Ted O’Brien, LNP candidate for the seat of Fairfax, currently held by Clive Palmer. Photo: James Brickwood Outgoing member for Fairfax Clive Palmer. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Damien Murphy at Bee Gees Way, in the marginal Brisbane seat of Petrie. Photo: James Brickwood

Palmer Coolum Resort, Clive Palmer’s failed resort in Yaroomba in the federal seat of Fairfax. Photo: James Brickwood

Bee Gees Way, a tribute to band the Bee Gees, in the crucial Brisbane electorate of Petrie. Photo: James Brickwood

Day 3 –Fairfax

Ted O’Brien has the unenviable task of walking with concrete dinosaurs.

He aims to step into Clive Palmer’s shoes and retake the conservative fiefdom of Fairfax for the Coalition.

O’Brien certainly has a big job ahead as the glory that was Clive sits like a weeping sore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Palmer, recently retired hurt from politics, continues to cop flak over the non-payment of entitlements to 800 Queensland Nickel refinery workers but on the Sunshine Coast about 650 people were booted from the Palmer Coolum Resort, devastating the local economy.

Palmer bought the place from Hyatt in 2011. The once five-star resort had 64 villas part-owned by up to four tenants in common with luxurious grounds, golf course, vintage car museum and a herd of Palmer’s strange fixation, concrete big things, a popular Queensland artefact only Palmer’s are prehistoricrather than pineapples.

Palmer’s continuing war with the world saw the resort become a battleground but he lost and it closed late last year leaving many in the lurch. However one resident, Maree Frecklington, held out for months afterpower and water were cut following disputes with owners over control of the resort’s body corporate.Locals do not appear to be in a mood to forgive or forget the man who done them wrong. Security guards now patrol and their big task of late was to scrub the away the words “goodbye Clive goodbye” sprayed across the resort sign fronting the main road.

Federal Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck rolled into Fairfax to campaign with Ted O’Brien and meet local business representatives with the goal of “rebuilding brand Coolum”, telling a local business breakfast, “the Clive experiment was a complete and utter disaster. Locals have to look at a local candidate and don’t experiment again.”


The white shoe brigade long ago turned Queensland conservative politics into the plaything of rich men so it is passing strange that the most extraordinary pair of white shoes made an appearance while the Liberal National Party of Queensland’s MP Luke Howarth campaigned for his Queensland seat of Petrie, the Coalition’s most marginal.

German pilot Joachim Schimmelpfennig sported the white cow skin clogs while watching local pilots and tourist operators moan about the local council and CASA to their local MHR. “I’d like to say they were from an eland I shot in the Serengeti, but no I bought them in Italy,” he says.

In Brisbane on holiday, Schimmelpfennig, a corporate jet pilot who says he flies Bono, Beyonce, and other celebrity high fliers, seemed slightly off course in the Moreton Bayside electorate, especially the suburb of Redcliffe which has the look of somewhere that is forever Britain. There is a shrine to the Bee Gees, boat people who arrived from Manchester in the 1950s. There is also the incongruously named Yabby Road, a shop that sells “British style fish and chips”. The first Brits to arrive came ashore in 1824 to build a jail that eventually morphed into Brisbane.

Howarth won Petrie the seat with a slim 0.5 per cent margin after preferences. He is trying to put out of his mind that Petrie is on a knife edge and the fact that it has been a bellwether seat since 1987. It has been won by the party that formed government for the last 29 years. “I’m just treating this as an election for a local seat and getting on with the campaign,”he says.

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