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Palmer denies being pushed out of LNP

Clive Palmer has resigned from the LNP.

Clive Palmer has resigned from the LNP. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Update

Clive Palmer, the maverick Queensland businessman whose attacks on the Liberal National Party state government have intensified, denies anyone pushed him to quit the party.

The long-time conservative party supporter and one-time major donor confirmed he had written to the LNP on Thursday night to immediately resign as a life member.

It came after LNP president Bruce McIver wrote to Mr Palmer on Wednesday advising him his suspension as a member of the merged conservative party had been lifted.

Premier Campbell Newman said Mr Palmer's departure was a chance for the party to turn over a new leaf.

‘‘I am glad that we can now move on and focus on job creation and sorting out the economy of Queensland,’’ Mr Newman told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.

Mr Palmer, who once worked for the Nationals party and was a spokesman for then-premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, said he could no longer support the government of Campbell Newman ‘‘due to an arrogant disregard for accountability which has made the LNP organisation redundant’’.

On Friday the LNP was due to consider Mr Palmer’s future in the LNP in light of his outspoken attacks on the Newman government and senior members including Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Treasurer Tim Nicholls.

Outside party headquarters at Spring Hill, Mr McIver told reporters the LNP had been in a legal battle with Mr Palmer over his suspension two weeks ago.

The party lifted Mr Palmer’s suspension as part of a commercial settlement with the mining magnate, Mr McIver said, adding the LNP did not want to spend any more money on the court fight.

Asked whether Mr Palmer’s resignation was part of the agreed settlement, Mr McIver said: ‘‘We exchanged letters last evening.’’

Earlier, Mr Palmer said it would be ‘‘rubbish’’ to suggest a deal was done to allow him to resign rather than be forced out of the party.

"No one suggested that to me,’’ he said when asked whether any LNP figures had suggested he quit.

Mr Palmer said he had spoken to Mr McIver recently but it was about a personal health matter and they did not discuss party issues.

Mr Palmer said he had supported the conservative side of politics for 43 years and thought he had done all he could do to raise his concerns while remaining an LNP member.

He said his continued membership had prevented a proper debate of the issues.

Mr Palmer suggested he would reveal more about the workings of the Newman government in coming weeks, speaking out as a private citizen unrestrained by party membership.

‘‘I’ll be releasing a lot of information that you, the press, have been left out of,’’ he told reporters at the media conference at his company headquarters in Brisbane.

Mr Seeney has previously characterised the mining magnate’s attacks as sour grapes following a decision that did not go Mr Palmer’s way regarding the Galilee basin rail corridor.

Palmer steps up his attacks

Mr Palmer’s rhetoric has grown more extreme.

At his latest media conference he labelled the Premier ‘‘Caesar’’ and referred to ruthless Ugandan dictator Idi Amin when criticising a reported push by Mr Newman to extend LNP endorsement for all sitting LNP MPs for the next state election.

‘‘I just want to say to you now that the current government is much worse than anything that was around at the time of the Fitzgerald inquiry,’’ he said, referring to the landmark 1980s probe that exposed corruption and dodgy practices in Queensland.

Mr Palmer, who had been a spokesman for Sir Joh who was caught up in the controversy, said the rights of citizens were ‘‘never so much in danger as they are at the current time’’.

But asked to provide evidence to justify his claims, Mr Palmer simply referred to the general ‘‘environment’’ around the government.

Mr Palmer criticised the Newman government over the issue of access for lobbyists, undisclosed meetings with ministers and nepotism.

He claimed an unnamed LNP shadow minister, when the party was still in opposition, was approached by a company and offered $25,000 but the donation was rejected.

Asked how this allegation was evidence of poor practices given the person apparently turned down the offer, Mr Palmer said: ‘‘It’s evidence of the environment of what you’re operating under in Queensland where people have an expectation of that’s how you approach a minister.’’

The premier refused to hit back at personal attacks levelled at him by Mr Palmer.

‘‘I’m just not going to comment on anything that Mr Palmer has said," Mr Newman said.

Mr McIver said Mr Palmer’s comments were unhelpful.

‘‘I think Professor Palmer and the government need to sort out their differences,’’ he said.

Mr McIver signalled that Mr Palmer would have to apologise for ‘‘any unsubstantiated criticisms’’ if he applied to re-join the LNP in the future.

