Clive Palmer says his wife was within her rights to have dinner with Tony Abbott and hand the LNP $42,000, despite his bitter war with his old party.
While Clive Palmer was sinking the boot into the Liberal National Party in a bitter public feud, his wife was having dinner with Tony Abbott and handing the party a small fortune.
The miner-turned-politician declared all out war with LNP not long after Campbell Newman became premier, and threw in his life membership in November 2012.
Despite the schism, documents lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission show Mr Palmer recorded a donation of $42,000 to the party in June 2013.
That’s seven months after he quit the LNP in disgust after the party told him to pull his head in and stop his public criticisms.
The donation also came a month after Mr Palmer applied to set up his own political brand.
The federal MP says the handout had nothing to do with him, and was the work of his wife.
“My wife went to a dinner with Tony Abbott, I didn’t go,” Mr Palmer told AAP on Monday.
“My wife is an independent person. She doesn’t vote for me, she votes for other parties. That’s her business.
“She has access to my funds, they are her funds. I just sign the cheques.”
Mr Palmer was asked if the donation galled him in anyway, given his ongoing feud with his old party.
He replied: “It is her political right. You can’t have husbands telling women what to do.”
The Australian Electoral Commission’s political donation records, released on Monday, show Mr Palmer handed over $1300 to the LNP in Queensland in April 2013.
Mr Palmer said that was “probably an invoice from before that time”. A further $5000 went to the Liberal Party in Western Australia in September 2012.
Mr Palmer had been one of the LNP’s biggest financial supporters until war erupted – first over the Newman government’s public sector job cuts, then when he missed out to Gina Rinehart in the race for a state-supported rail line out of the Galilee Basin.
The final straw came when Mr Palmer claimed the Newman government had cooked the books and called for Treasurer Tim Nicholls and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney to be sacked.