Clive Palmer says the Hunter is on the cusp of a new awakening as voters prepare to go to the polls in two ICAC-triggered by-elections.
Clive Palmer is determined to stop NSW from returning to the “Eddie Obeid years” and says he’s confident his candidates will perform well in two ICAC-triggered by-elections.
Mr Palmer was in Newcastle on Thursday campaigning for independent candidates Jennifer Stefanac and Suellen Wrightson, who are running on Saturday in Newcastle and Charlestown by-elections.
The pair will run as independents as the Palmer United Party (PUP) missed a deadline to register them as PUP candidates.
“We’re just here to stop (corrupt former Labor minister) Eddie Obeid getting back into parliament through the Labor Party,” Mr Palmer told AAP.
“He’s just behind them all.
“We don’t want to return Newcastle and Charlestown to the Eddie Obeid years.”
Newcastle and Charlestown have been vacant seats since Liberals Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell quit parliament in August after admitting to the ICAC to receiving banned donations from property developers.
It’s widely expected that Labor will pick up both seats, especially given that no Liberal candidates are running.
But Mr Palmer believes voters in the area are ready to break away from the major parties and are on the cusp of a “new awakening”.
“We did polls here and they want a new start,” he said.
“We think we can do well.”
Labor candidate for Charlestown Jodie Harrison disagrees and thinks people in the electorate have watched the performance of federal Palmer United MPs closely and haven’t been impressed.
But she admits TV ads “can buy votes”.
“I’m not sure how much support they’ll get though,” Ms Harrison told AAP.
Mr Palmer wants to see the Hunter “rejuvenated” by becoming a processing hub for minerals that are mined in other states.
“We send over nickel at $50 a ton and the Japanese make $17,000 out of it,” he said.
“They’ve got higher wages, transport costs and higher energy costs.
“Why don’t we use our infrastructure here in the Hunter and get some of our minerals from Western Australia and Queensland and not send them off to Japan but have jobs for Australians?”
He says the plan will see scores of local jobs created and new technologies developed.