PUP puts its money into #WAvotes: @GuinevereHall talks to ex-candidate Gary Morris

Clive Palmer of the Palmer United Party (PUP).

Clive Palmer of the Palmer United Party (PUP).

The only election flyers I have received during this campaign have been from Palmer United Party (PUP). The first was a CD of speeches and a Titanic clip, mass produced in China and distributed to every home in Western Australia; then a written message from Clive Palmer telling me that only PUP can get rid of the carbon and mining taxes.

Our airwaves are saturated with Clive Palmer’s voice, every ad break on television or radio features at least one ad with either Clive or Des Hedland, their number two candidate. There is even one amusing ad featuring Christine Milne, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, all urging us to vote for PUP. Clive Palmer tweeted on March 31:

If advertisements equals caring, WA is getting a whole lot of love from Clive.

The one person missing from the blitzkrieg campaigning is the number one candidate Dio (Zhenya) Wang. Mr Wang has been too busy for interviews and has also been a notable no-show at the three candidates’ forums held last weekend. Mr Wang is the CEO of Australasian Resources. Clive Palmer is majority owner of Australasian Resources.

In my endeavours to find a PUP candidate to speak to, I contacted my previous PUP interviewee hoping for some help. Instead he informed me that he had resigned from the party as had many of the candidates who ran for Lower House seats in the 2013 election. Intrigued, I met with Gary Morris who ran for the federal seat of Moore for PUP in 2013 but resigned his membership earlier this year.

When Mr Morris joined the party was called the United Australia Party. He said: “Then suddenly they couldn’t use that name and ended up having to change the name to Palmer United Party. I had my reservations at the start as having a party with someone’s personal name has never succeeded. Clive’s explanation was that because he had such a high profile, but as he was paying I just have to suck it up as I had committed myself.”

Before the September 2013 election Mr Morris had lunch in Queensland with Peter Burke (Queensland director of PUP). Mr Morris recalled he said: “I said Peter, Clive is after controlling the Senate, and he stopped and said ‘how did you work that out?’ because he has all these high profile Senate candidates, and he said ‘yes it’s true'”.

“So I thought I was on an uphill battle, as his concentration was on Senate candidates, none of the House of Reps candidates were brought over to Brisbane unless they had a high profile. I had my reservations then but I believed in what Clive stood for. But after the election we were dropped like hot potatoes, not even a debrief.”

Mr Morris then tried to start the state branch of PUP and they were told it was going to happen by October. “I set up all the structures as I have done that type of thing before, but they just sat on their hands and did nothing.”

I asked Mr Morris whether he felt the current Senators-elect for the PUP would be directed by Mr Palmer to vote one way or another, and if so that meant they may have a conflict of interest in terms of the carbon and mining taxes which Clive Palmer did not vote on in the lower house due to his personal conflict of interest.

“They should be free, there should be a party line but the party line shouldn’t be about Clive Palmer but a consensus of the party,” Mr Morris said. “Under the constitution the executive council has the final say.”

Usually the executive council is elected by the party members, but they weren’t in this case?

“I was actually nominated by a lot of the WA members, they wanted me number one or number two on the Senate ticket [for the recount],” Mr Morris said. “Got the letter on the Monday stating that I had failed to be nominated by the national executive. The WA membership weren’t even considered.”

The national executive is Clive Palmer, his wife Anna, his son Michael, and his three nephews Clive Mensink, Blair Brewster and Martin Brewster.

Peter Burke told Mr Morris that he couldn’t vote anyway as there was not a state executive. “Obviously that is why there was no state executive because we would have had control over who was nominated.”

Over a two-week period after the letter telling him he wasn’t nominated, the WA membership of the PUP fragmented and there were many resignations including Gary’s. A lot have joined other political parties but some including Gary are starting up their own grassroots party for WA issues.

“We felt like subscribers to a newsletter, that’s all it was,” Morris said. “It’s a shame as I think the PUP, this is my view, is an extension of Clive Palmer’s business empire. There is no separation.”

As far as Palmer’s policies, Morris said: “He capitalised on what he heard people talking about, it’s a marketing ploy. I think their support has dropped this time, [and] the Greens are dying as a party. My prediction is four Labor and two Liberals.”

PUP preferences:

  1. Australian Sports Party
  2. Family First
  3. Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party
  4. Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party
  5. Shooters and Fishers Party

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  1. S Balfour says

    Perhaps you could chat to him on facebook (although his account hasnt been used much): https://www.facebook.com/wangforsenate

  2. Catriona Thoolen says

    Anyone else feel as I do, the (ex) PUP candidates’ behaviour would not recommend them to another party? No wonder they need to form their own parties. The disloyalty they show indicates that they (for no apparent reason) feel they as individuals were more important than the party.

    Probably lucky for Palmer United that these people were not elected, their self-serving attitudes would have not made them good representatives of their electorates in any case.

    Selection of candidates has been a huge learning curve for a very new party.

    Yes, I am still a PUP member :)

  3. Former eastern candidate says

    Catriona, a number of candidates were dissapointed in not having a say in the party and wiht comments from Mark Ellis such as “it is liive’s party not the members” or if challenging why Clive made Jaquie Lambie changer her pro Carbon Tax stance pre election to a post election stance of opposing the Carbon tax resulted in abuse from people like Mr Ellis, you obvipusly never asked the hard questions of the party. Like why in excess of 60 people who wanted to become members never heard back from the party.

    If Clive was tryuly in it for the “people” as he states, why has he missed so many sessions of parliament? One of the lowest attendance records to date is held by Mr Palmer.

    • Catriona, your comment is close to those comments made by extreme religious groups! (Cults)
      If anyone leaves, speaks out against them they go on the attack or defence!

