Tuesday 19th of November 2019

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The Liberal Party has struck a deal to exchange preferences with Clive Palmer.

Key points:
  • The Liberal Party will preference the United Australia Party second or ahead of Labor
  • Clive Palmer is running for a Senate spot, after catapulting ex-rugby league star Greg Dowling into the seat of Herbert
  • The PM has repeatedly said the issue of preferences is one for the party organisation to deal with, but left the door open to a deal


The deal will see the Liberals place the United Australia Party second, or above Labor, on its how-to-vote cards in Lower and Upper House seats.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repeatedly said deciding preferences is an issue for the party organisation to deal with.

That is despite the fact he directed his party to preference Pauline Hanson's One Nation below Labor in the wake of revelations the minor party had solicited donations from the National Rifle Association in the US.

Political strategists have spent the past 48 hours locking in crucial preference deals ahead of pre-polling, which opens on Monday.

Mr Palmer is attempting a return to politics, throwing himself into the running for a seat in the Senate.

The billionaire businessman was tipped to run in the north Queensland seat of Herbert, but catapulted ex-rugby league star Greg Dowling into the contest instead.

His party is experiencing a resurgence in the polls, with the latest Newspoll showing it had a primary vote between 5 and 14 per cent in four marginal seats in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

That was despite the Commonwealth continuing to pursue Mr Palmer and his companies over the collapse of his Queensland Nickel Refinery in Townsville.

Mr Palmer's popularity in the regional city took a major hit after the collapse in 2016, which left 800 workers unemployed and debts of about $300 million.

He has recently announced plans to pay back "millions of dollars" in outstanding entitlements to those workers.

The party caught the attention of both the Liberals and Labor with its campaign spending continuing to climb into the tens of millions of dollars.

Mr Morrison was repeatedly asked about the possibility of a preference deal this week and gave little detail, but left the door open to the possibility.


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burning rubber and the planet together...

The Liberal party has agreed to exchange preferences with Clive Palmer in a deal nutted out by party figures on Wednesday night.

Sources say how-to-vote cards that see the Liberals preferencing the United Australia party are ready to print, with Palmer to be placed ahead of the Labor party in lower-house seats and in the Senate.

The deal could prove critical to the outcome in a host of marginal seats across the country, and improves the chances of Palmer reclaiming a spot in the Senate where his resurrected party could hold the balance of power.

Palmer is No 1 on the Senate ticket in Queensland, where the party’s following is strongest, but the UAP is also seen as a strong chance of picking up a Senate position in Western Australia and in New South Wales, where former One Nation senator Brian Burston leads the ticket.


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and sodomising china...

Scott Morrison will damage relations with China and risk an electoral backlash if he inks a preference swap deal with controversial businessman Clive Palmer, former WA Liberal premier Colin Barnett said.

Key points:
  • Mr Barnett said Mr Palmer has an "appalling" record in public affairs
  • He urged "wise heads" to prevail in the Liberal Party to stop a formal preference deal
  • It is understood the Liberal Party will put Mr Palmer's party second on how-to-vote cards

In a scathing assessment, Mr Barnett said Mr Palmer was unsuitable for a parliamentary career and had an "appalling" record in public affairs, particularly his dealings with Beijing.

In an interview with the ABC, Mr Barnett urged "wise heads" to prevail in the Liberal Party to stop a formal preference deal with Mr Palmer's party.

It is understood the Liberal Party will put Mr Palmer's United Australia Party second on how-to-vote cards, or third if there is a Nationals candidate, with a view to securing UAP preferences that could aid the re-election prospects of Coalition MPs in rural Australia, especially Queensland.

Mr Barnett said this deeply worried him.


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1h ago Palmer says Labor has approached his party

Clive Palmer says Labor is lying on preference talks with his United Australia party, reports the Oz.

I had Senator (Anthony) Chisholm approach me when I was down for the budget in parliament.

He came over to see me.

He called me on Wednesday, when he was with Bill Shorten, he said he’d been with Bill in central Queensland, and he said, ‘is it too late to do preferences’.

It’s not true that I wasn’t approached by the Labor party, I certainly was.

Which would contradict Albanese and Burke’s fulsome denials this morning, as reported earlier in the blog.




2h ago Coal is great, says Morrison

Scott Morrison is speaking in Flynn, next to LNP MP Ken O’Dowd.

Q: Ken O’Dowd is running a campaign in this electorate: “Ken stands for coal”. Does Scott stand for coal? Could we put your name in there and would you say as much in Wentworth or Higgins as you will in Gladstone? You stand for coal?

55,000 jobs depend on our coal mining industry. That’s what it does. And I think that’s great for Australia.



4h ago Wong on the Liberal-Palmer deal: an ad man and a con man

Penny Wong is given her head, at the end of that press conference, on the Palmer deal.

This is a marriage of convenience. A marriage of convenience between an ad man and a con man. That’s what Scott Morrison is offering the Australian people. That’s what Scott Morrison is offering the Australian people. I’d make this other point. What this really shows is Scott Morrison’s desperation. Does anybody in this room believe you can actually govern with Clive Palmer? Do any of you believe that? Scott Morrison doesn’t believe that. But he’s so desperate to cling onto power, he’ll do a deal with Clive Palmer even though he knows he can’t govern with him. You know what that means, ladies and gentlemen? What it means is more of the same, more chaos and division. Thank you very much.


6h ago 'The man who let you down' ... PM and his Herbert candidate squib questions on Palmer

Morrison continues batting off questions. So reporters turn to Liberal candidate Phillip Thompson:

Q: Phil, how do you justify to voters in Herbert, many of whom lost their jobs when Clive Palmer’s refinery collapsed, you’re trying to get their votes and yet the party has done a deal with the man who let them down. How do you justify that to voters?

I, my team, the party, are all talking about it. I’m not out here talking about the how-to-vote card, like the prime minister said, I’m wanting people, to put number one next to my name.


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a circus with two clowns in a dark alley...

This election is acquiring quite a few back-to-the-future touches.

There's John Howard, in robust campaign mode. One of those he's spruiking for is the embattled Tony Abbott, with a letter to Warringah voters, a video and a planned street walk.

Then there's a prospect that independent Rob Oakeshott might be set for resurrection. Mr Oakeshott, remembered for that 17-minute speech when he (finally) announced he'd support the Gillard government, could strip the Nationals of the northern NSW seat of Cowper.

And bizarrely, there's Clive Palmer, becoming a player to be reckoned with.

Only last June, Mr Morrison said of Mr Palmer's renewed political push that he thought Australians would say "the circus doesn't need another sideshow".

Well, the sideshow's here and the Liberals are grabbing a prize from its spinning wheel, with an in-principle preference deal with Mr Palmer's United Australia Party (still to be formally announced by the UAP on Monday).


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vote card...


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