Controversial mining magnate and Senate hopeful Clive Palmer has accused Premier Mark McGowan and the Labor party of sucking up to the Chinese Government amidst criticism of a preference swap deal between his party and the Coalition.
Mr Palmer today announced his United Australia Party would preference the Liberals and Nationals second — in both the Senate and House of Representatives — while tearing into Labor, who have been critical of the deal.
It capped a bizarre day of media coverage involving the one-time Parliamentarian which started with an interview on breakfast television where he touted his personal wealth, said he would form government and called for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to be thrown out of office.
“We’ll be there on the 18th of May and there will be a new government in Australia and this will be a better place,” he said.
“My wealth is $4000 million do you think I give a stuff about what you personally think or anyone else, I care about this country.”
Mr Palmer’s attack on Labor was not limited to Mr Shorten as he took aim at Mr McGowan and former Senator Sam Dastyari for being pro-China.
“Bill Shorten, Sam Dastyari, Mark McGowan wants to suck up to the Chinese government and desert the United States and other allies that have long supported our country,” he said.
Deputy Premier Roger Cook said the Australian economy was built off the back of a strong trade relationship with China and Mr Palmer’s party was posing a “significant risk” to Australian security and WA jobs.
“We pick up one end of the stick which is dog whistling xenophobic, anti-Chinese response and at the end of the day that will have repercussions that will have repercussions for jobs, for having a safer community and international community I believe,” he said.
WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt labelled Mr Palmer a hypocrite given he was benefiting from a stream of revenue by leasing out the land for the $150 billion Chinese-run Sino Iron project in the Pilbara.
“I think there will be a very keen focus from China and some of our other trading partners if a serious political party, the Liberal party, does enter into an agreement with Mr Palmer, his rhetoric is incredibly outrageous, it’s offensive and of course hypocritical in light of the fact his wealth is created by a revenue stream from China,” he said.
“I think Mr Palmer and his policies are a danger to Western Australian jobs and more broadly a danger to Australia.”
Mr Palmer has been locked in several legal battles with CITIC Pacific Mining, which operates the Sino Iron project, in recent years over its expansion and royalty payments to the point Mr McGowan has suggested the relevant State Agreement could be altered to end the feud.