Friday, June 23, 2006

Labor's blue-collar opportunity

The proposed federal redistribution for Queensland (see map) creates a new electorate of Wright including much of the central Queensland coalfields. The miners here are politically interesting, as I discuss in my paper on Labor support in Western Queensland they initially tended to support the National Party but have since moved fairly firmly into the Labor camp. Rodney Cavalier in his sour contribution to Mortgage Nation: The 2004 Australian Election complains (or notes?) that 'never again will a coal miner or an engine driver represent Labor in Parliament'. Wright is a good opportunity to prove him wrong, could Labor implement class affirmative action and endorse a miner? The sitting Labor MP for the state electorate of Fitzroy in the same region is a former miner. I think (but would have to check) that the only manual worker at the 2001 Labor national conference was a central Queensland coal miner.


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