Without a strong sitting member or any convincing candidates, the Palmer United Party could be wiped out in its home state, an election analyst says.
Clive Palmer thinks it’s fine to keep things in the family, but that attitude could wipe out his party in Queensland.
Veteran election analyst Malcolm Mackerras says the resignation of Alex Douglas as the Palmer United Party’s state parliamentary leader could leave the mining magnate’s party ending up with no seats at next year’s election.
“I feel they’ll do very badly, like they did in Tasmania, it will be disastrous,” he told AAP.
“After the election, there will be no PUPs in the Queensland parliament.”
Dr Douglas said alleged nepotism and cronyism was behind his decision to relinquish his leadership role on Monday, ahead of his formal resignation from the party.
“Ordinary members have been excluded in favour of Palmer staff, his family and his family friends,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Mr Palmer denied the allegations of nepotism and said Dr Douglas was “two-faced bastard” who was simply annoyed because the PUP wouldn’t allow him to veto candidates.
“He just wanted to be a dictator. The party constitution doesn’t allow that to happen,” Mr Palmer told AAP.
Dr Douglas, a Gold Coast MP who quit the Liberal National Party in 2012, claims Mr Palmer hand-picked family members, including his son, brother-in-law and friends, to run at the election.
Mr Palmer’s son Michael, who ran as an LNP candidate in 2009, is reportedly being groomed to run against Sunshine Coast-based Speaker Fiona Simpson.
Clive Palmer said there was nothing wrong with politicians’ family members standing for the same party.
“People do not lose their democratic rights because they are friends of mine, or because they are my son, they’re still entitled (to run),” he said.
Dr Douglas has described the PUP as a shell organisation with only Mr Palmer calling the shots.
“For the past 15 months there has been no formal state party structure for me to work with and no commitment to policy formation,” he said.
“Mr Palmer actively sought to prevent the formation of policy, he prevented the membership’s input and members have not been allowed to conduct meetings anywhere in the state.”
Dr Douglas intends to contest his seat of Gaven as an independent.
The PUP’s only remaining state MP Carl Judge on Tuesday called for northern Queensland to become a separate state.
But Mr Mackerras said the former policeman’s political career would end next year as he quit his Brisbane-based seat of Yeerongpilly for a shot at Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie’s Sunshine Coast seat of Kawana.
“I can’t see them holding on to the only seat they have or winning any new seats,” he said.
WHICH PALMER FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS HAVE ALLEGEDLY BEEN PICKED TO RUN IN QUEENSLAND:
* Son Michael Palmer (ran as LNP state candidate for Nudgee in 2009)
* Brother-in-law and PUP photographer George Sokolov
* Nephew Blair Brewster (ran for PUP in Forde at 2013 federal election)
* Palmer party Senator Glenn Lazarus’s wife Tess
* Clive Palmer said only four candidates have been preselected.
(Source: Dr Alex Douglas)