Palmer United Party (PUP) Senate chance Jacqui Lambie admits she turned to the mining billionaire because she was running out of money.
The Tasmanian mother of two and political novice is in strong contention to pick up the state's sixth Senate seat as counting continues.
Ms Lambie would join former rugby league international Glenn Lazarus in the upper house following the PUP's stunning election debut.
The Burnie-based 42-year-old spent 11 years in the military before becoming a campaigner for injured veterans.
She had been due to serve with the military police in East Timor but hurt her back 48 hours before she was due to leave.
Ms Lambie began her Senate campaign as an independent before sending her veterans' policy to party founder Clive Palmer.
"To be honest I was running out of money," she told AAP.
"I don't lie about that with people.
"I just didn't have the money like the big players did for advertising.
"I said I'm not getting this far and having it all thrown out because I'm too pig-headed to take somebody else's funding."
The veterans' policy calls for more staff and training and better liaison with clients.
"I'm disgusted in what's going on under veterans affairs," she said.
"I also believe this - senators are lazy and they are not doing their job and that's why a large amount of legislation being put through is not right."
In the past 24 hours Ms Lambie has gone from obscure hopeful to micro-party champion.
And she isn't daunted about the prospect of negotiating with new prime minister Tony Abbott.
"It just depends on the deal that's on the table on the day," she said.
"If I don't agree with them, if I don't believe they're going to suit Tasmania, I won't be signing off on anything."
Ms Lambie says too much of Tasmania is locked up and out of reach of miners and the forestry industry.
She is fiercely anti-Greens and would use her PUP conscience vote on same-sex marriage to oppose reform.
Senate counting is not expected to be finalised until almost two weeks after polling day and Ms Lambie, who now holds around half a quota, is not counting her chickens.
"Mate, I'll feel much better once we've signed on the dotted line," she said.