29 April 2014
Clive Palmer envoy offered incentive to join party, says Queensland MP
LNP member says he has lodged complaint with police in deepening stoush between ruling party and Palmer United party
A Newman government MP has told police an envoy for Clive Palmer offered him an inducement to join his political party.
Burleigh MP Michael Hart has told the Courier-Mail an emissary claiming to act for the Palmer United party (PUP) made the offer on 9 April.
Hart said he had lodged a complaint with police, saying he was invited to name his price for switching allegiances.
It is illegal in Queensland to offer an MP any type of incentive to influence their electoral behaviour.
Hart would not name the PUP envoy, saying only it was a person who was known on the Gold Coast.
What really worried me was the next thing he said was 'what can I offer you to come across to the Palmer party?' the paper quoted Hart as saying.
"I basically slammed the door in his face then and reported the matter to police."
Palmer has said he had no knowledge of an approach to Hart. The federal MP said he didn't believe the claims because he did not use intermediaries to do his political work.
"No one I know approached him and I don't work through intermediaries my friend, goodbye,"
Palmer told the paper.
Queensland's premier, Campbell Newman, accused Palmer on Sunday of trying to "buy" his Liberal National party (LNP) government.
Newman also questioned whether inducements had been used to get three Northern Territory MPs to join Palmer's party over the weekend.
Palmer said he would sue the premier for making false and defamatory statements.
He said he had never offered the Newman government, or any member of parliament, any money or inducements but he did say many of Newman's backbenchers had approached him, saying they were unhappy with his leadership.
The Courier-Mail said the PUP was interested in courting more LNP MPs, speaking to at least three sitting members, including one ready to jump ship.
It noted any new defections could give the PUP, in alliance with Bob Katter's Australian party and independent MPs, the numbers to oust Labor as the official opposition in Queensland.
Hart said he didn't know which other MPs might have been approached, adding: "They suggested to me that they only needed one more state member to become the official opposition in Queensland and if I'd be interest in coming across to Palmer."