Australian mining tycoon with eye on politics
Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer plans to add politician to his lengthy resume.
SYDNEY - The flamboyant and controversial Clive Palmer is a self-made billionaire mining magnate, a real estate developer, football club owner and tourism resort operator.
As of Monday, he plans to add politician and luxury cruise ship owner to his lengthy resume.
The burly 58-year-old Australian revealed the plans in back-to-back press conferences, the latest in a string of high-profile announcements this year that have thrust him into the public eye.
Australia's fifth richest man with an estimated fortune of Aus$5 billion (US$5.2 billion), thanks to his vast coal and other mining assets, unveiled plans to build a 21st century version of the doomed Titanic in China.
Its first voyage from England to New York is set for 2016.
He also announced his bid to challenge federal Treasurer Wayne Swan for his local Queensland state seat in national elections next year.
"I have done this because the treasurer and myself both have clear different visions of where this country should go," said Palmer, a lifelong member of the conservative opposition Liberal National Party.
He is at loggerheads with the government over its proposed carbon tax, which he claims is ill-conceived and will cost his companies dear.
The government is not his only gripe. He is also locked in a bitter battle with Football Federation Australia which he this year branded "incompetent".
It led to the club he runs, Gold Coast United, being thrown out of the domestic A-League and the FFA's chief, fellow tycoon Frank Lowy, calling him "confused" and "illogical".
This appeared to be reinforced when just weeks later Palmer claimed that the CIA was funding a plot against the coal industry in Australia.
He accused the environmentally focused Greens, a key ally in Prime Minister Julia Gillard's minority coalition government, of involvement
in the American intelligence agency conspiracy.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr blasted his "recklessly irresponsible" comments while Greens founder Drew Hutton, a strident anti-coal activist, said he was "disgusted by these bizarre and dishonest allegations".
It has been an eventful year for the father-of-three, who once handed out Aus$10 million worth of Christmas bonuses to his staff, including 55 Mercedes-Benz B-Class cars.
In February, he revealed he was considering a tilt at media ownership, like fellow mining billionaire Gina Rinehart.
Palmer, who reportedly has three private jets and two helicopters, has never been one to sit in the shadows.
He made an impact in Asia in 2011 when his Resourcehouse cancelled its plan to list in Hong Kong for the fourth time, citing unfavourable global market conditions, in an offering originally aimed to raise up to US$3.6 billion.
After dropping out of university, he went into real estate just as the Gold Coast tourist playground was starting to boom.
He made millions and created his company Mineralogy. He also runs Waratah Coal and Resourcehouse Limited and is a director of 28 other companies, according to his website.