(Transcript from World News Radio)
Clive Palmer has reacted angrily to suggestions that he’s been using his wealth to buy political power.
The latest claims came after the announcement that three Northern Territory MPs had joined the Palmer United Party.
As ….reports Mr Palmer is not taking those accusations lying down.
Alison Anderson, Larissa Lee and Francis Xavier recently quit the ruling Country Liberal Party in the Northern Territory, complaining that not enough was being done to help remote Aboriginal communities.
After a brief period as Independents, the trio are now the Northern Territory’s first Palmer United Party MPs.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says party leader Clive Palmer is buying his way to political power.
“This is a guy who tried to buy a government – my government. We said, “Go away”, we said “We’re not for sale”. As a result he’s gone on a rampage around Australia trying to buy other people and buy peoples’ votes and we’re seeing that in the Northern Territory today. I ask, what inducements were offered to these three MPs, what promises, what inducements were offered them to jump ship?”
Clive Palmer says Alison Anderson and her colleagues approached him for support, and he’ll be launching a defamation action against Mr Newman.
He says he’s never offered the Newman government or any member of any parliament money or other inducements.
“It’s absolutely defamatory to say something like that. It’s just not true. We publish our policies and fought the elections. And now it’s only one year as the party. Already we’ve got ten members of parliament in this country. What’s wrong with the people of Australia expressing a viewpoint. Politicians like competition but they dont’ like it when they lose.”
Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles says Clive Palmer is welcome to Alison Anderson but Clive Palmer is using his wealth unfairly.
“What he needs to do is come up with firm policies about what he’s going to do to drive reform in Australia and people can then start to consider him and alternative party. But at this stage he’s just a rich person trying to buy votes. And I think the question to Clive is what sort of inducements or promises or incentives have you provided to these three rebel MLA’s to get them to come over to the Palmer Party. But my message to Clive is – Clive you can splash your money ’round in the Northern Territory all you like but the Northern Territory is not for sale.”
Alison Anderson has been a controversial figure in top end politics for many years and Mr Palmer says she may become leader of PUP in the Northern Territory.
She’s been credited with attempts to destabilise four Chief Ministers, and has also been a minister for Labor and the Country Liberals.
Ms Anderson also reportedly held inconclusive discussions in recent weeks to join the Northern Territory-based First Nations Party.
She says she was not paid to join the Palmer United Party and she’s convinced setting up the Palmer United Party in the Territory is the only way to improve the lives of Indigenous Territorians.
She’s told the ABC the move is about having a third choice for Teritory voters.
“It gives us great avenues now to bring Territorians together and look after the most disadvantaged people in the Northern Territory and that’s my people.”
Mr Giles’ government holds majority by a seat and can also likely rely on the independent Gerry Wood.
Mr Palmer has hinted that others might follow the trio to the PUP in coming weeks and months, but Mr Giles dismissed the claim.