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Monthly Archives: December 2018

Comments Off on WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

Worleyparsons said it had received a “confidential, highly conditional” proposal for all its shares in November. Photo: James AlcockShares in WorleyParsons surged to a two-year high after a Dubai-based consulting group emerged with a 13.35 per cent holding and confirmed it had made an indicative bid for the engineering contractor last year but was knocked back.
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WorleyParsons confirmed on Tuesday it had received a “confidential, highly conditional indicative proposal” on November 14 from Dar Al-Handasah Consultants Shair and Partners (Dar Group) to buy all its shares for $11.80 each.

But after reviewing the proposed scheme of arrangement with its advisors, the board came to the view that it materially undervalued the company and wasn’t in the best interests of shareholders.

“The proposal was highly conditional in relation to financing, due diligence, process, regulatory and other conditions, which created significant execution risk and uncertainty for the company,” WorleyParsons said in a statement.

“The board’s view on value took into account the quality and global platform of the WorleyParsons business, the current low point in oil industry activity, the historical trajectory of previous cyclical recoveries, the cost reduction program that had not yet been fully reflected in earnings and the low operating risk profile of thr WorleyParsons business.”

Dar Group, a privately owned global network of architecture and engineering firms, said its exposure to WorleyParsons comprised of physical shares of 8.61 per cent and a cash-settled equity swap exposure of 4.74 per cent.

WorleyParsons’ shares closed 31.97 per cent higher at $10.65 on Tuesday.

It had bought the stake with a “long-term strategic perspective” and looked forward to being a “supportive shareholder”.

There had been no further discussions between Dar Group and WorleyParsons since the latter rebuffed its proposal in November and Dar Group had “no present intention of initiating discussions with WorleyParsons [over] a change of control transaction”. ​

The company last week posted a $2.4 million interim net loss – its first ever – due to declining sales, restructuring charges and late-paying government clients, sending its shares on their biggest decline in nine months.

Revenue fell to $2.7 billion from $4.2 billion, a result chief executive Andrew Wood said was “in line with market conditions and comparable with our peers in our market sectors”. It said the full impact of cost reductions and improving market conditions were not reflected in current earnings.

‘s mining contractors have been hit by a downturn in the prices of iron ore and other major commodities which has seen major resources firms curb spending.

with Reuters

Comments Off on State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

A VISITING British planning expert and the state’s chief planner have both described Newcastle as a place on the verge of great things at a planning workshop at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.
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London-based Professor Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White spoke at length about the opportunities and challenges facing Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region at the workshop, hosted by Department of Planning and Environment deputy secretary Brendan Nelson and attended by about 80 people.

On his first visitto Newcastle, Professor Clark said he was surprised by what he’d seen, compared withwhat he’d heard beforehand.

“I thought I was coming to see a city in decline, full of challenges, but when you look at all of the things that are happening right now, it’s already full of opportunities,” Professor Clark said.

Brendan Nelson, NSW Planning and Environment

Mr White, who took the top planning job in NSW after a long career in local government in Queensland, said Newcastle was in effect the opposite of Canberra. Whereas Canberra had been “planned to death, Newcastle had no metropolitan plan”.

Both men talked about a need to develop long-term plans that could be broken down into phases, and which took notice of change as it happened.

Mr White said planners had done quite well until about 10 years ago in managing cycles of change, but the big “structural disruptions” caused by digital technology were creating “change on a scale we have never seen before”.

IMPRESSED: British planning expert Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White extolling Newcastle’s virtues at a workshop on the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.

Both men said the old method of planning, where industry, residential, health, education and retail were each concentrated in their own zones was no longer working.

There were limits to what planning could achieve but a Greater Newcastle Metropolitan plan –together with a single regional voice to backit – was a necessary first step in promoting the region to governments and employers, as well as potential residents and visitors.

The workshop heardProfessor Clark would return to Newcastle later in the year as work on the metropolitan plan continued.

