‘700,000 Palmer United Party votes up for grabs: who’ll win them this time?’ asks Bronwyn Stevens in The Conversation (20.6.16):
‘The Palmer United Party (PUP) sprang onto Australia’s electoral landscape at the 2013 federal election, running candidates in all 150 lower house seats as well as for the Senate.
‘Buoyed by a multi-million-dollar national advertising blitz and Clive Palmer’s name recognition, the party persuaded 709,035 Australians – 5.5% of voters nationally – to vote 1 for PUP in the lower house.
‘It did almost as well in the Senate, picking up 658,976, or 4.9%, of the group first-preference votes. One of 4 million PUP DVDs dropped in letterboxes nationally in 2013, starring Palmer’s speeches and a Titanic II bonus feature.
‘The party did particularly well in Palmer’s home state of Queensland, attracting an extraordinary 11% share of first preferences for the lower house, or 278,125 votes. …
‘It was a similar story in Queensland’s Senate ballot, gaining 258,944 or 9.9% of the group first-preference votes.
‘Capitalising on voter discontent with the major parties, PUP narrowly won one lower house seat, along three Senate spots: in Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. Almost overnight, it had become a major force as a balance-of-power party in the Senate. …
‘So who will all those PUP voters, who came from both sides of the political spectrum, support this time? Their choices will be particularly important in Queensland, where 19 lower house seats are close enough to be called marginal, and where former rugby league player and ex-PUP Glenn Lazarus is up against a record Senate field – including a rejuvenated Pauline Hanson.