marginal seats on the line, the Sunshine State is set to hold the path to power for both major parties.

The survey reveals voters in the Brisbane-based electorate of Dickson, held by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton with a wafer-thin margin of 1.8 per cent, want strong border protection, better healthcare and action on climate change.

To the north in Leichhardt, where Warren Entsch is battling to hold his seat with a margin of 4.1 per cent, climate change and the cost of living were the two top nationally-focused issues raised by voters.

In the ultra-marginal electorate of Herbert, held by Labor's Cathy O'Toole by only 37 votes, the local economy and electricity prices were among the most common responses.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will go head to head with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at tonight’s debate in Brisbane. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will go head to head with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at tonight’s debate in Brisbane. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

In Flynn, where Labor's Zac Beers is hoping to overcome the LNP's Ken O'Dowd's margin of 1.1 per cent, locals said they wanted better regional health care and more local jobs.

In five of the Coalition's nine most marginal seats, voters identified action on climate change and improving the environment as a major issue.

Griffith University political expert Dr Paul Williams said the state wide concern for climate change was worth pointing out.

"I think some people would find it remarkable that (concern for) climate change is more evenly distributed across Queensland - that it's not just an issue for southeast Queensland," he said.

"It's not just a question of Brisbane verses the bush."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is eyeing several marginal Coalition seats in the battleground state of Queensland. Picture Kym Smith
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is eyeing several marginal Coalition seats in the battleground state of Queensland. Picture Kym Smith

A desire to address climate change and improve the environment was the stand out issue in the survey, raised by more than 130 voters in the interviews conducted in recent weeks.

Cost of living proved a popular theme among the responses, with Queenslanders demanding cheaper fuel and power prices as well as a fairer deal for pensioners and better wages for workers.

More than 30 voters said taxes was their most important issue, while at least 40 said they wanted more job opportunities to lower unemployment.

Locally, voters were screaming out for more job opportunities in their communities, particularly for the young, and a greater commitment to rein in suburban sprawl - despite the lack of oversight the federal government has over the issue.

Griffith University’s senior lecturer in politics and journalism Dr Paul Williams said the results from the survey were not surprising.
Griffith University’s senior lecturer in politics and journalism Dr Paul Williams said the results from the survey were not surprising.

Dr Williams said there were no surprises with the issues raised by voters.

"People are paying more for childcare, fuel and electricity and health," he said.

"Everyone is working longer (and) harder for the same pay or less, and then they're having to put up with traffic snarls.

"In many ways, we're an unhappy constituency."

Dr Williams said a sensible federal candidate would not dismiss local demands, even if it normally falls to local or state representatives.

"What they will say is 'let me to talk to your local and state representatives and we will work together to deliver'," he said.

 

Watch the Sky News/The Courier Mail People's Forum on Sky News Live, Foxtel channels 103 and 600, Sky News on WIN channels 53 and 83.

 

FULL PROGRAM

4pm: SPEERS with David Speers

5.30pm: The Countdown featuring The Courier-Mail's Federal Political Editor Renee Viellaris

6.30pm: Sky News/The Courier-Mail People's Forum hosted by David Speers

7.30pm: The Verdict hosted by Paul Murray

 



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