Political party goes missing in action in CQ
IT MIGHT be time to send out a search party to locate Clive Palmer's United Australia candidates for Central Queensland.
Despite more than a week of determined efforts by The Morning Bulletin to arrange interviews to profile UAP's candidates for Rockhampton - Paul Crangle; Keppel - Nikki Smeltz; and Gregory - Thomas Turner; emailed questions remain unanswered and phone call requests aren't being returned.
The line coming from UAP's party HQ is that the candidates are "very busy campaigning" and if the candidates were sent the questions, they would respond.
The questions were sent last week and still there has been no responses received.
All requests for contact numbers for the candidates have been rebuffed.
It is widely understood that during a political campaign, it is in the best interests for political parties and voters alike that candidates make themselves accessible and accountable to media scrutiny and by extension the electorate.
These candidates with the strong financial backing of millionaire Clive Palmer need to explain what policies they stand for, and what the potential benefits and consequences are for the community if they are elected.
Voters also deserved explanations, like what evidence the UAP is using to justify the party's current scare campaign it is running on Labor's supposed "death tax".
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has fiercely denied plans to introduce such a tax and her party has written to Facebook and Twitter demanding the removal of posts by UAP making the claim.
"This is absolutely ridiculous for Clive Palmer to even be suggesting this, it is definitely not true and I find it offensive, absolutely offensive that he would be doing this in the midst of an election campaign," Ms Palaszczuk told the media last Friday.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke addressed the death tax issue saying, "let me be clear: this is an absolute lie. There is no truth to it. It's 100% made up and will never happen".
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said today that "Clive has admitted that his ads were untruthful and he's made a change to them, but he's made a tricky change".
"He's put the word 'could' in. Well the word 'could' is pretty tricky," Mr Miles said.
"I could say Deb Frecklington could be a Russian sleeper agent, but she's not and I won't say that."
If you spot any of these candidates on the hustings over the next fortnight, be sure to urge them to get into contact with the Morning Bulletin to be interviewed - like every other CQ political candidate.
If you would like to contact the UAP candidate in your electorate, here are their email addresses:
• Rockhampton - Paul Crangle: Rockhampton@unitedaustraliaparty.org.au
• Keppel - Nikki Smeltz: Keppel@unitedaustraliaparty.org.au
• Gregory - Thomas Turner: Gregory@unitedaustraliaparty.org.au
Clive Palmer's United Australia Party's key policies
• Zonal Taxation: We will stimulate economic growth in rural areas through a 20% tax concession for people living in rural areas. The concessions will apply to people living more than 200kms from Brisbane.
• Abolition of Payroll Tax: Payroll taxes creates a negative incentive for businesses to employ people. As such we should abolish the tax and encourage Queensland businesses to create jobs and hire a greater number of employees.
• Reintroduction of the Upper House in Queensland: Queensland is the only Australian state Parliament without an upper house. Parliamentarians need to be held accountable, as such the reintroduction of an upper house will increase scrutiny and oversight.
• Halt coal seam gas until water table secured: A secure water table is imperative to the agricultural sector. Short term profits at the expense of the long term viability of the agricultural sector is not in the best interests of Queensland. Until technical improvements are demonstrated, a temporary break from coal seam gas sequestration is required in order to protect the agricultural industry.
• Abolishment of Land Tax: The removal of land tax will encourage citizens and companies from other states to invest in Queensland property. The removal of land tax will result in the extra available money circulating within the economy, boosting demand, production and allowing the Queensland economy to grow.
• Abolishment of stamp duty: The tax creates a large burden during the purchase of property, adding to poor housing affordability and distorting economic decisions. The abolishment of stamp duty will lead to more property sales and allow citizens to relocate and invest as per their needs and objectives.
• First farm buyers grant with concessional interest rate for five years: In order to attract young farmers to Queensland, a concessional loan program will be established for first farm buyers. The first farm buyers grant is aimed to encourage farmers to invest in the Queensland market and create a better, more prosperous future for their family.
• Prioritise regional development: The regions suffer from underinvestment. Key regional projects should be fast tracked and initiated. New dams and other key critical infrastructure shall be constructed in order to kick start the economy and provide a backbone for private business to flourish.
• Mineral Processing in Australia: Queensland is failing to maximise revenue from our prized mineral resources by continuing to send unprocessed ores overseas. If we invest in downstream processing, which essentially is having more stages of the mining process occur in Queensland rather than offshore, it will result in much higher returns and stimulate both economic growth and job creation.
• Electricity Prices: Queenslander's pay some of the highest power prices in the world - more than twice what Americans pay per kWh.
This is largely driven by consumers being forced to pay back, through their power bills, huge loans taken out by electricity companies. We will pressure the government to resume these loans and reissue them with fairer terms for Queenslanders. Australian consumers are being ripped-off by power companies.