Culture

Clive Palmer Helpfully Reminds Us He’s A “Bad Person” Worth “Four Thousand Million Dollars”

Bit rich for a guy who still hasn't paid his workers.

Clive Palmer

Clive Palmer has always been a loose unit, but he seems determined to take things to new heights this federal election season.

Take an interview he gave this morning, where he called himself a “bad person”, then suggested that he plans on becoming Prime Minister, then backtracked to say that it doesn’t matter who the Prime Minister is, and concluded by letting us know that “my wealth is four thousand million dollars — do you think I give a stuff about what you personally think? Or anyone else?”

That point about his wealth is actually incorrect — his net worth is currently closer to $1.8 billion, or 1.8 thousand million dollars — but he still makes a good point. Clive Palmer is incredibly rich, and it’s worth revisiting the fact of that wealth right about now, given that he’s spent a cool $50 million dollars on election advertising but still hasn’t paid the workers who were thrown under the bus when a Queensland Nickel, a company he owned, collapsed.

In case you’ve forgotten the details there, here’s a quick recap: when the company went into liquidation in 2016, hundreds of workers lost their jobs, and were owed more than $70 million in entitlements (wages, annual leave, superannuation — the works). At the time, Palmer refused to pay that $70 million, saying it wasn’t his responsibility, so the government stepped in and paid most of it. For years, workers have been waiting for the last $7 million to be paid.

Just last week, three years after the workers lost their jobs, Palmer announced that he’d decided to pay that $7 million, saying that floods and cyclones in Queensland had convinced him that his former employees probably needed the money. He still maintains that he’s not actually responsible for paying them — the way he tells it, his decision to pay $7 million is just him doing a Nice Thing.

Crucially, though, the workers haven’t actually been paid yet — Palmer says he’s put the money in a trust account for them, and that they’ll need to apply to actually get the money. Also, perhaps even more crucially, Palmer has not offered to pay taxpayers back for the $66 million and change we chipped in to pay his workers most of what they were owed.

Basically, Clive Palmer’s more than happy to brag about having “four thousand million dollars”, and he’s more than happy to spend $50 million on smiling billboards and newspaper ads for this election (more than double the combined spending of the two major parties, FYI), but he’s pretty damn resistant to spending a tiny slice of his fortune to help the ordinary Australians he screwed over. “Let’s face it, I’m a bad person,” he said in his interview this morning, and let’s face it: he’s got a point.

You can listen to Clive Palmer’s full trainwreck of an interview below. This is what the “United Australia Party” stands for.