Palmer's Companies Donated A$10 Million to His Political Party

  • Queensland Nickel, now in administration, was biggest donor
  • Turnbull has labeled Palmer's management of firm `shocking'

Australian mining magnate and politician Clive Palmer’s companies channeled almost A$10 million ($7 million) in donations to his political party last fiscal year.

Queensland Nickel Pty donated more than A$5.9 million to the Palmer United Party in the 12 months to June 30, 2015, according to annual financial disclosure documents released Monday by the Australian Electoral Commission. Another Palmer company, Mineralogy Pty, gave A$3.6 million, while Palmer Coolum Resort Pty donated A$191,113.

Palmer has faced criticism from rival lawmakers and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after Queensland Nickel, which operates the Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery, made 237 workers redundant and appointed administrators to assess the operation’s viability amid a collapse in metal prices. Turnbull on Jan. 29 described Palmer’s management of Queensland Nickel as “shocking,” saying he had let down the redundant workers.

Palmer’s spokesman Andrew Crook didn’t immediately respond to e-mail and telephone requests for comment on the donations. Documents show that the party received almost A$26 million from Palmer’s companies in the previous financial year.

Palmer’s political fortunes have been buffeted since he won a seat in parliament in the September 2013 elections. His party initially held the balance of power in the upper house, meaning the Liberal-National coalition government had to negotiate with him to pass laws. Since then, two of his three senators split from the party, whittling his influence.

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