Political focus shifts as election looms

Political focus shifts as election looms

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Queensland Farmers' Federation CEO Travis Tobin.

Queensland Farmers' Federation CEO Travis Tobin.

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Political parties must rebuild trust, says QFF CEO Travis Tobin.

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With the state election now less than 12 months away (October 31, 2020), the political parties will be turning their focus towards getting elected. Recent surveys reveal some concerning trends but also some salient points worth considering.

Ipsos surveys exposed that Australians are unhappy with the state of democratic politics. Despite experiencing 28 years of uninterrupted economic growth, our governments, leading institutions and media are among the least trusted in the world. Less than 41 per cent of Australians are satisfied with the way democracy works in this country, down from 86 per cent in 2007.

Only a third of the population trust our state and local governments and only 21 per cent trust ministers and MPs. It was also revealed (unsurprisingly) that most Australians dislike conflict-driven politics.

CEDA's (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) Community Pulse 2018 revealed the disconnect between Australia's strong economic track record and the community's sense of having shared in this growth. Only 5 per cent of people surveyed believed they have personally gained a lot from decades of uninterrupted economic growth, but 74 per cent believed large corporations had gained a lot.

The Suncorp-CCIQ Pulse Business Confidence Survey for the June quarter 2019 revealed the state government must work far harder to foster private sector jobs instead of creating them, and that the private sector is particularly discouraged from growing in an increasingly complex regulatory and commercial environment.

What all these surveys tell us is that political parties must rebuild trust. Without trust we have diminished capacity to meet complex, long-term challenges, and without understanding what the community really cares about, desired reform will be misguided and hard to achieve.

Next week's AGM will be my last day with QFF - I am moving on to new challenges with the Cattle Council of Australia in Canberra. It has been an honour and privilege working closely and collaboratively with 10 Queensland agricultural industries and the state's irrigation groups over the past three-and-a-half years.

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