WA hands big Clive a huge advantage
THANK you, Western Australia, you may have made "our Clive" one of Australia's most politically powerful men.
And if Clive Palmer's own words are much to go by, he plans to make best use of that power to benefit the Sunshine Coast.
The head of the Palmer United Party described as "pretty great" the securing of a third Senate seat courtesy of the re-run Western Australia senate ballot on Saturday.
The PUP secured around 12.5% of the vote, an impressive increase from the 5% it won in the Federal Election in August. The result means the party has one extra Senate seat, adding to the two it secured last year.
"That's a healthy result and it shows we're doing the right thing and saying the right thing," Mr Palmer said.
"It's a chance for the Sunshine Coast to be the centre of focus in Australia; it's a chance to get some of the priorities of the Sunshine Coast highlighted.
"As Member for Fairfax, that's my duty, and that's what I'll be doing."
PUP's three senators have a voting alliance with a senator from the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party.
University of the Sunshine Coast politics lecturer Bronwyn Stevens said the Western Australia result put PUP in a powerful position when legislation was introduced by the Liberal-National coalition government.
"It's a lot in terms of the balance of power," Ms Stevens said of the four-person voting bloc.
"With Labor and the Greens against them (the Coalition), and the small number of independents who are very unpredictable, they're going to have to negotiate with Palmer, who has put himself in a very powerful position."
However, the Queensland Government is not convinced by the PUP.
"Clive Palmer is more interested in election campaigns in other states than he is in Queensland's future," a spokesman said.
"Mr Palmer's campaign in Western Australia was built on stripping close to $1 billion in GST funding from Queensland that goes towards our schools, hospitals and roads.
"He has no plan for Queensland.
"While Clive Palmer wants to take money away from Queensland and give it to Western Australia, the LNP Government is focused on growing the economy and dealing with Labor's $80 billion debt to secure our state's financial future."
Mr Palmer said the PUP's next target was to see the removal of the Campbell Newman-led LNP Government in Queensland.
"The next objective is that good government in Queensland is returned," he said.
"(Premier) Campbell (Newman) might go at any time, once you see the budget from (Federal Treasurer) Joe Hockey, which will send us further into the dark ages."
"He's losing support all the time."
Mr Palmer said Queenslanders should not be living in fear of losing hospitals and schools, the privatisation of public assets, and increases in health care and costs of visiting their GP.
The government spokesman said Mr Newman had always said the election would be 2015.