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Palmer United Party

The Palmer United Party (PUP) is an Australian political party that was formed by mining magnate Clive Palmer in April 2013. The party was formed as the United Australia Party, and brands itself as a revival of the historic party of that name. However, it adopted its current name a month after its founding to fast track registration and to avoid a conflict with a similarly named party.[1]

The party fielded candidates in all 150 House of Representatives seats at the September 2013 federal election. Palmer, the party's leader, was elected to the Division of Fairfax. Two candidates (Glenn Lazarus of Queensland and Jacqui Lambie of Tasmania) were elected to the Senate. Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party candidate Ricky Muir, of Victoria, later agreed to enter into an informal alliance with the PUP. Dio Wang of Western Australia was elected to the Senate at a special election held in April 2014, after the original Senate election in the state was voided by the Court of Disputed Returns. The PUP bloc thus had three senators when new members took their seats in July 2014. However, Lambie resigned to sit as an independent in November 2014, and Lazarus did so in March 2015.

At state and territory level, Palmer United has been represented in the Parliament of the Northern Territory (NT) and the Parliament of Queensland. Two former Liberal National (and later independent) members of the Queensland Legislative Assembly joined the PUP in April 2013, while three former Country Liberal (CLP) (and briefly independent) members of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly joined the party in April 2014. Both of the Queensland members left to become independents again during 2014,[2] and all of the NT members left the party in the same year, with two becoming independents and one re-joining the CLP.[3] The party contested the South Australian, Tasmanian, and Victorian state elections in 2014, but none of its candidates have been elected to a state or territory parliament.


  • Background 1
  • Federal politics 2
    • 2013 election 2.1
      • 2014 WA senate election 2.1.1
  • Resignations 3
    • Alex Douglas 3.1
    • Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu 3.2
    • Carl Judge 3.3
    • Jacqui Lambie 3.4
    • Alison Anderson and Larisa Lee 3.5
    • Glenn Lazarus 3.6
  • State and territory politics 4
    • Northern Territory 4.1
    • Queensland 4.2
    • South Australia 4.3
    • Tasmania 4.4
  • Media relations 5
  • Policies 6
  • Australian Federal Electoral performance 7
    • House of Representatives 7.1
    • Senate 7.2
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer in 2012.

Palmer announced in November 2012 he was considering reforming the United Australia Party, which had been folded into the present-day Liberal Party of Australia in 1945. He had been a longtime supporter of the federal National Party and the Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP). Palmer's nephew, Blair Brewster, had applied to trademark the party name two months earlier.[4] There was speculation it would join forces with Katter's Australian Party.[4] A month following the party's founding, Palmer announced that the party would be renamed the "Palmer United Party" to avoid confusion with a separate party already registered with the Australian Electoral Commission, the Uniting Australia Party.[1] It brands itself as a revival of the old UAP; its website lists the three leaders of the original party—Joseph Lyons, Robert Menzies and Billy Hughes—as its former leaders.

Federal politics

Peter Slipper, the independent (formerly LNP) member for the Division of Fisher (and previously Speaker of the House of Representatives), joined the party on 11 May 2013.[5] Hours after announcing his membership had been accepted, the party released a statement on its website announcing members had decided to revoke Mr Slipper's membership under clause D26 of the constitution of the party.[6]

2013 election

In April 2013, Palmer announced he was relaunching the UAP with the goal of running candidates in the 2013 federal election and had applied for registration in Queensland.[7][8] He told Lateline "It's a reformation of the original party".[9] The party also endorsed candidates to run in the Senate.[10] In the state of Victoria, two retired sportsmen were announced as Senate candidates: Australian rules football player Doug Hawkins and boxer Barry Michael.[11]

In the 2013 election, Palmer won the Sunshine Coast-area seat of Fairfax with a 26.49 percent primary and 50.03 percent two-candidate preferred vote, a margin of 27 votes. Senate candidates Glenn Lazarus (a former player of the National Rugby League's Canberra Raiders, Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm) and Jacqui Lambie were elected for Queensland and Tasmania on votes of 9.89 percent and 6.58 percent respectively. The nationwide vote in the Senate was 4.91 percent. The outcome of the Senate vote in Western Australia was disputed and the Australian Electoral Commission ordered a re-run of the vote for 5 April 2014.

