BARNABY JOYCE MP, MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE: He comes across as sort of the effervescent, sometimes bumbling character and that is a ploy. You do not get to where you are by being a fool. You’re a fool if you think he’s a fool.
Can we please dispense with the nonsense that somehow Clive Palmer and PUP will be a hindrance to Tony Abbott and the LNP?
They both want the same things: destruction of The Greens and repeal of the Carbon and Mining Taxes. Palmer is a Coal Miner. From this all else follows. The Great Barrier Reef, the Tasmanian Wilderness and everything else is valueless to Palmer except insofar as they may sit on gigantic seams of coal. And Abbott’s organisation is funded by coal maniacs.
As we get closer to the new Senate taking their seats from 1 July 2014, Palmer has become explicit on his utter disdain for the (non-coal) natural environment, AGW Climate Change and the IPCC. Here are some Palmerisms on these subjects:
On PUP’s Intention To Repeal The Carbon Tax :-
As a matter of principle, we favour the repeal of the carbon tax, as does the Government,” Palmer said.
“And our party has the balance of power in the Senate right now, even if we’re unsuccessful in the election in WA, which we won’t be. So the carbon tax is definitely going. It’s a fait accompli.”
On Climate Change :-
There’s been global warming for a long time. I mean, all of Ireland was covered by ice at one time. There were no human inhabitants in Ireland.
On How AGW Is A Conspiracy :-
I can get a group of scientists together and pay them whatever I want to and come up with any solution. That’s what’s been happening all over the world on a whole range of things
On How The IPCC Is Completely Useless :-
TONY JONES: [The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report is] based on 309 scientists from 70 countries and the summary for the policymakers has to be agreed line-by-line by 115 countries. I mean, that’s the sort of consensus that you’re rejecting here.
CLIVE PALMER: Well I think it’s a – camels were designed by a committee. With so many people, you’re really not going to get anything worthwhile. You need to have a proper report with people that can do something. But, look, I’m just talking about …
It has been fashionable for the media to treat Palmer as a buffoon and somehow as a hindrance to Abbott’s anti-Carbon agenda. It is the media who are buffoons for entertaining these propositions. Even the estimable Lenore Taylor imagined PUP intransigence on Carbon Tax repeal. While it it entertaining to see Abbott squirm a bit while Palmer teases him about the possibility of non-cooperation, it should have been obvious that the interests of Palmer and Abbott are aligned, not in conflict.
Palmer will make Abbott pay a premium for the passage of the Carbon Tax repeal. This premium will be composed of a small populist gesture, most likely the restoration of increased benefit payments to orphans of deceased servicemen, removed by Abbott in his typically heartless manner, and a very large personal premium to Palmer personally, which will be favourable conditions for the opening and servicing of Palmer’s huge coal tenements, currently closed. Abbott will pay these premiums and the Carbon Tax repealed.
The genesis of Palmer’s fall-out with Abbott is built around Liberal/National power dynamics within Queensland State politics. In brief, Abbott is a supporter of Liberal Party federal vice-president, Queenslander Santo Santoro. Santoro is an opponent of Palmer. The Australian Financial Review covered the issue in The Clive Problem: Why Palmer is Abbott’s Nightmare Best Friend.
Santoro’s modus operandum as a political fundraiser had so shocked the Queensland LNP that in 2008 it sent a dossier on his activities to the police. The police exonerated Santoro and the subsequent LNP internal feud left the Liberal arm in control and the National arm sacked from prominent positions and disenfranchised. The Liberal state arm was supported by John Howard, who championed Santoro’s career in Queensland politics, Abbott and Premier Campbell Newman.
Palmer’s opposition to Santoro is principled. Palmer feels Santoro’s methods are unhealthy and could divide or even corrupt the the Queensland LNP.
“Santo’s a very divisive fellow,” Palmer told the Financial Review. “He gets his power by raising funds for individual politicians. “My donations have always been to the party, that way you can’t affect the internal politics.”
Palmer’s opposition to Santoro has been costly for him. Palmer wants to develop his China First coal project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin but his plans have been blocked by the Newman government in apparent retribution for Palmer’s stand against Santoro. Santoro, for his part, has held a grudge against Palmer for the way in which Palmer engineered the merger of the Queensland Libs and Nationals in 2008 and probably for Palmer’s role in forwarding Santoro’s dossier to the police. Santoro resigned from John Howard’s ministry and from the Senate in the wake of a number of breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct and of the Register of Senators’ Interests. He is still a Federal Liberal vice-president and important fundraiser. This last would explain his support from Abbott.
Newman and Santoro are very tightly linked. The AFR story implies that Newman stalled Palmer’s China First mine in the Galilee Basin and other ventures because of Palmer’s opposition to Santoro. Palmer criticised the Queensland LNP government for stalling his mining operations and was promptly dismissed from the LNP. Shortly afterwards PUP was born.
So, PUP exists as a vehicle for Palmer’s personal enrichment. Palmer himself only teases and taunts Abbott as a means of payback for Abbott not supporting Palmer in the power struggle with Santoro. The criticism of Abbott is also intended to strip some votes from Abbott and the LNP and draw them to Palmer and PUP. Hence Palmer’s criticisms of Abbott over orphans’ benefits.
And as for buffoon – Barnaby Joyce was spot on. Anyone who thinks Palmer is a buffoon is themselves one. Since the moment Abbott supported Newman and Santoro over Palmer, Palmer has been assiduously working for balance of power in the Australian Senate and he has achieved it. Clive wins. Tony must now deliver.
But all the talk and teasing from Palmer masks the basic confluence of interests between the two men. Palmer will get his China First mine approval and Abbott will get his Carbon Tax repeal. Quid Pro Quo.