Asked about better rail links to Sydney, he said there was a risk they might initially suck jobs out of Newcastlebut the benefits would eventually work in both directions.

Light rail and theCBD university campus meantNewcastle was already on the path to renewal.

Comments Off on Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

WAIT OVER: Rocky Jerkic at Steel City Boxing in Hamilton North. Picture: Michael Parris n champion Rocky Jerkic will end a long and frustrating wait when he fights for the vacant Commonwealth super-welterweight title in Melbourne on Friday night.
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The Newcastle-trained boxer from Brisbane will have the chance to “open doors” to bigger fights if he overcomes unbeaten Victorian Anthony Buttigieg at The Melbourne Pavilion.

The 28-year-old mandatory challenger won a purse bid last year to host a Commonwealth title bout againstLiam Williams, but the Welshman relinquished his belt instead of travelling to .

Jerkic has a 15-0 record, including 12 knockouts, and scored a celebrated comeback win over Shannon King to win the national title in late 2015.

He has struggled to find willing opponents in since then, but trainer Rob Fogarty said a win on Friday would help establish him in the international arena.

“I don’t think Williams wanted to take the risk on an undefeated kid,” the Steel City Boxing trainer said on Tuesday before flying to Melbourne with his charge.

“No one else in wants to fight him.

“We’ve put the challenge out to Mundine, everyone, and they’ve all knocked it back.

“At least Buttigieg, you’ve got to give him props for stepping up.

“I know for a fact he’s primed, ready to go.

“This is the first guy in well over 12 months who has even put his hand up to fight Rocky.”

Fogarty said he had watched Jarrett Hurd score a ninth-round technical knockout of fellow American Tony Harrison to win the IBF super-welterweight world title last weekend at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, and said Jerkic was “definitely on a par” with both fighters.

He said Jerkic would challenge Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation champion Yutaka Oishi if he beat Buttigieg.

“Without a doubt this is the biggest fight of Rocky’s career. This will open some doors for him,” he said.

“Within 30 days we’ll know if we fight the guy in Japan or we can bring it back here.

“After that, that should put him in the top 15 in the world in the WBC.”

Buttigieg, at 171cm, is giving away 12cm in height to Jerkicbut has won all 12 of his fights, three by knockout.

He has won four of those fights by split decision, but Fogarty said Buttigieg had taken two months off work to prepare for the 12-round fight.

“He’s short, nuggety, got a walk-up style. Good defensively,” Fogarty said. “I’ve watched plenty of tape on this kid. He is strong.”

Comments Off on Rugby League: Remodelled Newcastle Knights out to prove critics wrongpoll

Rugby League: Remodelled Newcastle Knights out to prove critics wrongpoll

Rugby League: Remodelled Newcastle Knights out to prove critics wrongpoll

Nathan BrownARMED with a remodelled squad and a modified, more explosive game plan, Newcastle coach Nathan Brown is confident the Knights can prove thecritics wrong.
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One day out from the NRL season kick-off, the Knights have been all but written off with most of the game’s experts having condemned Brown’s men to the easybeats basket.

Betting companies have the Knights listed at $151 outsiders to win the premiership.They are$1.60 favourites to collect a third straight wooden spoon and a $5.50 chance to topple the Warriors in Sunday’s season opener in Auckland –the longest-priced team in round one.

Brown said the scepticism was based on what people “have seen in the past two years”.

“I can understand why they are saying what they are saying,” he said. “We would like to think we can do better than what people are saying.We feel our younger players definitely have a lot of growth. And we feel the players whowe have brought to the club have added something extra as well.”

Confirmation of the group’s improvement came in a 44-0 rout over a strong Canberra Raiders outfit in a trial at Seiffert Oval.

“We felt we had a reasonable trial performance against Canberra,” Brown said.

“We do know it was a trial and Canberra were without some good players but we did get some confidence out of it. We are certainly in better shape than where we were this time last year.”

