All-out war has again erupted between Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Clive Palmer, who is this time launching a defamation suit.
Clive Palmer is suing Queensland Premier Campbell Newman for defamation after he suggested the mining magnate tried to buy political influence.
If he succeeds, the millionaire-turned-federal MP has promised to give the proceeds to public servants retrenched by the Newman government.
An all-out war between the two bitter rivals escalated after Mr Newman claimed on Sunday that Mr Palmer tried to buy his state government and offered inducements to snare three rebel Northern Territory MPs.
“At no time have I ever offered the Newman government or any member of parliament any money or inducements,” Mr Palmer told reporters on Monday.
He said that in a “brain snap”, the premier had resorted to innuendo and personal attacks because he couldn’t win a political argument and lacked moral courage.
“I would recommend he seeks medical treatment,” he said.
Renegade NT crossbench members Alison Anderson, Larisa Lee and Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu met with Mr Palmer at his Coolum resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast at the weekend before confirming they would join his Palmer United Party.
The three indigenous MPs quit the NT’s ruling Country Liberal Party in early April, following a rift between Ms Anderson, a former territory Labor minister, and Chief Minister Adam Giles.
Mr Palmer said they had been racially vilified by some in their old party.
“It’s very disappointing that you find people not giving people credit for their own independent judgment,” he said.
With a Queensland election due next year, Mr Palmer said many backbench MPs in Queensland’s ruling Liberal National Party had approached him, citing disillusionment with Mr Newman’s leadership.
Mr Newman didn’t surface to defend himself on Monday but his frontbenchers came to his aid.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said Mr Palmer was bitter and twisted because he thought he had bought a government.
“Mr Palmer’s got to learn a lesson that there’s two things that money don’t buy,” he said.
“One is love. The other is the Newman government.”
Treasurer Tim Nicholls said Mr Palmer’s preferred weapon is his wallet.
“He’s tried to buy his way into elections in Tasmania and in Western Australia.”
Despite being one of the LNP’s biggest donors, Mr Palmer spectacularly quit the party in 2012.
His membership was suspended after he accused ministers of exaggerating the state’s debt and being crooks that cooked the books.