среда, 29 февраля 2012 г.

Qld:Premier says she won't be intimidated by states richest man

AAP General News (Australia)
Qld:Premier says she won't be intimidated by states richest man

By Gabrielle Dunlevy and Tony Bartlett

TOWNSVILLE, Feb 1 AAP - Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says she will not be intimidated
by a legal threat from the state's richest man, and chief financial backer of the opposition.

Mining magnate Clive Palmer on Friday demanded $1 million and a public apology from
Ms Bligh, after her comments in an ABC television interview.

Ms Bligh said in the interview that it was not uncommon for rich men to buy football
teams, but it was unusual for them to buy political parties, and questioned Mr Palmer's
interest in the Liberal National Party (LNP).

Labor has accused Mr Palmer of "buying" the LNP in the past, but usually with the protection
of parliament.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg has said little about the billionaire's role
in the LNP, except to say he is a life member of the party, who has made available his
private jet and helicopter.

Ms Bligh on Sunday stood by her comments, saying she and all other Queenslanders were
entitled to question Mr Palmer's interest in the LNP.

"In the past week alone, Mr Palmer has issued a press release in the name of the Liberal
National Party, he has appeared on two current affair programs and been the subject of
a major profile in a national magazine," she told reporters.

"Mr Palmer obviously wants to be a player in the political field and I think it is
time that Lawrence Springborg explained to the people of Queensland the financial and
political relationship between his party and one of Queensland's richest men."

A register of donations to Queensland political parties will be released on Monday.

Although she was yet to see its contents, Ms Bligh did not resile from the view Mr
Palmer was bankrolling the opposition.

"Mr Palmer himself on the day the Liberal National Party formed, from his own mouth,
told the people of Queensland that he would be assisting the ... party financially in
every way possible," she said.

"Mr Palmer went on record yesterday in a national magazine saying he would seek to
influence a Liberal National Party government and that he believed he was entitled to
do so."

Ms Bligh called on Mr Springborg to "bring Mr Palmer to his senses" before the legal
matter progressed.

He was unavailable on Sunday, but opposition treasury spokesman Tim Nicholls said it
was a private matter between Mr Palmer and Ms Bligh.

"For the last six months Ms Bligh and her 11-year-old Labor government have engaged
in a campaign of personal smear against one of Queensland's and Australia's top businessmen
for no other reason than he doesn't support the government," said Mr Nicholls.

"If Ms Bligh wants to make personal smears then she must accept the consequences when
those smears prove to be false."

AAP gd/bart/ss/de


2009 AAP Information Services Pty Limited (AAP) or its Licensors.

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