Mr McIver said Mr Newman and Mr Seeney had both attended Friday’s ‘‘very constructive’’ state executive council meeting at party headquarters.

The LNP president declined to offer a view on the re-endorsement of current MPs for the next election, saying the issue would be on the agenda on Friday afternoon.

Mr McIver said he and Mr Newman had ‘‘agreed on certain protocols’’, with the President being responsible for running the LNP organisation.

But Mr McIver denied this was triggered by concern over any particular issue. He rejected suggestions he may have lobbied LNP MPs on issues.

‘‘No I have not,’’ he said.

'Happy birthday party'

Earlier, Mr Palmer criticised the government over its treatment of elderly residents at the state-owned Eventide nursing home on Brisbane’s northside, where two centres are set to close and occupants relocated elsewhere.

Mr Palmer attacked plans to develop The Spit on the Gold Coast, saying a memorial park for former Queensland MP Doug Jennings could be ‘‘desecrated’’.

‘‘It shows and demonstrates the value the government stands for when they’re prepared to take away memorial parks and open them up to expressions of interest for developers,’’ he said.

Mr Palmer also attacked comments by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie flagging a review of Right to Information access laws, with the mining magnate arguing the government was eroding openness.

He also accused Mr Newman of failing to implement policies approved at LNP conferences.

Mr Palmer tried to hose down suggestions he may now support other parties, such as Katter’s Australian Party, saying he was a strong supporter of the LNP’s policies but simply wanted to see them implemented.

"I’m interested in having a party and having a good time,’’ he said when asked about the prospect of joining or creating another party.

Mr Palmer referred to a ‘‘happy birthday party’’.

‘‘That’s the sort of party I’m interested in.

‘‘I’m pretty old ... It’s good to have a break from it really.’’

He said he would decide in the future whether to make further donations to the LNP.

- with AAP

50 comments

  • Good on you Clive. Don't disappear on us though. You're the best opposition leader we've never had.

    Commenter
    Benjaarm
    Date and time
    November 23, 2012, 8:29AM
    • So true!

      Commenter
      Honour
      Date and time
      November 23, 2012, 10:01AM
    • hahahaha

      Yes I think we need a billionaire making decisions for all of us, put him in, lets then make him our king, no our God.

      Surely there are no examples of any past and present billionaire leaders that put the interests of the nation first and not they're own purse.

      Anyone heard of Silvio Berlisconi?

      Commenter
      Politics schmolitics
      Date and time
      November 23, 2012, 12:51PM
    • He's all ship and no iceberg.
      Unfortunately

      Commenter
      drovers cat
      Location
      an alleyway
      Date and time
      November 23, 2012, 3:48PM
  • "very brave and courageous".

    Those are words (phrases) from Yes MInister and Yes Prime Minister arent they?

    More and more, gotta like Clive.
    Maybe the Katter Party would like his money, as you have got to love Bob's hats.

    Commenter
    wdawes
    Date and time
    November 23, 2012, 8:30AM
    • Professor Clive Palmer appears to have made some pretty insightful "Comments" lately in relation to the poisonous LNP newman government, which has Abbott as one of its biggest admirers.

      Commenter
      J. Fraser
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      November 23, 2012, 8:48AM
      • Of course JFRaser, you have been wrong and Clive Palmer doesn't run the QLD LNP

        Commenter
        Carstendog
        Location
        Here
        Date and time
        November 23, 2012, 9:42AM
      • J Fraser,

        Oh! Wouldn't it be a delicious irony if Abbott finds himself and his desperate quest for The Lodge derailed by an even crazier and more desperate populist than himself.

        I can't wait for the "Clive for PM" campaign. Monty Python will look sensible by comparison.

        Commenter
        v
        Date and time
        November 23, 2012, 10:01AM
      • @ Carstendog. You do not need to be a member of an organisation to control it and have influence. Money speaks louder than words.

        Commenter
        Shane in QLD
        Date and time
        November 23, 2012, 10:45AM
      • @Carstendog I'm shocked! My bad I'll give this one to you. I wonder if Wayne Swan will continue the personal attacks on CP or if he will relent?

        Commenter
        Bennopia
        Location
        West Footscray
        Date and time
        November 23, 2012, 11:23AM

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