In the lead-up to the election, we’ll be keeping an eye on the sewers of Australian political memes. Send the best and worst you’ve seen to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been two years since Clive Palmer turned his social media presence into a bizarre meme factory. It’s unsurprising, then, that the mining-magnate turned politician is leading this election on the meme front.
While the Liberals are making very cool and topical references to Game of Thrones and The Avengers, and pro-Labor groups won’t stop talking about Engadine Maccas (a meme that died in the pages of the Financial Review), Palmer is staying typically unhinged and dank.
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This offering is classic Clive. His head is superimposed onto a manga character who “owns” Labor and the Greens for their selling of Australian assets to the Chinese. It’s a favourite topic of Palmer’s as he seeks to furnish his Trumpian friend-of-the-everyman schtick. It’s a tactic that led to dangerous territory last year, when a Facebook group Palmer manages was plagued with overtly racist memes from his supporters.
Palmer’s online sideshow could be seen as a cynical distraction from his numerous legal troubles; he is facing criminal charges after ASIC claimed he breached the Corporations Act, and earlier this month he announced he would be back-paying millions in outstanding entitlements to Queensland Nickel workers. Still, the meme strategy and the millions Palmer has spent on the election campaign might just be paying off for Palmer’s United Australia Party which has seen a bump in the polls.