New arrivals Jamie Buhrer (back row), Josh Starling (prop) and Ken Sio (wing) have been named in the starting side for the Warriors clash. Anthony Tupou is on an extended bench, while Rory Kostjasyn is recovering from throat surgery.

Apart from the young tyros and fresh faces,Brown said skipper Trent Hodkinson was“like a new player”and strike weapons Dane Gagai, Sione Mata’utia and Nathan Ross were playing in positions to“do their best work”.

Hodkinson hasbenefited from a“tailored” pre-season and Brown said the early signs were“very good”.

“Hodko has his own expectations,” Brown said.“We saw in the Canberra game when the forwards do a good job what a great job he can do.As long as Hodko is running freely, I’m sure he will provide a lot of good stuff for the club.”

Brown said the 11 rookies whomade their NRL debuts in 2016 were “bigger, stronger and faster”after what was, in many cases, their first, full pre-season.

“The biggest thing for us was improving physically in the pre-season,” he said.“The reality for younger players is from pre-season-one-to-two-to-three, if they are making the right sacrifices and working hard enough, they naturally improve.We have worked on things in the pre-season that we needed to improve and put a lot of time into one or two key areas.”

Brown is an unabashed fan of the Raiders and Penrith and the “footy” they play and indicated a similar shift at the Knights.

“We are not reinventing the game but we have made some slight adjustments to get the best out of our talent,” he said.

“Our back-row this year is probably not the biggest back-row, but we would like to think there is plenty of football in there in Mitch Barnett, Jamie Buhrer, Sione Mata’utia and young Sam Stoneand Luke Yates.They have all got a bit of footy in them and a bit of leg speed.

“Us trying to bash and barge our way to victory all the time with a smaller side in some areas is not going to be the smartest thing. Those guys have plenty of footy in them and plenty of leg speed. I’d like to think they will use it to the best of their advantage.”

The Knights face a tough task first up in Auckland where they have one win in the past 11 seasons.

“I can’t comment on the other 10 years, I can only comment on last year,” Brown said.“I think we are better equipped than we were last year but it is going to take a 17-man team effort.”

Comments Off on Dry autumn to follow Newcastle and the Hunter’s record summer

Dry autumn to follow Newcastle and the Hunter’s record summer

Dry autumn to follow Newcastle and the Hunter’s record summer

REFUGE: Beachgoers seek relief at Bar Beach in January, during a record summer for hot days of 35 degrees or hotter in Newcastle and the Hunter. Picture: Marina NeilA WARM, dry autumn is predictedtofollowa relentless, record Huntersummer, which broughtmore extremely hot daysthan ever before.
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Newcastleexperienceda record nine days of 35 degrees or hotter from December through February, andmoreextreme summer heat was felt further inland.

Cessnock had thirty-two days of35 degrees or above duringsummer,andthirteen days of40 degrees or hotter.

In Singleton,thirty-four days were35 degrees or hotter, and seventeen days were at least 40 degrees.

From February 10 to 12, the town experienced three days in a row of more than45 degrees.

That heatwave included Saturday, February 11, the hottest day ever recorded in Singleton, Maitland, Cessnock and Williamtown. The temperature reached 47.2 degrees in Singleton.

That markbroke the February record by almost three degrees.

“For southeast , summer 2016/17 was exceptional for the large number of days above high temperature thresholds,” the Bureau of Meteorology said in a special climate report for February.

“The heat often extended to the east coast, and populated centres such as Sydney and Newcastle had record numbers of days of 35 degreesor above.”

The bureau said the hot days,anda stark lack of cool changes, wereinfluenced by warm sea-surface temperatures that kept overnight conditionsmuch warmer than normal.

A high-pressure ridgeover NSWalsobrought warm, stagnantair.

Those conditions are likely to persist, the bureau said in its seasonal outlook, increasing the chance ofa warm and drier-than-average autumn.

The bureau noted the state’s trend of rising temperatures overseveral years.

