Retired Fairfax MP Clive Palmer has ruled out running for the Senate at the July 2 election, meaning his political career may have come to an end. The besieged Palmer United Party leader confirmed in a statement he had not sought endorsement from his party to stand as a Senate candidate in Queensland after conceding earlier this month a switch to the upper house was a “live option”.
“There are some excellent people who have nominated to be endorsed to stand for the Palmer United Party in the Senate in Queensland and I am confident the party will continue to play a significant role in Australian political life,” Mr Palmer said.
“Regardless of the party Australians vote for in the House of Representatives at the election, they should vote for Palmer United in the Senate so the Liberals or Labor won’t reintroduce the 2014 Budget. Only Palmer United can keep the bastards honest,” he said.
Mr Palmer announced he was quitting his Queensland seat of Fairfax three weeks ago, saying he had “very little influence” in the House of Representatives but insisting he could make a “positive contribution” in the Senate.
The Australian revealed he had canvassed a move to the upper house with political operatives, including his sole remaining PUP senator Zhenya “Dio” Wang.
At age 62, the self-described businessman said he had entered into a “retirement phase” of his life.
Mr Palmer had been consulting with his wife about his political future.
He won his seat on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast at the 2013 election by 53 votes, beating LNP candidate Ted O’Brien.
Mr Palmer has come under increasing pressure over the fallout of his Queensland Nickel refinery, from which he siphoned more than $200 million before its collapse into liquidation.
Mr Palmer’s cash-stripped Queensland Nickel and his Coolum resort — once the centrepiece of tourism on the Sunshine Coast — have shed hundreds of jobs since he was elected.
His $500 million plan to build the Titanic II is also in doubt, with the ex-MP saying he would have to ask his wife if he could pursue the idea during retirement.
Earlier today Mr Palmer revealed the only lower house seat his party would contest at the election was the electorate of Herbert, home to Queensland Nickel and held by Liberal MP Ewen Jones on 6.17 per cent.
One year ago Mr Palmer boasted he would contest all 150 House of Representative seats.
His Senate candidates have claimed their leader is “passing the baton” to them but it is unclear if Mr Palmer will continue to head the party or not.
SINKING THE TITANIC
April 2012: Announces he’ll build a full-sized replica of the Titanic, but with enough lifeboats. Maiden voyage originally set for 2016, delayed to 2018. Workers at Chinese shipyard doubt it will ever float.
JEFF THE DINOSAUR
Dec 2012: Palmer Coolum Resort loses the Australian PGA golf tournament over a row about billboards and animatronic dinosaurs. Life-size Tyrannosaurus “Jeff” later burns down in mysterious circumstances.
MURDOCH SPY CLAIMS
Sept 2013: Claims Rupert Murdoch’s former wife Wendi Deng is a Chinese spy. “She’s been spying on Rupert for years, giving money back to Chinese intelligence … that’s why Rupert Murdoch got rid of her.” Previously claimed Greenpeace was funded by the CIA.
ASLEEP ON THE JOB
May 2014: Photographed fast asleep in federal parliament.
“Clive-o-snorus” front page wins Walkley Award for headline writing. Palmer says he was tired after doing 35 media interviews before midday.
BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE A NICKEL REFINERY?
Jan 2016: Queensland Nickel, in debt by more than $100m, sacks 237 workers and goes into voluntary administration. Two months later Palmer regains control and sends the Queensland treasurer a picture of a gnome giving the one finger salute (he later claims his daughter sent it). Creditors vote to wind up the company – 550 more lose their jobs.
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