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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES of nickel was $7.50 a pound and BHP had decided to close the refinery, every Australian should have asked themselves: would they have invested their life savings to save over 2,500 jobs in Townsville? I know the member for Herbert would not have. Over the last seven years, would they have invested $4 billion to keep 2,500 families employed? Then, over the last two years, when the nickel price had dropped to around $3.50 a pound, would any citizen have been happy to continue to lose $6 million a month for the families of Townsville? Would anyone have given over $2.5 million of their personal savings so that everyone could be paid at Christmas and keep the refinery open? These are the decisions I made in the affirmative. Why? Because I have a strong and real commitment to North Queensland. The Liberal Party inspired report by the administrator friend of the member for Herbert is untrue. I personally and my companies have never received one dollar of Queensland Nickel’s own funds, nor has any person employed ever been dismissed and nor were any workers’ entitlements refused by me or anyone that I employ. The allegations against me have been made for an improper purpose. On 1 March 2016, the administrator stated that, unless he received $10 million that week, he was going to close the refinery and sack all the workforce. He made the same demand to the Queensland government. On 3 March 2016, the joint venture partners, Qni Resources Pty Ltd and Qni Metals, 100 per cent privately owned companies of mine, resolved to appoint a new company that was not in administration as the manager of the joint venture. I personally put up some of my private assets and secured a $23 million line of credit, instead of the $10 million that the administrator was seeking, and I planned to make that available to the new manager to keep the refinery open and the workforce employed. Under the Queensland joint venture agreement, the old manager of Queensland Nickel, on appointment of the new manager, was required to transfer the joint venture bank account, together with other assets and general approvals that Queensland Nickel had, to give the new manager the ability to run the refinery. The millions of dollars in joint venture bank accounts and debtors, when added the $23 million that I had personally arranged through my personal efforts, would have allowed the business to continue to employ 550 people. John Park decided that he would not transfer the bank account to the joint venture, as he was legally required to do. Park treated the joint venture fund, which was not Queensland Nickel’s money, as his own personal piggy bank. The allegations made by Mr Park are completely false. The allegations made against me by political parties, which I have endured over the last three years or since I have been elected to the House of Representatives, are also false. In the resources industry in Queensland, 22,000 jobs have been lost; in South Australia, 14,000 jobs are threatened. The government has done nothing and proposes to do nothing. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has injected 30 billion yuan into the metals processing industry in China, and the Canadian government gives free electricity to its metal processing industry. How can Australian industries compete with such things? Why does the government want to destroy this country and its infrastructure? Because they are incompetent. The Treasurer becomes more and more like a public servant. Last night’s budget talks about jobs growth, but it has no substance and no policy. The average Australian family pays $20,000 per year, over $1 million in their working lives, but they cannot access the savings that they pay into superannuation to buy a home, to care for their children or to deal with some disaster, yet the Liberal fund managers make margins on their funds each year and the union delegates benefit from managing their funds in superannuation. Palmer United will fight hard to get the balance of power in the Senate to protect the savings of Australian families and make them available to them during their lifetime rather than when they are dead. Even before I had taken my seat in parliament, then Prime Minister Abbott, in one of his first decisions in cabinet, adopted the Palmer United policy that we took to the 2013 election to ban political lobbyists from holding office in the Liberal Party. Then, on behalf of the Palmer United Party, I introduced a bill to stop the GrainCorp takeover. Following the pressure generated by this takeover, the then Treasurer, Joe Hockey, made the correct decision to stop the GrainCorp takeover. On 25 June 2014, I hosted the former Vice President of the United States, Mr Al Gore, in the Great Hall of parliament, where I announced that Palmer United senators would vote to save the Climate 124 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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