OPINION: Don’t underestimate the right to coal power
It's not exactly a civil war - it's not all north versus south, we are united under one Queensland government and, if we ignore the Tropic of Capricorn, there's no Mason Dixon line identifying where one world ends and the other begins.
But the escalating brawl over the idea of a new Collinsville coal-fired power station does throw into sharp relief the divide between North Queensland and, not only the south-east, but the entire nation.
The similarities between "old Dixie'' and North Queensland are irresistible.
They're both inhabited by a people whose life experience is more likely to be drawn from an agricultural economy, the accent can be quite distinctive (hey?) and the world view is often less abstract and far more practical than many city dwellers.
Although we're still reluctant to admit it, the north even had a form of slavery in the 19th Century when South Sea Islanders were brought, in many cases unwillingly, into the cane fields to provide the backbreaking labour which not only helped establish the Queensland economy, but built the country.
Perhaps most importantly of all the north has it own beer in the form of "Great Northern'' which Carlton and United Breweries, to their credit, created ten years ago after recognising a yawning gap in the market after the loss of Cairns Draught.
Incorporating the classic leaping marlin logo into the branding, Carlton and United provided unequivocal proof the north hosts its own tribe by making a small fortune out of the hugely successful "northern'' beer.
That same tribe gave the nation a nudge in the ribs in May last year to remind Australia that it is still light years removed from the "Yankee'' sophisticates of the inner city.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison's surprise win was propelled at least in part by northern Queenslanders who saw a generation grow rich on coal mining, and won't accept coal as a sunset industry.
Those same people, many of whom still automatically associate the word "Collinsville'' with "power station'' after growing up with the notion that it was coal-rich Collinsville that helped keep the lights on, will raise their voice again in support of this power station proposal.
Matthew Canavan, the Yeppoon based Senator, who is domiciled several kilometres north of the Tropic of Capricorn, will amplify their voice in the national arena in an unambiguous and articulate manner, even if the voice is delivered temporarily from the backbench.
That the north urgently needs more cheap and reliable electricity to maintain it living standards is not in dispute.
But with a city electorate ready to explode in uproar if a government underwrites a coal fired electricity station, the north may well be "whistling dixie'' for quite a spell while waiting for that new power source to come online.
And while it's waiting the region could rapidly develop a siege mentality, lashing out at those who insist it carry the bulk of the burden for fighting global warming and, once again, letting their views be known at the ballot box.
Global warming may be a scientific fact, and the need to reduce carbon emissions may well be increasingly urgent.
But for North Queenslanders watching Japan build 22 new coal-burning power plants in 17 different sites in the next five years, the argument becomes a little more moot.
And, if truth be told, they're not alone in taking that self interested view.
It's fascinating to view polling on views on climate change following the Global Financial Crisis.
Many wealthy westerners, faced with massive losses of capital, clearly placed less emphasis on the urgency of reducing carbon emissions while they scrambled to re-establish their wealth.
Whether we're willing to admit it to ourselves or not, the overwhelming majority of us will, when faced with the reality of the lower living standards required to address climate change, rapidly reassess our take on the issue, marking it down from a scientific fact to an interesting hypothesis.