Clive Palmer’s tapped into a vein of public discontent showing his abilities in mining go beyond the mineral. But Clive’s skills as a miner are probably as much as a financier as a prospector – he leverages his veins. How does he intend to leverage his political vein?
It seems to have escaped most commentators, but the only reason the man who poured around $1 million into the LNP is now running his own party is because he fell out with the LNP when they wouldn’t give him what he wanted.
Perhaps there is an expectation that when you donate that much you are owed something. The state ALP certainly thought that not only was there an expectation, but that it was well-founded.
They suggested in their 2012 state campaign that the LNP was corrupt and would give Palmer whatever he wanted.
The ALP was wrong.
Palmer has coal interests in the Galilee basin, and a proposal to build a rail line to transport the minerals to the coast for shipping overseas.
He’s not the only one with interests in the Galilee basin, and one of the other coal entrepreneurs, Gina Hancock, in a JV with India’s GVK and rail operator Aurizon was given significant project status last year in preference to Palmer, and another investor, Adani.
Palmer fell out with the LNP and subsequently set up his own party.
According to Graham Richardson on Q&A tonight, he poured at least $15 million into advertising the new party – 15 times what he poured into the LNP – in the last weeks of the election and now looks to have two senators elected, as well as having won the state seat of Fairfax in his own right.
What are Palmer’s real political interests, and how does he separate them from his private interests?
He now has political bargaining chips, how will he use them?
What real control does Palmer have of his own party?
Will he find that you can spend $15 million getting people elected and that they will buck the party line, as his probably successful candidate in Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie is promising to do?
Two models for Clives’ party suggest themselves – both of them Italian.
One is Sforza Italia – Silvio Berlusconi’s political/business conglomerate which reaped significant political and business dividends for Berlusconi from holding political office.
The other is Beppe Grillo, the clown turned politician who attracted 25% of the vote in Italy’s last election.
It’s possible to have tears and laughter at the same time – perhaps that’s where we’re heading with Clive, but did voters realise that when they were voting?