“The 2017 warm event is the latest in a sequence of prolonged or intense warm spells that have affected roughly every six weeks since the end of 2012 and, overall, the time between heat events is shortening,” theclimate report said.

After the record heat, Newcastle’s last three daysof summer were wet with temperatures in the low to mid-20s.

A high of 23 degrees and a possible storm are forecast in Newcastle on Wednesday, the first day of autumn. More rain and highs of 24 degrees are expected on Thursday and Friday.

Comments Off on WineWandin Valley’s new actJohn Lewis

WineWandin Valley’s new actJohn Lewis

WineWandin Valley’s new actJohn Lewis

ACTION: Wandin Valley Estate marketing manager Rebekah Sadlier and general manager Mark Allen. Photo: Marina Neil AFTER two years in limbo while it was up for sale, Hunter tourism showplace Wandin Valley Estate is being reinvigorated with a new management team and a Chinese owner.
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The 40-hectare property inWilderness Rd, Lovedale, was purchased late last year for a reported $7 million by Lap Tung Tsoi, a director of China’s Alpha Group, one of its biggest animated film studios and toy manufacturers.

Alpha was founded by Cai Dongqing, the older brother of 42-year-old Lap Tung Tsoi, who two years ago bought an $11 million mansion in Sydney’sVaucluse.

Under general manager Mark Allen, a Novocastrian who has held executive positions at Hunter Valley Gardens, Noah’s on the Beach and the Apollo Motel, the cellar door has been reopened seven days a week and the Wandin Café is back in operation for breakfast and lunch from Wednesday to Sunday.

Work is under way to upgrade the eight hectares of old-vine vineyard, thepromising 2017 vintage has been completed under the direction of a leading consultant and plans are in hand to capitalise on exports to China and to boost tourism through the estate’s villa accommodation, cricket oval and Cricket Pavilion function and convention centre.

Mark says the aim is to generate new growth and to return Wandin Valley to its glory days with a portfolio consisting of the $20 Cricketers Pavilion, $40 to $45 Regional and $80 Reserve ranges.

Wandin Valley’s sale was negotiated by Jurd’s Real Estate, Cessnock, which in 2010 sold the propertyfor just under $5 millionon behalf of 20-year owners James andPhilippa Davern.The estate’s wine history dates back to 1973 whenpotter-winemaker Peter Dobinsonplanted a vineyard, calling itMillstone.

Philippa and James Davern, a noted televisionexecutive and producer ofA Country Practice, bought Millstone in 1990 and renamed it after the fictional location of the TV series. The buyers wereretired Macquarie Group investment banker Russell Leslieand his wife Katrina, the executive chair of the HRX recruitment company.The couple plunged into Hunter wine in 2005 by buying the former George Hunter Estate vineyard in Wilderness Rd and followed up in 2006 by acquiring the adjoining Gartelmann vineyard.

In 2009 they added to their Swish Wine Group holdings by paying $2 million for the Warraroong Estate property in Wilderness Rd, Lovedale. Having now disposed of both Warraroong and Wandin Valley, the Leslies have focused their remaining wine assets on the Saltire brand based on vineyards at 113 and 163 Wilderness Rd, Lovedale.

Comments Off on Rugby League: Hard work key as Luke Yates gets nod for Newcastle Knights season opener against New Zealand Warriors

Rugby League: Hard work key as Luke Yates gets nod for Newcastle Knights season opener against New Zealand Warriors

Rugby League: Hard work key as Luke Yates gets nod for Newcastle Knights season opener against New Zealand Warriors

HARD YARDS: Luke Yates will make his NRL debut off the Knights’ bench against the Warriors on Sunday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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NATHAN Brown admits he was wrong about Luke Yates.

What’s more, the Newcastle Knights coach couldn’t be happier.

Yates, a home-grown back-rower who was languishing in reserve grade last season, and fellow local product Sam Stone will make their NRL debuts off the bench in the season opener against the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday.

