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02 December 2014

Clive Palmer launches attack on News Corp journalist at press club

Palmer United party leader refuses to answer questions relating to legal case involving Chinese-owned Citic Pacific

Clive Palmer

Clive Palmer has launched a pugnacious attack on a journalist at the National Press Club, ridiculing him and refusing to let him ask questions relating to Palmer’s legal case involving the Chinese-owned company Citic Pacific.

National political correspondent at the Courier-Mail, Steven Scott, attempted to ask the Palmer United party leader questions about fraud and dishonesty charges levelled at him by estranged Chinese business partners. Citic Pacific alleges Palmer siphoned money from a business fund to use in his election campaign.

The claims are the heart of a civil suit that is currently before the courts.

Coal baron and politician Palmer has consistently refused to address the allegations and has walked out of television interviews when pressed on the issue.

A number of journalists attempted to ask Palmer questions relating to the case on Monday, but all were shot down.

“I can’t take any questions on that because it’s before the courts,” Palmer said, when Scott started his question.

“I’m going to ask it anyway,” Scott said.

“Why don’t you just ask a question about the topic? Have some guts to stand up to Rupert [Murdoch], don’t do what he tells you from New York. Stand up and be a journalist. Don’t read off that, think off your own brain and think of a question,” Palmer said.

The Palmer United party leader proceeded to talk over the journalist while he tried to ask his question.

“All those papers are controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Your paper is owned by his personal family. You get directions from the editor, Rupert Murdoch. He gets on Skype in New York,” Palmer said, going on to accuse Murdoch of trying to control how Australians think.

“Why don’t you try to be an independent journalist and think for a while? I know your whole career is depending on it, but you should try to think,” Palmer said.

When Scott protested, Palmer claimed: “You want a promotion from Rupert.”

“This is ridiculous,” Scott replied.

Palmer proceeded to criticise Scott for his questions.

“I’m not going to take rubbish from you, mate,” Palmer said. “It’s just not true what you’re saying, ok? If you want to ask a question about politics, go ahead, if you don’t want to, forget about it. Why are you asking the same question? I’m just saying, I’m here to talk about a particularly topic, I’m prepared to take questions.”

“We’re here to ask questions,” Scott said.

“You haven’t got the guts to ask a question on the topic because it’s beyond your intellectual capacity. Why don’t you admit it?” Palmer asked.

Scott tried to ask his questions a few more times, with no success, before the press club host, Sabra Lane, stepped in and stopped the verbal altercation by moving on to the next journalist.

The outburst came after Palmer paid tribute to the work journalists do, saying they are vital for a functioning democracy.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s good news or bad news. The news is what makes our country tick and no one has a stronger duty to protect that right to know than the members of the media,” Palmer said, opening his address.

Palmer has dismissed the legal case against him as a witch-hunt.

Earlier in his address, Palmer directed his anger towards another media magnate, Kerry Stokes, who has a stake in Channel Seven and Sky News, accusing him of weighing into the legal battle because he has a strategic interest in his West Australian port.