Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2018


Palmer, Mr Clive

7:45 pm

Photo of David LeyonhjelmDavid Leyonhjelm (NSW, Liberal Democratic Party) Share this | Hansard source

When I see a sign saying, 'Bill stickers will be prosecuted', I'm heartened when I then see graffiti tagged on the sign saying, 'Bill Stickers is innocent.' But one person whose innocence is in grave doubt is Clive Palmer, so I was heartened when I saw one of his bright yellow signs graffitied. Instead of Clive saying, 'Put Australians first,' Clive was saying, 'Put profits first.' Clive Palmer is not concerned about Australians; he's concerned about Clive Palmer. To any publicly minded Australians with creativity, wit and a daring spirit, I lay down this challenge: make graffiti great again. Bring out your spray paint and give those big yellow signs a red-hot go.

Perhaps instead of saying, 'Make Australia great,' the signs should read, 'Make the Cayman Islands great,' because that's probably where Clive has hidden all the entitlements of now redundant Queensland nickel workers. Perhaps the signs should read, 'Make Australia great for cronies,' because Clive Palmer is rich not because he worked hard or dreamed up a product that made the world a better place but because his mate, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, effectively gave favoured property developers a licence to print money. To fit in with the theme, perhaps our creative artists should spray-paint some brown paper bags on those big yellow signs.

Clive Palmer is attempting to woo young voters under the age of 24 for the key reason that none of them are responsible for voting for him in 2013 when he made Australia worse. In 2013, because of a personal vendetta against the Liberal-National Party, who had the audacity to not give him everything he wanted in Queensland, Clive Palmer decided to blow up the government and destroy the budget in the process. By voting to keep high Medicare rebates for doctors, he put the doctors union first. By voting for subsidies from everyday taxpayers to leafy public universities, he put millionaire vice-chancellors first. And by voting for billions of dollars of welfare for middle- and high-income households, he put big government first.

Clive Palmer also blew up our electricity prices. He stopped us from getting rid of the Renewable Energy Target, which is a wind turbine subsidy scheme that has ensured no-one has dared to build new gas- or coal-fired generators in Australia this century. This investment boycott is the reason our electricity prices have skyrocketed. Thanks, Mr Palmer: you've ensured that poor Australians will go without heating in the winter. Perhaps our creative spray painters could add some actual policy content to Clive's big yellow signs. If the signs read, 'Make tax and debt great,' then the voters would know what they were being asked to support. This is particularly the case for voters in capital cities, because Clive Palmer wants Australians in capital cities to pay 20 per cent more tax than other Australians. And we know he means it, because he and his senators from the Palmer United Party opposed every single reduction in expenditure in the Senate. Or perhaps the signs should read, 'Put the Renewable Energy Target first and struggling Australians a distant second.' The last time Clive Palmer had to worry about paying an electricity bill, Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Gough Whitlam were on speaking terms.

We should also remember that the last time Clive Palmer was elected, he hardly turned up for work. He's like a dole bludger, except that his dole was $200,000. Clive Palmer is the bludger who just won't quit. If Clive Palmer is re-elected, it won't prove that democracy is flawed; it will prove that compulsory voting is flawed. Why do we force people who do not follow politics and who are unaware of recent corporate scandals to vote? With compulsory voting, it's no surprise that a crook can win simply by twerking for Kyle and Jackie O, releasing cheesy memes on Facebook and painting the town yellow.

My message to Australians who might vote for Clive Palmer is this: don't be so bloody stupid. Clive Palmer is not an outsider, an antipolitician or a breath of fresh air. He's the ultimate insider, a political crony and as stale as a piece of bread that's sat in the back of the fridge since last year.


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