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How Clive's campaign ads became a question of life, death and taxes

Decision 2020

Deputy Premier Steven Miles believes LNP leader Deb Frecklington needs to distance herself from former party donor and life member Clive Palmer.

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Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party has been running ads warning Queensland voters that Labor has plans for a ‘death tax,’ something Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has repeatedly ruled out. It was a campaign tactic the federal Coalition used against its Labor counterpart at the last election.

After Labor complained about the ads to social media companies, under new policies meant to rail against misinformation, Palmer today accused Labor of trying to “gag” the party leader, his wife Anna Palmer. He tempered one ad today to suggest it was a possibility, rather than a plan.

In a statement, Clive Palmer then appeared to attribute the ‘death tax’ policy to former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten, before reiterating his intention to “stop the death tax, cut the red tape, eliminate payroll tax and eliminate land tax”.

“The public has a right to know, Annastacia Palaszczuk is trying to control people in Queensland like Daniel Andrews has done in Victoria,” said Palmer, who has designated himself chairman of his party.

“Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party won’t be silenced. We will speak up so Labor can be exposed.”

Palmer’s bid to scrap various taxes, existing and imagined, comes as the LNP faces questions over how it would fund its policy commitments.

But Miles used Palmer’s latest campaign comments to call on Frecklington to distance herself from Palmer.

Frecklington today said the suggestion of links between Palmer and the LNP was “another Labor lie, an absolute Labor lie”.

Miles said the addition of a lower case “could” in Palmer’s latest ad in The Courier-Mail was tricky and did not absolve him from responsibility for a misinformation campaign that Miles suggested Frecklington supported.

“I could say that Deb Frecklington could be a Russian sleeper agent,” Miles told journalists, before clarifying that she wasn’t and he wouldn’t suggest she was.

The debate came after Labor announced plans to introduce legislation for voluntary-assisted dying in February, if re-elected. Palaszczuk had referred the issue to the Queensland Law Reform Commission, which is due to report back in March, but today said she would ask for a fast-tracked response.

“And, yes, I would vote for it,” Palaszczuk said, also committing Labor to a conscience vote on the issue.

Frecklington has also promised a conscience vote for LNP members, saying it was a “deeply personal issue” that required the consideration of the commission.

Asked if she supported the principle of euthanasia, Frecklington said: “I believe that no-one should have to die alone or in pain.”

Palmer, who has also been critical of the LNP, remains opposed to Queensland’s border restrictions. Palaszczuk today said that was another similarity he had with Frecklington, calling on her LNP counterpart to reveal her deals with Palmer.

Palmer’s campaign has come under a cloud, however, with calls for an investigation into whether he is technically banned from funding his party due to his development interests.

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