On the 23rd of August Craig Kelly announced he is now leader of Clive Palmer's United Australia Party. UAP managed a just 2.4% of the vote in Hughes in 2019, and yet, they represent us in Parliament.The electorate of Hughes is united, 97.6% of us did not vote for our current representation.
The timing of the announcement coincided with new legislation introduced the following day that lifted the minimum membership threshold for registered political parties from 500 to 1500 . A party with a sitting member did not need to adhere to the new standard. Craig Kelly joining the UAP meant they were not subject to the new requirements. It is unknown whether the UAP would have been required to increase its membership in order to maintain its party status. A party status allows groups to use the electoral advertising rules to circumvent ordinary advertising standards.
Craig Kelly is quoted in a Sydney Morning Herald Article
“The crude reality is that I’ll have greater resources [with the United Australia Party],” Mr Kelly said. In the last election, mining magnate Clive Palmer donated a record of more than $80 million to his party in a bid for federal parliament, with much of the money splashed on major advertising campaigns across newspapers, billboards and other media. “I have been screaming this stuff from the rooftops for a long time. It’s very hard to get this message through,” Mr Kelly said.
“We have a huge war chest, we can run television commercials, ads, we can finance a proper campaign that no other minor party or independent can,” he said. Mr Kelly said his advertisements would be considered party political advertisements and in his view blocking them would be a breach of the constitution. link to the full article here
Since moving to the UAP Craig Kelly and the Clive Palmer party have increased advertising. People across Australia are now receiving unsolicited text messages, an example is below.
As of Thursday the ACMA has received more than 4000 complaints about the text. Under current rules, political parties are exempt from the Spam Act.
Many people have written to We Are Hughes sharing with us their frustration at the amount advertising material they are now receiving from Craig Kelly via postal mail and adverts in local papers. His parliamentary expenses have just been released for the March to June quarter. He spent $111,654.02 on printing and communication costs. An escalation of nearly 400% on his previous three quarterly expenses.
Craig Kelly, Leader of Clive Palmer's United Australia Party, former Independent and former Liberal party member, has written an open letter to our electorate via an ad in our local paper about values, conscience and political expediency. Linda Seymour, founder of We Are Hughes, wrote a letter to the Sutherland Shire Leader that was published on the first of September. It highlights much of the double standards our current MP has displayed and the unacceptable representation in our electorate for the past 11 years.
That letter is posted below alongside Craig Kelly's open letter in the same publication. They are interesting when read side by side.
Hughes has been taken for granted for so long it is head shakingly bad. We are now represented by a party that received just 2.4% of the vote in 2019.
Next time, let's vote together to create something very special for our electorate.
Hughes can be a light not a blight to the Australian political landscape.
Link to the Leader letter to the editor https://www.theleader.com.au/story/7403893/no-hose-but-we-all-can-hold-a-pen-and-vote/