The Palmer United Party is finished in Queensland after its last sitting member in state parliament resigned to become an Independent, an analyst says.
Clive Palmer’s fledgling political party is effectively dead in its home state, with Queensland MP Carl Judge’s resignation the final nail in its coffin.
That’s the view of political pundits, who say the Palmer United Party (PUP) will fail dismally at the next state election following the resignation of its last sitting member in Queensland parliament.
Dr Alex Douglas, the party’s former state leader, handed the mantle to Mr Judge after he resigned from PUP two months ago alleging a party culture of “jobs for the boys” and a lack of democracy in preselections.
Mr Judge, the only remaining PUP MP in state politics, left on more amicable terms, citing a party focus on federal politics and too many distracting side issues.
Griffith University political analyst Paul Williams said six months ago, he would have tipped PUP to gain one or two seats, but there was now next to no chance for the party of having any representation at all after the next poll.
“This is the beginning of the end,” Dr Williams told AAP.
“It might even be the middle of the end – the beginning of the end might have been a few months ago.”
Dr Williams said things started going downhill for Mr Palmer’s party after the federal MP made extraordinary claims on live television in August that the Chinese government were “mongrels” and “bastards” who shoot their own people.
Mr Judge said he could better serve his Brisbane electorate of Yeerongpilly as an independent, without the party’s distractions.
In fact, if he stayed with PUP, he would have been pitted against Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie in an almost futile contest for Kawana on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Judge singled out PUP Senator Jackie Lambie’s controversial comments on banning burqas in Australia as one of the key distractions that convinced him to turn his back on the party.
“The way that Jackie Lambie phrased it was inflammatory and unacceptable in my view,” he said.
He also had a stab at people working behind the scenes in political parties.
“What we’re seeing is faceless people behind political parties driving a political agenda rather than a public agenda,” he said.
Mr Palmer said he wished Mr Judge well in Yeerongpilly.
But he couldn’t help a veiled swipe, saying Mr Judge was only “standing in” as leader and his party needs “a real leader able to deliver results for Queenslanders”.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney was already talking about PUP in the past tense on Thursday.
“The Palmer Party was never going to contribute anything to our task of getting Queensland back on track – finding the jobs and building the infrastructure and paying down the debt,” he told reporters.
Mr Palmer plans to announce his party’s new state leader late next week when he unveils PUP candidates for the election.