(By Ray Dixon)
Billionaire mining tycoon Clive Palmer has a habit of making grandiose announcements that keep us entertained. His latest being that he will stand for a Queensland federal seat in September’s election, declaring he wants to be elected Prime Minister.
It matters nought, of course, to Clive that his new United Australia Party has so far only one member and one candidate (being Clive), and that the election is only just over 4 months away; somehow Clive wants us to believe he’s really serious about his latest plan:
The flamboyant businessman – who is also behind a plan to build a replica of the Titanic cruise ship – floated his latest idea at a Brisbane news conference today.
He said his new United Australia Party would contest every seat across the country, but so far he is the only candidate.
Mr Palmer said he would stand in the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax, currently held by the LNP’s Alex Somlyay.
“The reason I’m standing for federal parliament is because I’m standing to be the next prime minister of Australia,” he said.
He said more candidates would be announced soon.
“In the coming weeks and the days ahead, you’ll see major figures in Australian politics and in this nation’s history, right across the country… make a courageous stand to get government back for the people,” he said.
Sure Clive. It’s a pity that Palmer is such a raving fruitcake (I actually think he exhibits classic bi-polar disorder symptoms, the out-of-left-field delusions of grandeur being the main one) because his premise is hard to disagree with:
The billionaire said he was forming the political party because it was “time for Australia to claim back itself”.
“I could go off and stay in Monaco, have a nice drink and forget about this country, but we’ve got more commitment to Australia, to your children, than anyone else,” he said.
“I’m fed up with watching television and seeing Tony Abbott, who is no different than Julia Gillard, they’re both of the same lot – and that’s what you’ll get.
“Don’t look at these policy debates, they’re all rubbish. They won’t be implemented by anybody.”
And some of his ideas ain’t bad at all:
A former life member and generous donor to Queensland’s Liberal National Party, Mr Palmer has outlined policy differences between his party and the LNP.
He told Lateline last night he would ban lobbyists from the party, scrap the carbon tax retrospectively, and arrange for asylum seekers to fly to Australia to seek protection.
“I’m not interested in being involved in dreams, I’m interested in making change in this country, and providing employment and a real future and a real aspiration for our people,” he said.
It’s hard to argue with that. Palmer is a hard-headed businessman with a heart and scrapping the carbon tax (a real idiotic policy in my opinion), while at the same time welcoming asylum seekers, shows the complexity and thinking-outside-the-square attitude of the man. I like that mixed bag approach because it shows he’s not tied to one particular doctrine – i.e. he’s neither left or right.
You’ve gotta agree that both major parties have let us down greatly and maybe it’s time for a serious third political force to emerge (other than the radical Greens, that is). Unfortunately, it all falls in a heap when Clive says this:
“That’s why I’m standing, because I think I can offer better service to the community than anyone else.”
Somehow I don’t think the rest of Australia wants Clive himself running the country – something about wanting to mine the crap out of it comes to mind.
If Palmer were serious, he’d first establish a real party (with real and credible people!) and some real and tangible policies, not just ideas off the top of his head. And he’d do all that in a more timely manner, not in the last few months leading up to an election.
But the real problem with Palmer’s
political prank party is, it makes a mockery of something we really need – a serious and viable third choice. I just wish someone more sane than Clive (or Katter) would do it.