Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has ordered his staff to send any paper related to Clive Palmer or his companies to the Crime and Misconduct Commission, in a document dump designed to let the crime watchdog determine if there has been any wrong doing.
But Mr Seeney has not made any specific complaints against Mr Palmer to the CMC. Instead, he referred what he considered to be “inappropriate” actions and demands for the commission to sort through.
Mr Palmer has denied he has done anything wrong. But Mr Seeney said he had found it “impossible” dealing with the mining magnate turned federal politician, alleging Mr Palmer repeatedly sought favourable treatment in return for campaign donations or dropping various legal action.
The most recent allegation stems from “settlement terms” Mr Seeney said were provided to the government from Mr Palmer’s mining company, Waratah Coal early last year. In the document Mr Seeney released on Monday, Mr Palmer, among other stipulations, agreed to stop all “current” litigation in exchange for Waratah Coal being granted exclusive rights to own and operate a rail corridor through the Galilee Basin, which would have forced Mr Palmer’s rival, GVK Hancock, to negotiate directly with his company for access.
Mr Seeney, said the CMC referral was at Mr Palmer’s instigation.
“We are only doing that because that is what Mr Palmer demanded on Friday,” he said.
“Mr Palmer took out a defamation action against the premier, we lodged a response in the Supreme Court early last week and Clive Palmer demanded that we send that response to the CMC on Friday, which we did and I have taken the decision that I will send all of the documents that relate to Clive Palmer and his company to the CMC.
“Whether the CMC have any interest in Clive Palmer and his interactions with the government is an issue for the CMC. I am still prepared to deal with Clive Palmer on the same basis that we deal with everybody else.
“That is the message that he was given from day one, that we deal with everyone the same, whether you are a billionaire or a battler. This government deals exactly the same way and that is what Clive Palmer has not been able to accept.”
He admitted that on reflection, he should have referred matters to the crime watchdog as they arose two years ago.
“I conceded that on Friday night – that the benefit of hindsight, given the way Clive Palmer has gone, it probably would have been better not to try and deal with him on the same basis as everybody else, just to reject him – but we have tried, for two years to deal with him exactly the same as everybody else,” he said.
“Clive Palmer got no special favours from us and it is because he got no special favours from us that he went off and formed his own political party.”
Mr Seeney, again, accused the former LNP life member of vindictiveness.
“The Palmer United Party is all about seeking revenge for the fact that he was not able to get the special treatment from our government that he sought,” he said.
“He sought that special treatment in exchange for campaign funding, he then sought that special treatment in some sort of a crazy deal to withdraw a number of supreme court actions that he had taken.
“But our position has been consistent all the way through –we will deal with everybody on the same basis, whether it is Clive Palmer or anybody else, we will deal with them exactly the same. We have dealt with all of the proponents in the Galilee Basin on the same basis and we will continue to deal with those proponents in the Galilee Basin on exactly the same basis.
“Mr Palmer has never been able to accept that, but that is the way this government does business.”
Mr Palmer responded by labelling Mr Seeney a “liar and a criminal”. But Mr Seeney was unperturbed.
“Mr Palmer calls everybody a liar and he sues everybody – why should I be any different?” he said.
“I really have no interest in getting into a slanging match with Clive Palmer...litigation is Clive Palmer’s hobby, it is not mine.”