Jun 30, 2014

Maverick or political dinosaur? A weekend with Clive Palmer

Clive Palmer was in fine form at his Fairfax Festival Weekend, spouting folksy wisdom and avoiding tricky questions. Freelance journalist James Rose was there to experience the madness.

The most important things in life are “a bed to sleep in, a woman who loves you and to be able to pay for the next meal. Beyond that everything is an illusion." So intoned the man who stands between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his legislative agenda. Clive Palmer, the people's billionaire, was fired up with folksy shtick at his Fairfax Festival (the federal seat, not the ailing media behemoth) as he golf-carted between media engagements and public forums in his very own resort, glad-handing happy voters and taking compliments.

A bemused crowd, presumably some of the 100,000 or so voters Palmer told us he invited along to pretend they could afford to stay at the formerly ritzy Palmer Coolum Resort, shuffled among the robotic dinosaurs and the classic autos. Having grown up on the Gold Coast, there was something familiar for me in the endearingly naff displays, the glaze-eyed kids and the parents trying to be entertained. The mid-morning presser in the Marcoola Room attracted maybe 15 note-takers, a bevy of cameras and was pretty much pointless. The questions flew as the nation's hacks attempted  -- vainly -- to find chinks in the dinosaur-thick carapace of Clive of Coolum. Fuel excise indexation, the carbon tax, Queensland politics, local politics, accountability, party finances were all fired at him. He ducked and weaved and sustained not even a flesh wound. And then Palmer was back in his golf cart with long-suffering media adviser Andrew Crook and was away.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

13 thoughts on “Maverick or political dinosaur? A weekend with Clive Palmer

  1. Ken Lambert

    I hope Clive gave those 36 voters of limited intelligence a special night at the Palmer resort…complete with a famous Coolum desert…..”I liked the deserts so much I bought the company…”

    Oz’s answer to Mr Creosote will need little help in leaving the scene…just roll him on his back or invite him to a last supper with M Turnbull………BOOM!!

    Just don’t be in the vicinity when it happens…

  2. Ward Geoffrey

    Nice piece on Clive. of course he bought his way in with money but most Australians are so apathetic and ignorant about politics they couldn’t care less. I just hope Clive gives Abbott fits. That is all he has to do to get my favour.

  3. Electric Lardyland

    Yes, MJPC, though it is probably a sad comment on much of the news coverage dished up by the commercial networks, that Andrew O’Keefe, who made a name for himself as a comedian and game show host, constantly does a better job at political interviewing, than pretty well all their journalists.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details