Is MP gearing up for a party switch?
INDEPENDENT Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan has refused to rule out a switch to the Katter Australian Party.
Mr Costigan took the unusual step of officially endorsing Brendan Bunyan, the KAP candidate for the federal seat of Dawson, in Proserpine today.
The pair met with locals as they strolled along Main St.
"I'm backing a young bloke who is having a red-hot go for North Queensland," Mr Costigan said.
"It is a David versus Goliath battle he has taken on against the LNP sitting member George Christensen.
"He's (Mr Christensen) taken Dawson for granted.
"If you don't want Bill Shorten as our next prime minister, you don't have to vote for the LNP or the South-East Liberals as I call them."
When quizzed specifically whether he had been approached to join the KAP, which has three members in state parliament, Costigan replied.
"Maybe four or maybe more?" he said.
"I'm not ruling that out.
"I haven't specifically been asked, but I've had discussions.
"The reality is I was kicked out of the LNP and where it stands at the moment is that I'm the Independent member for Whitsundays, an electorate I'm proud to have served since 2012 and will continue to do so."
Mr Bunyan, who is embarking on his first political campaign, welcomed Mr Costigan's backing and said his campaign would be putting North Queenslanders first.
"It's great to have Jason backing me, but I've had a lot of support from people right across the electorate," he said.
"I've had people who are long-time Labor supporters saying the Labor Party has moved away from their core values and long-time LNP people saying the same thing.
"The reality is North Queensland needs support.
"The other parties will walk around and wave the chequebook, but we're about talking about the issues relevant to people in North Queensland and then fighting for them.
"We support the coal industry, we support agriculture, we're pro industry, we want more dams built in North Queensland, we want cheaper power to help reduce cost of living pressures for families.
"We need to start nation-building projects and do it here in Dawson."
Mr Bunyan did not shy away from the opportunity for a gentle clip at Mr Christensen, who is looking to win a fourth term in Canberra at the upcoming federal election.
"I'm not here to criticise George because I take my hat off to anyone who chooses a public life," he said.
"But George knows his party has let North Queensland down."
Mr Bunyan isn't a stranger to Proserpine, having lived in the town for seven years during his childhood before moving north to the Burdekin.Mr Christensen responded to the claims of Mr Bunyan and Mr Costigan. "The KAP candidate is obviously supporting KAP and not the LNP so his comments aren't really surprising but the people of the Whitsundays know a lot has been delivered locally including the massive investment in things like the Whitsunday Sportspark and the Shute Harbour redevelopment," he said. "I'm concerned about the well-being of the Member for Whitsunday, but think he needs to focus on his local electorate and not federal matters, because he no longer has a team behind him to deliver for his community."