Newspaper vows to continue hot pursuit of Clive Palmer
THE Australian newspaper has vowed to continue to pursue mining billionaire Clive Palmer over the accuracy of his claims while welcoming plans for him to set up a rival national newspaper.
"Anyone who creates media jobs is welcome,'' Editor Clive Mathieson told APN yesterday.
Mr Palmer this week lodged a trademark for The Australian Times for both print and online services.
The move follows an ongoing stoush with The Australian which has turned up the heat on Mr Palmer.
Yesterday, the paper failed in its bid to have sensitive legal documents over Mr Palmer's dispute with one of China's largest companies made public.
Award-winning journalist Hedley Thomas applied for documents between Mr Palmer's Mineralogy and CITIC Pacific, the company that is making the biggest Chinese investment in Australia through the Sino Iron project in Western Australia's Pilbara region.
Mr Palmer has claimed he is making $500 million a year from royalty payments from the Chinese.
Both CITIC and The Australian have disputed this.
Mr Palmer is suing the newspaper for defamation but at the same time tweeting that he welcomes the publicity.
In a series of tweets, the Sunshine Coast resort owner questioned the newspaper's ability to do basic business reporting.
"I'm glad The Australian doesn't project itself as being a business publication,'' Mr Palmer said, pointing out his firm Mineralogy was a non-reporting entity and therefore not subject to mandatory reporting.
Mr Palmer's spokesman said the billionaire was grateful for the publicity that the Australian was giving him.
"He gets a bit disappointed when he is not on the front page.''
This time last year Mr Palmer vowed to launch an online news service called Rage, despite the name already being used by ABC's music program. The suggestion came after massive job cuts at Fairfax, which have also been replicated at News Corp.
The Australian Times is already operating as a UK based site 'for, by and about Aussies in the UK'.
There is also an Australian version of the Australian Times operating.
Mr Mathieson has rejected suggestions the newspaper is going after Mr Palmer, saying it was simply holding him to account, as it would any other politician.
"This is a man who is touting himself to become Prime Minister of this country. It is fair and reasonable to look at this business interests.''
"There is no agenda.''
Mr Mathieson said it was legitimate for a newspaper to test the claims made by any candidate, including relating to their business prowess.
Mr Palmer's camp pointed to Queensland Nickel's $1 billion balance sheet and zero debt as ample evidence of Mr Palmer's capabilities.