Both families of former prime ministers Lyons and Menzies have criticised Clive Palmer for claiming that that they were former leaders of his United Australia party.
Mr Palmer, whose party was originally called the Palmer United Party (PUP) changed the name to the United Australia Party (UAP) in 2018. With this move, the UAP website claims a connection with the original UAP that ran from 1931 to 1945, of which both Joseph Lyons and Robert Menzies were leaders.
The UAP website also claims Billy Hughes as alumni of the party.
Mr Menzies’ daughter, Heather Henderson, said that she was “extremely cross” with Mr Palmer for misrepresenting her father as having any association with his political party saying “it’s not the same party” and that it had “absolutely nothing to do with my father”.
Mrs Henderson said that she would ask Mr Palmer to remove the references to her father from the website. Similar concerns were expressed by Joseph Lyons’ descendants.
My Lyons’ great-granddaughter, Wendy Lacey, spoke on behalf of her family saying that they were all “disappointed that Clive Palmer has adopted the same party name” in a bid to lend himself more credibility.
Professor Lacey said that it was “unfortunate” that the UAP was laying claim to former leaders and that she was hopeful Australians would know there was no connection between them and the party led by Clive Palmer.
She added that the UAP that began in the 1930’s had been very different in terms of structure, leadership and values to Mr Palmer’s party.
A spokesperson for the UAP said that descendants of Billy Hughes had joined the party and that they welcomed the descendants of Lyons and Menzies to join and help influence policy.