Nickel workers sacked by Clive Palmer could be victims of his political ambitions, Senator Nick Xenophon says.
Cash-strapped Queensland Nickel, which announced on Friday it will have to sack 237 Townsville workers, has reportedly donated millions of dollars to the federal MP’s Palmer United Party.
The last payment of $290,000 was made about two weeks ago, the ABC reports.
Senator Xenophon says it’s time Mr Palmer reveals exactly what’s really been going on and makes a proper effort to look after his workers.
“The fact is millions of dollars of money from Clive Palmer, from associated entities, have gone into his political party and it seems to have ended in tears,” the South Australian senator said in Brisbane on Saturday.
“He needs to be up-front with Queenslanders, but most importantly to his workers.
“The way they were dismissed was something that did not have a lot of dignity about it for his workers.”
Senator Xenophon, unveiling Team Xenophon candidates for the upcoming federal election, also took a swipe at Queensland Employment Minister Grace Grace over her comments that there was not much government could change “structurally” to improve youth unemployment levels.
“What Grace Grace said is what the major parties have been thinking for many years, that it’s all too hard to tackle,” he said.
“We say you should never, ever give up when it comes to the issue of youth unemployment and unemployment generally.”
The senator specifically advocated policies to prioritise Australian products in government procurement programs.