Clive Palmer ... outside of Parliament
Clive Palmer ... outside of Parliament

Clive Palmer under fire for repeatedly missing Parliament

SUNSHINE Coast MP Clive Palmer has missed 10 sessions of Parliament since his election - making him the worst for attendance bar two government ministers.

But the billionaire mining magnate has blamed the lack of legislation up for debate for his lack of interest.

Mr Palmer, who was elected to the seat of Fairfax, was questioned over his attendance by journalists on the Gold Coast on Tuesday, where he held a press conference, while Parliament was sitting in Canberra.

A number of people have already criticised the Coast MP's failure to raise local issues in the house with the Palmer United Party leader using his platform instead for national issues.

The ABC reported this morning that since being elected to Parliament, Mr Palmer has been in the House of Represenatives for 14 sittings but missed 10.

He missed the final session of Parliament last year to be with his wife, who was about to have a baby.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb were the only MPs in the House for less time than Mr Palmer last November and December, the ABC said.

Mr Palmer has always maintained he believes he will serve his Coast electorate just as well by being outside the chamber.

He claims he was on the Gold Coast to help a constituent get medical treatment.

In November, Mr Palmer's Coast colleague Mal Brough criticised Mr Palmer's lack of attendance in Parliament.

Mr Brough told ABC radio that the job of an MP was to be in Parliament, where laws were debated and made.

"It's what we have. These are our forums, this is why we get elected so we can represent the views of our members in this place and change government views or add to government views or register our dissent on behalf of our constituents in the Parliament,'' Mr Brough said.

On Wednesday, Mr Palmer defended skipping parliamentary sitting days by accusing the Abbott government of not presenting enough legislation for debate.

The Age reports that  the Abbott government has 18 pieces of legislation listed for the current autumn session of parliament compared to 50 bills in the corresponding period last year.

Mr Palmer will attend question time on Wednesday for the first time this week.

On Monday he was in Canberra but did not enter the chamber, Fairfax reported.

Mr Palmer has homes on the Gold Coast but also lives at his Palmer Coolum Resort.

The resort has been at the centre of controversy with mass sackings of staff since he took it over, despite his initial pledge that local jobs would be safe.

The resort has lost key events for the Coast, including the Australian PGA golf and more recently hosting training for the Queensland Maroons State of Origin side.


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