'I'd rather be homeless': UAP slammed for payment tactic
CLIVE Palmer's United Australia Party is under fire for offering payment for expenses to recruit volunteers to hand out how-to-vote cards on election day.
Sunshine Coast man Reed Hancock was approached by UAP candidate for Fairfax, Kylie Cowling, after he posted an ad on Gumtree looking for work.
The 39-year-old is currently homeless and is desperately searching for work.
Screenshots show Ms Cowling offering to pay Mr Hancock to hand out how-to-vote cards for the UAP on May 18.
"Would you be interested to hand out how-to-vote cards on May 18 election day? $100 to cover expenses 8-6 with breaks," the message read.
Mr Hancock declined the offer, saying "I'll pass".
"You're offering me $12.50 per hour. Do you know what the minimum wage is for a working adult?
"I'm assuming if you're going to screw a homeless person over like this then you won't treat your constituents much better."
Ms Cowling responded with: "I'm sorry you are homeless. I'm looking for volunteers and have $100 to pay for expenses to cover cost to and from and lunch if needed. I need people between these hours"
The national minimum wage in Australia is $18.93 per hour. Mr Hancock says while he could do with the money offered, "the whole thing was insulting".
"I'm a Kiwi, I can't get on a benefit, I don't have Centrelink, I don't have any income whatsoever," he said.
"For me it was more of a moral thing. I've been taken advantage of plenty of times in my life.
"I would rather be homeless than be taken advantage of."
Ms Cowling said Mr Hancock was one of eight people she had contacted on Gumtree, half of which had agreed to "volunteer".
"I've been running now for just over three weeks so my team is small. I haven't been able to represent my candidacy on pre poll booths, but we will be strong on election day," she said.
She said volunteers who wanted their expenses reimbursed could supply their bank account details.
"It's not a payment," she said.
On Thursday night, Senate candidate and Victorian leader for UAP Catriona Thoolen confirmed the Coalition was funding people to work for UAP.
"Where it is happening, the Libs are funding the workers," she said on Twitter.
Mr Hancock said paying party "volunteers" made it seem UAP couldn't attract people with its policies alone.
"If you're only looking for volunteers, then why are you giving them money? Because volunteers don't get money," he said.
As a New Zealand citizen Mr Hancock can't vote in the Australian election, but he says he knows all too well the pressures put on voters on the day.
"I just don't think anyone should be at a booth promoting a candidate as you're walking in," he said.
"These how-to-vote cards are just trying to trick people."
The Sunshine Coast Daily contacted UAP for comment.