Clive Palmer... in hot water over ads and leaflet.
Clive Palmer... in hot water over ads and leaflet. Brett Wortman

Clive Palmer accused of breaking law with cheeky ads

SUNSHINE Coast MP Clive Palmer has been accused of breaking electoral advertising laws by distributing a letter naming his party's Tasmanian opponents without their blessing.

Tasmania's electoral commissioner is investignating whether the Palmer United Party (PUP) newspaper advertisement for this weekend's state poll breached the Electoral Act.

PUP Senator-elect Jacqui Lambie has denied authorising the advert in The Mercury, which appears to use photographs of other candidates without their permission, and says she has sought legal advice over the matter.

The ABC also reports that  ALP state president John Dowling says he is seeking legal advice over a PUP pamphlet that named Premier Lara Giddings and Opposition leader Will Hodgman without their permission.

Any breach can attract a fine of up to $39,000 and a year-long jail term.

Mr Palmer told the ABC: "As a member of the House of Representatives from Queensland, I don't feel I am restrained in naming any person in Australia, referring to them in relation to a public debate that's going on in the country. And I don't think there is any law that seeks to stop that freedom of speech."

Ms Lambie is the person named as authorising the newspaper ad but she says she did not write, design or submit it.

Mr Palmer told the ABC she had "no knowledge of the ad".

"Normally, it was supplied by our advertising agents electronically to them (Mercury newspaper) and the normal procedure is that their lawyers... decide whether they want to publish, print and distribute it and if they've got anything wrong with it they get back to the advertising agent," he said.

"In this case... they did and they're the ones responsible."

The Mercury Newspaper says the advert was booked by the PUP through an interstate office and 100 per cent supplied and created by them.

Palmer attacks Turnbull over election spending

The federal leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, has hit back at Malcolm Turnbull's attacks over election spending, saying it's the ideas that count.

Responding to reports the Communications Minister would support a finance reform to curtail or cap election spending, Mr Palmer said the Liberals were frightened of competition.

"This was never an issue when I was the Liberals' largest donor," Mr Palmer said in a statement.

"Politicians say they welcome competition but when it's against them it's a different story. The Palmer United Party offers choice and the major parties don't like it.

"What is important is the promotion of the right ideas and policies - the spending is irrelevant.''

Mr Palmer said the Liberals arrogantly believe they have a right to rule.

"This is nothing short of grandstanding by Mr Turnbull. Under legislation our level of spending will be revealed, as it will be for the other parties."

Mr Palmer said the Palmer United Party had not spent at the levels of the Liberals.

"Malcolm Turnbull has a wealth of experience and plenty to offer but should not demean himself by focusing on this pointless matter,'' Mr Palmer said.


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