Clive Palmer’s $60m election loss
DESPITE spending $60 million on blanket advertising across the country, it last night looked likely Clive Palmer had missed out on a Senate seat in Queensland.
But the billionaire United Australia Party leader still declared his party a kingmaker, saying his ads helped drive down support for Labor.
In a statement to The Sunday Mail last night, Mr Palmer said it was "clear Scott Morrison has been returned as Prime Minister".
"It's also clear that the 3.5 per cent of the vote of the United Australia Party played a key role in delivering government and saving Australia from a trillion dollars of taxes and costs Shorten would have forced on the Australian people," he said.
"Our shifty Shorten (ads) around the country were successful in suppressing Labor primary vote."
Mr Palmer said the party's goal had been to ensure a Labor Government "did not get into power".
"This has been achieved with the collective effort from United Australia Party,'' he said.
Although early vote counting was still underway last night and preferences were yet to be counted, it appeared unlikely Mr Palmer's party had clinched the necessary quota for him to win a Queensland Senate seat.
The mining magnate had been an everywhere man during the election campaign, blanketing the country with $60 million worth of ads on radio, television, print and online.
He was expected to be in a three way tussle with Greens Senator Larissa Waters and One Nation candidate Malcolm Roberts for the fifth and sixth Senate position, but the LNP was still within a chance of winning a third seat.
Foreign backpackers were yesterday seen manning the booths for the UAP, including in the Cairns-based electorate of Leichhardt where they were handing out how-to-vote cards.
UAP's preferences played a decisive role in determining the outcome in key electorates last night following the preference deal the minor party struck with the Coalition.
This included the seats of Longman and Herbert - which were both picked up by the Coalition from Labor.