United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer
United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer

Palmer to come clean on preference deal

CLIVE Palmer is expected to slam Bill Shorten today and reveal why he did a preference deal with the Coalition, in a move that has been seized upon by Labor.

The former federal MP is also tipped to admit he will pay people to hand out his how-to-vote cards in a bid to maximise his chances of winning a Senate spot.

As exclusively revealed by The Courier-Mail last week, Mr Palmer will be locked in as No.2 on the LNP's Senate and House of Representatives how-to-vote cards.

The Courier-Mail can reveal today that will not apply in the seat of Fairfax, a seat that Mr Palmer held in 2013.

LNP incumbent Ted O'Brien, who now holds Fairfax, wanted Mr Palmer at No.4 on the ticket.

It is likely Mr Palmer will preference the LNP second on his how-to-vote cards and turn his high-spending election advertising against Labor.

It could give the LNP a better chance to win Herbert off Labor and help Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, plus a number of LNP marginal seat holders across the state.



United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer last week
United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer last week



However it is not going all the Coalition's way. Mr Palmer, who is facing charges and is accused of not paying Queensland Nickel workers, has become a distraction for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is likely to face more heat over the deal.

The Coalition point that Labor had also tried to woo Mr Palmer, with its Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate Deborah O'Neill trying to get a deal with Mr Palmer.

"I've got candidates preferencing. Keen to talk ASAP," she texted on Wednesday to one of Mr Palmer's operatives.

Labor's deputy leader Tanya Plibersek dismissed claims Labor was trying to do its own deal with Mr Palmer.

"I don't think a couple of SMSs is what you'd call a formal negotiation and Bills made it very clear that we would never have had a formal arrangement with Clive Palmer while he owes his workers $70 million,'' Ms Plibersek told ABC's Insiders program yesterday.

"Don't forget he's now confessed to his own candidates that he will probably spend $70 million promoting himself on the side of every bus, on the side of every building around Australia."

The Coalition's campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham said yesterday, "it's up to Clive Palmer what Clive Palmer does".

"We live in a system where voting requires a compulsory allocation of preferences, everybody will have to allocate their preferences on the ballot paper, we don't endorse the polices of any other political party we urge people to support the Liberal and National Party first and foremost."