Standing for a party with a focus on boosting domestic processing of Australia’s mining output might seem like a tough ask for anyone trying to win a seat in the ACT.
But the United Australia Party’s candidate for Canberra, Greg De Maine, isn’t fazed, believing his party has a series of policies relevant to Canberra voters.
De Maine’s background is in engineering and defence. And like many candidates outside the major parties, he is running on the theme that the political system in Australia is broken and can only be fixed by “an independent party that has no traditional masters to obey”.
The United Australia Party (UAP) is one of the more prominent minor political parties Australia due in part to the reported $30 million-plus spend on advertising by its billionaire leader Clive Palmer.
De Maine lists key policies as job creation, overhauling the current refugee policy and taking a stand on party officials becoming industry lobbyists. He says UAP wants to establish a system “where people create wealth in various parts of the country and for that wealth to flow back to the community that generates the wealth”.
He says the United Australia Party has not just thought about the upcoming term but has plans for the next three terms of government, with aspirations to make Australia the fourth largest economic power in the world.
UAP is also vowing to create a mineral wealth boom by adding value to Australia’s mining output in new domestic industries instead of shipping most of it overseas for processing.
But what’s on offer for the electorate of Canberra?
De Maine is focussing on the larger scale issues that the UAP is aiming to tackle, believing that the benefits of these will trickle down to the local electorates.
“How about fixing the NBN properly…then companies can run their businesses from their home office and not have to migrate into the city every morning easing congestion on roads,” he said.
While not unveiling a specific plan for Canberra, De Maine emphasised the necessity of taking a global approach when it comes to policy.
“I have lived and worked around the world as a professional which has given me a sound global perspective of the world and where it is heading.
“We all must move on from the 20th century and make the necessary changes – socially, politically and economically – so we can successfully integrate into the new globalised world as it changes.
“The whole world must make this change and it will change. Let’s be the first, not the last.”
De Maine admits he is something of a reluctant politician.
“I am not a politician and have no real ambition to become one. I am here only because I am tired of heckling in vain from the sidelines and getting the same result from Canberra. Nothing.”