Speculation hanging over Labor’s leadership is the result of “panic” at the prospect of facing the Palmer United Party, according to the party’s billionaire leader Clive Palmer.
He said a leadership change could lead to an early election that would prevent the Palmer United Party being registered in time.
“Kevin Rudd would like to call the election earlier so they can stop our party from being registered federally,” Mr Palmer said.
“If they can issue the writs by the 3rd of July and have an election in August they haven’t got to face it and people don’t get a choice.”
The businessman said his party will run candidates in all 150 lower house seats as well as the senate and will provide a “genuine alternative” to the two major parties.
“They know we’ll be standing in 150 seats and they’re starting to panic.”
Mr Palmer also said if he was elected to the top job, he would likely only stay for a single term.
“If I’m elected as prime minister I’ll only be there for three years,” he said.
“I don’t want to stay there and go there. I’m going out there as a sense of duty.”
Mr Palmer was in Melbourne on Sunday to announce the Victorian candidates for the Palmer United Party.
They included a nervous Joe Zappia who will be campaigning against Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the west Melbourne seat of Lalor.
Mr Zappia stuttered through a short speech in which he confused the name of the party he was representing.
“The Palmer Liberal … I’ve never done this before and I’m not here to read these sort of things,” Mr Zappia said.
“I will get better at this but the nerves are unbelievable at the moment.
“Sorry for what I’ve done to you today.”
He joins Victorian senate candidate former AFL great Doug Hawkins.