While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.

Fact sheet

Fact Check: Clive Palmer and the United Australia Party claim three former prime ministers as their own. Is that correct?

Palmer United Party Prime ministers Australian history Australia

In a press release, United Australia Party chairman Clive Palmer said his party can boast three former prime ministers: Billy Hughes, Sir Robert Menzies and Joseph Lyons. 

The original United Australia Party was a political party established in 1931 and formally disbanded in 1945. Experts told Fact Check that many members then transferred to the Liberal Party and historical accounts show assets also moved across. Mr Lyons and Sir Robert (who was Mr Menzies at the time) were indeed prime ministers as leaders of the original UAP. Mr Hughes was also at one stage leader of the UAP, however, he served as prime minister under earlier Australian Labor Party, National Labor Party and Nationalist Party governments. 

Mr Palmer's party on the other hand has only been registered with the Australian Electoral Commission since 2018 and has changed its name twice since then. A party of the same name was briefly registered in Queensland in 2012 before merging with his Palmer United Party. Palmer United Party was voluntarily deregistered in 2017. In a statement to Fact Check, a spokesman for the Australian Electoral Commission said: "The current UAP was registered in 2018. It was not a continuation of registration from the UAP registered in the 1930s." Furthermore, experts argued significant differences in policies and voter bases set the parties apart.

Verdict: Mr Palmer's claim is nonsense.

Publication Details
License type:
All Rights Reserved
Access Rights Type: