From migrant to senator in 10 years — it has been a rapid rise to the corridors of power for Zhenya “Dio” Wang.
Almost four weeks after polling day, Mr Wang, 32, is on the verge of being declared a WA senator, pending the Greens’ bid to have a recount.
The Australian Electoral Commission’s WA manager Peter Kramer yesterday ruled there was no evidence to justify a recount but with Senator Scott Ludlam narrowly defeated, the Greens are clinging to the hope Electoral Commissioner Ed Killestyn will overrule the decision.
Senator Ludlam and another unsuccessful candidate, the Australian Sports Party’s Wayne Dropulich, wanted the partial recount after the Australian Christians Party was knocked out when it fell 14 votes behind the Shooters and Fishers Party during an earlier round of counting.
That elimination had a cascading effect on preference flows and saw Mr Wang and Labor incumbent Louise Pratt win the last two seats.
A “humbled” Mr Wang flew to Brisbane last night for meetings at the weekend with his fellow successful Palmer United Party colleagues and party founder Clive Palmer.
Mr Wang will form a powerful bloc of three PUP senators with rugby legend Glenn Lazarus from Queensland and former soldier Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania from next July.
Like many PUP candidates, Mr Wang has business ties with the high-profile mining magnate.
The civil engineer is managing director of Australasian Resources, a junior iron ore miner 70 per cent owned by Mr Palmer.
While he has described Mr Palmer as an “inspirational” leader, Mr Wang does not agree with his boss’ more colourful conspiracy theories such as the US Central Intelligence Agency funded Greenpeace to destroy Australia’s coal industry or Rupert Murdoch’s estranged wife Wendi Deng is a Chinese spy.
He insisted to The West Australian last night he would be his own man should he win a six-year term. And he claimed he knew little about Mr Palmer’s “huge business empire” despite suggestions it would pose a conflict of interests.
“I think being in the Senate the interests of WA take priority over Clive’s views,” Mr Wang said.
Mr Wang grew up in Nanjing in China. His father was a chef and his mother a supermarket manager.
He left China 10 years ago to study civil engineering at Melbourne University and moved to Perth in 2006 to take up a job with Australasian Resources.
The AEC hopes to declare the result today.