How Clive Palmer Used ANZAC Day for Political Gain

Why would Clive Palmer take up a 2-page ad in the Courier Mail on ANZAC Day to talk about the Chinese, media consultants and iron ore? Is it truly the right timing to remind the public that he was once elected “a living national treasure”? We break down the latest Palmer oddity: using ANZAC Day for self-promotion.

Clive Palmer is a wealthy man. He’ll tell you that himself any day of the year. If you needed more proof of his eminent wealth, it’s recently been revealed that Palmer spent $33m on campaign ads so far, and the sum is expected to rise to $50m.

But how DID Palmer get so rich? The West Australian reported on April 25th that Palmer’s vast wealth comes from just one conniving deal:

“Soon after the Gallop government signed off on a State Agreement handing Clive Palmer sweeping rights to develop iron ore deposits in the Pilbara in 2002, the Queenslander was in a jubilant mood. “What a great country this is,” Palmer proclaimed in the corridors of Parliament House.

“You can become a billionaire without even putting a spade in the ground.”

And it was true. The WA deal turned Palmer from a wealthy man to a stupendously rich one without him ever having to break a rock.”

Yes, Palmer’s fortune stems (mainly) from that one deal with Chinese company CITIC to mine iron ore in his land in the Pilbara, which still goes on today. From that deal, the Sino Iron mine came to life, with CITIC paying Palmer $500 million for mining rights, but also a surcharge on all raw materials extracted (Royalty A) and another on the processed product (Royalty B). These royalties would soon add up to over $200m.

And this is not just any other mining project; the $16 billion Sino project is said to be the largest investment by a Chinese entity in a resources project in another country and employees 3,000 Australians.

But this has been said before – what’s interesting here is that Clive Palmer chose to take up a 2-page ad in the Courier Mail on ANZAC Day, with his signature UAP yellow, to talk about CITIC and, what else?, himself.

clive palmer

The odd advertisement starts with attacking CITIC. Palmer claims they took $5b worth of ore from the Pilbara without paying Australia for it, until he took them to court to rectify the wrong. But that’s not really the case; as we’ve seen earlier, CITIC has paid Palmer for the mining rights and royalties, on top of paying royalties of over $5 billion to the WA Government.
And Palmer didn’t exactly take CITIC to court for the good of the Australian People. The Supreme Court ruling of 2018 awarded Palmer $200m personally where there was no flow on benefit to ordinary Australian citizens. Why Palmer would pay to have untruths about a foreign country he’s at odds with published in an ad on ANZAC Day is inexplicable.

If you look at the ad, Palmer gets through 5 paragraphs without mentioning our soldiers or armed forces at all. He first mentions he was voted “a living national treasure” in 2012 and only then talks about the men who have served in his family.

Many on social media were outraged by Palmer’s audacity to publish an ad on ANZAC Day to promote himself. The ad barely mentions our brave men and women but opted instead to discuss Palmer’s accomplishments and his strange obsession with the Chinese. Many political parties have capitalized on ANZAC Day to promote their interests with the voters, which is perfectly understandable, but it seems none did so as blatantly and insensitively as Palmer.

One must wonder – what’s the source of Palmer’s apparent hatred for the Chinese and CITIC? If anything, it should be the other way around; the Chinese made Palmer rich and have ironically allowed him to bankroll this massive campaign, one of the biggest in Australian history. Now he attacks them in the media, to the point of alienating voters.

Does Palmer truly believe making unsubstantiated claims against the Chinese is his only way to get publicity? Does he simply think it would go down well with nationalist and right-wing voters? Or is there a personal grudge behind this divisive smear campaign? Most importantly – is it possible none of his many advisors and fellow UAP candidates warned him that this is inappropriate on such a day?

Either way, ANZAC Day is clearly not the time to have this conversation. ANZAC Day should be devoted to the memory of our soldiers, brave men and women who have given their lives and bodies to this country and paid a costly price. Palmer should do well to respect that price in the future – it’s greater than all of his amassed fortune combined.

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