Eccentric billionaire Clive Palmer an unlikely winner in Australian polls
SYDNEY (AFP) - Eccentric resources baron Clive Palmer emerged as a surprise winner in Australia's elections on Saturday, polling strongly in his native Queensland and on track to win a seat.
Mr Palmer was set to be elected to the House of Representatives and unseat the conservative incumbent in a shock result after a deep-pocketed populist campaign in the Sunshine Coast district of Fairfax, with 51.9 per cent of the vote and 67.8 per cent of ballots counted.
His self-titled Palmer United Party won more than 11 per cent of the vote in Queensland and 5.7 per cent nationwide, prompting him to claim he could "win the whole country in the next three years".
"Governments may come and go, but ideas go on forever. What we'll contribute of course is ideas - ideas stimulate debate in the country which has been sorely lacking in this campaign, and that we can do something positive for the country that we all love." Analysts said Mr Palmer had attracted a large protest vote against the major parties, and helped soften the blow against Labor by taking seats from the conservatives.