Clive Palmer has struggled to explain a pledge to repay workers owed money due to the collapse of the Queensland Nickel refinery.
- Clive Palmer struggled to explain a pledge to repay nickel refinery workers owed money
- His party is set to spend $50 million on election advertising
- The Coalition reportedly plans to exchange preferences with Mr Palmer’s party
Appearing on Channel Nine this morning, Mr Palmer declared he would be putting $7 million into a trust fund for workers.
But he would not confirm the money would be paid to workers before election day.
“It’s up to them,” he said.
“They’ve got to come forward and verify that they were working for the company and that they qualify for that payment.”
The ABC requested information from Mr Palmer’s spokesperson about how workers can qualify for the payment, but was told only that an announcement would be made in Townsville tomorrow.
“Tomorrow I’ll be paying $7m into a trust account so that that money can be dispersed among former employees of Queensland Nickel,” the Queensland Senate candidate told Channel Nine.
Later in the interview however, Mr Palmer claimed the $7 million had already been paid.
“The money has already gone into the trust account — it’s gone, it’s been made,” he said.
Labor’s Anthony Albanese said the trust arrangement was unusual and that workers should expect the money in their bank accounts.
“At the same time as he is boasting about having ‘four-thousand-million dollars’, he left workers stranded after he shut his nickel refinery in Townsville,” Mr Albanese said.
Mr Palmer said his party would spend roughly $50 million in advertising at this election — equivalent to the spending of both major parties combined.
A separate court matter is underway in which the Government is seeking to recover $70 million from Mr Palmer.
Preferences and money
During the Channel Nine interview, Mr Palmer sought to counter criticism from the Labor Party over an agreement to exchange preferences with the Coalition.
The reported arrangement is likely to help him in his Senate bid, and may assist the Coalition in tight Lower-House seats.
He said the Liberal Party would be preferencing the United Australia Party “to a certain level” and argued Labor had been seeking to do preference deals with him for years.
“Their state secretary in 2013, Anthony Chisholm, met with me then, he met with me in the 2015 state election and he contacted and met with me this year to discuss preferences,” he said.
According to Nielsen, the United Australia Party spent $2 million in advertising in the week commencing April 15 — approximately four times what Labor spent, and eight times the Liberal tally.