Wayne Dropulich. Photo: Philip GostelowWest Australian senator-elect Wayne Dropulich has joined Clive Palmer’s alliance.
Fairfax Media has learned Mr Dropulich, of the Australian Sports Party, will be in attendance at Mr Palmer’s speech to the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.
Mr Dropulich, who scraped into a senate seat after the WA recount – but may not survive the expected re-run of the election – will be joined by Victorian senator-elect Ricky Muir.
Mr Muir, representing the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, announced in October he will vote with the Palmer United senators-elect – currently, Glen Lazarus and Jacqui Lambie.
Mr Muir and Mr Dropulich will be seated at a table with Glenn Druery the so-called “preference whisperer’ responsible for the preference swap deals that enabled the rise of microparties in the next Senate.
Mr Druery, who describes himself as a “political consultant” for independent and microparty politicians, brokered the deal that saw Mr Muir join the Palmer forces.
Mr Dropulich’s vote would add a fourth vote to the Palmer bloc after the loss of PUP candidate Zhenya Wang after the WA Senate recount.
The presence of Mr Muir and Mr Dropulich on Tuesday, along with Mr Lazarus and Ms Lambie, is supposed to send a message to the Abbott Government of the strength and unity of the alliance. In particular, to Coalition Senate leader Eric Abetz, who has said he will negotiate with the crossbench senators on a personal basis, rather than as as a single voting group, as demanded by the alliance.
Mr Palmer has promised a “very, very, very cold winter” when the new Senate sits from July next year if Prime Minister Tony Abbott didn’t start taking his alliance seriously.
The government has already torpedoed a request to pool office and resources and legislative advisers among the Palmer bloc.
Mr Palmer, who flew into Canberra on a commercial flight on Monday “for lunch”, is on a collision course with the government on a number of issues, including the government’s consideration of reforms to the preference voting system that would make it harder for microparties to get elected in the future.
He described talk of reforming the system to allow optional preferential voting “an attack on democracy”.
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