Ballots and billions: Clive Palmer's personal party

Glenn Kefford*, Duncan McDonnell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Founded and led by the billionaire businessman, Clive Palmer, the Palmer United Party (PUP) achieved what was arguably the best debut result of recent decades at the 2013 Australian federal election. This article examines PUP's ideology, organisation and campaigning strategies along with the implications of its experiences to date for Australian party politics. Based on an analysis of original party documents, policies, media communications and semi-structured interviews with PUP candidates and key figures across Australia, we find evidence of a party which is utterly dominated by its leader, which was deliberately never built to last, whose ideology cannot be easily classified and whose campaigning was well-funded but extremely disorganised. We conclude that its experience shows how more professionalised new personal parties in Australia should be able to do even better electorally in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-197
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Australian politics
  • comparative politics
  • political parties


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