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If you're not a retiree in Queensland, you're just camping out

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02.02.2019

The late American comedian George Carlin joked that he liked Florida because "everything is in the 80s – the temperatures, the ages and the IQs".

If one wanted to extend the cruelty, one might suggest these factors keep the joint firmly mired in the 1980s as well.

Illustration: Reg LynchCredit:

It is often said that Queensland is Australia's Florida, sharing the nickname of the "Sunshine State" and attracting retirees like moths to a flame.

They're also unpredictable swing states with no reliable political loyalty, and they regularly decide the outcome of national elections.

In the US this is a function of Florida's 29 electoral college votes, while here it is the result of Queensland's plethora of marginal seats: eight held by the government on a margin of less than 4 per cent.

Queensland is always key, and Scott Morrison cemented its importance when he dispatched the so-called Ghost Bus up the coast last year for a this-is-definitely-not-a-campaign tour.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets voters Gayle Price-Davies and Gwyneth Hockey in Brisbane.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

He was back there again this week, joined by a rotating posse of ministers and a string of MPs whose seats are under threat. And Peter Dutton, of course, who is in both categories.

But if the PM's first Queensland jaunt was all beers and baseball caps, this time the message was more pointed, and potentially more lethal. It is pitched squarely at retirees enjoying the northern sun, and in target seats around the country:........

© The Age