Jacqui Lambie’s departure from the Palmer United Party yesterday was not well received by party founder Clive Palmer, although that’s not very surprising. When she left, Lambie joined a long list of people on Palmer’s bad side.
On the morning of her departure from the party, Palmer suggested that Lambie had been planted in the Palmer United Party in order “to blow it up”. Clive told the ABC:
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“When you start a new party like our party, the established parties and others try to wreck it … She’s been sent in there by someone to cause trouble, and I think that’s the reality of it.”
Palmer also accused the Queensland Premier of controlling the Electoral Commission in Queensland. The commission had asked for the names and addresses of the members of the Palmer United Party, as it requires all parties provide a list of at least 500 members to cross-reference with the electoral roll before they can be registered. Palmer saw the ordinary administrative task as evidence of a conspiracy:
“Isn’t it ironical that the Newman government demanded to have the names and addresses of all our members, this is supposed to be a free country that we live in and for the right to freedom of association, where government requires the names and addresses of every one of your members, is ominous for the future … We have to get these Nazis out of power.”
“We’ll give little Hitler his list and then he can then start his persecution of them, like he’s persecuted everyone else in the state.”
Members of both the Liberal and Labor parties defended the Prime Minister’s chief of staff when Palmer offered his criticism of the paid parental leave scheme. He said the scheme was “just so that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff can receive a massive benefit when she gets pregnant”.
Later, when his colleagues and the media labelled his comments as sexist and offensive, Palmer denied knowing that Credlin had been receiving IVF treatment.
Of everyone on this list, Rosemary Laing is the least familiar, but Palmer dragged her into the spotlight earlier this year. The clerk of the Senate had advised him that an amendment he wanted to make to the carbon tax repeal could be perceived as a tax and would have to be put to the House of Representatives before it was put to the Senate. Palmer responded by calling for to be sacked or to resign. Palmer said:
“She hasn’t been elected to Parliament, she’s employed by the Parliament to draft legislation in accordance with instructions, and she can’t really refuse those instructions.”
“If that’s her job, well, she has to get out of that job.”
He also compared her actions to something that would happen in Stalinist Russia and threatened to challenge her position in the High Court.
Although Palmer isn’t the only public figure to take issue with the way that he’s portrayed in the Murdoch press, Palmer has been somewhat unusual in his response. The media mogul is on the list of people Palmer has threatened to sue, although that is by no means a very exclusive list. In May, Palmer called Murdoch a “gutless wonder” and followed up in August by registering the trademark “The Australasian Times”. He said he did it to give Murdoch “a bit of a kick.”
Moments after he threatened to sue Murdoch, Palmer made the following claims against Murdoch’s then-wife on Today:
“You know, Rupert Murdoch’s wife Wendi Deng is a Chinese spy! And that’s been right across the world! She’s been spying on Rupert for years, giving money back to Chinese intelligence. Read the truth about it. She was trained in southern China?”
Today host Karl Stefanovic’s face grew ever more incredulous during the interview until he finally asked the billionaire if he’d “lost the plot”.
In 2012, Palmer accused the environmental group of receiving money from the CIA to undermine Australia’s coal mining sector. According to Palmer, the CIA set up the Rockefeller Foundation in order to fund groups like Greenpeace. The link was somewhat tenuous:
“You only have to go back and read the Church Report in the 1970s and to read the reports to the US Congress which sets up the Rockefeller Foundation as a conduit of CIA funding.
“You only have to look at their secret budget which was passed by Congress last year, bigger than our whole national economy, which the CIA’s got to ensure that.
“You only have to read the reports to US Congress when the CIA reported to the President that their role was to ensure the US competitive advantage and economic advantages.
“That’s how you know it’s funded by the CIA.”
Palmer called for greater scrutiny of environmental groups and referred to a “secret budget” passed by the United States Congress.
While Greenpeace later admitted to using money from the Rockefeller Foundation to do a report called Stopping Australian Coal Export Boom, the group said that the amount of money was small.
One of the authors of the report, Drew Hutton, threatened to sue Palmer for claiming that he was collaborating with foreign nationals, including the CIA.
During the lead-up to the 2013 election Palmer accused Rudd of deliberately stopping him from refuelling his plane in order to disrupt his campaign. Palmer was forced to wait for his plane to be refuelled after airport staff told him they needed the fuel for Rudd’s plane. Palmer promptly responded with characteristic restraint:
“It’s a sad day for democracy when the prime minister tries to use the power of government and the law to crush people in Australia and to stop people from having the right to freedom of speech.”
“You can’t have the Prime Minister and government stopping candidates from moving around the country.”
Again, Palmer expressed a desire to go to the High Court to stop this sort of attack on democracy from reoccurring.
“I’m just thinking of going to the High Court to get an injunction to stop the bastard using his power to stop other candidates, not just me, from competing in the election.”
The first question newly minted MP Clive Palmer asked in question time was related to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. He asked the Prime Minister whether or not the parliamentary offices were bugged.
The member for Fairfax accused the intelligence agency of bugging his office and told the media he planned to check his office for bugs. Back then at least he said he refused to use the computers or phones at Parliament House because that they’re “all tapped”.
ASIO said that it didn’t have “the resources or the inclination” to conduct large-scale telecommunications surveillance. The agency also dismissed Palmer’s claims that all wealthy people were under surveillance, saying that “ASIO is not legislated to obtain intelligence on groups of people based on their financial status”.
If, indeed, Palmer is under surveillance by ASIO, you have to wonder why they bother. He says so much on the public record, how much more could he possibly have to say in private?