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Queensland: Archbishop Hollingworth has expressed a personal opinion about how voters of One Nation should vote; Premier has told locals at Hervey Bay that their whale watching industry could be under threat because of native title claims; Opposition Leader is confident that his party is doing the right thing by putting One Nation last on the 'How to vote' card.



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MARK COLVIN: In Queensland, the Anglican Church has taken the unusual step of entering the election campaign.  It's warned people considering voting for One Nation to be careful with their votes.

 

Brisbane Archbishop, Peter Hollingworth, says that while he'd never presume to tell people how to cast their ballots, support for One Nation may not be the answer to their problems.  Archbishop Hollingworth also expressed concern about native title becoming a contentious issue in the campaign.

 

On the hustings today, however, Premier Rob Borbidge was busy beating the Wik drum.

 

In Brisbane, Gerald Tooth.

 

GERALD TOOTH:  One Nation's debut in an election has dominated the campaign agenda in Queensland for most of its first week.  And as the Coalition parties go about the contentious business of deciding where to put the fledgling party on their 'How to vote' cards tonight, there's an extraordinary warning to those thinking of voting for One Nation to think very carefully before doing so;  extraordinary, because it's come from Brisbane's Anglican Archbishop, Peter Hollingworth.

 

PETER HOLLINGWORTH:   I would want to express a personal opinion - that's all I can do because it's not my role as a church leader to become embroiled in the party-political electoral debate. 

 

The sadness I feel is that there are a lot of people out there who are hurting, who perhaps haven't had as many of this world's goods and educational opportunities as others have had, who feel themselves to have been overlooked, neglected, not part of the mainstream of Australian society, who have adopted One Nation as a cause for themselves.  And I can really only say to them:   just do take care that this might not be the way that you're going to achieve those understandable ends that you desire.  It is not a helpful thing, in the process of building One Nation, if we're going to be hostile towards Aboriginal and Islander people, if we're going to be hostile towards migrants who have settled here, who have become Australians and have made Australia their home.  We need more migrants - not less, actually - if we are going to prosper as a nation.  And I think that the problem about what is occurring is that people are trying to turn the clock back.  You can never turn clocks backwards - you can only look forward.

 

GERALD TOOTH: Archbishop Hollingworth has also expressed concern about native title becoming the focus of the Queensland election campaign.

 

PETER HOLLINGWORTH:   I hope that it isn't going to be used for electoral purposes because that's not the way in which you resolve these difficult and vexed issues.  At the moment, if the matter is simply a matter of claim and counterclaim and it's reinforced by election rhetoric, it's not going to help the process of reconciliation greatly.

 

GERALD TOOTH: Rob Borbidge, however, had chosen National Sorry Day to attack native title, going to the marginal Labor seat of Hervey Bay where there's a robust tourist industry based on whale watching.  He told locals whale watching was under threat because of Aboriginal claims in the area.

 

ROB BORBIDGE:   My discussions with those operators that I've spoken to here understand  the situation.  And I mean, what we have with Wik is a scenario where every time they have to apply for a permit, under a Labor government, they would have to give 60 days' notice, there would have to be a period of consultation and at the end of that process their application may well be rejected.

 

GERALD TOOTH: And as the National Party prepares to officially direct preferences to One Nation in seats right across the State, the Party's leader is threatening Queenslanders with a return to the polls if they deliver the balance of power to One Nation.

 

Peter Rapp asked the Premier if his stance was arrogant and undemocratic.

 

ROB BORBIDGE:  No, I didn't say that.

 

PETER RAPP:   That's the effect of what you're saying, isn't it?

 

ROB BORBIDGE:  No, no, I didn't say that.  What I said is that if One Nation came out and said that they would support neither the Coalition nor the Labor Party - they said that they would not support and not pass our budget.  Now, clearly, if we were the largest party and we were granted a commission by the Governor we would seek to continue in government, but clearly that would be an untenable situation and it would only be a matter of time before One Nation tried to make changes to the budget that were unacceptable, changes to legislation that were unacceptable or decided not to support the Government on key measures, and they would be the ones that effectively would be pushing the election trigger.

 

GERALD TOOTH: Labor Leader, Peter Beattie, has used One Nation as the one issue on which he can truly distance himself from the Coalition, and continued to do so today as the ALP officially announced One Nation would be put last on all its 'How to vote' cards.

 

PETER BEATTIE:  You can understand that there will be some candidates who wouldn't be excited about seeing our preferences go to the Nats and Libs ahead of anyone.  But the bottom line is they understand that what we're doing is the right thing.  Now, I don't believe that … candidates in that category … all candidates will support my position - that is the right thing.

 

MARK COLVIN: Queensland Labor Leader, Peter Beattie, ending Gerald Tooth's report.