POLITICS: Rob Messenger has been targeted by Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett.
POLITICS: Rob Messenger has been targeted by Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett.

Political stoush over Palmer party

MEMBER for Burnett Stephen Bennett has taken a shot at the man he replaced in State Parliament.

Mr Bennett beat former Member for Burnett Rob Messenger, who contested the last state election as an independent after quitting the LNP.

Mr Messenger has now switched his focus to the federal arena, with the announcement he would contest the seat of Hinkler as a candidate for the Palmer United Party.

But Mr Bennett said the Palmer United Party had copied word for word the constitution of the LNP.

"This is embarrassing and highlights to the region the risk of voting for imitation minor party candidates," he said. "The Palmer Party's website description is copied from the Wikipedia page of the original United Australia Party, but that's not the worst of it.

"It has also copied its national policy directly from Liberal National Party documents, making only two minor changes - altering the name at the top of the document and changing the number of people required to make up a PUP branch from 25 members to 10."

Mr Bennett said if voters wanted real change and to remove the Labor party they should not risk their vote on a minor party on L-plates.

But Mr Messenger said yesterday he was unconcerned about the criticism.

"The PUP is very similar to LNP policies," he said.

"We've said that from the beginning."

Mr Messenger said the PUP had different policies to smash the business model of the people smugglers, and his specific area of interest would be better support for veterans.

He also fended off a call by Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Minister Glen Elmes that he should be sacked as a candidate for comments in a letter published in a Hervey Bay newspaper.

In the letter in the Hervey Bay Independent, Mr Messenger wrote that, in the not too distant future, "terrorists (who now live among us, sustained by our welfare payments) could be armed with modern weapons - capable of killing many innocents, with the flick of a switch".

Mr Elmes said the comments "were worse than anything even the most extreme manifestation of One Nation could come up with".

But Mr Messenger said it showed the LNP was desperate to get rid of him, and he should be flattered because it showed they were scared of his election potential.

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