Once upon a time in a Queensland far far ago, devotees of the once powerful Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen came to the bitter realisation that the Queensland National Party could not regain its former glory. Their Arch Enemies from the Labor Party had clung to power in Queensland with far more energy than grace, much like a small dog humping its owner’s leg. Regardless of who the National Party elected to lead them to victory, they always fell short. Lawrence Springborg had a few goes, plus Mike Horan, Jeff Seeney and John-Paul Langbroek all tried and all failed to defeat the Labor Government and seize power.
Enter Clive Palmer with boatloads of cash, and Bruce McIver, the brains of the operation. Bruce and Clive were buddies; Bruce had served on the board of one of Clive companies, and still works for him from time to time.The way to win Queensland, they said, was with a united conservative party, backed by big business and values voter appeal. The Queensland Nationals merged with the Queensland Liberal Party and the LNP was born.
Bruce McIver, now State President of the LNP, pulled strings. Thick strings. Ropes. Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman was convinced to step down from leading the city of Bridges and Tunnels, and step up as a Candidate for King of the Whole Blinking State! Mud was slung and names were called; headlines written, prayers recited, promises made, alliances formed and debates debated. When the votes had been counted, the LNP’s victory was so colossal that the state was renamed Newmania.
Newmania would rise from the ashes of the Bligh-led disaster-prone state of Queensland. (The name had to go. King Campbell’s campaign collaborator Wendy Joy doesn’t approve of Queens.) LNP President Bruce McIver and megadonor Clive Palmer were happy. Bruce’s conservative agenda was being attended to in the appropriate manner, and Clive was…WHAT?
Clive Palmer has donated a quarter of a million dollars to the Together Union to help them take care of the thousands of public servants who’s been ‘displaced’ during King Campbell’s Cheap Cuts. If the donation was just a glorious Dummy Spit, as has been suggested by members of King Campbell’s Court, it’s a nice one. A quarter of a million dollars can do a lot of good, and possibly build a few relationships to replace the ones he’s been burning.
Clive Palmer is an extraordinary man. Aside from being a national Living Treasure, he is a genuine mining entrepreneur, Newmania’s richest man, former owner of Gold Coast United Football Club, life member of the National Party of Australia, owner of the Hyatt Regency Coolum Resort (now named the Palmer Coolum Resort), lecturer, spreader of bizarre conspiracy theories, hatcher of grand plans (a replica of Titanic, and a private Jurassic Park style resort with cloned dinosaurs and a jumbo jet pick up and delivery service for guests), horse breeder, accomplished shit-stirrer, and occasional political candidate wannabe. He’s also Bruce McIver’s best friend and the LNP’s biggest donor.
Clive is a big man with a big heart, a big imagination and a short attention span. What could he want from the LNP? Political favours relating to his business dealings? The LNP campaigned on ‘A Strong Resources and Energy Sector' so everything should be flowing in Clive’s direction.
It seems not. Mr Palmer has had several recent differences of opinion with the Liberal Party, the party he was hoping to represent via Treasurer Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley. After months of huffing and puffing, he announced yesterday that he would not seek pre-selection with the Liberal Party because he has a problem with their position on asylum seekers, although he supports the election of an Abbott Government.
Earlier this year at the Liberal National Conference, Mr Palmer admitted to a shouting match with Tony Abbott over Clive’s proposal that people who are acting as professional lobbyists and journalists should be banned from holding executive positions within the Liberal Party.
Less of a surprise is the ongoing battle between Clive Palmer and Treasurer Wayne Swan. Mr Palmer called the most recent Swan Budget a “sham”. Mr Swan criticised the Axis of Affluence (Palmer, Twiggy and Gina) for their selfish greed regarding the Mining Resource Rent Tax. In fact, Mr Swan labelled the Axis “a threat to democracy.”
When he’s not dabbling in politics, Mr Palmer is planning an immense new tourist development on the Sunshine Coast. He’s going to need many miles of pristine coastline, and some notable advances in science so that he can clone a dinosaur or two. The locals and the environmentalists are against the development and so are the Greens. He’ll also need the co-operation of the state and federal governments to allow him to spend a few hundred million dollars upgrading the Sunshine Coast Airport to International standard.
Clive’s Jurassic Adventureland* will probably take a little longer to eventuate than his replica of the Titanic, with contemporary luxury appointments, a "safety deck" and a casino that will be restricted to First Class Passengers only, so as not to take advantage of people who couldn’t afford to lose lots of money.
And when things were getting dreary in Clive’s world, don’t forget his stunning media conference in which he that linked the Australian Greens to the CIA in a conspiracy theory so convoluted that it could almost be true. Then later, after the state election, he took it back.
Back here in Newmanian reality, it’s unlikely that a man with so many business interests would be able to devote more than about three days in total to a political career, much less three years. I doubt he’s serious about having political ambitions. That would make Bruce McIver happy; Bruce is adamant that his old boss should not nominate for pre-selection.
Meanwhile, Clive is receiving $300,000 from King Campbell's incredibly tight budget to aid Clive's High Court challenge against the MRRT, but is also challenging that same government to explain why his company was not awarded a major rail contract. If he doesn’t receive a response from Eff Seeney, or if he doesn’t like the response from Eff Seeney, he will take the Queensland Government to the Supreme Court. The rail contract went to his Axis partner Gina Rinehart’s company.
Should someone remind Clive that he has made powerful enemies in both parties, at both state and federal level? At this point, his only chance of getting special favours from any government would be to stage a coup d'état from the lavishly appointed poop deck of Clive’s Titanic Cruiser.
*not the real name