Palmer party offers South Australians cash to spruik for Clive

Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party appears to be offering $200 for people to hand out “How To Vote” cards on election day in an Adelaide seat.

May 14, 2019, updated May 14, 2019
Clive Palmer at the Playford Hotel in Adelaide earlier this month. Photo: Kelly Barnes / AAP

Clive Palmer at the Playford Hotel in Adelaide earlier this month. Photo: Kelly Barnes / AAP

The call for paid workers to spruik for UAP “in the western suburbs” was put out in a Facebook post yesterday by Port Adelaide Enfield councillor Mark Basham, who wrote on his personal account: “Hello friends, I am looking for people to hand out How to Vote Cards in the western suburbs this Saturday for the Federal Election.”

“It is for the UAP; I am being paid to help a friend who is one of their candidates,” he wrote.

The post offers interested campaign workers $200 “for working from 7.30am to 6pm, with a half hour break; lunch, water and snacks supplied”.

“You will need a car or someone to drop you off as you will have an A-Frame poster, box of cards and a bag of snacks with you, as well as being supplied with a T-Shirt and cap,” the post states.

“I need your name and bank account details to pay you, and T-Shirt size of course, and address to drop off the material.”

Basham, an independent councillor, is a self-proclaimed veteran of “over 50 election campaigns” who runs his own bespoke marketing firm, the Campaign Machine. His LinkedIn profile describes him as an “Election Campaign Specialist”.

“I’m one of the rare people outside the major parties that have that skill set,” he told InDaily.

“When someone needs help, I’m one of those people who’s got the background skills to be able to do it.”

Basham has previously run as a candidate for the Australian Democrats, for whom he also served as campaign chair in the early 90s and, after having left the party, an election consultant until 2006.

He has recently overseen campaigns in the state seat of Enfield for SA Best’s Carol Martin and for independent Gary Johanson in this year’s by-election.

In his post, Basham adds: “I’d appreciate it if people didn’t launch into a political discussion over this, I respect your views but don’t have time for it right now… Feel free to ask your family and friends, but please don’t ‘share’ this post.”

He’s not the only member of Port Adelaide Enfield to play an active role in the current campaign, with councillor Steve Vines, a part-time staffer for Mark Butler, confirming he was involved in the Labor frontbencher’s bid for election in Hindmarsh.

Vines is one of several PAE councillors with Labor links, including Michael Iammarrone, Hannah Evans, Matt Osborn, David Wilkins and Kim Dinh.

Basham told InDaily today he understood there was an allowance for each electorate to pay for people to distribute HTVs on polling day.

He did not say whether he had been authorised by the party to offer the payment, but said: “I feel comfortable enough with [offering] that, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.”

“It’s like anything in life – people have to take you on face value and trust,” he said.

“I’m putting my reputation on the line trusting people will be paid.”

However, he declined to discuss the campaign – or even identify in which seat his friend was running, saying: “If you want any information about UAP, you’ll have to ring UAP… I can’t talk on their behalf.”

InDaily sought comment from spokespeople for the UAP, but has received no response.

However, it follows suggestions on social media last week that the party was offering $100 for the same work in the Victorian seat of Scullin.

News Corp in Queensland has also reported that homeless Sunshine Coast man Reed Hancock was offered $100 to hand out HTVs by UAP candidate for Fairfax Kylie Cowling, after he posted an ad on Gumtree seeking work.

Cowling has told Guardian Australia that candidates could negotiate with the party for resources to pay volunteers, “because we are a new party [and] we don’t have the volunteer base that others do, so there is some funding there if needed”.

Party founder Palmer, who has spent around $50 million on advertising for his latest political foray, has been spotted at a resort in Fiji this week, just days before Saturday’s election, saying he was visiting a terminally ill friend.

“You can do that when you have your own private jet,” a spokesman told Brisbane’s Courier-Mail.

“He is fully committed to campaigning … he is just doing the right thing by a family friend.”

Liberal insiders, meanwhile, say they expect a swing away from Labor in Hindmarsh and Adelaide, based on their own spot polling, which is also seeing growing support for Georgina Downer in Mayo.

But the likely outcome in SA is for the status quo to prevail, with no seats changing hands at all.

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