Friday, 13 March 2015

So the "Palmer United Party"

is a little less united? 
For those of you in Upover let me explain. Clive Palmer is a Downunder "mining magnate".  He also has political ambitions. (Those ambitions may even include a desire to have a shot at the top job.)
Mr Palmer spent a lot of money at the last federal election. He ran candidates in 150 seats and managed to get himself into the Lower House and two Senators into the Upper House - a third Senator was elected at a special election slightly later. 
One of the Senators quit the party last year - just months after being elected. She is now an "independent". Now another Senator has quit. Five "PUP" members in state parliaments have also resigned. That leaves one Senator and Mr Palmer in his "united" party. 
It does not surprise me. Mr Palmer is a larger than life character - in more ways than one. He recently told the Prime Minister to commit suicide. He has been outspoken on many issues. His attendance in parliament has been "irregular". After all, he has a business empire to run as well.  His foray into politics has been as much about his business empire as it has been about uniting to save the country.
But how business savvy is he really?
People have used Mr Palmer to get themselves into politics. He has paid their deposits. He has paid for the advertising that got them there. 
I know there are people who will say, "Too bad. He can afford it."
I disagree. There was a "contract" between them. He "offered" or paid. They "accepted". There was another "contract" too - between those who resigned and those who voted for them.  They voted for PUP representation - not independent representation.  
We had a similar problem with our local MP. Within weeks of being elected he effectively switched sides. Many, perhaps most, who voted for him won't use him as their local member. They are relying on the services of someone else. They don't trust him enough to go to him with a problem. From all accounts he still believes he is going to be re-elected. If he isn't then other people, his electorate staff, will lose their jobs too. I doubt it is a problem which keeps him awake at night.
"Loyalty" doesn't seem to be a word that belongs with "politics". Oh yes, there are people who are "rusted on" to their parties but I suspect they would still stab their leaders in the back if it meant they could take their place at the top. 
But, for those of us who vote them in, I think there should be some certainty. If you are elected as the member of a party and you choose to resign from it then you should also resign from parliament and take your chances at a by-election paid for by you. There should also be the possibility of your former party recouping their expenses in getting you elected. Anything else is taking money under false pretences. 
We all know what can happen to people who do that in the real world.

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