Friday, 26th April 2013

CLIVE FOR PM

It must be fun to be Clive Palmer. Last night on Lateline, the mining magnate announced his latest venture: he will be heading up a new political party to compete in the September federal election, aiming to run candidates in every seat.

Tony Jones asked him about the United Australia Party's policy platform and, with admirable frankness, Palmer said it would be nearly identical to the Liberal Party's, but with a few variations (on lobbyists, refugees, the carbon tax, mining development and regional wealth distribution).

The Liberals will not be overly concerned the Palmer party is competing for their votes. These will eventually flow back to the LNP in preferences, presumably. It's the Katter Australia Party that will be fearing the interloper. Perhaps this is the point.

Palmer is cut from a rare cloth: he is a straight-talker who no-one is sure should ever be taken seriously. Last month he was talking about building the world's largest dinosaur park in Coolum and last year he announced the construction of a full-scale replica of the Titanic, to be completed and taking cruise passengers in 2016. Could he guarantee the Titanic II would be unsinkable? “Anything will sink," Palmer said, "if you put a hole in it.” 

Wise words, Mr Palmer.

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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Palmer To Contest Election With New Political Party

"He says the party, named the United Australia Party, has been formed with a constitution and has applied for registration in Queensland. It shares its name with the United Australia Party which governed Australia in the 1930s under prime ministers Joseph Lyons, Robert Menzies and Billy Hughes."

(Includes Lateline interview)

Warship To Join US Fleet In Hot Zone

"The guided-missile frigate HMAS Sydney is about to join the US Seventh Fleet in Japan at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea... The deployment comes as the Gillard government is working to manage Australia's relationships with China and the US after the Prime Minister sealed a "strategic relationship" with Beijing during her recent visit, and with the new defence white paper due out in June."

Mori Joins Nauru Detention Legal Challenge

"The former US military lawyer for David Hicks, Dan Mori, is joining a challenge against Australia's detention of asylum seekers on Nauru. Senior Australian social justice lawyer Julian Burnside QC will lead the case in the Supreme Court of Nauru, which is set to be heard in June."

As the Public Purse Thins, the Rich Feel the Pinch

"Half of all employees earn less than $50,000 a year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports. Only one in 10 full-time workers gets more than $123,000. As for households, half get by on less than $70,000. Yes, living in Sydney is expensive. But the cut-off mark for Australia's top 5 per cent of earners, is just above $130,000. So why don't the wealthy feel well off?"

 

Laying Down the Cudgels and Debating the Policy

"The rhythm of federal politics, the underlying beat, has been ugly for too long. But gradually over the past few weeks, that has started to change. The major political parties are now responding to a steady tempo of policy discussion and the country will be the better for it."

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