2014 WA senate election

With a 12.34 percent vote, an increase of 7.33 percent, the party won a Senate seat at the Western Australian special Senate elections of April 2014.[12] The Palmer United Party's candidate, Zhenya (Dio) Wang won the fifth of six available seats. The publicity for Wang was minor, while the party's advertising was prominent.[13]

Following the April 2014 election, advertising monitoring company Ebiquity reported that PUP spent A$477,000 on 788 television commercial slots during the party's pre-election campaign. The amount exceeded the combined spending of the Liberal, Labor and Greens parties on campaign advertising.[12]


Alex Douglas

On 11 August 2014, Queensland Palmer United Party MP Alex Douglas resigned from the party to become an independent citing cronyism: "When I resigned from the LNP in November, 2012, I publicly stated there was a culture in the LNP, and there still is, of looking after mates and relatives, and that I do not support these flawed ideas." [14]

Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu

On 8 September 2014, Northern Territory PUP MP Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu resigned from the party and returned to the CLP, saying "there is no party structure in PUP and no help available". He said that Palmer had promised to give resources and staff to himself, Anderson and Lee, but had gotten "nothing" at all. He added that Palmer hadn't met with him at all since his initial defection.[15]

Carl Judge

On 8 October 2014, Queensland's only remaining PUP MP Carl Judge resigned from the party to become an independent.[14]

Jacqui Lambie

On 24 November 2014, Senator Jacqui Lambie resigned from the PUP, announcing that she would remain in the Senate as an independent.[16] Lambie's resignation followed several weeks of disagreements with party leader Clive Palmer, culminating in her voting with a group of senators calling themselves the "coalition of common sense" in passing a disallowance motion on legislation supported by PUP to repeal the Future of Financial Advice reforms introduced by the previous Labor government.[17]

Alison Anderson and Larisa Lee

On 29 November 2014, Northern Territory MPs Alison Anderson and Larisa Lee announced they were resigning from the PUP to sit as independents. Anderson stated that she and Lee could no longer tolerate the "absolute chaos" in a party that had become a "national disgrace". She also accused the PUP of doing almost nothing to connect with them. Lee said that the PUP had "just kind of left (us) in the dark" after promising that she, Anderson and Kurrupuwu would be in a position to carry the party's banner and help them fight for Aboriginal rights.[18]

Glenn Lazarus

On 13 March 2015, Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus announced his resignation from the PUP, accusing Clive Palmer of bullying, swearing and yelling at people. Lazarus stated "I have a different view of team work. Given this, I felt it best that I resign from the party and pursue my senate role as an independent senator." His wife Tess Sanders-Lazarus joined in, saying "I did make it clear to Clive that I was not happy with being bullied and spoken to using foul language." Palmer responded by sacking her, and then denying their accusations.[19][20]

“There is no doubting the timing of Senator Lazarus’s defection from the party which came AFTER Tess’ sacking as a result of her not doing her job.” Mr Burke said Tess Lazarus was dismissed for spending her time writing speeches and questions for her husband instead of working on agreed party duties. “After repeated efforts to have her engage in the correct party duties were ignored, the party had no alternative but to dismiss her,’’ Mr Burke said.[21]

State and territory politics

Northern Territory

In April 2014, three independent members of the Northern Territory Legislative AssemblyAlison Anderson, Larisa Lee, and Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu – joined Palmer United, with Anderson becoming the party's leader in the territory.[22][23] The trio had resigned from the ruling Country Liberal Party (CLP) during the previous month, leaving the CLP with a one-seat majority in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament.[24] After the MPs joined Palmer United, Campbell Newman, the Premier of Queensland, suggested Clive Palmer was attempting to "buy votes", which resulted in Palmer initiating defamation proceedings against Newman.[25][26] The PUP is not registered with the Northern Territory Electoral Commission,[27] but the party already meets the NTEC's eligibility requirements for registration because it is "registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Act".[28][29] However, Francis Xavier resigned from the party to rejoin the CLP shortly after, and Lee and Anderson resigned to become Independents in November.


