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Clive Palmer's newfound clout may be short-lived

Clive Palmer on the campaign trail.
Clive Palmer on the campaign trail.

QUEENSLAND'S flamboyant billionaire turned political force Clive Palmer may soon be given some clout in Australian politics, but one electoral expert warns he could fizzle out by 2016.

The Australian National University political lecturer Professor Ian McAllister believes if both the incoming Coalition government and the now-expelled ALP can keep voters happy, the Palmer United Party could be dispatched into the electoral wilderness.

"If you look at the ALP vote, it went down by 4% and Liberals went up by 1.6%," Prof McAllister said.

"People who were disillusioned with Labor were not keen to go to the Coalition - Palmer seems to have benefited from that."

Prof McAllister said Mr Palmer's performance in the polls was "an achievement" considering it was his first time in the political arena.

But while Mr Palmer himself decrees his wins as "a revolution", Prof McAllister is not so sure.

Australian voters are notoriously loyal to the major parties, he said, but will occasionally grow frustrated and back a protest party like Mr Palmer's.

Unfortunately, Prof McAllister said, that frustration usually disappeared by the following ballot.

"People will vote for one of these parties once, but won't vote for them again."

Mr Palmer's best chance of keeping or increasing his support is for the major parties to drive voters away through either their behaviour or their policies.

The Palmer United Party has so far won two seats in the Senate with Glenn Lazarus in Queensland and Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania.

The counting continues as Mr Palmer himself prepares to take the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax while his Palmer Coolum Resort manager Bill Schoch remains an outside chance in the neighbouring seat of Fisher.

If Mr Schoch wins on preferences, he will have thwarted the political hopes of former Howard-government minister and LNP candidate Mal Brough.

A spokesman for Mr Palmer described Prof McAllister's comments as "rubbish"

He said the PUP expected to increase its support in later elections, both on state and federal levels.

"This result happened after eight weeks of having a (political) party," he said.

"We will only grow."

Topics:  clive palmer federal election 2013 palmer united party



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