PLOT TWIST: ‘Dirty deal’ claims after whopping UAP gift
A GENEROUS donation this week to a Bundaberg candidate is raising eyebrows and suspicions as the battle for the seat intensifies in the countdown to election day.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) page shows United Australia Party candidate Shane Smeltz received a hefty $50,000 donation from an Anna Palmer, the same name as deputy leader of the UAP and wife of party founder Clive Palmer on Monday.
He also received $3975.72 from Palmer-owned Mineralogy Pty Ltd on Friday and a further $2000 from the company again today.
So far during the state election Mineralogy has made 81 donations totalling $4,596,858 while Anna Palmer has made only the one donation, to Mr Smeltz.
Labor candidate Tom Smith said this was another example of Clive Palmer's "shameless" campaign to make Deb Frecklington premier.
Mr Smith said UAP was splashing more cash in the week before the election to "prop up the LNP vote".
"I am up against some pretty big odds in the form of this LNP-Palmer alliance," Mr Smith said.
"But the people of Bundaberg should not trust Clive Palmer and the LNP, because they both have a history of cutting Queensland jobs and sacking Bundy workers."
The donation also caught the attention of ALP Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey, who claimed it was a preferences ploy.
"It smacks of a flood of Palmer Party advertising about to appear," Mr Bailey said.
"There is only one purpose and that is to damage the Labor candidate... it's a desperate and dirty deal," he said.
But LNP incumbent David Batt wouldn't be drawn further on it, saying it was a matter for Mr Palmer and his party.
"The best way to get rid of Labor is to vote 1 for the LNP."
He did not confirm or deny if a preference deal had been made between the UAP and LNP.
The UAP has been approached for comment but multiple calls and emails have gone unanswered.
However the UAP has been outspokenly anti-Labor in its advertising campaigns.
Earlier this year the Queensland Government passed a bill of reform on election financing.
Caps came into effect in August and are set at $57,000 for candidates endorsed by a political party, $87,000 for independents, and $92,000 per seat for political parties.
Third-party organisations including unions, political action groups such as GetUp and industry bodies have an overall cap of $1 million with a $87,000 cap for donations in a single electorate.
In ballot order here are the registered declarations on the ECQ website for each of the candidates as of 4pm this afternoon:
Bundaberg candidate donations
• Ian Zunker, Legalise Cannabis Queensland Party: $750 (DM & GD Zunker)
• Claire Ogden, The Greens: $0
• Shane Smeltz, United Australia Party: $50,000 (Anna Palmer), $3975.72 (Mineralogy Pty Ltd), $2000 (Mineralogy Pty Ltd).
• Stewart Jones, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party: $0
• David Batt, Liberal National Party: $0
• Tom Smith, Labor: $0
Burnett candidate donations
• Liam Johns, The Greens: $0
• Ric Glass, Independent: $0
• Geoffrey Mansell, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party: $0
• Stephen Bennett, Liberal National Party: $0
• Elizabeth Case, Informed Medical Options Party: $0
• Kerri Morgan, Labor: $0