A group of United Australia Party (UAP) representatives will hold a "meet and greet" in Bendigo on Saturday in the lead up to the Victorian election on Saturday, November 26.
Newly announced Northern Victoria Region candidates Geoff Shaw and Bendigo's Elijah Suares will be joined at the event by the party's leader, former federal Liberal MP Craig Kelly, and its only elected member, Victorian senator Ralph Babet.
Mr Shaw, who represented Frankston in the Victorian Parliament from 2010 to 2014, has been named the Victorian leader of the party founded by Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer.
Mr Shaw told the Advertiser he wanted to run in Northern Victoria - even though he does not live in the area - because of the vast size and diversity of the electorate.
"That's why I'm running in that area - because I'm the state leader and I want to be running in the largest electorate," he said.
Mr Shaw described UAP as "a conservative party" that wanted "to conserve family values, the economy and the environment".
The party was "against big government" and "against lockdowns - anyone locking down our small businesses and keeping our children at home", a phenomenon which he said had "destroyed a lot of people's lives".
Mr Shaw said UAP believed the construction of dams "a long time ago" could have saved rural communities in northern Victoria from the flooding they had been experiencing and more thinning of the bush could reduce bushfires.
Initially a Liberal then an independent, Mr Shaw was a disruptive and controversial figure in parliament who forced the resignation of Premier Ted Baillieu in 2013 and was ordered to repay $6838 for using his parliamentary vehicle and fuel card for his hardware business.
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In his maiden speech to parliament, Mr Shaw - who came to hold the balance of power in the 57th parliament - caused offence to many people when he referred to God as "the original owner of the land on which we stand".
The aspiring upper house candidate told the Advertiser all police charges against him over the use of his parliamentary car had been dropped, and described the saga as a "political beat-up".
"If anything I should be thanked because [the parliament then] cleaned up their rules," he said.
The United Australia Party, which was officially registered by the Victorian Electoral Commission on October 12, is fielding candidates in all state upper house regions in the November poll.
Locally-based Northern Victoria Region contender Elijah Suares, who won 3.6 per cent of the primary vote when he ran as a UAP candidate in the federal election in May, said he was concerned about Bendigo's need for a new tip and the lack of adequate housing in the region.
But the party's bigger agenda was to see the Victorian upper house function as a more effective check and balance on the government, he said.
The UAP meet and greet will be held from 9am at Lake Weeroona on Saturday, October 29 next to the playground construction.
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