Northern exposure a wake-up call for state leaders
SINCE jetting into Townsville for the first regional parliament in eight years, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington have traded predictable barbs.
The Premier has repeatedly targeted the previous LNP government's public service sackings, failure to build anything and its thwarted plans to sell the local port.
Her ministers have delighted in pointing out that Opposition frontbencher David Crisafulli cut and ran from the garrison city and is now representing the Gold Coast.
Frecklington has focused on the dreadful crime rate and high youth unemployment, while tapping into the city's pervading sentiment that all the money flows south to the bowels of Brisbane.
However, as the Labor and LNP leaders have squared off, a demonstration of how voters aren't particularly enamoured with either of them is on show right behind them.
Every hour during this epoch sitting of State Parliament, vast numbers of seats have sat empty in the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre.
Excluding the school kids who had no choice but to be there, a lowly 30 people turned up for the opening.
One fellow nodded off.
For last night's showcase evening question time, the numbers hovered around 100, an improvement but still less than at previous regional parliaments.
It really is a poignant reflection of how regional Queensland feel right now about politicians of all persuasions.
The Courier-Mail's YouGov poll showed just 29 per cent of regional voters were satisfied with Frecklington's performance, while the same number was dissatisfied.
The remaining 42 per cent were uncommitted, not a good result for someone from the regions.
Palaszczuk's figures were far worse.
While 31 per cent are satisfied with the Premier's performance, 52 per cent are not which is far inferior to her popularity in Brisbane.
Clearly, Palaszczuk and her Government have a perception problem north of Noosa.
But Frecklington isn't faring much better.
In many ways, what Queenslanders are getting dished up is a contest of who can be considered the least worst.
Little wonder no one is listening.