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If Clive Palmer had rued the amount of cash he spent on the recent federal election, surely he was feeling a bit more justified after surveying ScoMolition’s performance last week.
Palmer was retweeting a rant by Craig Kelly — former Liberal MP and United Australia Party aspirant — at his former boss: “Scott Morrison, the member for Cook, should be ashamed of himself and resign in disgrace”.
It makes you wonder what could have been if Palmer targeted Kelly at Morrison’s seat of Cook. Of course, if Morrison resigns, the option could soon be open.
United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer (left) with would-be prime minister Craig Kelly.Credit:James Brickwood
Palmer splashed out something like $100 million and gained just one Senate seat in Victoria, but as the financial accounts of his private group Mineralogy show, he could have afforded a lot more.
Mineralogy doled out dividends totalling $700 million between October last year and May 19 this year, when Palmer received a $200 million payout from Mineralogy’s flood of mining royalties.
That last payment was just two days before the big election date, but he also received $400 million in February — that’s another four senate seats that went begging, surely.
Alternatively, he could have picked up Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network for less than that.
We can’t wait to hear back from Clive and Mineralogy to hear what other plans he has for his cash.
Maybe he’s planning to revive his Titanic plans with the funds, or buy one of the Russian oligarch tubs which must be hitting the market soon.
Anyone worried that Clive Palmer might be milking Mineralogy’s cash reserves a little too heavily with the big payouts might be assured by the fact that our irrepressible billionaire does not share these concerns. In fact, he has big deals afoot.
Mineralogy’s financial accounts also revealed that, in January last year, Mineralogy entered into a “payment swap” agreement with a group of entities known as the QN Group.
Mineralogy has agreed to pay QN a whopping $3.675 billion in exchange for 90 per cent of QN Group’s free cashflow until June 30, 2045.
That will give Clive a nice little pension up to the ripe old age of 91.
But who owns this QN Group, what is the QN Group, and how do we know that it will not end in the bitter feuding and legal battles for which Palmer is so well known?
According to its website, the group operates the Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery outside of Townsville, which is wholly owned by one Clive Palmer. Or, should we say, it would operate the refinery if it had not gone into “care and maintenance” in 2016.
That would be the year that Queensland Nickel collapsed under Palmer’s ownership, leaving hundreds without a job.
In June, a Queensland court ordered Mineralogy to repay more than $100 million in loans to the liquidators in charge of Queensland Nickel.
Mineralogy has not got back to CBD about how this deal will work exactly, given the state of its operation, and more importantly, how Clive will benefit. We can’t wait for the answer.
The Legalise Cannabis Party faces a turf war at the Victorian election.Credit:Brendan Beirne
Given all the early excitement over the NSW state election next year, CBD thought it was worth checking how the political parties in Victoria were shaping up ahead of their election in November.
CBD can report there are some interesting minor parties vying for the Victorian vote, and it might be a little hard to weed out exactly who’s who. Legalise Marijuana, for one, has applied to register with the Victorian Electoral Commission. Sounds pretty self-explanatory. The only problem is, Legalise Cannabis has also put its hand up.
Turns out it’s not a joint effort. Legalise Cannabis has never heard of Legalise Marijuana or the people behind it, and CBD’s attempts to contact the latter group were unsuccessful. They have no party website or public policy list, though one would assume legalising marijuana was among them.
Legalise Cannabis secretary Craig Ellis was not so sure. He questioned the legitimacy of the group and whether it was just a Trojan horse to hoover up preference votes in the upper house group voting system. Could it all be a smoke screen?
“It shines a light on the farcical electoral system in Victoria, frankly,” said Ellis, whose Legalise Cannabis is registered nationally and has two members of parliament in Western Australia.
He said he was considering all options, including whether to make a complaint to the Victorian Electoral Commission, comparing the charade to an episode of Brit comedy show Blackadder.
“I’m not going to lose any sleep on it,” Ellis told CBD. “It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.”
The 11,000-odd diners who follow Sydney and Melbourne restaurateur Chris Lucas on Instagram found some interesting investment advice while scrolling the apps this weekend.
Lucas, owner of hip venues such as Surry Hills’ Chin Chin, appeared to post about a $150,000 windfall he raked in from investing with “Mrs Amy”.
High-profile restauranteur Chris Lucas has some cyber advice for his Instagram followers.Credit:Kristoffer Paulsen
“Ya’ll go start investing with her now,” the post said. Where do we sign up? Well, not so fast.
Lucas confirmed his page was hacked after he responded to a message from a verified account purporting to be Instagram. The hackers, it seemed, also locked his account to new followers.
“My view is everyone needs to be super careful when responding to false messages from Instagram,” Lucas said. Words to live by.
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