“This time last year, I honestly wouldn’t have thought he’dbe playing first grade,” Brownsaid on Tuesday.“His selection is based on sheer hard work.In September and October, when a lot of people were holidaying, I don’t think he missed a day of training. He has made some really good improvements. He is such a determined kid and is one of those kids you are happy to see playing.”

Stone, a strapping second-rower, is the son of former Knights first-grade coach Rick Stone and is still eligible for the under-20s.

“Young Stoneyis in his first full pre-season and he has trained extremely well,” Brown said. “He has been around the game his whole life with his old man coaching and understands the game very well.His trial form was good and he is playing in a position where we have a number of experienced players who are not playing at the moment.”

The round one clash across the ditch, where the Knights have recorded one win in the last 11 years, is also an opportunity for towering prop Jack Stockwell.

The 24-year-old fell down the pecking order last year, making the last of six appearances in round 11, and was shopped around to rival clubs.

“The only comment I have made on JackStockwell is that I have never doubted his talent,” Brown said.

As expected, Dylan Phythian was named at fullback for his starting debut and Brock Lamb will wear the No.6 jumpervacated by Jarrod Mullen.

Under new guidelines by the NRL, the 21 man squad named Tuesday will be cut to 19 a day before the game but baring a late injury the top 17 will play.

Brown said Yates, who standsat 180 centimetres, weighs 94 kilograms andwill be dwarfed by some of the giant Warriors forwards on Sunday, had “made some adjustments” to his game.

“What he does prove is that people who are determined and hungry can prove you wrong,” the coach said.“Itis the philosophy of any club that wants to be good –rewarding players for commitment, attitude and effort. Talent does help, but blokes like Luke Yates help a club be happy. I don’t there is a person in the club who doesn’t want him in first grade.”

– Nathan Brown

Comments Off on Salt Ash Lyme disease sufferer Jade Morgan happy Senate inquiry into the tick-borne illness has been reopened

Salt Ash Lyme disease sufferer Jade Morgan happy Senate inquiry into the tick-borne illness has been reopened

Salt Ash Lyme disease sufferer Jade Morgan happy Senate inquiry into the tick-borne illness has been reopened

THEN: Salt Ash resident Jade Morgan was diagnosed with Lyme disease in April 2016. It came after four years of being misdiagnosed. Pictures: Ellie-Marie WattsSalt Ash resident Jade Morgan heads to Malaysia this week to access treatment for Lyme disease.
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Miss Morgan was barely in her 20s when she was struck down with lethargy, loss of feeling in her legs and short-term memory loss.

She was initially told it was “all in her head” since manydoctors still don’t believe Lyme or Lyme-like diseases exist in .

PRE-FLIGHT: Jade Morgan, just days before her departure to Malaysia for treatment. Picture: Supplied.

After $1000 worth of blood testsa specialist confirmed in April 2016 that she hadthebacteria Borrelia in her system, which is associated with tick bites.

Borrelia is an accepted cause ofLyme disease in other countries, known to affect the organs and other body systems.

No longer able to work as a hairdresser, Miss Morgan has sought high doses of antibiotics in Sydney with minor relief.

In a February blog entry she made a long list of he symptoms. This included nerve pain, hot and cold feet, light sensitivity and chest pain to namea few, as well as being reliant on a wheelchair.

“I have been a bit quiet the past few days, Friday I ended up in hospital with severe pain and a kidney infection,” she wrote this past week.

“Before that I had appointments and was trying ready for Malaysia but I still have so much to do before Tuesday.”

Tilligerry Lions Club said one round of treatment alone would not be enough, announcing it would support her plight.

“Family, friends and some public support have raised sufficient funds to enable Jade avail of her first session of life-changing treatment overseas in March,” Lionproject chairman John Sheppard said.

“This needs to be followed up with a second treatment in April.

“Tilligerry Lions Club are seeking the empathy and generosity of the Public to raise $10,000for Jade’s vital second treatment with various fund-raisers through March and early April.”

