Federal MP Clive Palmer has challenged Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney to back up claims made in parliament that he is a ‘crook’.
Clive Palmer says if Queensland’s deputy premier thinks he’s a crook, then he should do something about it.
Jeff Seeney made the claim in state parliament on Thursday amid a report the federal MP’s private mining company, Mineralogy, had allegedly siphoned more than $12 million from Chinese business partners.
Mr Palmer said he would sue the deputy premier for defamation if the comments were made outside of parliament – a day after he launched legal proceedings against Premier Campbell Newman.
“First of all, if I’m a crook and he’s the deputy premier, what’s he doing about it?,” he told AAP.
“If he believes what he says, why doesn’t he be specific with his allegations?”
Using parliamentary privilege, Mr Seeney told the Palmer United Party’s (PUP) state leader Alex Douglas he was in “the best party money could buy”.
“It’s not even Australian money – the best party Chinese money can buy,” the deputy premier said.
“The best party that fraudulently-obtained money can buy.
“The best party that a crook using other people’s money can buy.”
Mr Seeney’s comments followed a News Corp Australia report which alleged funds from Chinese state-owned group CITIC Pacific were allegedly used to finance PUP’s federal election campaign.
The deputy premier launched his parliamentary attack a day after Mr Palmer lodged papers with the Supreme Court seeking damages of $1.1 million from Mr Newman, claiming the premier had defamed him during a recent media conference by accusing him of trying to “buy” the Queensland government.
Mr Palmer denied reports his company had siphoned Chinese money, saying CITIC Pacific actually owed Mineralogy more than $A320 million.
“They’ve been shipping resources from Australia to China without paying for them,” he said.
“No Australian thinks that we should send our resources overseas and money shouldn’t flow back to Australia.”