He doesn’t talk about if much nowadays, but Clive Palmer describes himself as a ‘devout Catholic’, boasts of his regular attendance at Mass, and has campaigned against abortion. He’s evasive on the subject of marriage equality, but he seems to be opposed to that too, as you would expect.
In a 2009 ABC interview with Monica Attard, Clive Palmer said:
Well, I’ve donated more money to the Catholic Church than I have to any political party, and that’s for sure.
So how much would that be?
In 2012-13 it is on record that he gave the LNP Queensland $43,300, and the Libs in WA $5,000, at a time when his relationship with the LNP was pretty much on the rocks.
One of the more curious entries in the annual data dump of political donations is the $42,000 Mr Palmer gave to the Queensland LNP on June 5, 2013.
This was two months after the self-proclaimed billionaire announced he was forming his own political party and running for prime minister.
It was more than six months after he quit the LNP after a public – and increasingly nasty – falling out with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman. And it was only three months before the election, in which Mr Palmer stole a House of Representative seat from the very party he sponsored.
He was much more generous to them in the past. He donated $960,000 to the Coalition in 2010-11 and $969,000 the year before. So if he wasn’t lying to Attard, it would mean he gives around a million dollars a year to the Catholic Church. And there is no organisation more implacably and viciously opposed to equal rights for women and the LGBTI community than the church of Rome.
Palmer was a prominent member of Right to Life Australia while at university, organising anti-abortion rallies and campus ‘pregnancy counselling services’ that focussed on persuading women not to abort.
When it comes to marriage equality, he is less straightforward, saying he believes in a “conscience vote for all those issues”.
“It’s not something that I would really determine until I have an issue before me. It can all be in different shades of grey, you know, it really depends on what the proposition is.”
So does Mr Palmer personally believe that same-sex couples should be able to marry, and if so, when would he work to change the marriage act?
“It is not something I have considered at the moment,” he said.
“I can’t pre-empt these things because they are not real propositions before the parliament, right. And there are 101 issues you could ask me about 101 things, but I couldn’t answer them all for you because it would be wrong to do so.
“I haven’t been fully briefed on it. I wouldn’t want to say something to you which was wrong because I hadn’t had the information and I have to correct it later. I haven’t looked at that issue in enough detail to be able to give you a rational answer.”
When campaigning in the last federal election, he was a little clearer.
SUNSHINE Coast billionaire Clive Palmer spoke of his opposition to abortion, his belief in family and the need for forgiveness as he sought to woo the church vote at a forum in Nambour on Monday night.
Mr Palmer said he would allow a conscience vote on gay marriage, warning that a firm party line could lead to its introduction by stealth.
“I believe in the Bible,” he said. “I swear on the Bible.”
All this would explain the way he has directed preferences in Victoria to extreme religious parties like Family First. So if you feel you really must vote PUP, don’t do it above the line. Use the Cluey Voter website to decide your own upper house preferences.