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Qld Nickel death knell would help workers

 

Queensland Nickel sacked workers are likely to welcome any push to liquidate Clive Palmer's business because they will finally get some financial help, a union says.

Creditors of the federal MP's company, which has debts of about $100 million, will learn on Tuesday if administrators want it wound up.

They'll then vote on those recommendations at a meeting in Townsville on April 22.

The Australian Workers Union doesn't know what FTI Consulting will recommend.

But Queensland branch secretary Ben Swan says options for the asset-poor company are limited, and believes liquidation is a likely outcome.

"Liquidation would trigger the federal entitlements guarantee scheme for these 787 workers, who are in extraordinary financial pain at the moment," Mr Swan told AAP on Monday.

He said workers were owed about $74 million but they wouldn't get close to that under the federal scheme.

"I don't think people are going to be heads-in-hands weeping about the prospect of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd being put in liquidation because they'll get some of their money," he said.

"But there won't quite be shouts of joy either. There'll be some who'll walk away with a fraction of what they are entitled to."

Mr Swan said the union was watching with interest amid fresh claims Mr Palmer was making major financial decisions at Queensland Nickel well after he stepped down as a director on entering parliament in 2013.

The ABC's Four Corners program says it's seen documentary evidence that Mr Palmer had the final say on major financial decisions well after that time, and that those decisions were outlined in emails from his email alias, Terry Smith.

Mr Swan said the AWU called on the corporate watchdog in January to investigate its suspicions that Mr Palmer might have been acting as a shadow director.

"We obviously had questions about where that might lead from a liability point of view (if Queensland Nickel were to fold)," he said.

"If there are materials that are now in the possession of some, that tend to show a pattern of behaviour on the part of Mr Palmer by the assumption of an alias, then that is concerning."

Mr Palmer has accused Four Corners of being uninterested in the truth on a story that will damage him.

He says he offered to do a live interview with the program to answer the allegations but was refused.

"#FourCorners contains a number of factual errors & if broadcast will cause substantial damage to me," Mr Palmer tweeted.

"Why does#4Corners refuse to allow me to appear live on Monday for their story on me?"

But Four Corners says Mr Palmer declined repeated requests to speak on camera, and the show does not do live interviews.