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UAP to review preferences after outrage

By Cassandra Morgan

The United Australia Party is reviewing its preferences in some seats following supporter outrage that so-called “freedom” parties were put behind the Liberals.

There have been feelings of betrayal among the party’s anti-vaccine mandate devotees because of the preferences in several electorates.

However, earlier this week, one of the organisations at the forefront of the freedom movement – Reignite Democracy Australia – said there was “good news” for voters.

It’s rumoured the UAP is changing its how to vote cards for the House of Representatives, which it said listed Liberals third in front of freedom parties.

“Also, some candidates might be printing their own, so it aligns better with them,” the organisation told followers. 

“Sometimes pressure is good because it enacts change.”

United Australia Party leader Craig Kelly said some of their individual candidates had asked them to take another look at the preferences in their seats.

“I’m always happy to take a bit of feedback on it,” he told AAP on Thursday, during a trip to regional Victoria.

However, he said in practical terms, it was irrelevant where they preferenced smaller freedom parties in the lower house, because they were going to get knocked out as preferences were allocated.

“So it’s really a matter of semantics about where they are put,” Mr Kelly said. 

“It’s a different story in the upper house where they’re all being preferenced, because that’s where you can get the fifth and sixth seat up where it is important.

“But in the lower house, the only thing that really matters is the Liberal or Labor, Labor or Liberal [placement].”

The party initially promised to preference incumbents and the major parties last. 

Mr Kelly said he made clear there were “exceptions to the rule” for those supporting the United Australia Party’s policies. 

He said they were not preferencing any major party in the Senate.

“In every state, the Liberal Democrats are number two, One Nation is number four, and there’s other smaller parties – it varies between state to state,” he said.

“But in the individual seats, each seat is looked at on a case-by-case basis. And the reality is that in those seats … the real question is, do you put the Liberal Party ahead of the Labor Party or [vice versa].”

Mr Kelly said the one state where the case-by-case rule did not apply was in Western Australia, where sitting members were preferenced last because both Liberal and Labor were preferencing against them.

They preferenced Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, and Greens leader Adam Brandt last in their seats on principle. 

In Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson, the UAP has preferenced Labor over the defence minister.

“I just don’t think … he has any credibility in some of the messaging. So if (voters are) going to follow the ticket then that will mean that Anthony Albanese wins seats where he’s not preferencing the LNP above the Labor candidate,” Mr Dutton told 2GB radio on Thursday.

In the lower house, they preferenced the Liberals in 55 seats, and Labor in 45.

Mr Kelly intends to visit the Victorian electoral divisions of Nicholls in the state’s north, Mallee in the state’s northwest, and Hawke, northwest of Melbourne on Thursday. 

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Dive Deeper:
UAP to review preferences after outrage
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