Queensland billionaire Clive Palmer says his United Australia Party (UAP) will not contest the WA state election in March.
- Mr Palmer says he will also remove defamation action against Mr McGowan
- Mr McGowan’s office said it had not been notified that any legal claims had been removed
- WA Liberal Party leader Zak Kirkup said he welcomed the news UAP would not contest the state election
In a statement released on Sunday, Mr Palmer said his party would not field any candidates and that he would be withdrawing a defamation case against Premier Mark McGowan.
Mr McGowan’s office couldn’t confirm it had received any notice of the defamation claims being removed.
The decision comes after UAP failed to win a single seat at the Queensland state election in October, and after Mr Palmer lost a legal bid in November to have WA’s hard border deemed unconstitutional.
In his statement, Mr Palmer said Mr McGowan can “breathe easy” knowing his party won’t be standing.
“Mark McGowan must be under enormous pressure so I don’t want to cause him any more stress during the festive season,” he said.
“The WA Premier has repeatedly attacked me and still faces defamation actions. I have had my lawyers write to him over Christmas saying that I will remove those actions even though everyone knows he is guilty.
“Christmas is a time for forgiveness and mercy walks hand in hand with justice.
A spokeswoman for McGowan released a statement saying, “Western Australians will never forget that Clive Palmer tried to pull down the border against health advice and is still trying to take the state for $30 billion”.
“The Liberal Party sided with Clive Palmer and now he will do whatever he can to support the Liberals and Nationals at the election.
“Clive Palmer [has] not ruled out spending millions of dollars running a negative advertising campaign against the State Government, similar to his previous ads Western Australians had to endure.
The spokeswoman also said, “Clive Palmer should withdraw all his legal actions against WA and the Premier.”
Kirkup says major parties stand united against Palmer
WA Liberal Party leader Zak Kirkup said while his party has done deals in previous elections with the UAP, he was glad the United Australia Party will not contest.
“I think it’s important that Mr Palmer and any other shallow millionaire who has too much time or money on their hands doesn’t try and use the WA democracy as a plaything,” he said.
Mr Kirkup said he’s also in support of Mr Palmer’s intention to drop his defamation action against the Premier.
“What we see from the likes of Clive Palmer is continual hot air and bluster and very little substance, so I welcome Clive Palmer’s continual withdrawal from West Australian and I hope Australian politics,” he said.
“This is what we expect from Clive, he says one thing and often does another. It’s up to us here as the major political parties to stand united against Mr Palmer’s influence.”
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