BRIAN Cain was one of the first candidates to announce his intention to contest Calare when he was endorsed by Katter’s Australia Party last December.
One month later he left the party and announced he would run as an independent before finally aligning himself with Palmer’s United Party in June.
The retired mining industry veteran lives in Cargo with his wife Julie.
He rejects suggestions mining magnate Clive Palmer’s party is a minor political player, saying it was able to raise a full shadow ministry with its 150 lower house candidates - an achievement unprecedented since federation.
“Nothing has been done in the past 40 years that the two major parties said they would do,” he said.
“If you continue to conduct the same experiment and expect a different result, there’s fairies at the bottom of the garden.”
With Labor candidate Jess Jennings preferencing Mr Cain above incumbent John Cobb and the possibility of attracting dissenting Liberal voters, Mr Cain feels he has a chance of being elected in the safe National Party seat.
“With the amount of fanfare and money Clive Palmer is putting in we are gradually getting over to the public that there is an alternative capable of toppling the front benchers,” he said.
“Whether Calare is part of that remains to be seen, but there is a chance.”
Mr Cain is unconvinced climate change is being caused by the “things they say are causing it” or that the carbon price did anything to reduce the temperature of the planet.
“But I do believe we’re polluting the planet,” he said.
Mr Cain said a national energy policy is needed to find alternative power sources, cheaper than coal-fired electricity.
But coal seam gas is not an option and should be halted, according to the self-professed “veteran miner”, who says he is disgusted with the way fracking has been managed by the industry and the government.
“I’m not sure it’s safe under its current guise and it taints the image of the mining industry,” he said.
“The health of the Australian public comes first.”
But he welcomes expansion of other mining and if elected would immediately call for a meeting of all Calare’s mining stakeholders.
“In two years gold will be worth $3000 an ounce, we need to be prepared,” he said.
Mr Cain does not support the paid parental leave policies floated by Labor or the Coalition, but does not think it is a bad idea.
“I’m sure we could come up with a far better scheme,” he said.
“I can’t say I have the exact answer but ... it’s Santa Clause politics rather than something that will solve problems.”
Increasing the aged and disability pensions by $150 a fortnight is something his party has given more thought to.
“Pensioners spend their money each week and that generates wealth in the community,” he said.
Unusually, to fund the increase, his party proposes a 15 per cent reduction in income tax to give the average Australian an extra $2500 a year in disposable income to spend, raising more GST revenue.
When it comes to the National Broadband Network Mr Cain is uncertain which of the two major parties’ policies is better.
“All in all the NBN is a good thing... but they’ve tested wireless and it’s faster than fibre optic, so what happens when it comes to areas of Calare is unknown,” he said.
But with Calare having to wait five years for the NBN, Mr Cain believes an interim solution is needed to improve internet speeds in the meantime.
The major parties’ asylum seeker policies treat people like pawns on a chessboard to buy votes, he said.
Palmer’s party on the other hand is offering to fly asylum seekers to Australia via plane for processing if they can prove their identity with a passport.
“This is part of the need for increasing the population,” Mr Cain said.
“If some of these people come in and have legitimate skills we should be embracing that.
“If they come here for other reasons or are queue jumpers we should send them home.”
Palmer’s party has committed to giving all members a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, but Mr Cain said he remains undecided. Previously he said he would support civil unions for gay and lesbian people.
“I continue to talk to people who are gay in my town and I can’t find much support [for same-sex marriage],” he said.
He said his background meant he needed more convincing to change a “constitutional word” like marriage.
“I come from a military family where everyone I dealt with were married people with normal families,” he said.