Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s campaign ventured so deep into LNP territory on Tuesday, she attended the same country race meet as the Deputy Opposition Leader.
Despite the Premier spending a couple of hours at the Kumbia race track, she somehow managed to avoid crossing paths with the member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington, who held the seat with a 13.3 per cent margin, despite at times standing only metres away.
As the campaign bus drove through the gates to the meet for the Melbourne Cup, a sign at the entrance protested Labor’s vegetation management laws: “Stop treating farmers like criminals”.
The town of Kumbia is home to about 350 people, with cattle and avocado farmers among the main industries in the region.
Last week, Ms Palaszczuk confirmed she would reintroduce Labor’s defeated land clearing laws, but would dump the controversial reverse onus of proof provision.
But the decision was decried by farming organisations, which argued farmers knew how to manage their land responsible.
Jim Hancock, a wagyu cattle farmer from Kumbia, bailed up Ms Palaszczuk to complain about the legislation.
He told reporters the land clearing legislation was a “very emotive issue around here”.
“She is worried that she’ll lose the Green votes and the Green votes don’t like farmers pushing down trees,” Mr Hancock said.
“But at the end of the day, the Green votes don’t produce the clothes you’re wearing, don’t produce the food that you eat in the morning.
“All the inner-city people in Sydney and Brisbane, they are all warm and fuzzy.”
Mr Hancock said farmers did not want a bureaucrat telling them what trees they could push down and which land they could farm.
“Would a fella sitting in a concrete office in Brisbane know which is fertile ground and which is not?” he said.
Another woman leaning on the bar earlier remarked to her friends while nodding at the Premier, “What are you doing about vegetation management?”
While Ms Palaszczuk awarded a sash to a horse, someone quietly held a “Stop Adani” sign on a phone behind her, an echo of the protests against the Carmichael mine project which have haunted the Premier on her campaign so far.
Ms Palaszczuk backed Caboolture-born jockey Glen Boss, who raced Ventura Storm, which came almost last at 21st.
Racing Minister Grace Grace backed Max Dynamite, which came third.
But the reception was not all bad, with several people clamouring to get selfies with or photos of the Premier and Ms Grace, and one woman inviting Ms Palaszczuk to sit on her table for a chat.
Marking the occasion, Ms Palaszczuk announced a re-elected Labor government would provide a $70 million cash injection over four years for country racing.
Ms Frecklington spent the afternoon chatting with locals, working on the barbecue and later watching the fashions on the field.
Her smiling face was present on corflutes at the entrance, inside the racing facility and around the race track, in the seat of Nanango, which Ms Palaszczuk last month conceded her candidate, Ben Rankin, had little chance of snagging from the LNP.
Earlier in the day, Ms Palaszczuk visited a chickpea business in the LNP-held electorate of Condamine, which had a margin of 17.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls watched the Melbourne Cup race at the Hervey Bay Boat Club.
Mr Nicholls struggled to get a glimpse at the race as groups of people, mainly women, lined up to snap a photo with the opposition leader.
A woman, after her photo was taken, stopped to ask Fairfax Media who the man she just got a photo with was.
When told it was the LNP opposition leader for state government she shrugged her shoulders and walked away.
Mr Nicholls pulled Big Duke in a sweep but failed to have a win, with his horse running fourth place.
He will now head back to Bundaberg for the night.
This story first appeared on Brisbane Times.