The United Australia Party candidate vying to replace Christian Porter in the seat of Pearce at the upcoming federal election expects Clive Palmer’s party to form Australia’s next government.
Robert Forster declined to discuss his plans for the seat of Pearce if he won the May 18 contest but said the UAP would win the 76 seats required to form a majority in the House of Representatives.
“I can see us leading government, and I can see right across the chamber the opposition,” he said.
“I’m not talking about being in opposition.
“I’m talking about us being in government.”
Mr Forster said the UAP closely aligned with his principles and described his colleagues as a group of individuals who shared his political ideology.
“I’m not a loser, I’m not on a losing side,” he said.
University of Notre Dame senior politics and international relations lecturer Martin Drum was sceptical of Mr Forster’s claim based on the party’s record.
“This is the Clive Palmer mantra,” he said.
“Clive Palmer did this in 2013 the last time he had a real crack at things.
“He stood candidates in every electorate, and in the Senate, and declared that he would be Prime Minister.
“He won his seat, but that was it.”
The seat of Pearce – currently held by the Attorney General Christian Porter with a slim margin – is one of several marginal seats up for grabs and will be contested by the major parties and One Nation, as well as the UAP.
Dr Drum said the UAP had spent enormous amounts of money on advertising which would give them an advantage over other minor parties, but was doubtful they would see similar results to 2013 when they won five per cent of the national vote.
“A lot of candidates come out and say they’re in it to win it,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be thinking along those lines.
“I can’t see them winning any seats in the lower house, anywhere.”
Mr Forster said fake news and the major parties had attempted to smear Mr Palmer’s reputation but was adamant the UAP was a genuine chance in the coming election.
“Mr Palmer, despite how the media and major parties have tried to besmirch him, is a very generous and philanthropic man,” he said.
“The Australian people are sick and tired of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd-Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison charade.
“It’s an absolute disgrace and we do not deserve it as a people, we deserve better, far better.”
Mr Forster said he was not a member of the UAP following the exodus of Senators after the 2013 election but believed the pattern had been resolved through a more rigorous candidate selection process.
Dr Drum said he was wary of the UAP’s ability to vet 150 candidates from scratch in the lead up to the election.
“You can do the sums, there’s a huge amount of candidates he’s got to find in a really short period of time and there are bound to be problems,” he said.