Anna Palmer is seen leaving the Brisbane Federal Court in Brisbane in March. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Anna Palmer is seen leaving the Brisbane Federal Court in Brisbane in March. Picture: AAP/Darren England

Clive’s wife works at firm looking after workers’ payments

CLIVE Palmer's wife works for the law firm handling the Trust meant to pay Queensland Nickel's workers, even as it can be revealed it will short-change them on their superannuation.

To pay outstanding worker's entitlements, Mr Palmer has paid $7.16 million into a Trust account managed by Sam Iskander of Alexander Law - the same law firm where Anna Palmer works.

Senior legal sources say this could raise questions of real or perceived conflict of interest, but Mr Iskander said there was no issue.

"There is no benefit or advantage that is derived from this to Mr Palmer or our firm other than finalising these outstanding entitlements," he said.

Clive Palmer and his wife Anna (left) leaving the Federal Court after giving evidence at the public examination of the collapse of Queensland Nickel. Picture: Claudia Baxter
Clive Palmer and his wife Anna (left) leaving the Federal Court after giving evidence at the public examination of the collapse of Queensland Nickel. Picture: Claudia Baxter

But it can also be revealed the $7.16 million does not cover the workers' superannuation.

A spokesman for Mr Palmer insisted that it covered PAYG, superannuation and payroll tax.

But a breakdown of money's owed shows the $7.16 million includes wages ($173,698), annual leave ($594,404), redundancy payments ($5.238 million), long service leave ($306,307) and payment-in-lieu-of-notice ($857,003) only.

It means there is about $614,000 in unpaid superannuation which would still be left owing to workers.

Superannuation owing to former QNI workers is administered by the Australian Taxation Office under the superannuation guarantee charge.

It is understood it would be difficult to pay the outstanding super, and receive the necessary assignment from the ATO, without doing so through the formal liquidation process.

Clive Palmer’s offer to pay $7.16 million to workers does not cover superannuation payments. Picture: AAP Image/Kelly Barnes
Clive Palmer’s offer to pay $7.16 million to workers does not cover superannuation payments. Picture: AAP Image/Kelly Barnes

Mr Iskander said he was working to pay the outstanding entitlements.

"We are working with accountants and QNI Resources Pty Ltd management in determining those amounts that are owed," he said.

A spokesman for Mr Palmer said there was no conflict in his wife working for the same firm handling the Trust.

"The funds have been deposited into a Queensland lawyer's Trust account," he said.

In liquidation, superannuation is given the same priority in payout of unpaid wages, meaning it is usually paid out ahead of annual leave or redundancy entitlements.

There are also questions over whether the workers would have to pay tax on any lump sum paid to them by Mr Palmer.