Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party has won a senate seat after the billionaire spent up to $100million campaigning against Covid-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
Ralph Babet was officially confirmed as the winner of the sixth Victorian spot, ahead of Liberal Greg Mirabella, on Monday.
Despite spending big on outdoor, digital, TV and newspaper advertising, the UAP failed to win any lower house seats and Mr Palmer failed to return himself to Parliament via a Queensland senate spot.
Mr Babet, also known as Deej Babet, worked as a Melbourne real estate agent before taking a tilt at the upper house.
After the election he deleted all his social media accounts but had previously promoted conspiracy theories including that the World Economic Forum is attempting to destroy capitalism through its Great Reset.
Ralph Babet (right with UAP leader Craig Kelly, centre, and his brother Matt Babet, left) took the sixth Victorian spot from Liberal Greg Mirabella after counting finished on Monday
Mr Babet suggested the forum’s boss Klaus Schwab was now effectively prime minister, writing: ‘I would like to congratulate the prime minister of Australia on an excellent campaign. Well done Klaus Schwab.’
He is strongly anti lockdowns and anti vaccine mandates and has described the Greens’ ideology as ‘cancerous’.
Mining billionaire Mr Palmer – who promised a maximum three per cent interest rate on all home loans during the election campaign – is yet to comment on Mr Babet’s election.
The expected tally of the Senate’s 76 seats includes 32 for the coalition, 26 for Labor, 12 for the Greens, two for both One Nation and the Jacqui Lambie Network, and one each for the United Australia Party and independent David Pocock.
On that count, Labor will need the support of the Greens and one other senator to pass laws opposed by the coalition.
Teal independent David Pocock is most likely to back the new Government and Jacqui Lambie is also open to working with Mr Albanese, meaning Mr Babet’s vote is unlikely to make a difference on most laws.
Clive Palmer, Chairman of The United Australia Party, with his wife Anna, after delivering his National Press Club address on April 7
The Liberals’ Sarah Henderson, the Nationals’ Bridget McKenzie, Labor’s Linda White and Jana Stewart, and the Greens’ Lidia Thorpe were also elected in Victoria.
Both Labor candidates will replace outgoing members.
The Australian Electoral Commission has also declared the NSW senators, with the Greens taking a seat from Labor.
The Liberals’ Marise Payne and Jim Molan, and Labor’s Deb O’Neill and Jenny McAllister were all re-elected, while the Nationals’ Ross Cadell was elected on a joint coalition ticket, and the Greens’ David Shoebridge was promoted from NSW parliament.
Only Western Australia is left to be officially declared.
The coalition suffered a 3.6 per cent swing against it in Victoria while Labor and the United Australia Party recorded small increases in their votes.
The Greens recorded a 3.2 per cent swing to the party.
In NSW, there was a 1.8 per cent swing against the coalition, a 0.6 per cent swing to Labor and a 2.7 per cent swing to the Greens.
Outgoing Liberal Mr Mirabella was only sworn into the Senate in February after filling a casual vacancy left by former president Scott Ryan.
Clive Palmer is seen during the United Australia Party’s campaign launch at Palmer Coolum Resort, on the Sunshine Coast on April 16