The government has warned MP Clive Palmer against using
his position in parliament to insult China amid a high profile
legal battle with a Chinese company.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop issued the warning, saying Mr
Palmer was trying to demean an entire nation and insult one
of Australia's major strategic and economic partners.
Mr Palmer is embroiled in a legal battle with Chinese
state-owned company CITIC Pacific, which has accused him of
siphoning off $12 million in funds.
He denies the allegations.
The Chinese embassy in Canberra yesterday rebuked the federal
MP for a tirade on national television in which he called the
Chinese government "mongrels" and "bastards".
Ms Bishop added her voice to the increasing condemnation of
the remarks, contacting the Chinese embassy to assure Beijing
they did not reflect the attitudes of Australians.
She said voters in Mr Palmer's Queensland electorate should
reflect on his comments.
"It would appear that he's using his public position, as a
member of parliament and his appearance on a national
television program to insult the Chinese people," she told
News Corp Australia.
The foreign minister's warning comes as new evidence was
filed in the Supreme Court in Brisbane, reportedly detailing
how much of CITIC's money was spent by Mr Palmer on his
The Abbott government, which hopes to finalise a free trade
agreement with China this year, issued a statement to make it
"perfectly clear" it valued its relationship with the Asian
"Peripheral issues will not distract the government in its
work to broaden and deepen this most important relationship,"
Trade Minister Andrew Robb said.