Bye Clive: It’s his party and he’ll deregister if he wants to

Clive Palmer wants the United Australia Party to be deregistered in his home state of Queensland, where it has failed at recent elections and even been taken to court.

Sep 03, 2021, updated Sep 03, 2021
Clive Palmer will no longer have a party registered to run in Queensland elections.(AAP Image/Darren England)

Clive Palmer will no longer have a party registered to run in Queensland elections.(AAP Image/Darren England)

The UAP, formerly known as Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, has formally applied to be deregistered by the Electoral Commission of Queensland. All that is required to prevent deregistration is a reasonable objection from someone else, which is unlikely.

The application was made by the party’s registered officer Nikki Smeltz, a former flight attendant and the wife of footballer Shane Smeltz, who played for Gold Coast United when Palmer owned the team.

While no reasons were given for the application, it is understood Palmer wants to focus on the upcoming federal election, without having to meet the administrative requirements to maintain a party in Queensland. One of those requirements is to show proof UAP has 500 or more party members.

Calls to the party office today were greeted by a message that the answering machine was full.

The application comes after the ECQ took court action to determine whether Palmer is a property developer and therefore banned from making political donations, or funding his own party, under Queensland laws.

A directions hearing set down for Thursday was adjourned beforehand but the case is ongoing.

Palmer, who is still facing fraud charges levelled at him by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, spends millions of dollars on election campaigns and insists he is entitled to do so.

The Australian Electoral Commission had previously moved to deregister UAP federally because it did not have the required 500 members. However, Palmer was able to avoid that requirement by signing up former Liberal MP Craig Kelly as a parliamentary member and leader of UAP.

On Thursday, Palmer issued a press release to claim UAP had signed up 30,000 members in 10 days, saying “at this rate the United Australian Party will have more party members than the combined memberships of both Liberal and Labor”.

“Craig Kelly is the most outstanding political leader and he will be our next Prime Minister,’’ Palmer claimed.

“Every Australian should support Craig Kelly as he stands to stop lockdowns and get our economy moving again.”

Palmer and Kelly have vowed to run candidates in every seat, but already caused controversy over advertisements criticising Australia’s COVID-19 response, and calling for unspecified freedoms, as well as unsolicited text messages warning “you can never trust the Liberals, Labor or Greens again”.

In Queensland, Palmer has not had an MP representing any of his parties since 2014. Despite well-funded campaigns, UAP failed spectacularly in council and state elections last year.

If Kelly does not retain his seat of Hughes, and UAP does not win any other federal contest, Palmer will again have no elected representatives in Australia.

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