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16 November 2014

Victorian election: Clive Palmer targets education, health and zonal tax system

Leader says Victoria needs the PUP in a kingmaker role to pressure the main parties to invest in education and says corruption commission Ibac needs more teeth

Clive Palmer speaks at the Palmer United party Victorian election campaign launch in Melbourne.

The Palmer United party (PUP) has named education and health its top priorities in launching a Victorian election campaign focused on gaining the balance of power in the upper house.

Party leader Clive Palmer said he wanted to duplicate what the PUP had done in the federal Senate.

“It doesn’t matter which party forms government in the lower house of Victoria, Victoria needs Palmer United party to hold the balance of power [in the Legislative Council],” he said.

If PUP achieves its aim it will do all that it can to push Labor and the Liberals to invest in education, Palmer said.

He said he also wanted to see hospital waiting lists cut.

A previously flagged PUP policy of reintroducing a zonal taxation system to reduce income tax rates in rural and regional areas could get a start in Victoria, Palmer told the launch.

“There was a time in Australia where we had zonal taxation which meant people living in remote areas or disadvantaged areas of the country received a lower level of personal income taxation,” Palmer said.

“We think that we could work with our senators in Victoria and pressure the state government and the federal government to bring that change about.”

He said an elected Victoria PUP member would also introduce a private member’s bill to strengthen Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (Ibac).

“We want to change Ibac into [NSW body the Independent Commission Against Corruption] Icac and give it some more teeth,” Palmer said.

“We think that there should be more powers there because what’s been demonstrated in NSW is probably also true in Victoria.

“Ibac’s been spectacularly unsuccessful.”

The party has not nominated a Victorian leader, but its Western Metropolitan candidate, Trevor Dance, has been appointed the representative for all candidates.

He said the PUP’s Senate performance showed the party had a track record of delivering results.

Dance said: “Palmer United will scrutinise legislation carefully and be prepared to upset the agenda of whichever government is elected.”

Victorians will go to the polls on 29 November.

The premier, Denis Napthine, said he wasn’t interested in Palmer’s intervention in Victorian politics. He said: “My message would be to Clive Palmer: concentrate on Queensland, concentrate on doing your job as a member of the federal parliament – and perhaps he should turn up to parliament occasionally.”