UAP candidate plans to sue party over campaign costs it won’t reimburse

by Paul Karp
Jamal Daoud claims United Australia party ‘mismanagement’ forced him to pay for election materials in Sydney seat of Reid

A disgruntled United Australia party candidate has vowed to sue the party claiming its “mismanagement” forced him to spend thousands on campaign material which it now refuses to reimburse.

Jamal Daoud, who ran for the UAP in the inner-west Sydney seat of Reid, revealed on social media on Thursday that he was “in the process of suing” and encouraged other candidates to come forward in the hope of starting a class action.

Daoud told Guardian Australia one other candidate who was disendorsed by UAP was prepared to join, while he claimed others were out of pocket by as much as tens of thousands because they had signed agreements acknowledging the party would receive public election funding, not them.

But some UAP candidates in neighbouring Sydney seats have reported no issues with support from the party, blaming Daoud for incurring unauthorised costs.

Daoud received just 2.58% of the vote in Reid, won by Labor’s Sally Sitou from former Liberal MP Fiona Martin meaning the UAP is not eligible for public funding for that seat. Parties receive public funding of $2.91 a vote if they win 4% or more of the vote in a given seat.

On a crowdfunding page launched on 20 June, Daoud complained that other electorates received two batches of electoral material including hats, shirts, corflutes and flyers, by mid February. Reid received nothing until mid-April, he claimed.

“Reid was the only seat where the United Australia party did not provide any support, did not send any campaign materials [until April], and party officials did not visit for help during the campaign,” he said.

“We were forced to organise our materials. We designed corflutes, posters, and leaflets and sent them to the printer.”

Daoud said the UAP was “asking me to meet some (if not the most) cost of the campaign materials”, with design and printing to cost about $6,200.

“United Australia party refuses to pay this amount as ‘they did not approve the printing’,” he said.

Most of UAP’s electoral material, such as corflutes, did not feature local party candidates prominently, as UAP ran a highly centralised campaign against Covid lockdowns and in favour of “freedom”.

Daoud accused UAP of “[wasting] around $100m in useless mainstream media advertisements that proved to be ineffective”.

Daoud said he was “vocal from the start” about how the UAP should campaign, but party chair, Clive Palmer, said they did not “need corflutes with candidates faces on them”.

According to Daoud, many of the party’s recruits were first-time candidates who needed the difference between the voting methods of the House of Representatives and Senate explained to them.

Daoud claimed candidates were told the UAP was close to winning their seats, encouraging them to believe the party was garnering as much as 20% of the vote in some areas.

Since the UAP’s disappointing result, in which it won just one Senate seat in Victoria, some candidates have privately asked the party if public election funding could be used to reimburse their expenses, with some claiming to have spent tens of thousands.

Daoud said that candidates were rebuffed, with the party citing agreements signed by them stating they were not entitled to public funding.

The UAP candidate in neighbouring Parramatta, Julian Fayad, said Daoud complained that “nothing the party did was good enough”.

Conceding the “centralised campaign wasn’t incredibly successful”, Fayad suggested the party had learned from the 2022 campaign and would probably pursue “a different strategy next time”.

“The party was quite generous,” Fayad said. “Yes, we would’ve liked more spending on our electorates.

“But Daoud spent money that was not authorised. If anyone else did that, they’d be in the same position.”

The UAP candidate for Grayndler, David Smith, said he had “not heard of any other candidates experiencing the same thing”, suggesting that Daoud was “biting the hands that feed him”.

The UAP candidate in Watson, John Koukoulis, said he had not experienced similar issues. “I was not out of pocket for anything,” he said. “The party took good care of everyone.”

The party’s candidate in Greenway, Mark Rex, said he had been well supported by the party.

Guardian Australia contacted UAP officials for comment.