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Palmer’s first campaign lawsuit ends with a win for the authorities

Decision 2020

One of Clive Palmer’s candidates asked the Supreme Court to decide whether new caps on campaign expenditure included GST.

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Keppel candidate Nikki Smeltz, the wife of former A-League football star Shane Smeltz, was the face of Monday’s application to the Supreme Court in Brisbane. The case was heard and argued by lawyers on Tuesday and decided today, with the lower of two possible caps deemed to apply.

It comes after Palmer, his companies and associates continue to pump money into the election campaign for Palmer’s United Australia Party, which is against Labor and has controversially warned the Palaszczuk government would introduce a “death tax”. The party and its candidates have raked in almost $5 million, and may come the closest of any party to reaching the caps.

This afternoon, the Electoral Commission acknowledged its position, as legislated by the Palaszczuk government, was found to be correct.

“The Electoral Commission of Queensland had the view that caps were inclusive of GST, and the Supreme Court confirmed this position,” the ECQ said in a statement.

“The expenditure cap for registered political parties is $92,000 for each endorsed candidate and no more than $92,000 in an electorate. Endorsed candidates can themselves spend an additional $58,000. Independent candidates can spend $87,000, while registered third parties can spend $87,000 in an electoral district and no more than $1m overall. Unregistered third parties have an expenditure cap of $6000.”

Labor has rejected the death tax claims and accused the Liberal National Party of seeking to benefit from Palmer’s campaign.

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