'Titanic man' Palmer to enter Australian politics

  • 26 April 2013
  • From the section Asia
Australian businessman Clive Palmer (file image)
Image caption Clive Palmer says he would reverse the carbon tax, of which he has been a staunch critic

Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has announced he is forming a political party with the aim of running for PM.

The mining tycoon, who says he is planning to build a replica of the Titanic, says he will re-form the defunct United Australia Party.

He intends to contest all 150 lower house seats in general elections set for 14 September.

He said he was acting because Australians were "clearly disillusioned with both the major political parties".

Mr Palmer, who formerly supported the opposition Liberal-National coalition, says he will contest the seat of Fairfax in Queensland.

He is currently his party's only candidate, but said more would be announced soon.

He said he planned to scrap the carbon tax - of which he has been a staunch critic - saying the policies of Prime Minister Julia Gillard had "handicapped Australian industry".

Opposition leader Tony Abbott, whose coalition is favourite for the September polls, said that while a new party could compete on the "fringe", he had confidence in Australians to vote for "the people who are serious".

There was no immediate comment from Ms Gillard, but Labor party backbencher Kevin Rudd, himself a former prime minister, described the move as a "last-minute stunt", saying people would want clarity on Mr Palmer's policies.

Mr Palmer, a flamboyant character who has been described as larger than life, announced last year that he planned to build a full-size replica of the Titanic, with some updates, for cruises.

In April 2013 he said a contract had been signed with a Finnish-based naval architecture and engineering firm for the project development phase.

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