News & Current Affairs
12 March 2014
Clive Palmer ready to be jailed 'like Gandhi' over disputed political advert
Mining magnate says he would go to prison on principle, but doesn't believe it will come to that, he has legal advice that a high court decision on free speech would override Tasmania's Electoral Act.
The Palmer United Party (PUP) is being investigated for an alleged breach of the Act, which prohibits the publication of the name or photo of a political opponent in election material without their permission.
A complaint from the Liberal Party about a newspaper advertisement published on Monday sparked the investigation.
The Labor Party is reportedly considering a second complaint about a letter Palmer wrote to Tasmanian voters.
The maximum penalty for a breach is 12 months jail or a fine of $39,000.
I'm happy to go to jail for that, Palmer told reporters in Hobart.
I'm happy to be like Gandhi and fight for the freedom of Tasmanians, because they've had enough.
Palmer said lawyers had advised him the ban was intended for how-to-vote cards and not advertising.
There's no legal problem, he said. Any first-year lawyer can tell you that. You've only got to read the high court judgments on it and you've only got to read the Act.
The advertisement in question showed premier Lara Giddings, Liberal leader Will Hodgman and the Greens Nick McKim on a wanted poster and branded them the three amigos.
It was authorised by PUP senator-elect Jacqui Lambie, who says she didn't see it before it was placed.
The ad appeared again on Tuesday, minus the leaders names and photos.
I'm happy to say that Labor, Liberal, Greens are in fact the three amigos riding together across the Tasmanian political landscape, Palmer said.
The PUP leader held aloft ads placed by the Liberals that named PUP candidates, saying his party did not complain about it.
Earlier, Lambie issued a statement saying she was prepared to become a 'political prisoner' if she was found to have breached the Act.
A 12-month sentence could disqualify her from the Senate position she is due to take up in July.
Lambie claimed the controversy was a federal government attempt to silence her over defence force abuse allegations she has made.
Given the fact that Tony Abbott and the Liberals have a track record of trying to put their political opponents in jail, I shouldn't be that surprised, Lambie said.
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