Former One Nation senator Brian Burston and businessman Clive Palmer at a press conference to announce the formation of the United Australia Party at Parliament House. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Former One Nation senator Brian Burston and businessman Clive Palmer at a press conference to announce the formation of the United Australia Party at Parliament House. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Palmer to use company money to fund new party

CONTROVERSIAL businessman Clive Palmer has promised to use his companies' money to fund a renewed political bid, as his press conference was crashed by a Townsville MP in a fiery confrontation.

It is despite an "advanced" investigation from Corporate watchdog ASIC into whether there was a misuse of his company Queensland Nickel's funds for the Palmer United Party during his previous political bid.

Mr Palmer in Canberra this morning confirmed former One Nation Senator Brian Burston will join his renamed United Australia Party, while he will consider a run for a House of Representatives seat.

He claimed he will run a candidate in every Senate spot and House of Representatives seat.

Former One Nation senator Brian Burston and businessman Clive Palmer at a press conference to announce the formation of the United Australia Party at Parliament House. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Former One Nation senator Brian Burston and businessman Clive Palmer at a press conference to announce the formation of the United Australia Party at Parliament House. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The mining magnate's company Queensland Nickel collapsed in 2016 owing $300 million, including about $70 million in unpaid workers' entitlements, while 800 people lost their jobs.

Mr Palmer yesterday told the press conference that he "didn't owe anyone, anything in North Queensland".

Member for Herbert Cathy O'Toole crashed the media event, asking Mr Palmer about payment for his workers, reading out a list of former employees she says are still owed money.

"Why aren't you paying the workers in Herbert district in Townsville the money they are owed," she said.

In the fiery exchange Mr Palmer said he sympathised with north Queenslanders.

"Sympathy doesn't pay their bills," Ms O'Toole said.

Mr Palmer replied it was not his responsibility to pay their bills, with Ms O'Toole firing back that he had a responsibility to pay their entitlements.

He also said he would use company funds to pay for his party's campaign.

"Course the money from my companies that I own 100 per cent will be supporting political lives in Australia," he said.

"You people seem to think if I have got money that I own I can't spend it as I want to. That is a freedom in this country."

Corporate watchdog Australian Securities and Investments Commission has an active investigation running into whether there were breaches of a director's duties and the use of company funds for the Palmer United Party.

Mr Palmer said he would consider running for a Lower House seat.

"I did that before and was successful in winning a seat (in 2013). What we have got to do of course is look to the future and for this country to get better we may have to have new policies, new changes in government and new expansion," he said.

A conviction for breaching company takeover laws carries a maximum penalty of two years' jail.

A person convicted of a crime carrying a penalty of more than one year's jail in ineligible for Parliament, but Mr Palmer yesterday denied wrong doing and said he would be eligible.

Mr Palmer did not run in 2016 when his party recorded less than 0.2 per cent of the Senate vote across the country.

But he said there had been strong interest in the UAP since his relaunched political bid was announced.



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