Mining magnate Clive Palmer says a casino on board his Titanic replica cruise ship should be reserved for those travelling in first class, with pensioners banned entirely.
At a press conference in Brisbane, where Mr Palmer unveiled the first designs of Titanic II, he said he had a social responsibility to ensure passengers wanting to visit the casino could afford to do so.
Mr Palmer, who is known for wild and spontaneous pronouncements, said third-class ticket holders could be screened before being allowed into the casino, and pensioners would be barred entirely.
"We'll be in international waters, so we can probably stop pensioners from coming without breaching any legislation," he said.
"There will be some sort of screening to make sure the people who do go there are people who can afford to go there.
"I think third class we'd have to have questions about, wouldn't we?
"If you can afford a first-class ticket at the prices that I'll be charging, you can probably afford to go to the casino.
"We'll only locate the casino in first class probably, so we should be able to segregate."
Mr Palmer said a ticket for a first-class journey on the original, ill-fated Titanic would set back punters A$80,000 in today's money.
"I'm sure we can do better than that ... but [if not] go third class, that's where I'll be – that's where the fun will be," he said.
Mr Palmer said he meant no offence to pensioners, or future passengers.
"I love pensioners. My closest relations are pensioners," he said.
"I was just trying to say that we need to protect and respect people who have given a lot service to this country and make sure that we don't act positively to impoverish them later – that's all it boils down to.
"We have to have some social responsibility too."
Making reference to the 1997 film about the Titanic's ill-fated maiden voyage, Mr Palmer added: "It's more fun to dance around with an Irish drum than it is to sit at a casino all night."
Mr Palmer said Titanic II would include "proper life boats", safety chutes and slides on an extra "safety deck" to make it compliant with today's regulations.
The drawings released today depict nine decks complete with first, second and third class, officer and crew accommodation.
From deck D upwards, engineers Deltamarin have managed to keep the public rooms, passenger stairs, cabins and features in similar locations as in the original ship.
The board of his shipping company Blue Star Line is yet to approve the final design.
The first voyage is set for late 2016.
When questioned about the cost of the vessel, the multi-billionaire said: "The sky's the limit, I think. All the money I've got is the budget, so I should have enough."
Questions of the casino on board the ship were raised after Mr Palmer confirmed he had no intention of building a casino on the Sunshine Coast, where he recently resumed control of his Coolum golf resort from Hyatt Hotels.
- with AAP
- The Age