Has Clive backed away from Qld seat?
CLIVE Palmer has seemingly backed away from his high profile claim that he would personally contest the seat of Herbert in Townsville.
In July last year Mr Palmer brazenly declared he would contest the north Queensland seat, despite his company Queensland Nickel collapsing in 2016, leaving workers and taxpayers owed about $70 million.
But as his relaunched United Australia Party has announced candidates across the state and country, Herbert has remained conspicuously open.
A spokesman for Mr Palmer confirmed to The Courier-Mail that no UAP candidate had yet been chosen for the electorate.
"The Party has received a dozen nominations for Herbert, each candidate will be interviewed," the spokesman claimed.
He added that whether or not Mr Palmer was one of these candidates was "confidential".
This is despite the UAP's constitution, largely copied and pasted from the LNP's document, giving Mr Palmer and his family almost complete control of the party and preselections.
Under the constitution Mr Palmer personally has the power of all executive and other bodies within the party, including candidate selection committees, until at least December 31, 2026.
Mr Palmer initially said he was "considering" running in Herbert, before later confirming that he would, and even bought a $2.7 million property in Townsville.
He has also described himself on his social media as "candidate for Herbert".
There is speculation among the major political parties that he is preparing himself to run instead for the Senate in Queensland.
There are no Senate candidates currently chosen for the UAP in Queensland, while on advertising Mr Palmer describes himself as the party's "federal leader".
Herbert MP Cathy O'Toole said it was time for Mr Palmer to "put up or shut up".
"Workers in Townsville have been left in the lurch before and there are still hundreds of Queensland Nickel workers hurting," she said.
"I think the reality is - Clive is only about Clive."
Mr Palmer's company Queensland Nickel went into liquidation in April 2016, owing about 800 workers $70 million in unpaid entitlements. It is currently subject to court hearings and Mr Palmer denies any wrongdoing.