Clive Palmer Calls Newspoll "Fake News" While Boasting He's Worth "$4,000 Million"

    I guess we've got three weeks of the Palmer Show now folks.

    What you need to know:

    - The first leaders' debate is taking place in Perth on the Seven Network tonight

    - The latest Newspoll shows Labor's lead over the Coalition shrinking to 51-49 on a two-party preferred vote

    - However, both major parties' primary vote has dropped, signalling how important the minor parties will be to the result of the May 18 election

    - Clive Palmer gave a passionate interview with Today, dismissing the polling for his party as "fake news" and boasting about his wealth

    - There have been yet more spending pledges made by Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten

    Hello! Welcome back to the start of another week of fun on the Election'19 campaign. We seem to have continued where we left off, with a certain Mr C Palmer creating headlines yet again.

    Glenn Hunt / AAPIMAGE

    You see we've had another Newspoll and depending on who you ask it's great news/terrible news all round.

    #BREAKING: The Coalition narrows the gap on Labor as the election campaign enters its final three weeks #Newspoll https://t.co/nZlb0ygWIu #ausvotes

    On a two-party preferred vote, Labor's lead over the Coalition has shrunk to 51-49 with under 3 weeks to go until election day.

    However, both major parties' primary vote has actually dropped (the Coalition from 39% to 38% and Labor from 39% to 37%), which means the minor parties could be set to have a real say in the outcome on May 18.

    The latest Newspoll has Palmer's United Australia Party now ahead of One Nation as the leading minor party, after the Greens, with 5% of the primary vote.

    But Palmer isn't having those numbers and in an interview with Deb Knight from Nine’s Today show on Monday morning declared the polling as "fake news".

    The UAP leader reckons his party is doing much better and that's the reason for the current shouting match over the decision by the Liberals to do a preference deal with him.

    Palmer accused Anthony Albanese of lying about Labor never having a discussion with him.

    “Bill Shorten…couldn’t lie straight in bed, neither could Anthony Albanese.” @CliveFPalmer takes aim at the Labor Party and reveals the United Australia Party will announce a preference deal with the Coalition later today. #9Today

    Palmer said the party was on track and wasn’t worried about preferences.

    “The people of Australia know what we stand for, and on the 18th May they will be voting for us to form government in Canberra.”

    Palmer also said he thinks he will have spent $50 million to $60 million on advertising by the time of the election.

    Knight asked him about the advertising spending and the payments owed to Queensland Nickel staff.

    “Tomorrow I’ll be paying seven million dollars into a trust account so that money can be dispersed among former employees of Queensland Nickel, not because I have to because I want to.” @CliveFPalmer #9Today

    He said that on Tuesday he would pay $7 million into a trust account and the money would be dispersed among former employees of Queensland Nickel who were left out of pocket when Palmer’s refinery collapsed.

    “Not because I have to, but because I want to," he said. "Because I want to help Townsville. I want to make it a better place to live.”

    Palmer said a solicitor was in charge of the trust account that will disperse the money. Asked if the money will be paid out before the election, he said it was “up to them [the former employees]”, saying the staff had to come forward and verify they were working for the company and qualify for a payment.

    Then this happened...

    “My wealth is four thousand million dollars, do you think I give a stuff about what you personally think?” @CliveFPalmer to @Deborah_Knight. #9Today

    Asked by Knight about criticism aimed at him by Labor’s Albanese, Palmer answered sarcastically: “Let’s face it, I’m a bad person. I’m a bad person, who cares about me?

    "We care about this country and the policies we need to get done, we’ve got to stop the fake news — people attacking individuals; we’ve got to talk about what we should do for the benefit of our children.”

    He then attacked Shorten and Albanese and appeared to turn his rant at Knight claiming: “My wealth is 4,000 million dollars, do you think I give a stuff about what you personally think or anyone else? I care about this country.”

    What a start to the day.

    Oh, and on that preference deal, here's what treasurer Josh Frydenberg is doing — UAP gets second spot.

    When I asked where Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party would be on @JoshFrydenberg how to vote card, he said “you’ll have to turn up at Pre-Poll”. Well I did .. UAP ( @StevenUap ) is 2nd on @LiberalVictoria card. #ausvotes #springst #kooyong @10NewsFirstMelb

    This is a thing too.

    Think Clive Palmer wants to Make Australia Great? Read the fine print on his corflutes... made in China. The bloviating billionaire can’t even give printing jobs to Australians. @9NewsAUS @auspol

    At a later press conference, Palmer repeatedly attacked Shorten and Labor before confirming the UAP would give the Liberal Party its second preferences.

    Clive Palmer: "United Australia Party is standing at 151 candidates in every seat of the House of Representatives. Because it wants to win government in its own right." #AusVotes19

    Asked about the Liberal/UAP preference deal, Labor leader Bill Shorten said: "If Clive Palmer gets into the Senate, I blame Scott Morrison."

    Darren England / AAPIMAGE

    "The only way that bloke can be on electoral life support is because the Liberal and National Party are putting him there. This is turning Australian politics into a joke, isn't it?

    "The Morrison government is so desperate, when you vote for Scott Morrison, you're voting for the Morrison-Palmer-Hanson government. Australians are sick of the circus of Australian politics, a vote for Mr Morrison pretty much guarantees Mr Palmer in the Senate, Ms Hanson in the Senate, and more chaos for three years. Vote Labor in the house, and vote Labor in the Senate to avoid more chaos and confusion."

    He also said he didn't think Wayne Kurnoth should remain as Labor's Northern Territory Senate candidate after old social media posts were revealed by The Australian.

    "I don't think he should be our candidate anymore," @billshortenmp confirms Wayne Kurnoth will stand aside as a Labor Senate candidate in the NT. https://t.co/MacFzuayRf

    Talking of polling, this story appeared over the weekend suggesting a large swing against the Liberals in Curtin (Julie Bishop's old seat).

    Federal Election 2019: Liberal Party’s blue-ribbon seat of Curtin ‘hanging by thread’, according to new poll https://t.co/hPZ9lM9NZV

    However, ReachTEL claims not to have done the polling and the independent candidate Louise Stewart is now facing questions over how it came into existence.

    I’ve been made aware today that a purported poll conducted in Curtin appears not to have been done by Reachtel. I’m working with Reachtel to determine the origins of the poll, which was passed to our campaign by a third party.

    Monday is the start of early voting, with hundreds of polling booths opening. There are reports some 40% of Australians will head to the polls before May 18.

    With early voting centres opening today we’ve been busy through the weekend printing, securely packaging and dispatching millions of ballot papers. Pics of the coordination of interstate ballots in WA. #ausvotes

    The spending pledges are continuing from the major parties, with the Coalition promising $156 million to fight cybercrime and Labor promising billions for childcare and dental care.

    Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

    The mudslinging from both sides continues.

    This is an actual headline. The Liberals actually said cheaper childcare was communism.

    At least one person is happy.

    “Thank you Minister Dutton for gettin’ rid of the worst Prime minister Australia’s ever had. You deserve a medal.” PMlive pub test keeping it real.

    Don't forget to tune into the leaders' debate this evening folks. I mean, look how fun it's going to be (it's on the Seven Network BTW).

    The front page of tomorrow's The West Australian #auspol

    A fairly accurate depiction of us all trying to make it through the election campaign.

    This is not what you need after 26.2 miles... #LondonMarathon

    Richard James is the News Director for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

    Contact Richard James at richard.james@buzzfeed.com.

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