Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has rejected Clive Palmer’s ‘nonsense’ but some of his own ministers have called for his style to be less combative.
The Queensland premier has rejected Clive Palmer’s claim that he is a “Nazi”, but has not signalled whether he will take the matter further.
As Palmer United Party senators prepared to be sworn in on Monday morning in Canberra, party leader Mr Palmer elevated his criticism of Premier Campbell Newman.
“Of course he’s a Nazi. He wants to use the Gestapo, you know,” Mr Newman told reporters as he arrived at Parliament House with his new Senate team.
“Look at his popularity. He’s just below [where] Hitler was when he got elected.”
The mining magnate turned federal MP was responding to reports that the Queensland premier was surprised police hadn’t appeared to formally investigate allegations that Mr Palmer used $12 million of Chinese funds during last year’s election campaign.
Mr Newman was reluctant to talk about Mr Palmer during a press conference on Monday afternoon, refusing to say whether he thought the comments were defamatory or if would take the matter further.
“I reject Mr Palmer’s nonsense,” he told reporters before declining further comment.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Palmer’s comments had to stop.
“It’s outrageous, it’s extreme and this sandpit brawl has got to stop,” she said.
She said Labor was not exploring a preference deal with Mr Palmer’s party.
“I have no intention of doing a deal with Clive Palmer, pure and simple,” she said.
Queensland PUP senator Glenn Lazarus has drafted a motion calling for an inquiry into the Newman government, which he expects to pass with Labor and Greens support.
During the past week, the Liberal National Party government has been on the back foot after Newspoll and ReachTEL polls showed it was likely to lose the next election.
Mr Newman was asked on Monday morning if he would change after senior ministers told The Courier-Mail he should stop picking unnecessary fights.
“I’ll be the way I’ve always been, which has been about working for Queenslanders,” he told reporters.
“The government has done things always with the best interests of Queenslanders at heart and I ask people to look at the results.”
But Energy Minister Mark McArdle said change might be needed.
“Without any doubt, the premier is a strong leader,” he told reporters.
“We need, however, to bring people of this state along with us.”