THE FLEDGLING political party launched last week by mining magnate Clive Palmer has announced its first parliamentary representatives, with former Queensland LNP members Alex Douglas and Carl Judge telling state parliament today that they had signed on with the United Australia Party.
Dr Douglas and Mr Judge, both MPs in the Queensland state parliament, resigned in November last year after claiming that the Newman government had abandoned its principles after attaining an unprecedented majority in the 2012 election. Mr Judge was banned from attending party meetings after not agreeing to pledge complete loyalty to Mr Newman, while Dr Douglas resigned after being removed from his position as chair of the parliamentary ethics committee.
Dr Douglas, who has served as MP for the Gold Coast electorate of Gaven since 2009, said that the United Australia Party would offer voters a greater level of choice than currently exists in the Australian political system. He said that he expected more members of the LNP to defect to the party in coming weeks, with the United Australia Party aiming to run in all 150 seats across the nation.
Dr Douglas said: “The UAP will grow and we welcome anyone who is sick of being stood over, threatened, dictated to and who wants to work collectively in a representative democratic party. It will run candidates in every seat for the coming federal election including the Senate in each state. This is not like Bob Katter’s party, which is a cult party, and it’s not like the Campbell Newman party which is a cult as well. People don’t want cults.”
Brisbane-based MP Carl Judge said that he was proud to be one of the first members of the United Australia Party, and expected the organisation to become a viable alternative to the dominance of the two major Australian political parties. He said that the United Australia Party would release more policies over coming months, with the organisation’s website already outlining regional development and a refunding of the carbon tax as party priorities.
Mr Judge said: “I am extremely proud to be among the first members of the United Australia Party, which I believe will become a mainstream federal party in all states and territories. I am particularly heartened to be part of a new democratic movement dedicated to bringing people together.”
UAP executive director Susie Douglas, wife of MP Alex Douglas, said that the party was moving towards reaching the 500 member threshold required to register as a federal entity. She said that a technical glitch with the UAP website over the weekend prevented a significant number of potential members from signing up.
She said: “Hundreds of people tried to sign up but we had problems with the PayPal part of things on the website. So we need to go back to people who contacted us … and sign them up.”
The United Australia Party’s launch was overshadowed over the weekend after founder Clive Palmer revealed that there had been a break-in at the party’s corporate offices in Brisbane. Mr Palmer stopped short of accusing a culprit, however implied that the incident may have been politically motivated.
Mr Palmer said: “When I was director of the National Party, (they used to say) if you can’t attack the policy, attack the man. This could’ve been a coincidence. This could’ve just happened after the polls were published showing that we had support from 30 to 40 per cent of the people.”