View from The Hill: Clive Palmer’s back on the trail, with Brian Burston in tow


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Surely Clive Palmer is one soufflé unlikely to rise twice – although predictions are hazardous when we’re talking about a man dedicated to buying votes.

It beggars belief that Palmer, discredited in the political shambles and business disasters and disgraces of the last few years, can be starting out again, planning to run candidates in “all seats” in the House of Representatives and for the Senate.

The comings and goings into, out of and within the Senate this term have made that house a travesty.

The changes to the Senate voting system will curb the ability of “rats and mice” – micro parties and independents – to win seats at the election. But any voters so angry about the more conventional parties that they are tempted to look Palmer’s way again might like to consider the shenanigans on Monday.

Senator Brian Burston, formerly of One Nation, after his acrimonious divorce from Pauline Hanson told the Senate just after 10am that he was sitting as an independent.

He was one of three senators making statements about their new affiliations. Tasmania’s Steve Martin, who was on the Jacqui Lambie election ticket but had sat as an independent, reported he’d joined the Nationals since the full Senate last met; Fraser Anning, formerly of the One Nation ticket who’d also been an independent, put on record that he had now moved to the Katter’s Australian Party.




Read more:
Grattan on Friday: The loners who lead, and trash, ‘personality’ parties


An hour or so after his declaration, Burston had publicly re-partnered – as had already been anticipated. Now he “leads” the United Australia Party (UAP) in the Senate – its sole member. In today’s Senate, you don’t need company to have a party.

The UAP is the new iteration of the Palmer United Party, which made a splash at the 2013 election but had drowned by 2016.

It will be recalled by those who follow these things that Palmer had originally wanted to use the UAP moniker, ripping off the name of the major conservative party of the 1930s and early 1940s.

But someone had grabbed a similar name ahead of him and so we had PUP, three of whose candidates reached the Senate on Palmer’s popularity and money, while the man himself won the Queensland seat of Fairfax. Then the PUP family imploded, just as the Hanson clan has done in this parliament.

Palmer, welcoming Burston as his face in the Senate, said he looked “forward to a long and happy relationship with him”. Clive is not a man who learns from experience.

Palmer also doesn’t like “name” parties these days. “The structure of one-person parties has been shown to be a failure. It is not about Derryn Hinch, Jacqui Lambie, Clive Palmer, Pauline Hanson, Cory Bernardi or Bob Katter, that’s not what matters,” he said in a statement. Never mind that Palmer has huge billboards of himself around the place over the slogan “MAKE AUSTRALIA GREAT”.

“What matters is that we need to unite the country to do what’s best for all our citizens”. Palmer claimed to have had a big response to his new party.

Whatever the truth of that, having a parliamentary representative means the UAP doesn’t need the 500 members otherwise required for registration. It’s a two-way street – Burston knew any prospect of his being re-elected would be better if he had a rich backer. When Hanson wanted someone else to head the next NSW Senate ticket, he was shopping around.

Palmer thrives on hyperbole and publicity. His Monday news conference with Burston was typically farcical, with its clashes with the media and plenty of blather. Palmer praised Burston’s “courage” – Burston publicly fell out with Hanson over her breaking the deal with the government to back the company tax cuts – and his “foresight to stand up for the people who elected him, to aim for their aspirations”.

The Labor member for Herbert, Cathy O’Toole broke protocol and joined the fray, confronting Palmer about the fallout out from the collapse of his company Queensland Nickel in 2016. Later Palmer said he was “discussing with my political advisors” the possibility of contesting Herbert.

The ConversationAmong his declarations Palmer said that “Australians are sick of parties based on vanity”. Let’s hope so.

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Palmer United Party Crisis


Australian Politics: 2 December 2013 – Turn Around Tony


Australian Politics: 13 November 2013 – Other News


Australian Politics: 12 November 2013 – Circus is in Town


Australian Politics: 10 October 2013


Australian Politics: 20 July 2013



The Palmer United Party is just one of many political parties contesting the upcoming federal election. Clive Palmer, founder of the party, intends to be Prime Minister after the election – but what is he like? The link below is to an article reporting on the man behind the party.”>

For more visit:
http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-palmersaurus-party-20130715-2pyvl.html

Ever wondered what life is like for a former Prime Minister? The link below is to an article reporting on life after politics for former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

For more visit:
http://www.smh.com.au/national/life-after-politics-for-julia-gillard-the-whirl-is-her-oyster-20130719-2q9ra.html

Australian Politics: 14 July 2013


With the return of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister in Australia, things have been moving along fairly quickly in Australian politics. Time of course is running out as an election looms, so time is necessarily of the essence. One of the areas that the ALP has moved to address is the carbon tax, with Kevin Rudd’s government moving toward an emissions trading scheme. This has brought the typical and expected responses from the opposition, as well as charges of hypocrisy from the Greens. For more visit the following links:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/kevin-rudd-confirms-government-to-scrap-fixed-carbon-price-20130714-2pxqi.html

The link below is to an article that pretty much sums up the situation currently in Australian politics I think – well worth a read.

For more visit:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/12/tony-abbott-fall-stunt-men

Also causing continuing angst in Australia is the issue of asylum seekers and boat people. There has been even more terrible news from the seas surrounding Christmas Island, with yet another asylum seeker tragedy involving a boat from Indonesia.

Around the edges of the mainstream parties are those of Bob Katter and Clive Palmer. There are stories of an alleged financial offer from Clive Palmer’s ‘Palmer United Party’ to join with ‘Katter’s Australian Party’ for $20 million dollars and form the combined ‘Katter United Australian Party.’ For more visit the links below:

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/palmer-denies-deal-with-katters-party/story-e6frfku9-1226679175607
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-14/katter2c-palmer-at-odds-over-claims-mining-magnate-offered-fin/4819098

And finally, for just a bit of a chuckle – not much of one – just a small chuckle, have a read of the following article linked to at:

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/turnbull-still-not-laughing-at-tonys-internet-humour/story-fnii5s3z-1226679169349