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Queensland voters swich off Labor

Clive Palmer is likely to win the seat of Fairfax while Peter Beattie is set to lose his battle for Forde as Queensland voters hope that "Labor will get annihilated". Nine News.

PT1M47S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2tczq 620 349

To the strains of Talkin’ About a Revolution, mining billionaire Clive Palmer basked in the glow of the shock strong showing of his eponymous political party in its first outing.

Mr Palmer’s boast earlier on election day that ‘‘we’ll be the story of the night’’ rang true as the Palmer United Party secured 6 per cent of the primary vote across Australia, and Mr Palmer looked likely to be elected the member for Fairfax on the Sunshine Coast.

Meanwhile Katter’s Australian Party only got 1 per cent of the national primary vote, while the Greens vote dropped to 8.5 per cent.

Mining magnate Clive Palmer with his supporters on the Sunshine Coast.

Mining magnate Clive Palmer with his supporters on the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Michelle Smith

‘‘I’m a bit surprised we didn’t do better,’’ Mr Palmer grinned outside The Captain’s Table restaurant at Palmer Resort Coolum where his supporters were celebrating.

One exuberant supporter clad only in Palmer United Party stickers and calling herself ‘the nude surfer’ attempted to treat Mr Palmer with a lap dance before being escorted out by security.

Winning 30 per cent of the primary vote in Fairfax, Mr Palmer predicted he would emerge with a two party preferred vote of as much as 58 per cent, and that PUP candidate Bill Schoch would win the neighbouring electorate of Fisher.

Mr Palmer said PUP had a good chance in Hinkler and Wide Bay, and would secure a Queensland Senate spot for former rugby league player Glenn Lazarus.

‘‘We’ll be involved in the balance of power in the Senate,’’ Mr Palmer said.

‘‘[Our plan] was to keep everyone calm until Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd convinced everyone they were hopeless. That wasn’t too difficult.

"Then we had our policies ready to give people a reason to vote for us.’’

Former Howard Government minister Mal Brough, who ran in the neighbouring electorate of Fisher for the Coalition, said they saw a collapse in the Labor vote on the Sunshine Coast three days before polling day.

‘‘That vote seemed to go straight to the Palmer Party,’’ he told the ABC, warning Fisher still hung in the balance.

Mr Brough said Mr Palmer ‘‘threw a hell of a lot of money’’ at the campaign this week.

‘‘He had a populist message, one of money for everyone .. . . People who felt they couldn’t come to the Coalition had a good protest with Mr Palmer.’’

While political hardheads dismissed Mr Palmer’s campaign as a rich man’s folly, Mr Palmer was counting on voters dissatisfied with Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott to flock to his party.

‘‘We’re the only other party that offers a viable alternative,’’ Mr Palmer said before voting closed on Saturday. ‘‘Our party only started 14 weeks ago. To get the support we’ve got is really unprecedented in Australia.’’

Mr Palmer was never considered likely to win Fairfax, which has been held by retiring Coalition MP Alex Somlyay since 1990.

Rivals believe Mr Palmer’s advertising blitz tapped into a growing protest vote against the major parties. Mr Palmer’s campaign spend included an estimated $1 million on television ads in the last week of the campaign alone, direct mail DVDs, billboards, large colour newspaper ads and automated phone calls to voters.

Mr Palmer told Fairfax Media he spent ‘‘much more’’ on his campaign than the $2 million reported in the media. ‘‘We had to get our story out; the only way to tell people what our policies are was with a bit of advertising.’’

Mr Palmer also provided the only colour in an otherwise dreary campaign — twerking for Kyle and Jackie O on 2Day FM, accusing Rupert Murdoch’s soon to be ex-wife Wendi Deng of being a Chinese spy and promising voters a 15 per cent tax cut.