EXPLAINED: Why CQ's youth are voting for Hanson
IS Central Queensland's love affair with Senator Pauline Hanson's One Nation party just a blip on the region's political radar?
James Cook University's Dr Maxine Newlands says the State Elections hold the answer.
The political scientist shone a spotlight on CQ's voting habits today, and the recent swing towards the minor parties.
While she said the area had long been a strong Coalition stronghold for the past two decades, times were changing.
Dr Newlands says parties like One Nation, Family First and Katter's Australia Party hold the same key values of the Liberals and Nationals, but with a twist.
"They tap into the same values people are looking for with the Liberal-Nationals, but are a little more to the right and offer something the Liberal-Nationals aren't offering,” she says.
"They offer a focus on the regions and not the cities.
"There was a lot of discussion around the Federal election about how the city was too much of a focus and the regional areas were being neglected. That is why people like the Katter's Australia Party did so well this time around as well, because you are tapping into that regional need.”
And surprisingly, Dr Newlands says it was actually the younger generation leading the trend change.
She says voters in these areas tend to vote the same as "Mum and Dad”.
"The whole family will tend to vote one way,” she says.
"(With young people) it is more, 'we agree with Mum and Dad on the right wing - money, agriculture, economics - but we're not getting the other things like technology, NBN, or same sex marriage from the other parties'.
"It is sticking with what you know but looking for an alternative that is similar.”
Dr Newlands says the demographics in these areas may not see the extreme views associated with One Nation and other smaller parties as anything but normal.
Ms Hanson's party often comes under fire for its policies on immigration and the practice of Islam.
"The more something becomes talked about then the more it becomes normalised,” Dr Newlands says.
"You see with Donald Trump, the crazy stuff he says, people either forget it or go 'oh well that makes sense'.
"These parties are tapping into the whole idea about protecting the region and staying away from the Canberra bubble. The more they do that the more people go 'they're looking after our interests' and maybe they will forget the more controversial policies.
"The tester will be the state elections, I think then you will have a... much stronger idea about whether this was an anomaly or if it was part of a new political voting trend.”