Palmer United Party boss Clive Palmer has flatly rejected claims by his Queensland party leader that a merger with the Katter Australia Party was on the cards.
The leader of the Party in Queensland, Alex Douglas, said any merger between PUP and Katter Party MPs would “most likely” happen under the Palmer brand - but Mr Palmer says there are no such plans.
In an text to Fairfax Media, Mr Palmer said "It's news to me. Not true."
Told that Mr Douglas had said it would happen 'ultimately, before the next election', Mr Palmer responded "Nothing happening, nothing agreed, We will never merge with the Katter party. I am the leader of the party and that (is) the position."
Mr Douglas had said it was “no secret” that he and the Queensland Katter MPs had been “talking for a long time” about joining forces and said it would “ultimately” happen before the next election – which Dr Douglas believes will be called for October.
He also said he believed the PUP brand was “overwhelming significant” to the move's success.
“We are working together and ultimately we will merge in together – but under the banner of the PUP,” he said.
“Because the PUP name is a powerful brand – it means things to people in ways that were never really thought of when it was established.
“I think that the Katter brand has probably run out of energy a bit and I think that the PUP brand is a lot stronger.”
Robbie Katter, one of three MPs the KAP has in Queensland, told the ABC any prospective merge between the two parties would be “nothing to sneezed at”.
The details are still to be worked out, and no deals have been signed, but in the mean time, Dr Douglas said that he, the three KAP MPs, and fellow PUP MP Carl Judge would work “even closer together”.
He said that Queensland was looking for an alternative and he and his party offered that “chance for change”.
Dr Douglas, who resigned from the LNP in November 2012, said he believed members of his former party would also join PUP.
“We are not a fly by night minority, here one day, gone the next,” he said.
“I am not trying to force them [KAP] into something, I want them to agree to it, that they think it is a good idea, same with members of the LNP, who want to join us.
“I just want to be able to offer a reasonable solution.”
Dr Douglas said federal party leader, Clive Palmer, was aware of the Queensland branch's intentions.
“He knows what we are doing, he is supportive,” Dr Douglas said.
“He would have liked me to do it a lot faster – but I would have liked people to make their own speed and know what they are getting into.”
Mr Palmer has been approached for further comment, as have Katter Party MPs.