The United Australia Party (UAP) was registered with the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) on 5 June 2013.[30] Alex Douglas and Carl Judge, the members for Gaven and Yeerongpilly, respectively, in the Queensland Legislative Assembly, joined the party the following day, having announced their intention to join the week before.[31] Both had been elected as Liberal National Party MPs at the 2012 state election, but fell out with the LNP and resigned from the party later that year, sitting as independents in the interim.[32][33] The party remained registered with the ECQ under the United Australia Party name until 28 February 2014, when its registration was updated to reflect the change to Palmer United Party.[34][35] The proposed name change had been announced late the previous year,[36] with Douglas announcing it in parliament on 20 November 2013.[37] Douglas quit the party and sat as an independent from August 2014, and Judge followed suit two months later.[2]

PUP contested its first Queensland state election in 2015. Its state leader was John Bjelke-Petersen, son of former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.[38] PUP had a poor run-up to this election. Although actively stopping a number of unpopular federal education and health reforms in the Senate, Lambie's decision to leave the party following the departure of Carl Judge and Alex Douglas at a state level, made PUP appear to be in disarray. To many the selection of Bjelke-Peterson and a strange internet election advertisement featuring Palmer raised questioned about the sincerity of PUP. This was reflected in the pre-election polling that had PUP at less than 4%. To complicate matters, Clive Palmer was sick during much of the campaign missing the election launch. This left the inexperienced Bjelke-Petersen to do most of the electioneering. Despite these difficulties, PUP managed to field 50 candidates out of a possible 89 electoral districts in Queensland. PUP policies included; a First Farm Buyers Loan Scheme, Removing Pay Tax, Tightening Restrictions on Coal Seam Gas and a Rooftop Solar Package.[39] The PUP received 5.1% of first preference votes.[40] While counting was underway, the PUP candidate for Ferny Grove, Mark Tavener, was revealed to be an undischarged bankrupt. Under Australian electoral law, Taverner was ineligible to run. This led to speculation that a by-election would be required in the seat; Labor was narrowly ahead on the two-party vote, and Taverner had preferenced Labor.[41] However, when the tally from Ferny Grove was released, Taverner's votes had no bearing on the outcome, destroying any chance of a by-election.[42]

South Australia

Two independent candidates at the 2014 South Australian state election were endorsed by Palmer United.[43] Ngoc Chau Hunyh and Kristian Rees (a former soccer player who finished his career at the Clive Palmer-owned Gold Coast United) ran on a combined ticket for the Legislative Council, and polled 1.6 percent without either being elected.[44] The party had failed to achieve registration by the required date, with the election held on the same date as the Tasmanian state election.[45]


After an appeal against the party's registration was dismissed in the

  • Official website
  • Memo of understanding between the Palmer and Motoring parties

