One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. The party has done extremely well in a poll commissioned by the Australia Institute and conducted by ReachTEL.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. The party has done extremely well in a poll commissioned by the Australia Institute and conducted by ReachTEL. Patrick Woods

Hanson's One Nation ties with LNP in Dawson polling

PAULINE Hanson's One Nation party has as much support in the Dawson electorate as the Liberal National Party, according to newly released polling.

The poll commissioned by the Australia Institute and conducted by ReachTEL shows the LNP and One Nation are evenly matched at 30.4% and 30% of first preference votes.

Questions in the same poll by the institute, often pegged as a left-leaning organisation, show strong support in the Dawson electorate for an increase to the renewable energy target and a strong opposition to company tax cuts in the banking sector, the institute said.

ReachTEL conducted the survey of 863 residents across the federal electorate of Dawson during the night of February 20.

Member for Dawson George Christensen, a controversial conservative Nationals backbencher, has indicated in recent months he's unhappy with the direction of the Liberal-Nation Coalition.

He took to social media on December 22 to warn his government needed to "start being more loyal to the voters and the party members" or "there will come a time when remaining inside the tent is no longer tenable to my conscience or my voters".

"With satisfaction with democracy at an all-time low in this country, I really do hope that 2017 heralds a new way of doing things for the Turnbull government and for politics in general," he said.

"A lot of people have told me to pull the pin on the government and go with another entity. However, I am loyal to Barnaby Joyce, loyal to the Nationals, and - most of all - loyal to local LNP members who selected me to be their candidate."

More recently, Mr Christensen penned a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warning his "ongoing support for the government could not be guaranteed unless something was done" about the sugar industry dispute between Wilmar and Queensland Sugar Limited.

Additionally, Mr Christensen has been a vocal supporter of newly independent conservative senator Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives movement, labelling it an "awesome initiative" and a "new movement for common sense" on social media in July, 2016.

Executive Director of the Australia Institute, Ben Oquist, said the results are clear: "One Nation are clearly on the rise" in Dawson and across regional Queensland and the party "could challenge for lower house representation".

"This polling however also points to a major rift between key Coalition policies and voters in this long-time Coalition seat," he said.

Mr Oquist said the polling shows One Nation support was highest among respondents aged 18-34 at 43.5%.

"Significantly, the poll finds One Nation voters in Dawson support a higher renewable energy target, with 48% of those intending to vote for One Nation wanting half of Australia's electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030 and only 38% of One Nation voters opposing the idea," he said.

"The rise of right-wing populism in Australia is a political earthquake and the fault-lines are in electorates like Dawson."


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