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Clive Palmer’s failed bid to unseat Townsville mayor cost $40 per vote


Almost two weeks after the election, businessman Clive Palmer tipped another $15,000 into his unsuccessful campaign to change Townsville City Council.

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The cost of Palmer’s latest election intervention unexpectedly rose over the Easter weekend, when the Electoral Commission of Queensland recorded him donating the additional funds to “It’s Time for Townsville”.

Palmer, through his company Mineralogy, had already donated $524,249.66 to support the ticket of five divisional candidates, including family member and employee Martin Brewster. None were successful – the closest came second in a field of two.

Former rugby league player Greg Dowling was Palmer’s choice as Townsville mayor and received $102,833.33 directly for his campaign. However, Dowling failed to make a dent, with Palmer’s long-time adversary Jenny Hill easily re-elected mayor at the March 28 poll.

On the latest count, Dowling had managed only 15,918 votes – compared to Hill on 46,691 – which equates to roughly $40 a vote for the money outlaid by Palmer’s Mineralogy overall. The latest instalment was paid on Good Friday.

Palmer had previously spent $83 million on candidates for the 2019 federal election. While spectacularly unsuccessful, failing to have a lower house or even senate candidate elected, Palmer nonetheless claimed credit for the Morrison Government.

In Townsville, Palmer has previously clashed with the council over the collapse of his Queensland Nickel enterprise at Yabulu, and recently paid around $700,000 in past rates and water bills. He has since turned his attention to the pandemic.

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