Paulger claims victory with KAP on track for power balance
SHANE Paulger claimed victory in the Queensland State Election yesterday.
With the election still to be declared, Mr Paulger said Katter's Australian Party (of which he is state and national president) was set to take its place at the heart of the next Queensland government.
"We achieved our goal, we believe. We expect to have the balance of power," he said.
Although defeated in his bid to represent Gympie for KAP, the Kenilworth district dairy farmer said his party had achieved what many had dismissed as impossible.
And that, he says, will be good news for regional Queensland.
"We haven't made a final decision on who we will support in parliament," Mr Paulger told The Gympie Times yesterday.
"And we won't be dealing with any party that includes Tim Nichols in its leadership team."
He described the former LNP state treasurer as "Mr Asset Sales."
Mr Nichols had been the architect of the 99-year lease asset sales, he said.
His other target, ex-deputy premier Jeff Seeney, had already resigned from leadership positions in the LNP, saying he had been too close to Campbell Newman and the party deserved "a fresh start."
Mr Paulger said the rise of KAP and the possible parliamentary dominance of its two MPs, Rob Katter (Mount Isa) and Shane Knuth (Dalrymple) would be a boon for regional Queensland.
He said they would work with Nicklin MP Peter Wellington and would have the balance of power in a hung parliament.
"We are committed to regional Queensland," he said.
"I'm disappointed Gympie people will not have a representative at the centre of power in Queensland, but I will have some influence and I will be standing up for regional Queensland," he said.
"I congratulate Mr (Tony) Perrett, but I give notice I will be holding him to account for each of the promises he made. It's a shame we didn't get the job done in Gympie," he said.
Despite an early expectation that he and KAP would be Mr Perrett's main challenger, it soon became apparent that Labor's Stephen Meredith was doing better than most had predicted.
Mr Meredith achieved 23.14% of booth votes, compared to Mr Paulger's 16.6% and Mr Perrett's 40.97%, with 94.5% of the district's booth votes counted.
Mr Perrett had 55.66% of postal and other declaration votes yesterday, compared to Mr Meredith's 20.14% and Mr Paulger's 11.73%.
The Greens' Shena Macdonald said her vote had dropped because of a shift to the ALP, but she was "very pleased with the state result because of the number of winning ALP candidates who depended on Green preferences."
Palmer United Party's Mitchell Frost could not be contacted yesterday, but Clive Palmer issued a statement headed: "Goodbye Jeff Seeney Goodbye."
Mr Palmer said "things are looking much brighter for Queensland now that Jeff Seeney has left the LNP leadership."
The ALP's Stephen Meredith also could not be contacted yesterday.