Miss Morgan told the Examiner in September therewere days she “couldn’tget out of bed”.

“The other thing that really upsets me is that I know there are heaps of other people out there suffering.”

Initially donations may be made at Tilligerry RSL, Club Lemontree, Tilligerry Quality Meats, Boshev’s Corner Store Salt Ash, Tanilba Bay Newsagency and most Tilligerry Retailers.

Jade Morgan.

Comments Off on Newcastle man finds missing $1m lottery ticket while cleaning his car

Newcastle man finds missing $1m lottery ticket while cleaning his car

Newcastle man finds missing $1m lottery ticket while cleaning his car

WINDFALL: A Newcastle man is now a millionaire after finding a winning lottery ticket more than a year after he bought it.A NEWCASTLE man is $1 million richer after he found a missing lottery ticket while cleaning out his car more than a year after it was drawn.
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The unidentified man won a division one prize of $1,020,496.38, which was drawn on January 9 last year, with the ticket bought from the Marketown shopping centre newsagency.

The windfall followed a campaign by NSW Lotteries last year urging Novocastrians to check their tickets as the mystery winner failed to claim the prize.

The happy winner admitted he had been “a bit stupid” by misplacing and forgetting about his ticket for 414 days.

“I line the bottom of my reusable Aldi shopping bags with old beer cartons to give them some strength. The ticket was hidden underneath it and I didn’t know it was there!” he explained.

“I was cleaning rubbish out of my car on the weekend and thought it was time to put new cartons in the bottom of my bags as they were starting to get torn and I got quite the surprise!

“I”m glad I didn’t just get the old bags and take them to the dump!

“I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my time!”

The man said he would use the windfall to help his children and grandchildren.

“There’s a few people who are going to benefit from this. I want to help the kids with their house payments and the grandkids with their education.

“It will smooth the troubled water in front of them.”

Nextra Marketown Newsagency owner Cheryl Tuckerman said the store was “over the moon” with their customer’s win.

“You wouldn’t believe how many customers we’ve had coming in the past year asking whether the winner had been found,” she said.

The man wasn’t fazed by the fact he could have been a millionaire a year ago, saying “at least I’ve got it now”.

The winning numbers in Saturday Lotto draw 3597 on January 9 last year were: 20, 25, 36, 30, 18 and 2, with the supplementary numbers 5 and 11.

Comments Off on If you think One Nation are only the Coalition’s problem, think again

If you think One Nation are only the Coalition’s problem, think again

If you think One Nation are only the Coalition’s problem, think again

Senator Pauline Hanson enters the House of Represenatives for the address of Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong arrives to the Parliament of at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 12 October 2016. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has been drawing voters from the left and the right. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy with senator Pauline Hanson after the One Nation leader’s first speech in the Senate. Photo: Andrew Meares

Senator Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has become a protest party, according to Professor Ian McAllister. Photo: Andrew Meares

One Nation voters are not who you think they are.

Working class, worried about job security and living in outer urban or inner regional seats, One Nation voters are as likely to be traditional supporters of Labor, as of the Coalition.

While the focus has so far been on the damage the outsider party causes to the right, its impact on the left also has the Labor Party worried.

Ian McAllister, Professor of Political Science at the n National University and co-director of the n Election Study, said the voters lured by One Nation in 2017 were different to those who first followed the Pauline Hanson drum beat almost 20 years ago.

Where policy once enticed, now protest reigns supreme.

“This time around it is different and they are drawing their support almost equally from Labor and Coalition voters,” Professor McAllister said.

“If you look at the sorts of issues that people who are voting for One Nation actually think are important, they are all over the place.

“Essentially, this time around, it is a protest party – and it is soaking up the protest vote, rather than a vote from people that want to vote for it for a particular policy platform.”

While urban areas remain largely immune to the big swings, those living on the wrong side of a two-step economy, on the outer reaches of cities or in regional towns, have lost faith either Labor or the Coalition will bring about change.

