Was it ethical for Palmer's nickel company to fund PUP?

CLIVE Palmer's revelation his company Queensland Nickel donated $15 million in 2013 to set up Palmer United Party in a bid to abolish the carbon tax raised questions the Federal Parliamentary Ethics Committee should look to consider, according to a leading ethicist.

Queensland Nickel went into voluntary administration yesterday three days after it laid off nearly 300 workers at its Townsville refinery.

Justifying a string of donations from the company to his party, Mr Palmer described the $15 million as money well spent.

He told reporters that as a result all the manufacturing industry in Australia didn't have to pay the carbon tax and "we (PUP) reduced electricity prices by 10% for all Australians".

"Now that saved the refinery $24 million a year," Mr Palmer said.

"Without Palmer United doing that, the refinery - like many other businesses across Australia - would have been closed and many more workers would have lost their jobs."

Corruption fighter Howard Whitton, of the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, said Clive Palmer appeared to have a convergence of interest.

"If there is a question it is one for the Parliamentary Ethics Committee to see whether he has voted in his own commercial," he said.

"I'm not sure if he declared an interest.

"He will say it was in the public interest because everyone benefited but there is an argument against that. It's a bit of a quagmire."

Mr Palmer did not return calls from the Sunshine Coast Daily yesterday.

The first Queensland Nickel creditors' meeting is expected next week.

Administrators FTI Consulting has yet to quantify the extent of its debt.

Queensland Nickel manager Clive Mensink said he believed the company had the ability to continue its operations and trade out of administration.

"It is my understanding that the administrators will be in contact with all stakeholders and the operations of QNI will continue on as usual. From our perspective it is business as usual and employees of QNI will continue productivity at this difficult time," Mr Mensink said.

On Sunday Mr Mensink revealed that Mr Palmer had contributed $2.5 million to ensure workers could be paid before Christmas.

"Clive Palmer owns 100 percent of the company and no mums and dads have invested nor have the banks lent Queensland Nickel a dollar," he said.



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