- 'A budget built on lies': Bill Shorten takes aim at the PM
- Mark Kenny: Tony Abbott rains down blows in budget blitz
Clive Palmer will have control of a key number of senators come July 1 - but he's after a lot more.
Mr Palmer has predicted a bold, new direction for Australian politics where his party has a majority in the lower house and he is prime minister.
The mining magnate has dared Prime Minister Tony Abbott to call a double dissolution election if he cannot pass the budget and says the Palmer United Party will run in every lower house seat and can claim victory.
“Our members think there should be an election straight away,” Mr Palmer told Fairfax Media.
“They are ready and standing by.”
The Fairfax MP issued a statement on Friday declaring there should be an election in response to “harsh and cruel measures” in the budget.
Mr Palmer said even Liberal voters felt betrayed by funding cuts to the states and the introduction of a debt levy.
Asked to explain precisely how he could become prime minister, Mr Palmer predicted that his party could take votes from the Coalition and added: “I think we can get the votes we need to make Australia better.''
“I think there will be a new change in the dynamic of Australian politics. In the lower house we will be going out to win it.''
Mr Palmer predicted the PUP could also claim 24 to 30 seats in the Senate.
He based his confidence on the party’s performance in the WA Senate election, where he said its vote had more than doubled to 12.5 per cent.
He claimed that in the three days since Treasurer Joe Hockey announced his first budget, the average number of new members signing up to PUP each day “has gone up nearly 80 times.”
“I was elected in September which was only six weeks after our party was registered,” Mr Palmer said.
“People said we couldn’t do it. This time, people across Australia know that we have a more positive policy for growth than the Coalition.
“This has been Tony Abbott’s real election budget. If he wants to go on an election on that budget, he should.”
On Thursday night, Labor leader Bill Shorten in his budget-in-reply speech also dared Mr Abbott to call an election, with the opposition vowing to oppose key measures such as the Medicare co-payment, changes to higher education and other cuts to health and welfare.
Greens leader Christine Milne has also indicated her party will block those changes.
In order to wrestle his budget through, Mr Abbott will need the support of Mr Palmer's voting bloc of four senators (the party's three and the Motoring Enthusiasts Party's Ricky Muir) and key independents.
In his statement, Mr Palmer called the Abbott government ''very un-Australian'' saying it had ''turned against our elderly pensioners in a manner that is very much against the Anzac spirit that is the fabric of our nation''.
"Australians don't want to go back to the polls . . . however if there is a double dissolution election called, we will see Australians turn against the two major parties."
Mr Palmer said his party was the "last sentry at the gate for ensuring all Australians get a fair go" and has previously said he would block the debt levy, changes to the pension and Medicare co-payment.
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