‘Charlatan and thief’: Palmer slammed
LABOR has slammed Clive Palmer as "a charlatan and wages thief" in a slap down hours after the billionaire politician's attack on Bill Shorten over preference deals.
On ABC-TV's Q&A, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen responded to a question about preference deals with the United Australia Party by attacking Mr Palmer head on.
"What Scott Morrison has done in this deal has shown he cares more about
the next three weeks than the next three years.
"There's two issues here. There is the moral issue. He's a charlatan and a fraud.
"He owes the taxpayers $70 million and his workers $7 million. Every ad is theft from those workers and the taxpayers.
"Scott Morrison has abrogated any moral responsibility here. And there is the chaos.
"Scott Morrison has guaranteed his return to the Senate.
"Have we forgotten the chaos that went with Clive Palmer being in parliament?"
Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield, responded saying, "the Australian Labor Party today, in 69 seats, has preferenced Clive Palmer's party ahead of Liberal and National candidates.
"I'd be interested in Chris Bowen or Bill Shorten's explanation as to why, given everything they've said over the last few days, the Labor Party sees it appropriate to preference Clive Palmer's party.
"And why in the PM's seat of Cook, Labor are preferencing the Fraser Anning Party ahead of One Nation?"
On the same evening as the first debate of the campaign, QandA focused on federal election issues, but Clive Palmer dominated the first half of the program.
Panel member Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, the Managing Editor of Crikey, criticised Mr Palmer's promises on his website she said he could not keep.
"One video had nearly half a million hits and he was promising to increase the pension weekly by $150," She said.
"He can't promise that and doesn't have any authority to guarantee that. He doesn't have to do any hustings.
"He has been suggesting he might be PM at the end of this.
"You have to take a lot of what he says not at face value which is why I wonder whether you're taking him too much at face value, Mitch, when he says Labor approached him for a preference deal?"
Foreign Affairs editor of The Australian newspaper, Greg Sheridan, described the discussion as "baloney".
"There is no moral difference between preferencing Clive Palmer or Pauline Hanson or the Greens," he said.
"We have a very eccentric electoral system which means you have to preference somebody. "Now what Chris Bowen and part of the media are asking the Liberals to do is ensure that a Labor Senator or a Greens Senator gets the last Senate position in Queensland.
"Now that is utterly ridiculous.
"The deputy leader of the Greens party called Jim Molan, one of the most magnificent soldiers Australia has ever produced, a war criminal.
"The Greens Party is a party of hatred of Western civilisation and of our economy
which wants to de-industrialise Australia and destroy every tradition we've been built on. They are absolutely as extreme and much more dangerous because they're much more competent than either Clive Palmer or Pauline Hanson
On Clive Palmer's claims about China in his election advertisements, however, Sheridan called Palmer "a fruitcake".
"A lot of things Clive Palmer says are idiotic," he said.
"A lot of the things the Greens say are utterly idiotic, insane about the treatment of cattle in Indonesia, and about the need for militant veganism to rule our agricultural industry."
He continued: "Guess what? Most nations in the world don't fixate on what eccentric weird senators say in the Australian Senate."
Chris Bowen made the claim that Bill Shorten had won the debate with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
"He's done a great job on the debate tonight. Widely regarded as the winner," Mr Bowen said.
He ridiculed the Government and in particular Peter Dutton for " being in hiding" in the election campaign.
"You talk about Peter Dutton being in hiding. In fairness, the entire cabinet is in hiding.
"Most of them are in the witness protection program."
Mr Bowen also denied Labor would have a death tax, calling it "a lie" and "the most dishonest thing the Liberal Party has done in the campaign".
Mr Fifield quipped, "You weren't going to have a carbon tax either".