Clive Palmer tests the ATO, refuses to pay $6.2m carbon tax bill

Newly sworn in MP Clive Palmer said his company Queensland Nickel will not pay a $6.2 million carbon tax bill, challenging the ATO to start legal proceedings.

After missing the June 17 deadline, Palmer’s company was hit with the bill for failing to pay for carbon units equivalent to 206,436 emissions.

The carbon price was $23 per tonne of emissions but Palmer owes $29.90 per tonne as a penalty for not paying on time.

The Queensland billionaire, who was sworn into the new parliament today, told the National Press Club in Canberra that his company had no intention of paying the tax, The Australian reported.

The miner first announced he would appeal the carbon tax in March 2012, calling it unconstitutional.

"We can justify it to our shareholders," he said today.

"And the government, if they think they're owed the taxes, they should commence legal proceedings against us.

"We've commenced legal proceedings in the High Court of Australia against them."

Palmer has previously said that as part of the Coalition’s plan to repeal the tax, any revenue raised should be refunded.

"We think it should be repealed from the date of introduction and the Liberal Party policy seems to be only to repeal it and not worry about the injustices that happened over the last year or two,” Palmer has previously stated.

"So we'd want to get clarification on that. We'd want to get some advice, talk to people and have a friendly discussion with Mr Abbott."

However, Abbott has said any remaining charges needed to be paid.

''They've got to pay their bills, obviously,'' he said.

Today, Palmer said he was not a key player in any of his businesses, only an investor, reaffirming that his new political status did not represent a conflict of interest.

"I'm full-time. Fully retired from business, one hundred per cent politician. That's all I'm doing. Nothing else,” he said.

However Palmer said he could not commit to “sit in a box and do nothing”.

"Six months of the year virtually, members of parliament get elected to represent their community but they live in Canberra,” he stated.

"No wonder they're devoid of any ideas."

Palmer first announced he would start his own political party in April this year, founding the United Australia Party.

Palmer was declared the winner of the federal seat of Fairfax after a recount of votes showed he was 53 votes in front of the Liberal National Party's Ted O'Brien.

Three Palmer United senators also won seats in the parliament.

Palmer arrived in Canberra yesterday on a commercial flight, leaving his private jet grounded for the trip.

When quizzed at the airport by reporters, Palmer said he didn’t join the political game for the cash.

“I rejected the Commonwealth car that every member gets and I'm not too concerned about my entitlements at all. I couldn't care less. I'm not here for money.”

Image: Chris Scott

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