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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Speech MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE Turnbull Government Wednesday, 25 November 2015 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (15:33): I rise today because I am concerned that the whole issue of the Slipper affair is once again diverting the Parliament of Australia away from the real issue facing Australians: the economy. This goes to the very heart of government integrity. The former Treasurer, Joe Hockey, was accused in 2013 by the former member for Fisher, Peter Slipper, who said that the former Treasurer and the current member for Fisher had asked me, at a meeting at my resort in April 2012, to stump up tens of thousands of dollars to pay for Mr Ashby’s legal costs. The accusation was that the current member for Fisher and former Treasurer Hockey requested I make funds available to fund Ashby’s case against the former member for Fisher, Mr Peter Slipper. In April 2012, I met with the member for Fisher at my resort. The former Treasurer, Joe Hockey, was staying at my resort as a paying guest. I think I have a moral duty and a responsibility to Mr Hockey and his family—and, indeed, to the Liberal Party— to make it absolutely clear that former Treasurer Hockey played no role in the discussion I had with the member for Fisher in respect of the funding of any case by Mr Ashby. Hockey walked past the table where we were sitting at the end of my discussion with the member for Fisher. He merely sat down to have a coffee, and no mention was made of the Ashby case while Joe Hockey was there. However, before the former Treasurer, Hockey, arrived, the current member for Fisher at the meeting requested I fund the legal costs of Mr Ashby and, while no exact figure was discussed with the member for Fisher, who later ran against Mr Slipper in Fisher, I understood the cost would be at least $200,000. The member for Fisher stated to me that we needed to destroy Peter Slipper, and that he had all the evidence to put Peter Slipper away for a very long time. I was not told what the evidence was, nor how the honourable member acquired it. I refused the request from the member for Fisher. I did not think it was appropriate then and I do not think it is now that a person funds another person’s legal action designed to cause a third party’s demise for political reasons. It is especially not appropriate for a citizen seeking election to this House or selection to the ministry to canvass for money and support to seek to damage an individual’s reputation by commencing court actions for what can only be an improper purpose—as the judge found in this case. We need integrity in government and in the full political process. We need to have trust in government from members of the public. Our members of parliament must set a high standard for the community and future generations. I want to make it clear again that the former Treasurer, Joe Hockey, acted with the highest standards of integrity and knew nothing of the appeal for money by the member for Fisher. The member for Fisher had previously approached me for money. Just before the merger of the Liberal Party to form the LNP, he approached me and advised me as the president of the Liberal Party that the Liberal Party was insolvent and that, unless I wrote a cheque to the Liberal Party for $100,000, it would go into liquidation in Queensland and there would be no LNP. On that occasion, I wrote a cheque to save the Liberal Party to live another day. This action may have encouraged the member for Fisher to seek me out when he wanted more money. The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 117


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