Australia

'The end of Clive': How Palmer's $60 million campaign failed to net a single seat

Clive Palmer spent about $60 million on advertising –but despite not winning a seat, the UAP vote had a significant impact on some seat outcomes. Source: AAP

Clive Palmer has not won a single seat despite spending an estimated $60 million on advertisements.

Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party has failed to win a single seat despite spending more than both the major parties on election advertising.

The populist party’s canary yellow advertisements were plastered all over newspapers, websites and billboards in the lead up to Saturday’s poll.

Clive Palmer spent millions on billboards across the country.
Clive Palmer spent millions on billboards across the country.

But the billionaire’s estimated $60 million campaign spend resulted in the UAP claiming 3.4 per cent of the national vote, and Mr Palmer falling well short of the necessary votes to win a Senate seat.

Queensland based analyst Paul Williams believed Mr Palmer’s political career was over.

“That’s the end of Clive,” Professor Williams told SBS News.

He said it shows voters saw through Mr Palmer’s “clumsy, shouty” political advertisements, but he doubted the mining magnate would be too disappointed by the result.  

“He is very happy to play a role in keeping Bill Shorten out of the lodge.”

In fact, Mr Palmer was claiming credit for the Coalition win on Saturday night, telling reporters: “I’ve saved Australia from a trillion dollars of extra taxes and costs”.

Labor Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek said the UAP’s negative advertising contributed to their shock loss.  

"We faced a very cashed-up scare campaign from the United Australia Party, $80 million is the estimate of how much Clive Palmer spent - not to, it seems, win himself a spot, but to trash Labor."

This was Mr Palmer’s second foray into politics after his previous party, the Palmer United Party, succeeded in securing its leader a seat in the House of Representatives and three Senators in the 2013 election.

But the minor party ended in disarray with high profile senators, including Jacqui Lambie deserting Mr Palmer and continuing as independents.

Under his rebadged United Australia Party, Mr Palmer adopted a similar strategy of running candidates in every seat and grossly exaggerating the party's chances. 

His advertisements claimed the party was on track to win government.

ABC election analyst Antony Green calculated Mr Palmer spent about $1500 per vote, a lot more than the $2.75 per vote that the Australian Electoral Commission pays out. 

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