The Palmer United Party probably won’t last longer than a year, Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam says.
“It’s hard to imagine a party being held together just by money, just by business interests,” he said as counting in Western Australia’s Senate election re-run continues.
“It’s hard to tell what unifies them or what their political vision is as a collective.”
Senator Ludlam and PUP candidate Zhenya “Dio” Wang are the beneficiaries of a big swing away from the major parties.
The Liberals have two seats while Labor, the Australian Greens and the Palmer United Party have one each.
The sixth and final seat is likely to be won by either the Liberals or Labor.
Senator Ludlam said it was impossible to tell what PUP’s policies were and what Mr Wang’s personal motivations were.
“Don’t write them off – I think the candidates will be there for six years and I wish Dio Wang well,” Senator Ludlam told ABC radio on Monday.
“I look forward to finding out a bit more about him because I must admit, it’s been impossible to tell really what the policies are. But the Palmer United Party, I don’t know if I’d give them more than a year.”
Mr Wang, an executive of Mr Palmer’s Australasian Resources, was labelled “missing” in various media reports for not holding a press conference on Sunday, but he was interviewed on ABC TV’s election broadcast on Saturday.
He defended campaigning in WA’s regions, rather than in the metropolitan area, where PUP leader Clive Palmer blanketed airwaves and billboards with his own image.
Mr Wang said he had spoken to country voters about boosting the mining and agricultural sectors.
He also said that while Mr Palmer had abstained from voting on the mining tax in parliament, he would not do the same for mining-related bills.
After spending much of last week on the hustings in Perth, Mr Palmer emerged on Monday at his Maroochydore office in Queensland, saying Mr Wang would take a seat in the Senate less than a decade after he came to Australia from China.
“Dio’s experience and understanding of Chinese cultural issues will be invaluable,” the wealthy MP said in a statement.