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Money for nothing: Pauline set for windfall despite plunge in voting support


The swing against One Nation was not enough to stop Pauline Hanson’s party securing taxpayer funds to use on future campaigns.

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After suffering the biggest loss of support at the election, One Nation only managed to get its existing member, Stephen Andrew, re-elected in Mirani. But by running candidates across the state, the right-wing party still generated the fourth-highest primary vote overall. Under a long-standing funding formula, that could see One Nation benefit financially – yet Katter’s Australian Party, despite having three MPs in parliament, may not enjoy the same windfall because it only contested 13 of the 93 seats.

Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party raised almost $5 million from the man and his companies and ran tabloid newspaper ads and broadcast spots warning of a Labor “death tax”. But Palmer’s in-your-face campaign backfired and the party was shunned by voters – not even managing a tenth of the votes that One Nation received overall. Palmer – who is facing criminal charges relating to previous campaign expenditure – may now have to claim his costs as a tax deduction.

Under rules administered by the Electoral Commission of Queensland, the threshold for election funding is six per cent of the primary vote. On the Thursday count, the only parties to reach that threshold overall were Labor (40.04 per cent), the LNP (35.73 per cent), the Greens (9.28 per cent) and One Nation (7.06 per cent). To secure the funding, the parties need to have six per cent of the vote in the electorates their candidates contested.

Upon reaching the threshold, the amount of funding is calculated as the lesser of the funding rate – $1.651 for candidates, and $3.304 for registered political parties – or the amount of campaign expenditure accepted by the ECQ. The parties will need receipts to show how much they spent on their campaign and for each candidate to have done at least as well as the average. At most, that will deliver $3,428,237 to Labor, $3,059,028 to the LNP, $794,520 to the Greens and $604,519 to One Nation. The parties and their candidates could also claim campaign expenses on tax but discounted for any reimbursements by the ECQ.

On election night, One Nation spokesman James Ashby blamed “COVID fear” and the loss of regional media outlets for the party’s poor showing. However, unlike some others, the party will be able to recoup its costs and campaign again at the federal election.

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