This would just be another business dispute if Clive Palmer wasn’t now a member of Australia’s House of Representatives and if his Palmer United Party (PUP) Senators didn’t have, and hadn’t exercised, effective control of the Senate.
But he is a member of the “Reps” and PUP senators are the kingmakers on Government legislation at the moment.
So news, reported in the AFR this morning, that Palmer’s business partner, the Chinese government-owned CITIC Pacific, has lodged a statement of claim in the Brisbane Supreme court yesterday alleging that Palmer “knowingly assisted in a breach of trust” by moving $12 million from its intended purpose to other purposes including PUP election advertising last year is politically important.
This is an ongoing dispute originating over mining royalties in WA, but in naming Palmer directly, CITIC is seeking to ratchet up the personal pressure on Australia’s richest parliamentarian.
Recently Palmer stormed out on an on-air interview with 7.30 Report host Sarah Ferguson, but by being named personally, CITIC knows it will now be more difficult for Palmer to avoid press questions over the issue.
There are likely to be many more twists and turns in this battle before it is settled.
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