A co-founder of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party says Clive Palmer met him and asked if he was interested in playing a role in his organisation.
David Ettridge says the mining magnate turned federal MP approached him at an Adelaide hotel during a Palmer United Party (PUP) rally after the 2013 federal election.
“He just suggested to me that if the opportunity arose that there could be a part for me to play in South Australia,” he told AAP.
“Nothing bigger than a state role.”
Mr Ettridge, a businessman who helped establish the right-wing One Nation party in 1997, said he spent 15 minutes chatting with Mr Palmer in the weeks after the September 2013 poll.
“He was just curious to eyeball, chat and assess,” he said.
“He thought there’s some experience we can bank for the future if we need it.
“There might have been some novelty value … to run into me at one of his rallies – I was a face familiar to him in the group of people.”
John Bjelke-Petersen, the son of former Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and who stood as a PUP candidate at the federal election, was also at the Adelaide rally.
“I had a chat to him as well,” Mr Ettridge said.
Another One Nation founder, David Oldfield, said Mr Palmer had discussed asylum-seeker policy with him.
“I wouldn’t disagree with what he’s putting forward,” he told AAP.
“Basically, he seemed to have the view that they should be processed very quickly and returned to the country of origin and I certainly agree with that.”
But Mr Oldfield wasn’t offered a role with PUP.
“I’m not expecting Mr Palmer to be in contact with me,” he said.
The mining millionaire later told AAP Mr Ettridge is a member of PUP, but wasn’t offered a job in the party’s executive.
“Any member can play a role in the South Australian branch,” he said.
Mr Palmer, who has extensive business interests in China, said he wasn’t concerned about Mr Ettridge’s past with One Nation.
“Not at all. Our party is for all people of Australia to join. If you’re a communist or if you’re from either side, we’re a united party.”