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Clive Palmer pledges to provide 'story of the night'

Clive Palmer with a booth volunteer - but not for his party

Clive Palmer with a booth volunteer - but not for his party Photo: Michelle Smith

“We’ll be the story of the night,” mining billionaire Clive Palmer boasted as exit polls showed his Palmer United Party was winning 9.5 per cent of the primary vote in Queensland, giving it a real chance at a Senate spot in its first electoral outing.

But when it came to his own chances of winning a seat in Parliament, Mr Palmer finally eschewed his trademark bluster in favour of honesty late on polling day.

Clive Palmer

Clive Palmer Photo: Michelle Smith

“I don’t know why you guys [the media] are following me around when I’m going to lose,” he said in an aside, referring to his bid to win the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax.

While political hardheads have dismissed Mr Palmer’s campaign as a rich man’s folly, the Palmer United Party – along with Katter’s Australian Party and the Greens – were expected to benefit in the Senate from voter dissatisfaction with both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.

“A lot of people are dissatisfied with Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. 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.”

A Roy Morgan-Channel Ten exit poll recorded a 9.5 per cent share of the primary vote in Queensland for the Palmer United Party and 5 per cent in NSW and WA.

This follows polls at the start of the final week of the campaign which put support for Palmer United Party at 8 per cent in Queensland, and indicated lead Senate candidate, the former rugby league player Glenn Lazarus, could get up.

Katter’s Australian Party registered 4 per cent support in the same poll, and the Greens had 8 per cent of the primary vote.

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

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. “You should spend your money on better things,” Labor supporters heckled Mr Palmer at one polling booth stop.

While Mr Palmer’s antics have overshadowed Bob Katter, the veteran North Queensland MP was expected to keep his seat of Kennedy.

Handing out how-to-vote cards in Mt Isa yesterday Mr Katter said he’d had more positive feedback this election day than on any other. “But as I’ve said, I’ve never gone into an election feeling confident,” he said.

Star Katter’s Australian Party candidate country singer James Blundell was considered in the running for a Queensland Senate seat and the Greens were also hopeful their Senate candidate Adam Stone would get up.

The sixth Queensland Senate spot is expected to be decided by a series of complicated preference swaps.

Mr Lazarus has already said that if he were elected he would consult Mr Palmer in deciding how to vote in the upper house.

Mr Palmer said it would be “a real shame” if he didn’t win a seat himself, “but I’ll still be alive, I’ll still build the Titanic, I’ll still travel around the world and I’ll live a peaceful life.”

- with AAP



  • The only good thing about Palmer is that he is preferencing the Libs. All those fools out there that think they are "protesting" by voting for Palmer are really just voting for the Libs.

    Good to be King
    Ivory tower
    Date and time
    September 07, 2013, 6:58PM
    • Quote “but I’ll still be alive, I’ll still build the Titanic, I’ll still travel around the world and I’ll live a peaceful life.”
      Well,one out of three is about Clive's batting average for truth telling
      Man lives in a make believe world

      Date and time
      September 07, 2013, 7:10PM
      • Maybe Clive Palmer "does live in a make believe world" but much more significantly so do those who voted for him and his party. What policies does he have apart from a 15% reduction in income tax? Is that really likely to happen? I don't think the ALP deserved to win this election but a vote for PUP is just wasted. Sure it makes a protest point but in reality it achieves nothing more than that.

        Date and time
        September 07, 2013, 8:27PM
    • Maybe people would like Palmer better if he spent his money on wider polling booths, so we could at least read those ridiculously wide senate sheets? Or if we're fair dinkum about saving the trees, vote online. Even a double-dissolution would be painless. Hell, we could vote every time the senate needed our help to make a decision.

      Date and time
      September 07, 2013, 7:19PM
      • Abc are calling Palmer as the winner in fairfax, no joke!

        Date and time
        September 07, 2013, 8:56PM
        • Damn that sex party!

          Politically committed
          Date and time
          September 07, 2013, 9:06PM
          • It is Qld after all and not so long ago they voted that clown Hanson in...the heat obviously affects their brains up there. Please explain.

            Date and time
            September 07, 2013, 9:16PM
            • just as long as the story won't be about Clive on a bike, or should i say standing next to a bike, and wearing lycra. I don't really care.

              Date and time
              September 07, 2013, 9:25PM
              Comments are now closed

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