Well in-case you have missed news reports it is pretty clear that Clive Palmer and his political career as the Member for Fairfax and leader of the Palmer United Party (PUP) is well and truly over. Big Clive has been a very naughty guy and has been found to have breached his duties as a director and acted recklessly under the Corporations Act. His company Queensland Nickel (QN) was declared bankrupt, owing up to $100 million to creditors, $75 million of that to the 800 workers. Now, there is a good chance the Australian Taxpayer will be left to pick up the bill to pay for the workers entitlements. Thanks a lot Clive!
Now, why did this happen? Well because Big Clive used Queensland Nickel as his own private ATM to fund his so-called political ambition and career. He syphoned more than $200 million from QN, donating $21 million to his political party the Palmer United Party, thus forcing the company bankrupt. Big Clive of courses blames the demise of QN on the low nickel price. The administrators FTI Consulting of QR claimed the refinery could have continued trading even with the low nickel prices.
Clive Palmer was a former media director for the Joh Bjelke-Petersen National Government in Queensland, where mixing politics with business interests was an accepted way of doing things.
In 1984 Big Clive wanted to build a 66-storey townhouse development on peaceful rural land in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, but the local council knocked back his planning application. Big Clive was going to take this lying down so contacted his mate and minister, Russ Hinze, (also known as the minister for everything) to overturn the council decision. Palmer made the second-largest donation to the QLD Nationals of $15,000, writes Sean Parnell in Clive: The Story of Clive Palmer. Palmer knew the importance of using politics for personal business.
Clive considered Joh Bjelke-Petersen the best premier in QLD’s history, despite Joh being charged with perjury from evidence given at the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and his government considered one of the most corrupt in modern Australian history. A number of ministers were also jailed for corruption, including the police commissioner. But hey, but you know the adage: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. Joh ran Queensland as his own political fiefdom due to the corrupted Gerrymander in place at the time, which allowed the Nationals to rule QLD for 32 years.
Hopefully Big Clive will face criminal charges and do time in prison for what can only be described as corporate criminal behaviour. When he entered the federal parliament as the Member for Fairfax he was meant to have declared all his assets on the federal parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests and placed all assets into a ‘blind trust’, with no contact allowed between himself and his business interests. It is a fairly straight forward policy, but not for Big Clive as it was revealed he used an alias email account under the nom de plume of Terry Smith to communicate with his nephew, the Director of QN, Clive Mensink. This is clearly in breach of the register of members interests. He also wrote on his register that he resigned from QN on the 5th April, 2014.
Will Clive face any penalties for not declaring his “hands-on” role and allegedly lying on his register of members interests? Perhaps not, other than being made to correct his “mistake” on his register. He might be dragged kicking and screaming before a parliamentary committee or the speaker of the House might impose sanctions or fines for his misdemeanour. But then again after July the 2nd Clive’s political career is over, along with the PUP’s only senate seat.
He has left a trial of wreckage in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast, with people glad to see the back of his rather large fat arse. The federal government could force Big Clive to pay his 800 workers their entitlements, perhaps he could sell off his large portfolio of 17 properties valued at $43 million!
Not only has Big Clive ruined the lives of 800 workers, but there is also the environmental consequences of the nickel refinery closing down. The tailing ponds around the refinery are noxious and an environmental disaster just waiting to happen. Last year one of the tailing ponds overflowed, which was a major risk to the local environment and the Great Barrier Reef. The Queensland Government might be forced to clean up and remediate the site, which is estimated to cost anywhere from $25 to $40 million. Former owner BHP believed the environmental clean-up cost may exceed $100 million. Whilst the plant is operating workers are able to maintain the assets. But if it is left vacant it is a great risk to the environment.
But, already Big Clive – as we should expect – is blaming administrators for sacking the workers and for the refinery closing down. He labelled the administrators report as “lies” and “fantasy”. He said he would release documents that “prove the allegations made by the administrators are false”. Including denying that he acted as a shadow director. Typical of Big Clive, it is always somebody else’s fault!