How will the natural disasters in Queensland and the COVID-19 pandemic shape the federal election?


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Alli Lark is “stressed out, tired and really, really upset”.

When she opens the door to her flooded Deagon home in north Brisbane, the walls are ripped apart, the floors gutted, and there’s a lingering smell of mold and sewage.

Ms Lark lives and works in the Lilley electorate, the most fringe seat in Queensland.

Both her home and her business were flooded in early March.

“You can’t escape it,” Mrs. Lark said.

“Some people go to work and don’t have to think about it for a while.

“I leave the house, go to the company, and it’s right there in my face, just the memory.”

The inside of Alli Lark’s house is still covered in mud as the flood cleanup continues.Delivered

Ms Lark’s business is a clothing rental store that ran at 50 percent capacity in January due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Now it doesn’t deserve any more after it was engulfed by floods.

She is one of thousands in Lilley caught between the ongoing collateral damage of the pandemic and the effects of the flooding.

Lilley includes Moreton Bay and the northern suburbs of Brisbane and is Labor-owned by a margin of 0.6 percent.

Alli Lark's flood-ravaged belongings piled up outside her home in Deagon on Brisbane's north side after they were destroyed.
Alli Lark’s flood-ravaged belongings were piled up outside her Deagon home.Delivered

Ms Lark exemplifies the concerns of voters across Lilley, who head to the polls on May 21.

“It’s going to be [about] who’s still there and doing work and supporting us and reaching out, not just whoever it is who was there in the initial phase, and then just moved on to the next,” said Ms. Lark.

“I want to see someone who understands this kind of thing takes a lot of time — that’s where my vote will go.”

Battleground Queensland

The coalition government won the 2019 Queensland elections, taking 23 of the state’s 30 seats, illustrating the state’s importance in federal politics.

Government preparedness, flood resilience, reconstruction and economic recovery would be “fundamental features” of the federal election, said Griffith University political analyst Anne Tiernan.

An aerial view of houses under water.
The extent of the floods in Brisbane’s Fairfield and Yeronga in early March.Delivered: Luciano Nunes

“Seats here will be very important… this is a very sweeping election and Australia is at a critical juncture,” said Dr. tiernan.

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