Katter's Australian Party launches Queensland election bid
- From: AAP
- March 11, 2012
With a flurry of policies and more than a few rhetorical flourishes, Katter's Australian Party says it has arrived as Queensland's third political force.Launching the party's election campaign in Townsville today, state leader Aidan McLindon delivered a series of promises which he says offer a real alternative to Labor and the Liberal National Party (LNP). Mr McLindon promised to scrap the planned $8 billion Brisbane light rail project, and redirect the funds to rural and regional roads. "We are the most decentralised state in the nation, and it only makes sense that we have to empower the communities outside of Brisbane so that Brisbane has a win and that Queensland's communities have a win," Mr McLindon said.
The money would be spent on upgrading the Bruce Highway, constructing a Toowoomba range bypass and a link road between the Sunshine Coast and South Burnett. Mr McLindon also announced a plan to recreate a state bank, and to allow public servants to salary sacrifice Queensland holidays. He did not detail the party's outdoor recreation policy, saying "if you like shootin', huntin' and fishin', you know we exist".
Mr McLindon said the party had made an impact in the six months since its creation. "There has been a significant shift in the course of Queensland politics," he said.
Federal leader Bob Katter was given loud cheers as he told of his plans to create an ethanol industry, to ban foreign fly-in, fly-out workers and to turn the Gold Coast into a place of "high art, fashion and elegance".
Mr Katter said the party's ethanol policy set it apart from the LNP in particular. "Are you scared of having an LNP government? Well you'd better think about it," he said. "The difference is we stand on the record of countries like Brazil, the United States and Europe, where they have lowered their electricity costs, they have lowered their petrol costs by doing what we are doing with biofuels like ethanol."
Mr Katter played down the significance of billionaire James Packer's $250,000 donation to the party, saying he had different views from the casino magnate. "I wouldn't call it very generous. I mean, Clive Palmer gave $3.5 million (to the LNP), but there's some value for him in getting that," Mr Katter told reporters. "What's he (Packer) getting out of it? Nothing. Can't you people understand that some people actually do love their country? "Can't you get your head around that someone would actually do something because he's patriotic?"
A Katter's Australian Party spokesman told AAP the party would be able to use only about $5000 of the donation on campaigning for the Queensland election because of the state's electoral laws.
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