Palmer was a long-time conservative backer, and helped to create Queensland’s Liberal National Party before falling out with the Newman government. Launching his own party, Palmer even managed to secure a seat in Federal Parliament for himself, but has since fallen on tough times, politically-speaking.
His most recent tilt at politics was a spectacular failure, with Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party unable to have a single candidate elected at the October 31 state election. That is despite Palmer directing almost $5 million in donations from his companies into the campaign and propping up newspaper advertising budgets with misleading claims.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland has since asked the Supreme Court to determine whether Palmer meets the definition of a prohibited donor due to his property development activities. The case is set down for a mention on Friday. If found to have illegally donated to his party, Palmer could be forced to redirect the money to the State Government.
However, new ECQ disclosures reveal Palmer’s candidates barely spent one third of the donations made to them, meaning the multi-millionaire is entitled to a refund that could potentially keep that money out of government hands in the event of a court loss.
The party itself received $4,874,303 in donations this financial year, and has yet to disclose how it was spent. Individual candidates received a combined $974,418.05 of that money, although any contractual arrangements with Palmer have not been made public.
An analysis of the first 10 disclosures by individual Palmer candidates shows they spent on average 35 per cent of the money directed to them. ECQ rules only require that refunds made within six weeks of a donation be disclosed. Any refunds after that period – the election was six weeks ago – can be done privately.
Since the election, Palmer has used social media to rail against the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which has laid fraud charges against him over previous and unrelated political donations. That case will resume in March.
Palmer has also been embroiled in controversy closer to home, with neighbours complaining that a concrete wall around his Brisbane mansion has blocked pond access for a family of ducks.Jump to next article