No Land Tax and no pay either
Friday, 3rd April, 2015
By Craig Brealey
The mysterious No Land Tax Party which ran a candidate for Broken Hill’s seat in the State election and offered people hundreds of dollars each to hand out “how to vote” cards has not paid anyone.
But that is probably the least strange thing about the party which came from nowhere, ran candidates who would not talk to anyone or show their faces and yet won about 75,000 primary votes.
The party’s leader, Peter Jones, said yesterday that it was set up by people with links to the Liberal Party, and its campaign was funded by property developers.
Mr Jones told the ABC that the No Land Tax party’s preference votes went to the Liberals but he then complained that Liberal party members had harassed his polling day workers.
Adding to the oddness, Mr Jones is a former member of the Labor Party and his wife once stood as an ALP candidate, the ABC reported.
The No Land Tax Party’s ran candidates in all 93 seats in NSW. In the local seat of Barwon its candidate was Nella Lopreiato who attracted 443 first preference votes, or 1.27 percent.
Suspicions were raised before the election about the party when Ms Lopreiato refused to be interviewed by the BDT or to even supply a photograph of herself.
The local ABC radio also tried and failed to get a word out of her.
There were allegations during the campaign that the No Land Tax Party ran dead people as candidates and that others who featured on its posters were, in reality, actors or just pictures of people lifted from the internet.
The party had offered $330 for the day’s work on Saturday. Other parties relied on volunteers to man the booths, as is the usual practice.
Mr Jones, the party’s secretary and lead upper house candidate, said the 3000 people it employed as poll booth workers would be paid next week, but only if they stopped complaining.
The party’s pay bill is reportedly around $1 million, and Mr Jones said his property developer backers would pay it.
Most of these property developers are in Sydney, the nation’s most expensive city. Several of these multi-milllionaires are members of the party.
“They should have been paid this week, but last week when I should have been organising the logistics of their pay, I was running around filling 200 vacancies created by people ... who had been harassed by the Liberal Party,” Mr Jones told ABC Radio.
“People will be paid next week.”
He stood by comments from the party that those who were “rude and obnoxious” would be paid last.
“From my point of view I think it’s a very reasonable request.”
Mr Jones said the No Land Tax Party, which is run out of Canberra, was backed by people linked to the Liberal Party, but declined to name them.
“Behind the party there is certainly some people with a political pedigree,” he told the ABC.
“From the Liberal side, definitely from the Liberal side.”
He said he was told that “under no circumstances would we be allowed to preference the Labor Party or the Greens, but we had to prefer the Liberal Party and that’s precisely what we did.”