The wealthy wildcard that could keep Scott Morrison in power – despite polls showing a Labor landslide
- Mining billionaire Clive Palmer is chairman of the United Australia Party
- He will direct voters to rank Liberals above Labor in several key seats
- This could help Scott Morrison cling to power by holding marginal electorates
Scott Morrison may still cling on to power thanks to preferences from Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party in crucial electorates – despite the mining magnate campaigning against both the Liberal and Labor parties.
The mining billionaire’s United Australia Party will tell voters to preference the Liberals and Nationals over Labor in several key lower house seats, the billionaire has revealed.
These include the NSW seats of Mackellar, Wentworth, Warringah, Reid, Parramatta Macquarie, Dobell, and Hunter as well as the Queensland seat of Flynn.
Mr Palmer told Sky News on Monday night that he was directing preferences to the Coalition over Labor in 55 per cent of seats.
Clive Palmer (pictured with his wife) could help Scott Morrison cling on to power by directing his preferences to the Coalition in crucial electorates
This map shows some of the key marginal seats held by Labor (in red) and the Coalition (in blue) with the percentage margin. There are other seats in contention, with a fuller list below
In the latest Newspoll, Labor is ahead of the Coalition by 54 points to 46 – enough to secure a comfortable majority if replicated on May 21.
But Labor strategists fear the UAP vote could be large and throw a spanner in the works.
‘Australia is a funny country. Who knows how many people will vote for Palmer,’ one Opposition strategist told Daily Mail Australia.
Data strategist Elisa Choy of Maven Data believes the UAP will have a big impact on this election, based on her ‘big data’ analysis of social media comments.
‘The UAP is a relevant brand and real contender to upset this election,’ she said.
‘UAP key messages freedom, ending lockdowns, anti-government, anti-control are resonating successfully.’
Asked who will become PM, she said: ‘At this stage, flip a coin. Which is why Australia is still ‘bobble heading’ and it will come down to the last minute, last second, in that quiet moment in the booth.’
Under Australia’s full preferential voting system, voters must rank all of the candidates running in their seat.
Parties recommend the order their supporters should follow by handing out how to vote cards at the polling booths.
However, the UAP is putting the Liberals last in some marginal seats such as Greenway, Cook and Banks, plus all 10 Liberal electorates in WA where Mr Palmer wants to oust all incumbents.
Mr Palmer famously launched a legal challenge against the state’s popular hard border during the Covid pandemic.
Scott Morrison (pictured with wife Jenny on May 8) is hoping to cling on to power
When a party gets less than half of the votes in a seat, the rankings are taken into account to ultimately decide the winner.
At the 2019 election the UAP won three per cent of primary votes but senior Liberals admitted the party helped the Coalition by directing preferences away from Labor.
Mr Palmer has been campaigning against lockdowns and vaccine mandates throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite claiming to love freedom, he has proposed radically restrictive economic policies such as banning banks from lifting mortgage interest rates beyond three per cent and banning super funds from investing overseas.
The mining tycoon, worth an estimated $13billion, is spending about $70million on advertising this election – significantly more than the other parties.
Data published by the AEC in 2011 showed less than half of voters followed how to vote cards.
But still 70 per cent of preferences reached their recommended destination as voters made up their own minds and their preferences happened to roughly match the how to vote card.
Clive Palmer is pictured during the United Australia Party’s campaign launch on the Sunshine Coast on April 6