Mining magnate come minor party leader Clive Palmer claims the latest round of Labor leadership speculation has been fuelled by the growing popularity of his Palmer United Party.
Palmer yesterday announced 30 Victorian Palmer United Party (PUP) election candidates and told the media current Labor leadership uncertainty is a result of the growth of his political party, SMH reports.
“What it's really about is that Kevin Rudd would like to call the election early so he can stop our party from being registered federally,” he said.
Palmer said an early election in August would hinder his party’s ability to register.
“It's about denying people the right to choose — that's what it comes down to,” he said.
Palmer said the major political parities are becoming increasingly panicked by the PUP endorsing almost 100 candidates since its launch in April.
“Five weeks ago they said we couldn't do it,” he said.
“Now they know we will be standing in 150 seats and they are starting to panic because people are fed up with the duopoly.”
But the parties are unlikely to be affected by Palmer’s presence for too long, as he initially announced he would only remain in parliament for one term if elected.
Palmer later refined his comments saying he would reconsider his place in Australian parliament after three years.
“I'm going up there in a sense of duty. Being in parliament is not the agenda,” he said.
“I'll reconsider it after one term, but I'm not the kind of person who is desperate to be re-elected.”
Labelling Sunday’s candidate announcement as a “super Sunday”, Palmer named a new Victorian Senate candidate Penny Palman, and 29 House of Representative candidates, many of which include small business owners.
He also highlighted the party’s key policy agendas, Palmer said the PUP would eradicate the Carbon Tax, boost hospital funding by $80 billion, and develop the East West Link in Melbourne.
Palmer announced in April he would form his own political party for September’s federal election, saying Australia needs a new party “to unite all Australians in a time of crisis to work together”.