Palmer denies party is in crisis after Peter Slipper fiasco
CLIVE Palmer has denied his political party is in danger of imploding before it really gets off the ground.
The billionaire mining magnate and prime ministerial hopeful rejected suggestions the bizarre termination of Peter Slipper's membership, just six hours after it was announced, had embarrassed the party or threatened its ability to meet today's registration deadline.
He was confident a registration application would be lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission in Canberra today, three months prior to the issuing of writs for the September 14 federal election.
The Coolum resort owner was showing no signs of being under pressure yesterday, despite enduring a bizarre 24 hours.
His party first accepted, and then rejected, Mr Slipper's membership application.
It was then announced the party's name would be changed to the Palmer United Party, to avoid the prospect of a legal battle with the Australian Electoral Commission and "other legal challenges designed to stop the party from fielding candidates". To achieve registration, new parties must have either 500 members or just one federal MP as a member.
The termination of Mr Slipper's membership appeared to have made registration a little more challenging for the PUP but Mr Palmer did not appear worried. "However the press plays it, we didn't take the easy way out," he said.
"We looked at the issue on its merits and we terminated his membership, that's a good thing."
He was confident PUP would run candidates in the September 14 election, regardless of any AEC determination.
"I'm never confident because of the way the two parties have stopped competition in Australia, but it doesn't really matter - I've got the resources, whether we're registered or not, to let everyone know who our candidates are," he said.
"If you're not registered, it doesn't mean you can't stand, doesn't mean you can't have a party. It just means you don't get electoral funding after the poll.
"Big deal! Do you think I'm going to worry about that?
"In our case we'll be contacting every Australian in the country directly, telling them how to vote, it's no big deal either way."
Bronwyn Stevens, lecturer in politics at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said PUP's registration process would have been markedly simpler with a federal MP as member.
"Somebody must have thought it was a good idea because it might help his registration, but the downside is associating his party with Peter Slipper is probably not a good idea, especially on the Sunshine Coast," Ms Stevens said.
Mr Slipper is facing legal proceedings for charges of defrauding the Commonwealth and sexual harassment action from one of his former staff.
The Palmer United Party is expected to announce its Queensland Senate team this week.