If anything was patently obvious from the events
in Canberra last week, it is that Clive Palmer thinks he is running the
country and the media seem to think so too. They are all over him,
relegating Tony Abbott to the role of a bit-player. It is also patently
obvious that the government’s negotiating skills sit somewhere between
pitiable and non-existent.
The repeal of the carbon tax is only the beginning. There are still
budget bills to be passed as well as the mining tax and Clive Palmer
appears intent on maintaining the chaos. It is conceivable that Tony
Abbott will soon be cornered into either giving Palmer everything he
asks or calling a double dissolution. At the moment he is vacillating
and his weakness on this issue will expose him for what he really is.
His pre-election bluff and bluster has dissolved.
Last week’s circus in the senate was inevitable and it will happen
again. The closer you get to your enemy, the sharper you need to be.
Clive Palmer has been around long enough not to trust anyone and knows
since the day Joe Hockey delivered the Budget that the Prime Minister’s
word has little or no value.
Palmer probably remembered Abbott’s comments when interviewed by Kerry O Brien a few years back. “The statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth are those carefully prepared scripted remarks,”
Abbott said. In that interview Abbott revealed that he sometimes went
further than he should when making a promise. I’m sure it was no
surprise to Palmer when the wording to the amendment on the bill to
repeal the carbon tax wasn’t quite what it was supposed to be.
If the Coalition think for one moment that they can put one over
Clive Palmer, they are deluding themselves. But, given Abbott’s penchant
for verbal dishonesty they will probably keep trying and in the
process, expose themselves for the utterly reprehensible rabble that
That is not to say that Palmer will not acquiesce when it suits him.
He is unpredictable and, I suspect, delights in keeping the government,
the opposition and the media guessing. But as time passes (and it can’t
come too quickly for most of us), the interaction between him and the
Prime Minister will further expose Abbott’s difficulty in negotiating to
a point where even his most steadfast supporters will have had enough.
The government couldn’t even get their amendments right. A double
dissolution could see him lose office or at best see his lower house
majority whittled down to one or two.
The senate result could be worse with a strong chance that both major
parties would lose numbers to the PUP. If for some reason the people go
against PUP and vote to restore some sanity the result will likely
favour Labor and the Greens. Either way, Abbott is in trouble. Doubtless
his party’s electoral engineers are doing their sums and would be
weighing up the pros and cons. The advice given to them by outgoing
senator Ron Boswell to stand up to Palmer is the right advice but they
appear unwilling to take it.
For the electorate, the greater issue here is honesty, or lack of it.
The budget exposed the Coalition to be utterly dishonest, something
they brought on themselves; an own goal. They can no longer claim the
moral high ground. Their claim to have a mandate is, and always was,
spurious. There is just too much evidence out there to show that they
have treated the electorate as fools. Clive Palmer has realised that as
the self-appointed defender of the underdog, his political future has
promise. He will not want to betray his image and backtrack on anything
he has said to the pensioners and the battlers who have crossed over to
By way of comparison the government is showing signs of cracking under the pressure. Tony Abbott’s speech to the LNP annual state conference in Brisbane on Saturday bordered on the bizarre.“You and we are rescuing our country . . . it is only us who can rescue our country right now,” he said. Rescue from what? His attack on Bill Shorten was equally weird and suggests he is beginning to lose the plot.
His upbeat display of confidence was in direct contrast to the events
in Canberra and the reality of the situation as it unfolded. He
referred to the events in the senate as “a lot of colour and movement.”
It was chaotic. Under Abbott’s leadership thus far, the Coalition has
lost all the support they had at the election and then some. Their only
way forward is to replace their leader and try starting again. That is
unlikely for now and things are only going to get worse.
an odd sounding question but not without foundation. Clive Palmer’s
bombshell press conference with Al Gore where he announced his party's
voting intentions in the Senate on Wednesday June 25th gave a pretty
clear indication that he was calling the shots on the repeal, or
otherwise, of the carbon tax. And, one must say…
Clive Palmer stood beside Al Gore (God only knows why Gore did it) in
the Great Hall at Parliament House to announce his party's voting
intentions regarding the Carbon Tax, I like many others watched with
daunting anticipation. After all he had, in his own typically flamboyant
way, created an event (or an illusion)…
first Joe Hockey budget is about to be presented to parliament and to
the people. There has been plenty of speculation about cuts to pensions
and introducing Medicare co-payments, but it would still take a brave
journalist to try and pre-empt what it will really contain. However, if
any of the language being used…