Clive Palmer says his wife wants to run at next year’s Queensland election.
Anna Palmer hopes to take on Alex Douglas, who quit as Queensland leader of the Palmer United Party in August, claiming it was plagued by a jobs for the boys culture.
Mr Palmer says his wife is one of three people seeking pre-selection to run for PUP in Dr Douglas’s Gold Coast seat of Gaven.
He made the revelation after Dr Douglas said on Thursday that he didn’t believe PUP would run a single candidate at next year’s Queensland poll.
“It’s interesting that Alex Douglas says that because we’ve got three candidates that want to stand in the seat of Gaven. His seat. And one of them is my wife Anna,” the federal MP and PUP leader told ABC radio.
Mr Palmer says he won’t have any say in his wife’s political future.
“There’s an independent committee of three people, of which I’m not a member, who’ll decide who the candidate will be,” Mr Palmer told AAP.
“We’ve got two other candidates who are pretty good – she may be selected or she may not be.”
But Mr Palmer could not immediately say who the other contenders were.
He said he wouldn’t have discussions with the other two candidates, because “it would be a conflict of interest, as you could appreciate”.
But he said his wife vying for preselection wasn’t a conflict of interest.
“She’s entitled to do what she wants to,” he said.
He also hit back at Dr Douglas’ cronyism claims, saying the Queensland MP’s own wife, Susie Douglas, ran for the party as a federal candidate in the seat of McPherson last year.
“Everyone that’s a member of my family, who works for our company or is a member of the party is entitled individually to stand for what they want to,” he said.
Mr Palmer said his wife decided to nominate for preselection because she had an interest in politics and was keen to see the party regain Gaven at the 2015 poll.
He said he was yet to decide whether PUP would run a candidate in Yeerongpilly against now-independent Carl Judge, who also quit the PUP earlier this month, leaving the party without a presence in state parliament.
Mr Palmer said the party would run candidates in most Queensland seats.
He said he’d already endorsed Ted Shepherd in Mudgeeraba, Steve Anderson in Maryborough and Jeremy Davies in Kawana.
On Thursday, Dr Douglas said he doubted PUP would run any candidates at all.
“I can’t say what they’ll do, I’m no longer involved with the party, but I don’t believe they’ll stand candidates. I think the opportunity to do so has come and gone,” he told reporters.
He said the final decision on who PUP would stand in Gaven would be made in the next two weeks.
“(So) he’ll be able to see the PUP revival inside Gaven.”
Another Queensland MP, Carl Judge, quit the party last week, saying he felt the PUP was distracted by federal issues.
But he believes the party will still run candidates and says Dr Douglas was expressing a personal opinion.
Mr Judge’s resignation left the party without a single MP in state parliament.