Clive Palmer has launched an extraordinary attack on China’s government, calling them “mongrels” who “shoot their own people”.
The head of the Palmer United Party was being asked about his legal battle against a Chinese state-owned company on the ABC’s Q&A program last night.
Mr Palmer accused the Chinese government of wanting to take over Australian ports to get the nation’s resources for free.
When host Tony Jones asked Mr Palmer about allegations he funnelled millions of dollars out of a business bank account to fund his election campaign, the mining magnate and MP said he was “owed about $500 million by the Communist Chinese government”.
“We’ll be suing them and they’ll be answering the questions. We’ve had three judgements in the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Western Australia and an arbitration against these Chinese mongrels – I’m saying that because they’re Communist, they shoot their own people, they haven’t got a justice system and they want to take over this country. And we’re not going to let them,” he said.
“The Chinese government wants to bring workers here to destroy our wage system … they want to take over our ports and get our resources for free. So far they’ve shifted $200 million worth of iron ore out of this country without paying for it. I don’t mind standing up against the Chinese bastards and stop them from doing it.”
Mr Palmer sent a tweet on Tuesday morning clarifying his position: “My Q&A comments not intended to refer to Chinese people but to Chinese company which is taking Australian resources & not paying.”
Asked about Mr Palmer’s comments this morning, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce described them as “not helpful”.
“Clive started with a company called China First. He wanted to make a lot of money out of dealing with China,” Senator Joyce said.
“You can’t blame the Chinese for being tough business people; that’s what business is about. But the emotive and colourful language is not the way that you do business.”
Treasurer Joe Hockey, acknowledging Mr Palmer’s legal dispute, urged the mining magnate to “not bring down the rest of Australia”.
“I think it’s hugely damaging for Mr Palmer to make those sorts of comments, because ultimately he is the big beneficiary of China’s investment partner, someone that is paid to help him to develop his resources,” he said.
“They’re our biggest trading partner, they buy a lot of our produce, and in doing so they help to lift the quality of life of everyday Australians.”
Palmer signals continued opposition to budget measures
Mr Palmer, who has been meeting with government figures who want his backing for contentious budget measures, was speaking during a panel discussion about the budget.
“What’s wrong with this budget is it’s not fair or desirable to people, and all of Australia knows it,” he said.
“I got elected to look after the people in Australia who are here now and not in 20 or 30 years’ time. And I assure all Australians we will stand as the last sentry at the gate—there will be no payments, no changes to the education establishments in Australia, no deregulation of universities.
“That’s why people elected us and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Reserve Bank board member and businesswoman Heather Ridout, who was also on the Q&A panel, took aim at specific budget measures, including the GP co-payment and the fuel tax increase.
“How do you change the excise arrangements on fuel, which is a small amount of money in the age of entitlement, but pay a woman $50,000 to have a baby?” she asked.
“How do you put a co-payment on with the express purpose you think of fixing the deficit but it goes into medical research?”
Deputy prime minister Warren Truss said there were a number of positive programs in the budget designed to help people get into work, including training programs, Work for the Dole, and subsidies for employers to take on older workers.
Palmer’s bitter legal fight with Chinese partners
Mr Palmer is locked in a legal battle with the Chinese-owned Citic Pacific over massive cost blow-outs and disputed royalty payments at an iron ore port at Cape Preston in Western Australia.
The dispute centres on a Mineralogy-controlled bank account known as Port Palmer Operations to which Mr Palmer was the only signatory at the time.
Citic claims this was an administration fund and under its agreement with Mineralogy money was only to be spent on the operation of Port Preston.
Two cheques, one for $10 million that went to Mr Palmer’s Cosmo Developments, and another for $2.17 million that went to Brisbane-based PR firm Media Circus, were spent from this bank account.
The Australian newspaper has reported that the money paid to Media Circus was used to pay for advertising material used during Mr Palmer’s successful run for a House of Representatives seat in 2013.
Court documents state Mr Palmer’s company Queensland Nickel put $12.7 million back into the account after the issue was first raised in the media.
Mr Palmer has previously said the money was in bank accounts operated by his Mineralogy mining company, and he was free to spend it as he pleased.
He said he could not recall signing the two cheques. Documents have emerged showing he personally signed the original agreement with Citic over the use of the bank account.
Citic has previously warned that Mr Palmer’s aggressive behaviour could force other Chinese companies to reconsider putting money into his other ventures.
- China’s Citic fail to pay $400 million in Australian contract; can’t comprehend “rule of law” concept (chinadailymail.com)
- Australia warned of double whammy in China’s pending debt crisis (chinadailymail.com)