In a surprising display of emotion Queensland MP Ewen Jones has burst into tears on live television after announcing government assistance for sacked workers from Clive Palmer’s nickel refinery.
Mr Jones runs the north Queensland electorate where Mr Palmer’s failed Queensland Nickel refinery was run from, and has witnessed first-hand the financial pain and suffering the sacked workers have been through.
Mr Jones was announcing the financial aid and confirming the government would be chasing Mr Palmer and Queensland Nickel for money, with almost $74 million in redundancy payments to be paid by the government under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme.
It all became too much to emotional MP though.
“This is a tough day in Townsville, because this says that this is the end of the line for a lot of these people. This is taxpayers’ money and no one at Queensland Nickel who has lost their job wants to have taxpayers’ money,” MrJones said.
“We will pursue the management of Queensland Nickel to ensure that we are a creditor of Queensland Nickel. We will pursue that money that taxpayers are owed. It’s the measures we want to get through to the Queensland Nickel employees. Because this is really important for Townsville.”
At that point, Mr Jones begins to cry uncontrollably and steps away from the microphone, with Employment Minister Michaelia Cash taking over.
Ms Cash said the government was serious about making Mr Palmer and Queensland Nickel pay up.
“This includes pursuing Clive Palmer and all of his entities that have been the beneficiaries of the cash that has been stripped from Queensland Nickel,” Cash said.
“Unfortunately it could have all been avoided,” Cash said.
“A viable enterprise has been run into the ground by its managers and former owners.”
Mr Palmer has infuriated the sacked workers and the public over his handling of the issue, with many saying he is trying to dodge his responsibilities as a boss and an MP.
The video of Mr Jones’ emotional display has been circulating widely on social media, with many people praising him for caring so much about the workers.
What do you think about his emotional display?
MP Ewen Jones cries as the Government announces help for former Queensland Nickel workers to access entitlements. https://t.co/Z7HKMZIMSy
— ABC News (@abcnews) April 15, 2016