CLIVE Palmer and Santa Claus have plenty in common.

They're both big, white-haired and jolly - and giving of their time and resources.

Mr Palmer joked he was the "real Santa Claus" after hosting lunch for 700 disadvantaged people yesterday.

The billionaire, joined by his family, threw the lavish spread, complete with seafood, roasts and desserts, at his Palmer Coolum Resort, with the help of staff and 100 volunteers.

The price tag for the event was of no concern to Mr Palmer, mostly because he had not calculated it.

"I never worry about those things, I just sign the cheques," he told media.

"I haven't run out of money yet and I don't think I will run out. It doesn't matter what it's cost us. It's how much good we can do for the people here."

Mr Palmer hit back at critics who had labelled the lunch a publicity stunt.

"It's not a money-making event," he said. "Hopefully, this can be a time of giving and hopefully we can provide a small token to people to sustain the light in their heart to get through the year.

"In the final analysis in life, materialism isn't all that important."

When asked if he would like to see the lunch become an annual event, Mr Palmer said it should be happening all over Australia.

"I'd like to see communities everywhere reach out to people and invite them to come together," he said.

Throughout the meal, Mr Palmer regularly got up mingled with various guests.

Some approached him, shook his hand, had photos taken and even asked for his autograph.

"They've been thanking me for remembering them and realising that their lives are important," he said.

Yesterday's lunch was organised with the assistance of Mission Australia.


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