One Nation steals former Nationals member
A DISSATISFACTION with the Nationals party was the final straw which pushed a Biggenden grazier into the arms of One Nation.
Sharon Lohse, a cattle farmer and former member for the National Party, made the decision to stand back from her support of the Coalition in 2016.
Instead, she traded it in for Pauline Hanson's One Nation.
She was first endorsed as the One Nation candidate for the Flynn electorate in 2017 and in the same year contested for the seat of Callide in the state election.
Mrs Lohse, 54, told the NewsMail it was not an easy decision.
Coming from a family of deep-rooted Nationals supporters, Mrs Lohse said she felt she was left with little option to have her say on the big issues facing regional Queenslanders.
"The National Party were always vocal and proactive about promoting and making sure the interests of the country people were put forward,” Ms Lohse said of her past Nationals patronage.
But she claimed that had all changed now.
"I believe they have totally lost their voice,” Mrs Lohse said.
"They seem to be no different to Labor wanting to appease the Greens.
"They're not strong and assertive like a country party used to be.”
She said the LNP was failing to stand up with a united voice to act on concerns like vegetation management and water security for farmers.
And she said the "disunity” of the Coalition this week was a sign of trouble before the May election.
"We don't see them (Coalition) stepping forward and putting the interests of the rural food producers at the forefront,” she said.
"Mining and agriculture are the two big industries in Queensland, (and) we can't put any more stress on the rural sector, we (are) seeing a depletion of the dairy and beef industry.
"The LNP is not stepping forward and taking the bull by the horns and doing something about it, even with opportunities (to do so).”
Speaking with people in the electorate, Mrs Lohse said the "thing on people's lips” was the "exorbitant” price of power, especially for businesses such as meatworkers.
And the prices will only grow higher if the government turn their backs on coal and transition to renewable energy sources, Mrs Lohse claimed.
"How can they do that (phase out coal), when small and rural businesses are struggling under the existing costs of energy,” she said.
She said the roll-on effects of high costs would mean a crack down on job availability in the regions and result in an "exodus” of rural towns.
"If they reduce their business the first thing that goes is the employees ... education, aged care, transport and main roads, everything starts depleting and people then go towards the coast,” she said.
But Mrs Lohse said One Nation wouldn't commit to renewable energy, saying they simply couldn't "add to the burden” of residents, and called for more coal-fired power stations.
Her opinion mirrored Hinkler MP Keith Pitt's sentiments from earlier in the week, that the Nationals were focused on bringing down power prices, but instead called himself "energy agnostic”.
"Any future power generation needs to be affordable and reliable,” Mr Pitt said.