Clive Palmer’s new WA senator-elect did not share the lectern with him as he held a media conference about his party’s by-election success.
As Clive Palmer boasted about his success in Western Australia’s senate election, his victorious candidate stood meekly in the back of the room.
The Palmer United Party (PUP) leader did all the talking at a media conference in Brisbane on Tuesday, leaving senator-elect Zhenya “Dio” Wang to stand awkwardly against the wall while news cameras locked on to him.
When asked why Mr Wang was not joining him at the lectern, Mr Palmer replied: “Because it’s my press conference.
“He wants to do his first press conference in Western Australia.”
The exchange became more bizarre after Mr Palmer was asked why Mr Wang wasn’t in WA celebrating the party’s by-election victory thanks to massive swings away from the major parties.
“Because he’s come over here to see me, because we’re friends,” Mr Palmer said.
“We’re going fishing later on today.”
Mr Palmer said his incoming senator had a “rough time” during the election, having to travel the state extensively.
“After all, he’s not a senator at the moment – he wants to enjoy his last moments of freedom,” he said.
“I’m the only professional politician here at the moment.”
Mr Wang left the room before the media conference concluded.
Mr Palmer was also coy about how much money he had spent on the by-election and last year’s general poll, saying his wife took care of his finances.
He said his party had so far spent about $20 million in total, made up of donations and some of his own money.
“My wife knows that – she puts all the money in,” he said.
“I don’t get too much. I only get $200 a week for my expenses. That’s all I get from her.”
Mr Palmer said he was able to claim the balance of power in the Senate because voters were fed up with the major parties.
He said his voting bloc – Mr Wang, fellow PUP senators-elect Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus and Motoring Enthusiasts Party’s Ricky Muir – would not offer blanket support for any party and would assess each bill on its merits.