External links

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b Carl Judge quits PUP: Palmer United Party's only Queensland MP resigns to become independent – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved on 5 May 2015.
  3. ^ PM – PUP defiant despite defection of NT politician 09/09/2014. (25 November 2009). Retrieved on 2015-05-05.
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  22. ^ AAP (27 April 2014). "Clive Palmer says rebel NT indigenous MPs to defect to PUP" – The Australian. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  23. ^ Matthew Knott and Gareth Hutchens (27 April 2014). "Clive Palmer aims for NT balance of power" – The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  24. ^ Matthew Knott and Gareth Hutchens (27 April 2014). "Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles accuses Clive Palmer of trying to 'buy' NT government" – The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  25. ^ Amy Remeikis (28 April 2014). "Clive Palmer pushes ahead with defamation case against Queensland premier" – Brisbane Times. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  26. ^ — (28 April 2014). "Clive Palmer threatens to sue Queensland Premier Campbell Newman for defamation" – Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  27. ^ "Register of Political Parties in the Northern Territory" – Northern Territory Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  28. ^ "Political Party Registration Process" – Northern Territory Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  29. ^ "In accordance with Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the [Palmer United Party] was registered on 5 July 2013." "Palmer United Party", Current Register of Political Parties – Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  30. ^ Melinda Howells (6 June 2013). "Billionaire Clive Palmer's party gains official registration in Qld" – Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  31. ^ Sarah Vogler (30 April 2013). "Queensland MPs Alex Douglas and Carl Judge join Clive Palmer's United Australia Party" – The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  32. ^ Dr Alexander (Alex) Douglas: Member Biography – Queensland Parliament. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  33. ^ Mr Carl Judge: Member Biography – Queensland Parliament. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  34. ^ Political Parties – Electoral Commission Queensland. Published 26 January 2014.
  35. ^ Political Parties – Electoral Commission Queensland. Published 27 February 2014.
  36. ^ Sarah Vogler (20 November 2013). "Clive Palmer's Queensland-based United Australia Party to change name to Palmer United Party" – The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  37. ^ Speech By Alex Douglas, MEMBER FOR GAVEN, 20 November 2013 – Queensland Parliament. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  38. ^ Palmer United Party announces Queensland Leader as John Bjelke-Petersen – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). (28 December 2014). Retrieved on 2015-05-05.
  39. ^ Hall, Peter (18 January 2015) Queensland Election 2015: Clive Palmer absent from launch of Palmer United Party state election campaign. The Courier-Mail
  40. ^ Live Results – Qld Election 2015 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved on 5 May 2015.
  41. ^ Queensland election 2015: Bankrupt PUP candidate Mark Taverner may force Ferny Grove by-election – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved on 5 May 2015.
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See also

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
2013 Clive Palmer 658,976 4.91
3 / 76
Increase 3 Increase 4th Crossbench


Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
2013 Clive Palmer 709,035 5.49
1 / 150
Increase 1 Increase 5th Crossbench

House of Representatives

Australian Federal Electoral performance

  • Party officials should not be lobbyists, thereby taking a strong position on paid political lobbyists, saving tax payers dollars and introducing fair policies.[56]
  • Establish an emissions trading scheme, another form of carbon pricing, that will not come into effect until other countries – US, China, EU, Japan and South Korea – also establish such a scheme.[57][58]
  • Revising the current Australian government refugee policy to ensure Australia is protected and refugees are given opportunities for a better future and lifestyle.[56]
  • Creating mineral wealth to continuously contribute to the welfare of the Australian community. This will be achieved by utilising mineral resources from Queensland and Western Australia, and incentives from the Commonwealth of Australia to establish downstream processing in the States of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia; and exporting products at a higher dollar value, thereby creating more revenue, jobs, tax and more facilities.[56]
  • Establishing a system where people create wealth in various parts of the country and for that wealth to flow back to the community that generates the wealth.[56]
  • Closing down detention centres for asylum-seeker boat arrivals: "... abolish the detention camps, restore our navy to its traditional role, save the lives of children and families, keep families together and recognise the legitimate rights of those that have a lawful reason for entering Australia."[59]
  • Moving towards free trade and closer economic relations with Asia.[59]
  • Decentralisation and regional self-government, such as a new North Queensland state.[60][61]
  • Encouraging competitive markets by restricting monopoly and prohibiting unfair trading practices.[59]
  • Abolish higher education fees.[62]


As of late 2014, Andrew Crook and his firm Crook Media were employed to handle media relations for the Palmer United Party and Clive Palmer. Crook has handled public relations for Palmer effectively full-time since 2013.[54] Andrew Crook is now a person of interest in Queensland Police Taskforce Maxima investigations. Palmer and the party are not implicated in any way.[55]

Media relations

[53] The party reportedly spent "more than $1 million on saturation advertising" during the campaign.[52] Palmer United and the Liberals were subject to TEC investigations over claims they had breached electoral advertising rules by publishing the name and photos of opposing candidates without their permission.[51][50].Denison, was deputy leader, standing in Western Australia Police while Barbara Etter, the former CEO of the Integrity Commission Tasmania and a former assistant commissioner of [49][48]

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