Clive sets sail for Canberra
BUSINESS tycoon Clive Palmer said yesterday his grand plan to build Titanic II was about growing his tourism portfolio and promoting Queensland to the world.
And his decision to take a shot at entering federal politics against Treasurer Wayne Swan was about giving something back to the community, not about repealing the mining tax which just happened to be an LNP policy he would follow if elected.
Mr Palmer said the new venture was an extension of his tourism portfolio, which includes Coolum Golf and Spa resort as well as the Robina Woods and Colonial golf courses.
He would not be drawn on his plans for the Coolum resort.
Mr Palmer has previously hosed down reports that he might turn Coolum into a mini Las Vegas by building a casino.
He said yesterday he had only registered trademarks for the name Coolum Casino "to stop other people from doing those sort of things".
"I don't think you can make money just having a casino anywhere, it's a pretty old idea," he said.
"You'll see us propose something for the north coast in the next couple of months. We've got a few nice surprises in store for you as the year unfolds."
Mr Palmer was launching his own international shipping line, Blue Star Line, and a 21st century version of the Titanic, to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the original Titanic's tragic sinking in the Atlantic Ocean.
He said construction would begin next year with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard.
He said half the tickets for the maiden voyage from England to North America in 2016 had been sold price unseen in the first 90 minutes.
Mr Palmer said design work had begun with an historical research team for the new Titanic, which would have the same 840 rooms, nine decks and three classes.
The LNP life member, who has been a major donor for the party, said he wanted to have a say in the future direction of the country.
He will stand for pre-selection in the seat of Lilley against Mr Swan but he did not feel he had to give up his business interests.
In fact, he said a move to politics at age 58 was about "slowing down" to "smell the flowers" and giving "what you can back to the nation".
"I want to see a greater prosperity ... we can only help people if we produce more revenue," he said.
Mr Swan said he could not be happier to fight in Lilley for tax breaks for 16,000 small businesses and 51,000 workers, while Mr Palmer and Mr Abbott fight to protect Mr Palmer's multi-billion profits.
He said Mr Abbott and Mr Palmer must immediately guarantee Mr Palmer would not use his massive wealth to buy his way into parliament or influence the election in Lilley.