Mark McGowan made his most significant intervention of the federal election campaign after the Liberal Party revealed it would send senatorial preferences to Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party in every state except WA.
The Prime Minister, who is in a libel battle with Mr Palmer, seized on the revelation to claim there had been a ‘sly preference deal’ between the billionaire and the Liberals.
WA Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash hit back, accusing Labor of being “complete hypocrites” for putting the UAP ahead of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation on all her voting cards in the WA House of Representatives.
Liberal how-to-vote maps, released Thursday, encourage supporters in Victoria and Tasmania to place the UAP second on their Senate ballot, third in New South Wales and Queensland and fourth in Australia -Southern.
By contrast, in WA – where Mr Palmer remains unpopular due to his failed attempt to tear up the hard border – the Liberals are not sending UAP preferences.
“Clive Palmer is not a friend of WA – therefore he was placed last on all Liberal recommendations on how to vote in WA,” said Ms Cash, the federal attorney general.
The Liberal strategists’ decision to give preference to the UAP last is an attempt to neutralize Labor’s efforts to remind voters that the coalition briefly backed Mr Palmer’s bid to reopen the border two years ago years.
Scott Morrison has since spoken of his handling of the pandemic as a ‘partnership’ with Mr McGowan and said he had quashed his government’s support for the High Court challenge in mid-2020 after speaking to the Prime Minister.
Last month the Prime Minister told The West that he did not want to enter into a preference swap deal with Mr Palmer. “It is the business of the party organization. But no, I don’t believe there will be a deal,” he said.
Mr McGowan called it a ‘disgraceful deal between the Liberals and Mr Palmer’ and sought to remind voters of his government’s many legal battles with the Queensland businessman.
“The Liberal Party should have learned from its decision to support Palmer in the High Court, when it tried to bring down our hard border against health advice, when no vaccine existed,” he said. -he declares.
“He also tried to sue the WA government for $30 billion, which would have cost every man, woman and child $12,000. My government had to pass a law to stop it.
“There is no excuse for entering into a preference agreement like this, with someone like Clive Palmer.
“This sneaky preference deal between Clive Palmer and the Liberal Party shows just how close their political relationship is. This is a new low for the Liberal Party and it should be denounced and condemned by all WA Liberals.
Labor has given no preference to the UAP in any state Senate and is sticking to its policy of placing One Nation last in the House of Representatives, meaning Mr. Palmer is second to last.
Ms Cash added: ‘The Prime Minister needs to check his own party’s voting arrangements. It appears Labor were the ones who made the deal with Mr Palmer. We put them last in WA.
A spokesman for Mr Palmer would not respond to questions about whether a preference swap deal had been reached with the Liberal Party, but revealed that UAP leader Craig Kelly would be at WA next week.