The nationwide success of the Palmer United Party was somewhat reflected in the seats of Gippsland and McMillan on Saturday, with local candidates each securing more than four per cent of the primary vote.
And the party looks set to maintain an ongoing presence locally, with McMillan candidate Matt Sherry yesterday flagging his intention to run for pre-selection in 2016.
“I’ve learnt from this experience and I’ll be back bigger and better,” Mr Sherry said.
He said he had hoped to capture between five and six per cent of the primary vote, but 4.8 per cent was a “fantastic result”.
“It gives people hope that they’re not stuck in the same rollercoaster ride,” Mr Sherry said.
“We’ve built a platform so that they can take a new approach.”
Mr Sherry attributed PUP’s local success to discontent with the two major parties and their poor presence in the Latrobe Valley.
“Down here, we’re lost,” he said.
“The Liberals don’t care about us here, Labor doesn’t and neither major party came this way and announced funding for this area.
“A lady told me she was voting for Clive Palmer because he’s the only one who mentioned the Latrobe Valley in his speeches.”
During the election campaign, party leader Clive Palmer referenced the need for jobs in the Valley in national print and television media, including a brief mention in his infamous interview with Channel Nine’s Today Show on Thursday morning.
Mr Sherry said while nationally the PUP campaign had been an expensive exercise, in the seat of McMillan his budget was less than that of re-elected Liberal Russell Broadbent.
Rather, he said, PUP’s success came down to its “common-sense approach”.
“We’re not here for the party, we’re here for the people and that’s the message Clive was trying to get across,” he said.
Mr Sherry said PUP’s future would not be limited to federal politics and candidates were likely to run for seats across Victoria in the next state election.
The party expects to gain about six per cent of votes nationally when counting is complete.
PUP candidate Debbie Gravenall gained 4.4 per cent of the vote in the seat of Gippsland. She could not be contacted by The Express.