Clive Palmer
Clive Palmer (Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

Clive Palmer is a busy little cockroach these days. 

He’s currently interfering in not one but two upcoming state elections and mounting a High Court challenge to force open state borders, all while having just been charged with fraud by the corporate regulator.

Oh and he gave an interview last weekend dismissing the whole coronavirus thing as just a “media beat-up”.

It seems nothing can keep a bad man down.

Not when his Queensland Nickel company went bust in 2016 owing up to $200 million. 

Only last month he won a victory over the liquidators trying to claw back the money after a marathon civil suit, even though the judge found that he was trading while insolvent.

Nor is he even slightly daunted by the eye-watering amounts he spends on fruitless election campaigns.  

In the 2019 federal election it was estimated he spent as much as $60 million on a record advertising campaign. The Australian Electoral Commission revealed earlier this year the amount was actually $83 million. And he didn’t gain a single seat.

But Labor believes his anti-Shorten blitz helped contribute to the Morrison victory.

He’s going to try that strategy again with campaigns from one coast to the other. He is currently gearing up to try and unseat two Labor premiers in Queensland and WA, who have both put in election spending caps to try and thwart him.

(He had a trial run in the Townsville mayoral election in March when he threw half a million dollars at former footy player Greg Dowling, setting a new donation record for the state. As is usual with Palmer candidates, he ran third.)

On Monday Palmer called for candidates for his United Australia Party for Queensland’s state election in October. Though he doesn’t really need to field them given he has plenty of mates running the state Liberal National Party.

The president of the Queensland LNP, one David Hutchinson, was an employee of Palmer when he was reportedly helping plan a coup against the current Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington only last month.

Hutchinson eventually gave up his day job with Palmer. Not a problem though, as three other senior LNP executives still have links with the mining magnate.

Meanwhile in the west, where the election is only eight months away, Palmer’s feud with Labor Premier Mark McGowan is going all the way to the High Court after he was refused entry to the state for “business and political” meetings.

The federal government is intervening in support of Palmer’s claim that the WA border closure contravenes section 92 of the constitution which should allow “intercourse” of people and goods across state lines.

The fact that Palmer’s intercourse involved literally screwing the state Labor government politically surely has nothing to do with it, as the attorney-general and other federal MPs from WA insist they are not supporting the man, only the principle.

Which is a good job given it was less than two weeks ago that Palmer was charged by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) with fraud and dishonest use of his position as a company director.

The fact that the charges directly relate to him allegedly illegally funneling more than $12 million into his party’s political campaign would give his opponents hope, you might think.

Unfortunately the ASIC charges relate to the 2013 campaign. He has fought two more federal campaigns and spent over a hundred million dollars since then.

So even though the case is scheduled for August and carries a five-year jail term, he’s unlikely to be stomped out any time soon. 

He’s more virulent than the virus he thinks is harmless.

Peter Fray

Join us today for just $1 a week.

Get your first 12 weeks for $12. Cancel any time.

Our journalism is funded directly by our members — that’s how we maintain our fierce independence. We don’t rely on advertisers, clickbait or culture war obsessed columnists.

If you like what we do, join us today.

Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW