Tim Nichols and Tony Perrett at the USC building in Gympie.
Tim Nichols and Tony Perrett at the USC building in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

Gympie MP defends the cost of LNP preselection

ONE Nation costs for candidates and elected members were cheap compared with what the LNP demands of both, according to the party's state leader.

Reacting this week to claims One Nation intended to use candidates as a cash cow for the party, Buderim MP Steve Dickson said nothing could be further from the truth.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and MP Steve Dickson announce a game changing move in the next Queensland State election.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and MP Steve Dickson announce a game changing move in the next Queensland State election. Patrick Woods

The former LNP member for the seat said his costs had dropped significantly now he was with One Nation compared with what the LNP had charged him during the 11 years he was one of its representatives.

"The LNP charges a $2000 nomination fee for pre-selection candidates who are then expected to raise between $100,000 and $180,000 if you become the candidate,” he said.

Gympie MP Tony Perrett and Shadow Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Tim Mander
Gympie MP Tony Perrett and Shadow Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Tim Mander Scott Kovacevic

"Then they tell you how to spend it. They do the printing and charge that to your campaign. You then have to pay $3500 a year (to the party) if you become an elected representative.

"On top of that there is another $2000 plus a year for what they call "Feedback” for a subscription data base of constituents which you add to as people ring up. But we're the bad guys.”

Gympie MP Tony Perrett has defended the process and the costs.

Member for Gympie Tony Perrett at Rainbow Beach
Member for Gympie Tony Perrett at Rainbow Beach Frances Klein

"All applicants for LNP preselection pay a nomination fee,” Mr Perrett said.

"I pay it without question. This is not new.

"I'm supported by a strong, local network of LNP members who support my campaign financially and on the ground. I also contribute personally to my campaign.

"Local LNP members in consultation with the State campaign team determine how the campaign will be conducted. I also willingly contribute to the LNP throughout the year.”

When questioned on any polling that may have been done or was planned, and whether the LNP was concerned about One Nation's support within the Gympie electorate, Mr Perrett replied:

"I will continue to work hard for the constituents of Gympie.

"I expect there'll be a number of candidates from various parties who will contest the seat of Gympie.”

The Courier Mail on Monday said in a tape recording of a One Nation Party meeting, Pauline Hanson's chief of staff James Ashby allegedly said the price of candidate election packs could be jacked up to return a profit. Mr Ashby's justification was said to be, in part, that the LNP did the same thing.

Mr Dickson said in comparison to the LNP, One Nation charged candidates only $3500 all up which covered 200 corflutes the party produced for $5.50 against a market rate of $8, business cards, t-shirts, policy documents and the candidate nomination fee.

"That's a hell of a lot cheaper than the LNP,” he said.

Mr Dickson said he had discussed with Pauline Hanson and her chief of staff James Ashby poll results published in the Sunshine Coast Daily that showed he would have secured only 12.1% of the primary vote in Buderim if an election had been held last weekend.

The poll, conducted by ReachTEL for the Daily, showed the LNP candidate Brent Mickelberg easily winning the seat with a two party preferred margin of 58% to Labor's 42% .

"We have done polling and it's a lot better (for him) than the Daily's,” Mr Dickson said.

Caloundra Mens Shed president Phil Ashby, One Nation Caloundra candidate Rod Jones, and One Nation state leader and Member for Buderim Steve Dickson.  Messrs Dickson and Jones were checking out the shed after announcing it would be One Nations policy to provide non-profit community groups on State Government land with 90 year leases at peppercorn rent.
LNP defector, Buderim MP Steve Dickson. Patrick Woods

LNP state director Mike O'Dwyer refused to confirm or deny the charges nominated by Mr Dickson as levies the party charges its candidates and members.

"I don't discuss what we do or don't do,” Mr O'Dwyer said. "He's just trying to muddy the waters. They are running as hard away as they can. This is not about the LNP. It's all about One Nation.”

There has been no suggestion that One Nation followed through with any of the matters - including a dual invoicing process designed to conceal real candidate costs. Mr Ashby denied to the Courier Mail, any suggestion he was putting forward such a plan.

THESE WERE THE QUESTIONS EMAILED TO MR PERRETT

1. Is it true the LNP charges a $2000 nomination fee for pre-selection candidates, and are you then expected to raise between $100,000 and $180,000 once you are selected?

2. And does the LNP then do all your printing and charge that to your campaign?

3. Do you have to pay the Party $3500 a year?

4. On top of that do you have to pay another $2000 a year for the subscription data base of constituents?

5. If these figures are wrong, what are the correct figures?

6. What do you think about Mr Dickson's comments? A response?

7. Do you think they are fair? Are these charges the norm?

8. Do you think political parties treat their candidates as cash cows?

9. Has the LNP done any polling in the Gympie electorate?

10. Will it be doing any in the lead up to the State election?

11. Is there any concern that the seat of Gympie could swing away from the National Party and towards One Nation?