by Noely Neat
April 26, 2013
Editor’s note: Noely lives on the Sunshine Coast, safe Liberal country, where Peter Slipper and Mal Bough may fight for Fisher, and Clive Palmer may take on the successor to Alex Somylay in Fairfax. Us Queenslanders know how shake up federal politics big time, and I’d love blow-by-blow accounts from voters on the ground. If I was an MSM editor I’d have a reporter living there doing immersion reporting starting now.
I watched the media and Twitter having a good laugh about Clive Palmer forming his own party, the United Australia Party (UAP). There were all sorts of condescending comments, “You can’t buy a Government Clive”, “Clive Palmer running for office, “Clive Palmer couldn’t run if you set his arse on fire!“, and all the obligatory ‘dinosaur’ jokes. Every article online & or story on TV is prefaced with “Ex LNP donor, billionaire Clive Palmer…”
Anyhow, I reckon the joke may be on the media and politicians trashing Clive. I don’t know why Clive is setting up a political party and I don’t really know what his real fight with the LNP was about. We were told it was the Queensland Government overstating how big the State’s debt was, and the mass sackings that resulted. He did put his money where his mouth was too, “Queensland billionaire Clive Palmer donates $250,000 to public sector union Together Queensland to assist sacked public servants“. For a man who has given millions to the LNP over the years and was a life member it was a big call to quit and give funds to the dreaded Unions.
I also know that Mr Palmer, regardless of the buffoon persona, is no dimwit. Unlike most high profile people, he will happily take a public hit or loss for the sake of getting the bigger win. His very public fight with Hyatt Coolum is only one example of this. Clive wanted the resort and he didn’t want Hyatt managing it. They had a contract, Clive tried to terminate it, he fought it, he lost. Everyone smirked, many getting a vicarious pleasure from Clive not getting his own way with the Supreme Court, having to do a private deal with Hyatt. But, Clive didn’t really lose the case at all “Clive Palmer’s Coolum resort to stay open but without Hyatt managing it”. To terminate a Management agreement is a nightmare. I reckon Clive knew he would lose the court proceedings, but that Hyatt would have to show their books in Court, so Clive did get what he wanted, a true idea of the standing of the business at the Hyatt and ammo from the books to do a confidential deal with Hyatt that got them out of his way. He did something similar with his ‘failed’ Gold Coast Soccer team. I’m not sure why he changed his mind on it, but making the Association sack him by what he said publicly resulted in him getting out of the venture scot-free and not having to pay the rest of the licensing fees.
Now how many people do you know will take a public loss and hit to their ego like that? And on more than one occasion? I personally think Clive is a very smart man. He sits back at the end of the day and lets the media & others have their jokes. But he comes out the winner yet doesn’t brag about the win, so while everyone underestimates him or jokes he is quietly getting exactly what he wants and for the price he wants to pay.
I also find it very odd that the ‘human billboard’ as some like to call him while making fun of his press conferences, is so well known, so high profile, yet his personal life is a mystery. So, who is playing who in that profile game? Think about it.
A few people I know have done for work for him, one on a regular basis. His summation of Clive is that he is a really “decent bloke”. Now I trust my friends judgement. He has a pretty good bullshit radar, and he reckons Clive can tell a yarn as well as the next man but is cunning like a fox.
Contrary to popular belief, he also treats his staff very well. Even the lowest paid is valued, so again that does not exactly fit into the bully billionaire scenario many in the media like to promote. Why has no-one from his many staff rolled on him?
I could give other examples of why I don’t think we should be treating Mr Palmer’s run at politics as a joke, and feel his most recent play is one where he is setting others up for the dump. I am sure Mr Palmer really does despise lobbyists. Mr Palmer focused very heavily on them in his initial press conference and on his ABC interview. So off everyone runs, laughing about a ‘Clive Party’. Next day Clive has another presser and says he is standing for Fairfax on the Sunshine Coast. The jokes get funnier, more dinosaurs are mentioned, more people laugh…
But again is Clive thinking ahead. Ted O’Brien is the LNP candidate heir apparent in this very safe conservative seat. Since the sitting member Mr Somylay has anointed Mr O’Brien his successor he is assumed to be a shoe-in. It’s a shame a few journos at the recent press conference had not done a little bit of research – since Fairfax was one of the obvious choices for Mr Palmer, a little peek at Ted O’Brien would have been a good idea.
I say this because Mr O’Brien was with conservative lobbying firm Barton Deakin after ten years with global consulting firm Accenture. Considering the dodgy situation the LNP are finding themselves in now with so many people sick of corporates sticking their finger in the Government pie, I am sure Clive will is love pointing out that Mr O’Brien whilst at Barton Deakin was one of the lucky 13 at the now famous “Ros Bates ‘pre-lobby’ lunch”.
So Mr Palmer has set up his anti-lobbyist stance and his anti-Queensland LNP ‘jobs for mates and heartless’ stance, and his opposition in Fairfax ticks all those boxes with the bonus tick of being associated with the rather toxic Ms Bates. Lovely trifecta.
— Prof Clive Palmer (@CliveFPalmer) April 26, 2013
Mr Palmer is actually a very generous man who has helped a lot of charities, usually on the condition they keep their mouths shut, so this could actually be a civic move on his part. He could actually be doing what he says, giving the public a voting choice, trying to instil more democracy in our system.
Mr Palmer could also be laying out a very elaborate smoke-screen with a very different agenda in mind. He could be trying to put the LNP back in their place? He could have an axe to grind with particular Lobby Firms? He may be getting revenge on Qld LNP by hurting Campbell’s best buddy Tony Abbott?
For all we know he had a dream as a kid that one day he would be Prime Minister. Who would know – he could just be bored!
I have no idea what his end game is. What I do know is that experience shows that if you dig a bit deeper under the flamboyant persona, outlandish press conferences and bold statements, there is ALWAYS an END GAME.
So grab some popcorn, sit back and be entertained. This federal election just got a whole lot more interesting :)
Bit of background:
Lateline: Palmer to contest election with new political party
Watch out – it’s Cliversauras Max
Our PM? Clive Palmer to run in Fairfax as new party leader
Palmer’s party a ‘welcome’ addition to political landscape
O’Brien wins LNP preselection for Fairfax
Minister Bates rejects new lobby claim
Clive Palmer tells Australia he plans to be prime minister – but United Australia Party name isn’t registered