“They are unhappy with the major parties,” says Professor McAllister of the new One Nation voter. “Weak economic performance is one reason – there is a very strong correlation with that – so these tend to be people who don’t believe the government can do very much about improving their economic position, they feel very economically insecure.”

“They have a very high level of distrust in politics and that is quite noticeable.

“They are disillusioned with career politicians, they don’t think they are working in their best interests – there is a series of things going on in there.”

This, says Clive Bean, Professor of Political Science at the Queensland University of Technology, was just as much a problem for Labor as it is for the Liberals and Nationals.

“To some extent, there are characteristics in them [One Nation voters] that are reminiscent of Labor voters – people who are perhaps concerned about security – job security as well as ethnic and cultural security,” he said.

“Those kind of factors mean there is an appeal there to Labor voters just as there is to Coalition voters and even though it is characterised as a new right populist party, which makes you think it will take from the right of the Coalition, there is an appeal across the spectrum, which makes it a lot more unpredictable.”

The upcoming Queensland election, expected to be held in September or October this year, is being viewed as a barometer of the wider national mood by both parties.

Publicly, Labor has maintained its opposition to One Nation. The Queensland Labor government, which is under the greatest immediate threat from the surging One Nation vote, has ruled out any preference or governing deals with the minor party.

But Queensland Labor has benefited from the turning tide – both Herbert and Longman fell to Labor at the 2016 federal election on the back of One Nation preferences. While deals have been ruled out, Labor has capitalised on the “send the Turnbull government a message” mood, and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has noticeably switched to an ” first” rhetoric in recent months, particularly while speaking in the very regions now under threat.

But with voters switching off from the major party messaging, in favour of sending a message of their own, Labor has found itself fighting for the same hearts and minds as the Turnbull government, while attempting to batten down its own heartland.

“I think there is disillusionment around the two major parties and we need to demonstrate how progressive politics and progressive governments can deliver for working people,” Labor MP Pat Conroy said.

His electorate of Shortland, which takes in part of the NSW Hunter region, and its coal mines, is primed for a swing to One Nation. There, the mood rises and falls with the economy.

“Labor voters who might say they will vote for One Nation do so because they don’t think a Labor government supports them economically,” he said.

“It is usually not about social issues, it is about economic issues – they might be pro-protection, they might feel like the industrial relations system is not supporting workers enough and things like that.

“So what they need to see is a Labor government that is actually delivering for working people and that is why it is so important that we tackle things like inequality and fair trade deals – and penalty rates. Demonstrating that we are looking after working people is the best way to sway these people to vote for us again.”

Cathy O’Toole, who won the seat of Herbert on the back of a protest swing against the Turnbull government, after years of economic stress, is aware the pendulum swings both ways.

“I think part of the issue is that in those areas, and my area is one of those, where unemployment is really high, job security is not good, people are very concerned about the fundamentals of survival. Their major concerns are about ‘is my job secure, or can I get a job, can I afford to put food on the table, pay the mortgage or the rent and pay my kids school fees, or keep them at school’. They are the issues that seem to be typically around those voters and why they seem to be reaching out,” she said.

“I understand that and I think for Labor it is about understanding that those people are worried about their well-being and the well-being about their family.

“And I think we need to be very clear in the messages and the messages that we give to people.”

Ms O’Toole said she believed the current mood was based on “frustration”.

“I get the frustration and for us it is about being really clear, that we are giving simple and succinct messages that address their concerns. And they are concerns,” she said.

“…I think you would ignore it at your own peril. You have to be aware of all the players on the landscape, you can never sit complacently – you have to be really focused and I think it is a wake-up call.”

Ms O’Toole said a focus on policies – and who One Nation’s would harm – was crucial.

“It is not about doing a character assassination on a human being, that is certainly not what it is about,” she said.

“But it is about comparing and contrasting her stance and her party’s stance on policy and where Labor stands.

“The world is changing.”

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