Clive Palmer has accused senior members of Bill Shorten’s frontbench of lying over claims that ALP powerbrokers had not secretly approached him to seek a preference deal, and says Labor’s tax agenda could “destroy the country”.
Mr Palmer confirmed he would preference the Liberal and LNP parties to prevent Labor from forming government, an announcement welcomed by Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi this week.
The Weekend Australian reports, Mr Palmer also confirmed that he had been approached as recently as Wednesday — the same day the Opposition Leader accused him of ripping off his workers — by an ALP senator seeking a preference swap with his United Australia Party.
Labor frontbenchers Anthony Albanese and Tony Burke yesterday denied there had been any attempt to seek preferences from Mr Palmer’s UAP by anyone in the Labor movement.
The Australian this week revealed that Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union boss Michael O’Connor and Queensland Labor powerbroker senator Anthony Chisholm had talked to Mr Palmer over the past month.
Speaking in Brisbane yesterday, Mr Palmer said Mr Albanese’s claims on morning television that the Labor Party was “not talking to Clive Palmer about preferences” were “just not true”.
“I had Senator Chisholm approach me when I was down for the budget in parliament,” Mr Palmer said.
“He came over to see me. He called me on Wednesday, when he was with Bill Shorten; he said he’d been with Bill in central Queensland, and he said, ‘Is it too late to do preferences?’ ”
Senator Chisholm declined to comment when contacted by The Weekend Australian.
Senator Bernardi has told Paul Murray Live on Sky News if a Palmer preference deal with the Coalition increases the chances of Scott Morrison retaining the Treasury benches it'll be much better for the country than a Labor/Greens victory.
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