Clive Palmer’s down but not out
WITH a Federal election mere months away it's unsurprising the Townsville-based seat of Herbert - Australia's most marginal electorate - is attracting national attention.
A Newspoll survey has this week placed Labor and the LNP neck-in-neck at 32 per cent of the primary vote each, while one in three voters favour a minor party.
Clive Palmer's United Australia Party is currently on 8 per cent, placing him slightly ahead of the Greens (7 per cent) and just shy of both Katter's Australian Party and Pauline Hanson's One Nation, with 9 per cent each.
After spending about $7 million on political advertising in the past four months, Mr Palmer's relatively modest primary vote could be seen as a poor return for his dollar investment.
But the media blitz has at least positioned the billionaire's party in the race.
The UAP is close enough to its conservative party minority competitors that if the trend continues and he nudges ahead, Mr Palmer's preferences could determine who wins the seat.
Like all minor parties, the UAP is seeking to capitalise on voters' discontent with Labor and the LNP, but only time will tell if that dissatisfaction is enough to create sufficient electoral amnesia about Mr Palmer.
Putting aside his turbulent relationship with Townsville since the collapse of his Queensland Nickel refinery, Mr Palmer is also known for attending the least number of sitting days of any MP in 2014.
At the time Mr Palmer attributed his overall attendance to "political tactics," but it's hard to imagine North Queenslanders would tolerate a repeat performance of this record.
A return to the lower house for Mr Palmer seems unlikely, but this far out from an election it's safe to say he is down, but not out.