Billionaire Tycoon Challenges Treasurer Swan at Election
Billionaire resource tycoon Clive Palmer said he plans to unseat Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan
at the next election as the battle between the nation’s fifth-
richest person and No. 2 government official intensifies.
Palmer, whose wealth was estimated at A$5.05 billion ($5.3
billion) by BRW magazine last year, said he will seek to become
the Liberal National Party candidate for the federal seat of
Lilley in Queensland state, held by Swan since 1998.
“The people deserve better than Wayne Swan,” Palmer said
in a statement announcing his decision to run in an election due
in the second half of next year. “I look forward to giving Mr.
Swan a harsh lesson in democracy on polling day.”
Swan, who has criticized Palmer and fellow mining magnates
Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrest for threatening the democratic
process by using their wealth to shape policy, said he would
“relish” the fight. The government’s 30 percent tax on coal
and iron-ore profits, which Palmer opposes, comes into force on
“Certain individuals with deep pockets can not only
distort public policy debate, but also public policy outcomes,”
Swan, who holds Lilley by a 3.2 percentage point margin, said at
a news conference in Canberra. “I relish the prospect of
fighting for working Australians in this contest with Mr. Palmer
and the Liberal Party, who simply represent vested interests.”
Swan, named as Euromoney magazine’s finance minister of the
year in 2011, will next week deliver a budget that will seek to
end four years of deficits in the 12 months beginning July 1.
Achieving that will require him to withdraw the equivalent of
about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product from the economy,
the biggest fiscal tightening in at least 40 years.
The mining industry is speculating the government intends
to end an offset on diesel tax. The Minerals Council of
Australia took out a full-page advertisement in the Australian
newspaper two days ago criticizing such a move.
Swan lambasted Palmer and other mining billionaires in an
article in The Monthly magazine in March, saying they were
undermining the Australian notion of
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