Two MPs from Queensland’s ruling Liberal National Party are accusing Clive Palmer’s team of trying to make them defect.
Two Queensland government MPs have accused Clive Palmer’s team of trying to lure them away from the Liberal National Party.
Mr Palmer says the claims made by MPs Michael Hart and Jason Costigan were made up by premier Campbell Newman, while police have looked at one of the accusations and will take no action.
Mr Newman, however, has stepped up his war with the mining magnate turned federal MP, arguing he needs to reveal the full truth.
Mr Hart on Tuesday alleged a Palmer United Party envoy tried to entice the Burleigh MP with financial sweeteners – an assertion refuted by the party’s state leader Alex Douglas.
Also on Tuesday, Whitsunday MP Mr Costigan said a PUP member approached him a week later on April 16, but without a financial incentive.
“They said they could … help me with my campaign if I was their candidate and rambled on how they needed one more MP to form the official opposition,” he told AAP.
Mr Hart took his claims to police who said they had “concluded that, based on current available information, no further action will be taken”.
Mr Hart said he cut short a conversation with a PUP official after being made an offer to become one of the party’s leading candidates at next year’s Queensland election.
“The words that were used I took as a form of inducement or that there was about to be an inducement. I didn’t want that to happen,” he told AAP.
Mr Hart’s allegation has escalated the bitter feud between Mr Palmer and the LNP, with the mining magnate accusing Mr Newman of inventing the story.
“This is just concocted by the premier because he’s going to be sued by me,” Mr Palmer told AAP.
“He’s just trying to mislead the press.”
But a spokesman for Mr Newman says Mr Palmer is the one who needs to come clean after Dr Douglas confirmed the party approached Mr Hart.
“Mr Palmer denies inducements were offered to Mr Hart, but Alex Douglas has confirmed that Mr Hart was told that ‘we would look after him if he joined us’,” the spokesman said.
Dr Douglas says while contact was made, claims about any inducement are entirely false.
“It was basically to say: ‘Michael we know you’re not going to be preselected or endorsed by the party and if you want to have a career you are welcome to come and discuss that with us’,” he said.
The latest claims follow Sunday’s allegations by Mr Newman that Mr Palmer had tried to “buy” his government, and had offered inducements to successfully entice three renegade Northern Territory MPs to join his party.
Comment has been sought from Dr Douglas about Mr Costigan’s claim.