Minor parties go berserk as election day draws near

Clive Palmer addresses the National Press Club.
Clive Palmer addresses the National Press Club.

MINOR parties are growing bold in the days before the election, with one ready to freeze an industry employing 27,000 workers while another is prepared to split Queensland in two.

Larger-than-life billionaire Clive Palmer told reporters on the weekend that if he won power come Saturday, he would push to create a separate North Queensland state.

Meanwhile, Family First's Queensland senate candidate Aidan McLindon - previously aligned with the LNP, Katter's Australian Party and his own Qeensland Party - called for a two-year ban on any further coal seam gas development.

It would also ban CSG extraction in south-east Queensland, and forbid fracking or drilling on "prime agricultural land".

Both are enormous ideas, but are they possible?

If Clive Palmer could overcome incredible odds against him to become prime minister, creating a new North Queensland state is possible on paper but would require an almost unimaginable amount of support.

University of Queensland constitutional law expert Professor Nicholas Aroney said it would need approval from the Federal Parliament, then endorsement by the Queensland Parliament.

Politically, Prof Aroney also suggests a referendum to ensure backing by the entire state.

Although the idea has been around since before Federation in 1901, there has never been enough support to follow through.

"The real politics would involve negotiating with the state of Queensland," Prof Aroney said.

Premier Campbell Newman is currently refusing to respond to any announcements made by Mr Palmer.

As for a ban on CSG, Queensland assistant resources minister Lisa France said not only would Family First's policy put jobs and the government's budget at risk, it would be largely useless.

Mr McLindon is pushing for no new CSG developments, but the biggest growth in the industry is already under way, with 27,000 people employed.

Ms France said both Family First and other anti-CSG groups did not care for the environment, they only cared for votes.

"This is a knee-jerk reaction to a topic they think is going to be a political football and they're not bothering to look into the safeguards currently in place," she said.

Topics:  aidan mclindon clive palmer family first federal election 2013 minor parties palmer united party

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