by Jim O’Toole in Townsville
The upcoming federal election will be a watershed for minor political parties yet Clive Palmer’s re-branded United Australia Party says it will run candidates in every Queensland seat in spite of the party scoring 4816 votes in the 2016 senate race.
The Palmer candidate in Herbert, the home of Queensland Nickel claimed just 315 votes in the Lower House.
The only attraction for potential pollies is the $250,000 enticement Clive has promised each candidate to spend on their campaign.
For one endorsed candidate in the far northern electorate of Leichardt, it was manna from heaven. Jen Sackley had been out of work but ‘white knight’ Clive, a life-sized remnant of the infamous ‘white shoe brigade’ rode into Cairns tossing around greenbacks like confetti.
Whatever else Clive has to offer remains obscured to the voting public except acknowledgment again he will split the conservative vote thus letting the communists of the Labor Party claw their way into government.
Like One Nation at the 2017 Queensland election, Pauline Hanson ran candidates in nearly every seat but got just one elected and handed the ALP seven south eastern seats and government compliments of her preferences.
Palmer will never attract the numbers of One Nation but even at two per cent he could affect the result in some marginals.
His candidates will be hard-pressed to recover their nomination fees which are repayable after gaining four per cent of the primary vote.
Clive’s recent adventures in Bulgaria visiting his fugitive nephew Clive Mensink should ensure his own campaign will be off the rails before it starts.
Two arrest warrants have been issued for Mensink to appear in the Federal Court in Brisbane over the collapse of Palmer’s Queensland Nickel at Townsville in 2016.
Mensink, the sole director of Qld Nickel when it collapsed, is the subject of an Interpol ‘blue notice’ which triggers a reporting mechanism when he crosses borders.
News Ltd last month revealed Palmer and nine others, including family members, had been making a social visit on October 1 to Mensink in Bulgaria.
News Ltd reported Mensink crossed a remote border on October 9 into Macedonia accompanied by his Bulgarian lawyer.
This border crossing, due to its remoteness was not flagged by Interpol.
Accompanying Palmer on his charter flight from Amsterdam to Bulgaria on October 1, were two witnesses in the Federal Court hearing into where Queensland Nickel’s money disappeared before its collapse.