Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Clive Palmer is a dangerous man

and becoming more dangerous.
For those of you in other parts of the world I need to explain. Mr Palmer is a member of the Australian Federal Parliament. He is also the leader of the Palmer United Party - otherwise known as PUP.
The fact that he heads a party with his own name in it should tell people a great deal. He is also a billionaire. He has wide ranging business interests.
Mr Palmer represents an electorate in Queensland and, with a massive advertising campaign and some behind the scenes deals, he also managed to get some of his party members into the Senate. They are "cross benchers" who hold the balance of power - and they are both much too powerful and much too inexperienced. It is clear they have little, if any, understanding of what governments can actually do or how they work.
Mr Palmer gets a great deal of media time - far too much. Many people may like it when he has a shot at columnist Andrew Bolt and many of those same people may like it when his Senators block unpopular Budget measures. I am sure that some have looked on him as "a bit of a larrikin". But when Mr Palmer fires off offensive remarks about the Chinese he is not only being offensive he is endangering our trade relations with the Chinese - and a great many other things as well. That one of his Senators added her support just makes matters worse.  They make Pauline Hanson look reasonable.
Of course Mr Palmer is in parliament for his own purposes. It would be foolish not to recognise that. He is not a philanthropist. He would like to be Prime Minister - for his own ends. He may make noises he believes people want to hear with respect to education, social security and the unemployed but the reality is that he wants what he believes is best for him. He's a businessman first. He's angry with the Chinese for not doing what he wanted with respect to a big project.
Other people go into parliament for their own purposes too but, for the most part, they join a recognised political party and work towards their goals with a little more subtlety than Mr Palmer has.
He scares me.
And it puzzles me that the media is prepared to give him so much oxygen. Why? Even if they are so ready to oppose our present government - and some of them are - why do they give air time to someone who is so ready to do so much harm?
It is time to recognise that the PUP is just that - a puppy in need of training and discipline.

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