Federal Politics

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Election vote winners collect $56 million in cash

Multi-millionaire miner Clive Palmer’s party has netted $2.2 million in taxpayer electoral funding, while former Labor MP Craig Thomson has missed out on funding by just two votes.

The payouts come as part of $56 million the Australian Electoral Commission has distributed to political parties and independent candidates who contested the September 7 election.

Parties and candidates that received at least four per cent of the first preference vote are entitled to funding of $2.48 for each first preference vote they receive.

Based on this formula, the commission on Wednesday authorised a payment of $23.1 million to the Liberal Party, $20.2 million to Labor and $5.4 million to the Greens.

The National Party will receive $3.1 million, while the Coalition's Northern Territory partner, the Country Liberals, will receive $207,512.


The party founded by Mr Palmer, who has a net worth of $895 million, according to Forbes magazine, will receive $2,202,044. This is more than 10 times that of conservative rival Katter's Australian Party, which will get $166,711.

But a margin of two votes appears to have cost Mr Thomson dearly. Mr Thomson contested his seat of Dobell on the NSW Central Coast as an independent after being asked to leave the Labor Party last year by former prime minister Julia Gillard due to allegations he used his union credit card to pay for prostitutes.

Thomson won 3444 primary votes, just .01 per cent short of the threshold for electoral funding. Had he received just two more votes, Mr Thomson – who faces more than 150 fraud and theft charges relating to his former job leading the Health Services Union – would have been entitled to $8573 in electoral funding.

However, contesting and losing his seat entitles him to six months’ salary, worth about $97,564. As a suspended Labor MP, he would have received nothing had he chosen to bow out of politics.

Former Speaker of the house of representatives, Peter Slipper, did not come close to qualifying for funding, with just 1.5 per cent of the vote.

Upper house independent Nick Xenophon will receive $636,127, while the Liberal Democratic Party, which benefited from the number one position on the tablecloth-size NSW Senate ballot paper, will receive more than $1 million.

Family First is entitled to $103,724, the Bullet Train for Australia party $24,283 and Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party $8654.

Nine independent candidates for lower house seats qualified for funding.

Cathy McGowan, who defeated former Coalition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella in the rural Victorian seat of Indi, was the biggest winner, qualifying for $68,381, while Andrew Wilkie, who retained the Hobart seat of Denison, will get $60,802.

Former Australian paceman Nathan Bracken, who ran for the Central Coast seat of Dobell with the backing of advertising boss John Singleton qualified for $17,439.

The first payments are based on the progressive vote count at September 27. A second and final payment will be made once the count is finalised.

with Heath Aston