Clive Palmer says his political party won’t be repaying donations from his troubled nickel business so sacked workers can be paid.
The federal MP says neither he nor his Palmer United Party is responsible for paying the entitlements of 237 workers made redundant at his troubled nickel refinery near Townsville.
He says he could have pocketed millions from Queensland Nickel, which is now in administration but instead chose to use it to bankroll his party so he could campaign on important issues.
‘Rather than me take the $15 million and buy a new plane or a new house or a new resort, I decided to donate the money – the company decided to donate that money – to Palmer United,’ he told reporters this week.
‘Now you tell me what other chief executive would go into parliament, set up a political party, get the balance of power in Australia, save the jobs of his workers. There isn’t one.
‘It doesn’t expose me to any claims because the money only would have been paid to me anyway.’
Mr Palmer stepped down as director of the company when he was elected to parliament in 2013 and says his involvement since then has been confined to a supervisory role.
But the Australian Workers Union has asked the corporate regulator to investigate whether Mr Palmer has been exerting control over the company as a shadow director and if so, if he can be held personally liable for workers’ entitlements.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is yet to respond to the union’s request.
But it has held discussions with the company’s administrators, who are required under the Corporations Act to report back to ASIC and creditors.