Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer won't seek re-election

Reuters News
Posted: May 03, 2016 10:15 PM

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Controversial Australian mining magnate and politician Clive Palmer said on Wednesday he will not stand for re-election in the lower house of parliament when the country goes to the polls in July.

Palmer, who was once a key power broker in parliament, entered politics in 2013 by winning the seat of Fairfax on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and his Palmer United Party captured a handful of seats, enabling the party to block or pass legislation.

But two of the three senators in his party have quit to become independents and Palmer has suffered a public backlash after his unsuccessful revamp of a golfing resort and after his party took millions of dollars in donations from a nickel plant that was later shut due to lack of funds.

Combined the problems led to hundreds of rural job losses.

"I believe I have the courage today to leave the House of Representatives, satisfied with what Palmer United Party has done," Palmer told parliament.

He is due to hold a news conference in the Australian capital Canberra later on Wednesday, his spokesman said in a statement.

Palmer will also make an announcement about his party's Western Australia Senate team, prompting media speculation that he may seek a seat in the upper house of parliament.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed on Wednesday that he would call an election within the next week to be held on July 2, looking to cash in on a budget plan aimed at creating jobs and spurring growth.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Ed Davies)