Clive Palmer plans to sue Campbell Newman for defamation after the Queensland Premier claimed yesterday that the federal MP “tried to buy” the Newman government.
The Premier’s comments came in the wake of three indigenous Northern Territory MPs, Larisa Lee, Francis Xavier and Alison Anderson, defecting from the ruling Country Liberal Party and joining Palmer United. The CLP has as one-seat majority, so PUP now potentially holds the balance of power in the top end.
Ms Anderson has been a minister in ALP and CLP governments.
Both Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles and Mr Newman accused Mr Palmer of trying to buy the territory, suggesting inducements had been offered to the trio.
“What offers were made to get them to jump ship?” Mr Newman said. “I reckon if he’s consistent with the way he operates around the nation, he’s busy trying to buy votes and buy people. That’s what he does.”
By Sunday night, Mr Palmer threatened legal action as a war of words boiled over between the rival politicians saying the claims “were utterly false” and damaging to his integrity. He added that the NT trio had sought out his party a few weeks after leaving the CLP and joined without inducements.
Mr Palmer called Mr Giles a liar and accused him of being involved in slush funds, and denied Mr Newman’s claims that he offered money or inducements to the Queensland government or any MPs.
“At no time have I sought favours from the Newman government for anything,” he said in a statement. “Campbell Newman’s comments are defamatory.”
Mr Palmer added that he would not settle out of court.
A long time supporter of the Queensland LNP, Mr Palmer had a spectacular falling out with Mr Newman in 2012, resigning before he was expelled from the party, then going on to form Palmer United Party.
Since then, Mr Newman and Mr Palmer have repeatedly denounced each other in a range of derogatory accusations.
Mr Palmer will hold a press conference today at 2.15pm to outline his legal action.
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