Buddy Rojek didn’t bank on his political career ending before it began.
From highly publicised Twitter wars, to promising to throw an election-night party where you might get “lucky”, Mr Rojek attracted pre-election media attention for all the wrong reasons.
His disendorsement as the Palmer United Party (PUP) candidate for the seat of Corangamite at September’s federal election has left Mr Rojek in serious financial trouble.
The accountant and small business owner from Kyneton, 90 kilometres north of Melbourne, was disendorsed by PUP after negative press about the proposed knees-up.
Mr Rojek claims he is more than $30,000 out of pocket, one-third of which he is owed by PUP.
“I was told when I was preselected that I would be given $10,000 towards campaign expenses,” said Mr Rojek.
“Because I was so committed to the cause I went out and began spending my own money on top (of) what I was promised, including $24,000 on trailers advertising the party.”
Mr Rojek claims flyers advertising his party were taken out of context.
“The election-night party was intended as a way to attract volunteers to my campaign, as the list of supposed ‘party members’ in Corangamite supplied to me was filled with people whom I couldn’t contact,” he said.
“So I decided that I’d throw a party with models who were intelligent, studying at university, polite, good-looking and were told to dress conservatively.
“The line claiming people might get ‘lucky’ wasn’t intended to make the models seem like prostitutes or anything of the kind; it was meant to be taken as ‘come along, behave and once the models finish at 9pm, you may be able to have a good time with them or end up with a new girlfriend, or boyfriend for that matter’.”
Mr Rojek alleges that he explained his position to senior party members who labelled the idea as “genius”.
“I called Jim MacAnally (PUP candidate for Fadden) and explained that the party was an idea to gain volunteers and he thought it was genius, and Clive Palmer himself defended me on radio,” he said.
Mr Rojek believes PUP executive director Susie Douglas was the one who had him disendorsed.
“She messaged me on Facebook and asked me to not tell people about the $10,000 and to remove any reference to it, and to not tell people how I would vote on gay marriage.
“In that message, she also told me, ‘People are saying that your flyer has made their job harder for people to take us seriously.’
“The next morning I got another phone call informing me that I had been disendorsed.”
Ms Douglas (PUP candidate for McPherson) said that the decision to disendorse Mr Rojek was made by Mr Palmer.
“I don’t know anything about Buddy Rojek other than that he was a candidate in Victoria who was causing problems in terms of his conduct,” she told the Newsroom.
“I didn’t have any authority over the candidates in Victoria; I was in charge of preselections and strategy in NSW.”
Mr Rojek, who is now running for mayor of the Greater City of Geelong, says he wants his money back.
“I just want the $10,000 I was promised, I spent it in good faith and just want what I’m owed,” he said.
He also hit out at the way the PUP selected its candidates.
“A lot of the people who were candidates genuinely cared about the cause, however a lot had no idea what to do in the political arena,” he said.
“I think the party rushed its preselections, and definitely could have chosen better candidates.” – Tosh Baker
Photo from Buddy Rojek’s Twitter account.