Despite his party’s Senate hopefuls barely registering on the radar so far this election campaign, Clive Palmer has a message for Australians: we could use your “other” vote.
The departing Queensland MP seized on Newspoll figures showing a record 15 per cent of voters say they plan to support independent candidates or a micro-party on July 2.
“We believe we are that other party, that other force, that will make a significant impact in the election,” Mr Palmer told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
Backing for micro-parties and independent candidates has jumped by three points in the past fortnight, to the highest level during a formal election campaign in the 31-year history of Newspoll.
Mr Palmer insists his party was written off at the last election, yet managed to outperform the polls and secure himself a seat in the lower house and three places in the senate.
“However people vote in the House of Representatives, it’s important that there’s a vote for Palmer United in the Senate so we can retain the balance of power,” he said.
He said his team would be collaborators if elected to the upper house, depending on the legislation put in front of them.
The mining magnate says he’s confident a series of “baseless allegations” and “political attacks” against him and his company won’t affect his party’s candidates.
Mr Palmer would not be drawn on how deep he’d dipped into his personal pockets to bankroll the PUP campaign, but said other party members were also chipping in.
He brushed off recent criticism from ex-PUP senator Jacqui Lambie, who recently told the ABC that, at party room meetings with Mr Palmer, “you couldn’t suggest anything, you couldn’t get anything over the table … it was either his way or the highway”.
Mr Palmer said Senator Lambie never offered up ideas at the meetings.
He also took aim at Queenslander Glenn Lazarus for also quitting the party, calling them both traitors who “betrayed the Tasmanians and Queenslanders who voted for them.”