Aug 20, 2014

iSentia Index: offhand comments dog the big men of parliament

Another shocker of a week for the federal and NSW state governments, with ill-thought-out statements and ICAC raising the ire of the public.

Patrick Baume

iSentia Group Communications Manager

In a huge week for political news, Treasurer Joe Hockey and PUP Leader Clive Palmer managed more media coverage between them than the 10 people behind them on the list combined. For Hockey it was a full week of trenchant criticism over his comments about the amount of time poor people spend driving, the criticism not slowing down that much even after his apology to “anyone offended” by the remarks. It was Palmer that finally got the heat off the Treasurer with some vituperation on ABC’s Q&A program about his Chinese partners in a mining project and the Chinese political system in general. Business leaders and politicians rose as one to condemn his comments. Attacking your biggest customer is clearly well beyond the pale in Australia in 2014. Whether Palmer’s comments will be seen as pure self-interest or fighting tyranny out in PUP voting-land remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, NSW politics continues to outdo itself. Former Labor minister Joe Tripodi and current Opposition Leader John Robertson’s recently stood down Chief of Staff Ian McNamara were mentioned extensively at ICAC in relation to an alleged “friendly fire” campaign to unseat former Newcastle MP Jodi McKay, while the Government’s Newcastle and Central Coast route is almost complete as Swansea MP Garry Edwards resigned from the Liberal Party and two more MPs confirmed they would not recontest their seats. If anyone wants a free ticket into the NSW Legislative Council next March, I would suggest now may be a good time to start an Abolish State Government party.

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