Palmer challenges police to arrest him in plane fuel drama

CLIVE Palmer has labelled Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as 'Commandant Kev' after the billionaire says he was left stranded when fuel was redirected to the PM's plane.

A major row escalated at Melbourne airport about 10am on Thursday which involved federal police and airport authorities.

At one point, the Sunshine Coast resort owner and billionaire stood at the plane and challenged police to arrest him.

Mr Palmer told APN that the refuelling hose was hooked up to his jet when a call came through that the fuel was needed for Mr Rudd's plane, which was yet to land.

He said the prime minister's plane then sat at Melbourne Airport for over an hour without being refuelled.

Mr Palmer said the fuel he had already ordered for his aircraft was left sitting idly on the tarmac.

The Palmer United Party leader claimed the move was a ploy from Mr Rudd to hinder his campaign efforts.

"It's a sad day for democracy when the prime minister tries to use the power of government and the law to crush people in Australia and to stop people from having the right to freedom of speech,'' he told AAP.

"You can't have the Prime Minister and government stopping candidates from moving around the country.''

Mr Palmer said federal police and authorities became involved after he refused to move his $70 million plane on principle.

"I told them I was ready to go to jail.''

An AAP photographer was on the plane, along with other media, to capture the drama.

"'We're not moving our plane, arrest me, mate'," Mr Palmer said.

Mr Palmer said he and his team were stranded at the airport for two and half hours, throwing out his campaign schedule in Tasmania.

The Palmer United Party has candidates in 150 seats across Australia.

Mr Palmer, a long time member of the Liberal National Party, is largely funding the campaign himself, at a cost of millions of dollars.

Comment is being sought from Mr Rudd's office.

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