The thing about Professor Clive J Palmer is that he is oftentimes so "colourful" that when he makes up fantastic stories about environmental groups and the foreign spy agencies, we believe it. And we did.
It’s not that we’re gullible, it’s just that we’re used to Clive having a finger in every pie and a self-serving opinion on everything. As far as we know, he's never deliberately lied to us before. As far as we know...
As we learned yesterday, Clive doesn’t really believe that the CIA is funding environmental groups to destroy Australia’s coal export industry, thereby favouring our American competitors. He’s no fan of the environmental groups; he just wanted to provide a big distraction in the last week of the Queensland election campaign. I’ve no idea why he thought he needed a distraction; there was never a realistic chance that the ALP could win.
Clive cried wolf, and our outrage was unanimous. Mission Accomplished.
Crazy Clive’s Conspiracy theory needs a closer look though. Just because he’s donned the lyrca and cycled backwards doesn’t mean he didn’t call a press conference to announce to the world that the CIA was funding the Greens. He can't put the conspiracy back in the tube. That kind of pronouncement has consequences.
Clive has undoubtedly damaged his own reputation, particularly with the media. He lied to the media for political gain. Anything else he says, at least regarding politics, politicians and interest groups, will be treated with some degree of caution, and rightly so.
He’s also damaged the reputation of the man he accused of receiving CIA funds to disrupt Australia’s export coal industry. Drew Hutton now has the backing of grass-roots activist group GetUp, and they will be taking Clive to court. Whether Drew and GetUp can match Clive’s bottomless funding pit is yet to be seen, but you’d think that Drew would have a pretty good chance of winning.
Clive’s more recent attention-grabbers - the Hyatt Regency Coolum, the Gold Coast Soccer team, his CIA Conspiracy, his weight loss triumph - are conspicuously unrelated to his mining operations. He doesn't involve his primary money-makers in his media insanity, unless it's to slap the Treasurer around.
Closer to home, I marvel that Clive thinks its okay to lie to get what you want. Is that what he tells his preschool daughter? Is that how he runs his businesses? Is that how he views his marriage?
Or does he save his deception for political gain?
Clive is a liar and a bully-boy, and that’s disappointing. He’s also a liar and a bully boy with money and influence. That makes him dangerous.
We're onto him now, though. No amount of money can buy credibility.