The mystery of Clive Palmer’s $50 million cash splash on election advertising will move a step closer to being solved on Thursday, with confirmation he will run for the Senate.
But another independent, Senator Tim Storer – who torpedoed the Coalition’s original corporate tax cut plan – is bowing out, confirming he will not contest the May 18 election.
Mr Palmer is expected to formally announce he will not run in the Townsville-based seat of Herbert, instead opting for the safer option of campaigning for a Senate spot.
The controversial businessman was returned to Forbes‘ list of the 50 richest Australians this year in 20th position, with a net worth of $1.8 billion.
His United Australia Party has preselected candidates in 134 seats across all states and territories.
But his huge advertising spend has sparked criticism, given his failure to pay up to businesses owed up to $300 million from the collapse of his nickel refinery in Townsville.
This week, Mr Palmer made a surprise announcement that he planned to pay back “millions of dollars” in outstanding entitlements owed to workers.
“Townsville’s certainly been doing it tough and difficult since the floods and we want to look forward and not backwards,” he said.
“For that reason I’ve decided today that we will pay out all outstanding amounts in workers’ entitlements that was owed by Queensland Nickel.”
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Check out the full vid here: https://t.co/In6oy6UqzQ pic.twitter.com/acUWWZ63lx
— Fitzy & Wippa (@fitzyandwippa) April 11, 2019
Data and analytics firm Nielsen has estimated Mr Palmer has already spent $30 million on TV and radio advertising – prompting on air criticism from broadcaster Ray Hadley, who said he was sick of running the ads.
There are also reports he has locked in a $6 million advertising spend with News Corp in the final weeks of the campaign.
Meanwhile, Independent Senator for South Australia Tim Storer announced on Thursday that he’s bowing out of politics after serving under two years in Parliament.
“After much thought and consideration with my family, with full knowledge of life as an independent Senator and the implications of what this means for my young family for the next six years, I have decided to not nominate for re-election. I believe it would be disingenuous of me to ask South Australians for their vote in these circumstances,” Senator Storer said.
“This has been a difficult decision for me. I am deeply appreciative of the support I have received from many members of the community and the respect with which I have been treated by my fellow Senators and other parliamentarians”.
Senator Storer’s entry to politics was unorthodox. He secured just 189 votes as Nick Xenophon’s fourth and final Senate candidate.
When Nick Xenophon resigned from the Senate he announced his intention to appoint a staffer, Rex Patrick, to the vacant position, prompting Senator Storer to write to SA Parliament insisting he had a claim to the seat.
After another NXT Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore resigned over Section 44 issues, the High Court ultimately appointed Senator Storer to the vacancy.
Mr Storer’s decision to block the company tax cuts for Australia’s biggest companies ensured $36 billion in revenue was retained in the budget. He agreed to tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses.
It might have been against the Coalition’s wishes, but it ultimately helped Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s task of paying off government debt by 2029.
Senator Storer’s re-election was not guaranteed but his departure is likely to increase the chances of One Nation securing another Senate spot in SA.
The Senate race in SA remains something of a lottery for the minor parties – with the Greens, and Nick Xenophon’s rebranded party the Central Alliance, battling it out.
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— Tim Storer (@storertim) April 17, 2019