Australian mining magnate to run for Parliament

Associated Press Modified: April 29, 2012 at 11:45 pm •  Published: April 29, 2012

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Mining magnate Clive Palmer, one of Australia's richest business people, said Monday he hoped to run for Parliament for the conservative opposition, which opinion polls suggest will win government next year.

Palmer said he would seek the Liberal National Party's candidacy for the electoral district held by Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan since 1998.

BRW magazine reported Palmer was Australia's fifth richest person last year with an estimated fortune of more than 5 billion Australian dollars ($5.2 billion), and he is the Queensland state-based party's largest donor.

"Politics is about ideas," the 58-year-old told reporters. "You are not going to become rich being a politician."

Palmer is a vocal opponent of new taxes on carbon gas emissions and on coal and iron ore mining profits that take effect on July 1. The center-left Labor Party passed the taxes through the Parliament without the support of the opposition.

Swan said Palmer's aspiration showed that the conservative opposition was "a wholly owned subsidiary of Mr. Palmer."

He warned that big business was already having too much influence on public policy debate.

"I don't want to see this country go down the American road where in recent decades the middle class has shrunk and big money in politics has dominated the political debate," Swan told reporters.

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