By Jeremy Sollars
Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson will visit Stanthorpe this Saturday 26 October as political pressure mounts on the Morrison Government to ramp up its response to the drought.
Senator Hanson’s visit will coincide with delivery of donated water to the Stanthorpe area through the ‘Let’s Send Them A Truckload Water Convoy”.
It is understood the Senator may do a ‘street walk’ in the Stanthorpe CBD to chat with locals during the visit on Saturday but no times have yet been provided to the media.
The One Nation leader’s visit comes at the end of a week in which Prime Minister Scott Morrison was warned the Coalition could lose government if it fails to deliver a ‘drought stimulus package’ to lift the economy of regional towns affected by the drought, including Stanthorpe and Warwick.
Senator Hanson said she has been “fighting about the water issue since 1996-97”.
“I have been on about it because I could see what was happening back then because we weren’t building the water infrastructure,” Senator Hanson said.
“It’s devastating to see what is happening to Stanthorpe and the surrounding areas, which is really on the doorstep of my own home, and I am doing my bit to help.
“I’m honoured to join the convoy and I’m looking forward to visiting the region and speaking to local people.”
The Morrison Government earlier this month ruled out forming a crisis-style bipartisan ‘war cabinet’ between the Coalition and the ALP.
It has been reported in national media that the government is considering the announcement of a drought stimulus package this month which could potentially see councils in drought-affected regions provided with up to $10 million each to shore up local businesses and jobs as well as support primary producers.
The overall assistance package could be worth up to $1.3 billion but details at this time remain under speculation.
It is understood Nationals MPs – which include local Federal MP for Maranoa David Littleproud, who is also Federal Minister for Water Resources and Drought – are privately fuming over what they see as Scott Morrison’s failure to act decisively on drought policy response.
They are also understood to be concerned at the potential for a voter shift in drought-affected regions to Pauline Hanson and One Nation.
ALP Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has this week been exploiting the apparent division within Coalition ranks over the drought response and pointing out the government’s “refusal” to work with the Opposition on the issue.