      The pup made me feel I was part of a one man cult

      • Catriona Thoolen says

        At least you have used your name to speak out, unlike the others :)

        I don’t know what, if any feedback you have had from HO…but you don’t see other parties disgruntled (ex) candidates being published when complaining.

        Either they don’t do it, or it is only newsworthy if the comments are anti PUP or anti Clive.

  4. Disgruntled ex PUP says
  5. Catriona Thoolen says

    So far, in the comments, only S Balfour is worth listening to.

    Why would you even want to make a statement if you are unwilling to put your name to it.

    No wonder you are disgruntled….no guts, no backbone…and absolutely, no loyalty.

  6. Buddy Rojek, CPA. Independent Federal Candidate for Corangamite. says

    I was the disendorsed candidate for PUP. Friend request me on Facebook to hear my side of the story. On my Facebook page I tell the true reason why I threw that notorious party (Minus the Models in the end). PUP mislead me.

    • the candidate says

      Palmer United has no resemblance to these comments. It is common for people to get frustrated or upset if things don’t go their way in a new party in progress of building and still building, not really deserters but just no patience or the speed they hoped for. Jacqui Lambie was via party policy, bound to the election platform policy and did not go against it nor allowed to do so per that agreement on party policy platform but is entitled to an opinion against it and to at anytime argue with the national executive for any changes. Buddy Rojek was ousted dude to bad publicity in which put his demeanor into doubt, thereby not someone whom departed. There is no evidence Clive Palmer is taking full control or for other reasons stated as guesses, and if any evidence ever surfaced then people can do more than guess. All 2013 reps had a fair crack and full party assistance in the maiden election, but the voters were not ready for us then but are now. Many members are new to politics and expect things can happen overnight thereby get disappointed, so be it, leave or wait, desert or keep unity, as we give everyone freedom to stay or resign as we rather not have half hearted people as they will neglect their constituents just as fast. PUP is stronger than ever and the WA election shall evidence this, and the party is ready to start governing at a moments notice. The result of this article shall be shown by the WA results.

      • Wayne Driver says

        As a former candidate, I can concur with Gary. WA had ZERO leadership from the purported head of PUP in WA. The WA leadership did not speak to most of the candidates to debrief post election, something other parties do. The WA leadership refused to attend a meeting post election to officially form a WA state party that was called by former candidates as did Dio.

        PUP had a number of wonderful people in WA who put their hands up, some like myself felt alienated with the lack of debrief post election, lack of communication from the WA leadership during and post election, lack of support by Senator Elect Dio Wang or WA leadership to attend meetings to form a WA Branch of the Palmer United Party and the lack of say in the Senate ticket for the re run of the senate election something a truly democratic party would have allowed.

        I requested support from National HO, State HO and Senator Elect DIo Wang in my electorate in the run up to the September elections. I received Zero feedback on support from National HO, Zero from State and Zero from Dio. I requested costings of Clive;s election promices and was quietly informed “we have not had any costings done”.

        Do I still support the party? Yes, I do.

        Am I glad PUP have a seat in the Senate? Of course I am.

        Do I believe it should go to a Palmer Company Executive who was noticable by his absence to the media and electors during both elections? No.

        Do I believe the First spot on the senate ticket should have been held by someone else? Yes. In both cases, it should have been Chamonix. Chamonix had put her hand up for the Senate prior to both Dio and Des and was active in campaigning.

        Do I think Dio will represent the interest of the state of WA and the Australian nation effectively? That I will wait and see.

        If the party is to move forward in WA it will need to set up a state branch and executive that is not headed by a Clive Palmer Company executive and people with the electorates interest at heart.

        GIven that a quarter of the original candidates have left for simialr reasons (lack of leadership at a state level, lack of member input etc) the best people, I believe, to now lead a state branch and for it to be strong, would be:

        Chamonix Terblanche as Party President
        Wendy Lamotte as State Party Leader
        Glenn Baker as Deputy State Leader
        Craig Lawrence as Party Secretary
        Michael Lucas as Members Advocate

        Clive now has a seat in the House of Reps and balance of power in the senate. He can now introduce the bills to the House of Representatives to fill his election promises. He should put the increase for all pensioners before parliament, the first $10,000 of your home loan as a tax deduction and the change to company tax payments to parliament and lever his balance of power to have them passed by the Liberals in the House of Reps. If Clive got those tabled, wether they pass or not, he would look like the workers and business champion.

        PUP has a chance NOW to make a difference, the ball is clearly in Clive Palmer’s court.

  7. Sorry Gary but your falling for Palmer’s nonsensical policies in the first place, followed by your way out predictions (four ALP, 2 Lib) show your complete lack of political nouse and complete lack of any political future. Don’t give up your day job.

    • Hi James!

    • James, I am perplexed that you can draw assumptions on my ability as a candidate when I merely make a prediction for the sake of newsworthiness.

      I also notice that your comment comes after the result, and not before!
      Is this to make you sound as though you yourself are politically far more superior than anyone else?

  8. WA UNITED says

    Predictions are those made to sway voters to vote a certain way. They are personal views to how he thinks it will pan out.
    Numbers are just numbers.
    Gary has a some great visions for Western Australians with a vision to change the tax reforms and make it better for Western Australians going forward.
    The resignation from the PUP Party and changing of the guard is no personal attack but a genuine vision for Western Australians going forward.

  9. Naivety, appears to be a feature of WA, TAS and QLD. How on earth did anyone with any shred of intelligence think that good old Clive was in it for anyone other than himself. It would seem a pointless exercise anyone from the PUP party sitting in the Federal Parliament because they will always have a conflict of interest due to their leader’s business interests.