High-profile candidate: Glenn Lazarus in Brisbane on Tuesday. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
The Brick With Eyes cometh. The Fairfax-Nielsen poll shows the Palmer United Party is polling as strongly as the Greens in Queensland and their 8 per cent support may be enough to carry Clive Palmer's star recruit into the Senate.
Glenn Lazarus heroically bestrides rugby league as the player to win a premiership with three different clubs – Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Lazrus in his playing days at Melbourne Storm.
Back in the day, Roy and HG took one look at him running onto the field during their old Triple J State of Origin calls and affectionately bestowed the nickname The Brick With Eyes.
It is a sobriquet sure to survive the trip to Canberra should Lazarus be elected to the Senate.
Lazarus embraces the nickname – it travelled to London in 1990 although it was lost in translation when the Sun newspaper deemed him ''The Brick With Ears'' – and says such fame is helpful in selling the Palmer message as he stumps Queensland.
He readily acknowledges that, on the polling figures, he may be Clive Palmer's one great success story and in a close Senate could become pivotal in ensuring Tony Abbott gets to dump the carbon tax, a policy that is one of the guiding principles behind his billionaire patron's move into late-life politics.
''Of course, I'd like to think the Palmer party wins government but the message I'm getting everywhere is that people are just so disaffected with the major parties,'' Lazarus says.
''Both are just selling the same thing. Especially up in far north Queensland where they feel forgotten by the south. Sure, if elected I will represent all Queenslanders, but one of the things I will be pushing is a separate state up north.''
Lazarus is one of a number of sportsmen with ready-made high profiles standing with Palmer. Former NRL player, Matt Adamson, former boxer Barry Michael and former AFL footballer Doug Hawkins have also joined the cause. Labor’s star sports jockette is the hockey Olympic gold medallist Nova Peris.
Lazarus, 47, says he is of Jewish background but raised a Catholic. His father was a shearer and his mother worked for the Government Printing Office in Canberra.
Like most people in the urban part of Queanbeyan, he grew up in a Labor household but a stellar rugby league career and a few years running a marketing and public relations firm in Brisbane turned him conservative.
''My business experiences showed me we are going down a scary path with the current government and the opposition,'' he says.
In early May, Lazarus and his family dined with Clive Palmer and after dessert he agreed to fill the No. 1 spot on the Palmer United Party Queensland senate ticket.