Clive Palmer launches attack on 'paid lobbyist' opponent
CLIVE Palmer has called for his LNP opponent in Fairfax to stand down because he was a lobbyist prior to his pre-selection.
But Mr Palmer's own candidate in Fisher, Palmer Coolum Resort general manager Bill Schoch, has come under question because of his background as an auditor.
Mr Palmer said an online article revealed Mr O'Brien's past as managing director for Barton Deakin's Queensland office, a lobbying firm that positioned itself as 'the preferred lobbyist in Brisbane with direct links into government'.
"Mr O'Brien has admitted in the past he actively lobbied Brisbane boardrooms in November 2011 to persuade clients of Labor-aligned Hawker Britton to switch to Barton Deakin due to the likely change of government at the Queensland State election in March 2012," Mr Palmer said in a statement today.
"I have maintained over the course of the last 12 months that lobbyists have no place in government and this stands for Mr O'Brien.''
Mr O'Brien responded by saying he would like to thank Mr Palmer for continuing to raise his profile "because it is important the people of Fairfax know the only way to get rid of this Gillard Government is to vote for Ted O'Brien of the LNP.
"It's a pity Mr Palmer lives on the Gold Coast and not the Sunshine Coast otherwise he may have been aware of my 20 years of business experience across Asia and the Asia pacific in industries from agriculture through to high technology.
"Let me appeal to the people of Fairfax to not look down on Mr Palmer because he is negative...''
Questions raised about Clive Palmer's candidate for Fisher
However, questions were today raised about the background of Mr Palmer's Fisher candidate Bill Shoch, who now runs his Coolum resort.
Back in 2005, The Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board (CALDB)issued a formal reprimand to the then Brisbane auditor, following action taken by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
According to ASIC's website, the CALDB issued the reprimand after finding that Mr Schoch:
- failed to conduct the audit in compliance with Australian Auditing Standards;
- failed to act adequately and properly in his conduct and methodology of the audit; and
- failed to satisfy himself as to whether the financial statements were prepared in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards.
The audit carried out by Mr Schoch related to the consolidated financial statements of Future Corporation Australia Limited (formerly Telco Australia Limited) and controlled entities for the financial year ended 30 June 2000.
Future Corporation Australia is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
The company suffered setbacks after the April 2000 downturn in technology stocks.
The audit report by Mr Schoch of the consolidated financial statements of the company and controlled entities for the financial year ended 30 June 2000 was unqualified.
The CALDB also ordered Mr Schoch to pay ASIC's costs totalling $34,000.
'Auditors must take care to ensure they comply with all standards relating to their profession as ASIC will not hesitate to take regulatory action where the standards expected of auditors are not met', Mr Mark Steward, Deputy Executive Director of Enforcement said at the time.
Mr Palmer told media he was not concerned about the matter, labelling it a smear.
Mr Palmer also said Mr O'Brien was involved in the controversial lobbying lunch in August 2012 for then-Arts Minister Ros Bates.
Mr Palmer revealed Mr O'Brien was one of three attendees at the lunch from Barton Deakin and also assisted in organising it for Ms Bates.
"This lunch saw 13 companies represented including the lobbyist firm, Fujitsu, Microsoft and the software company behind the troublesome health payroll, SAP Australia," he said.
"The infamous lunch was organised by lobbyists and attended by lobbyists, though it was not included on Ms Bates' official Contact with Lobbyist register.
Barton Deakin made no secret of its work in lobbying politicians
According to its website, former Brisbane Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson AO and Gerard Paynter are the heads of the Barton Deakin Queensland office as Chairman (Queensland) and Managing Director (Queensland) respectively.
The website makes no secret of its work.
"Sallyanne and Gerard, work directly with Barton Deakin's clients and the Liberal National Party to assist clients with:
- Formulating government relations strategies informed by insights into the inner workings of government
- Executing government relations strategies including advocacy, relationship development, lobbying and negotiation
- Analysing governments and oppositions - the policy, the people, the process and decisions - to identify insights that will aid a client's agenda