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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Clive Palmer, the Canberra buffoon

Clive Palmer, the Queensland millionaire who started his own party, the Palmer United Party (PUP) holds the balance of power in the Senate. He's been showing off by arriving at Parliament House every day in one of his many vintage cars.  Because he's so rich, he says, he's saving taxpayers money by using his own transport instead of a Commonwealth car.

Rolls Royce

In Parliament on Monday, Clive made a bizarre attack on Tony Abbott's Chief-of-Staff Peta Credlin.  He put his foot in his mouth when he said the government had designed the paid parental leave scheme "just so the PM's Chief-of-Staff can receive a massive benefit when she gets pregnant."

He told reporters later what has been said in the corridors of Parliament House by disgrunted LNP MPs for months - that Credlin has "undue influence" over the PM and called her the "top dog" before correcting his remark to "top person."

Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull

He told reporters "I believe as Chief of Staff, regardless of whether she is a woman or a man, she exercises undue influence on government policy to the detriment of many of the elected members of Parliament....I think policies should be formulated from the party room, it shouldn't come down from Tony Abbott's office telling elected members of Parliament what they will do."

What Palmer didn't know (and should have), was that as a public servant, Credlin already qualifies for a generous paid parental leave scheme. What Abbott is attempting to do is extend that privilege to other Australian women in the private sector.

The other thing Palmer didn't know about Credlin is that she and her husband have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby using the IVF program.

Malcolm Turnbull - who recently had a friendly dinner with Palmer - and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop were so angry with Palmer for his comments, they have both pulled out of a scheduled event with him, a brave move indeed because the Coalition needs his vote to get important policies through the Senate.

Peta Credlin

So how did Tony Abbott respond to Clive's swipe at his valued employee?  "Well" he said "Blokes around this place have learned to underestimate women at their peril, I'll just make that general observation."

Mr Palmer said he was unaware of Ms Credlin's personal struggles with IVF but has refused to apologise to anyone, for anything. 

Oh the joy of not having to abide by the party rule. I can see a time coming when MPs will all be independents, unable to agree on anything, and chaos will reign supreme.