Transmissions from political Lala land resume

Clive Palmer is back in parliament and he is nothing, if not interesting. His latest transmission from political Lala land is that Malcolm Turnbull is just a seat warmer for Tony Abbott and he will stand down after winning the next election and let Abbott regain the prime ministership.

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 Another comic turn: Clive Palmer doing a Les Patterson impersonation

It’s another one of those ideas that are so stupid, it’s difficult to know where to start explaining why. But then, it got Clive into the newspapers yet again, not for any useful contribution to policy or public debate but because he’s a clown.

 In fairness to the man, he is not unpleasantly malicious in the way some members of the government have appeared this week. So give me Clive anytime of the day before Cory Bernardi, Luke Simkins or George Christensen.

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Nationals MP George Christensen who seems to think that being an MP is a license to say the most outrageously offensive things he can think of

Then there was this other little zinger, Fairfax Media revealed that

Faced with electoral annihilation, Clive Palmer has held a secret meeting with two Senate crossbenchers in which he proposed dissolving the Palmer United Party and forming a super-micro party. Mr Palmer met with Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm and Family First’s Bob Day in Mr Palmer’s parliament office on Thursday.

This is to try  to protect themselves against a double dissolution and political oblivion. We can probably safely assume that Palmer will stand for the Senate in the next election as his chances of being elected in his lower house seat are in the category of snowballs surviving in hell, so a coalition of cross bench senators  makes some sense in terms of political survival.

The bizarre aspect of this is that this group of people have nothing in common beyond the desire to save their own political skins.  The chances of them being elected in the first place are probably slim given the electoral changes that will probably be passed  through parliament, but not as slim as being able to have a coherent policy view on the issues that face the nation..

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 Not long for this life: the cross bench senators. Only Xenophon has a chance of re-election

 It’s been an interesting week, enlivened by news of the Prime Minister’s dinner for the cross benchers. Senator Jacqui Lambie stormed out of the dinner, somewhat predictably, as staying wouldn’t have got into the newspapers and then, Senator The Brick with Eyes left early because he wasn’t getting enough to eat and had to go to Macca’s for a decent feed.

Policy debate anyone?

 

 

Reducing the effect of Lala land in Australian politics

Clive is back in Canberra and straight into the news with his latest outrageous suggestion.

PUP threatens to block supply over privatising states’ assets

To a certain extent, the government is correct to argue that it has a mandate from the last election by dint of its majority in the lower house. Unfortunately our system doesn’t work quite like that and Abbott is really serious about ensuring that the mandate in the lower house provides the ability to govern, then he should initiate electoral reforms to ensure that this is the case.

In the meantime, he has to deal with a petulant attention-seeker who holds the balance of power in the upper house. Well, that is as long as the PUP senators act as a block. It’s interesting that there are now media reports that Tony Abbott is negotiating with PUP Senator Jacqui Lambie independently of her party. Unfortunately, if this solution to the problems relies on Abbott’s negotiating ability, is probably pretty much doomed to failure.

It is worth remembering that between them, the Liberal and Labour parties have some 75% of the primary preference votes in Australia, essentially a mess of mandate, particularly when compared with the insignificant votes that the “unrepresentative swill” in the Senate garnered. And it is also worth considering what Bill shorten said.

Mr Shorten says the government needs to sit down with Labor and not the assortment of crossbench Senators. Mr Shorten accused Mr Abbott of being so ”addicted to the politics of opposition” that he lacked the skills to negotiate and needed to appreciate that ”the rest of us got elected too”.

The difficulty for Abbott is that negotiating with the Labour Party is ideological anathema. The difficulty for Shorten is that negotiating with the Abbott government may result in the policies of his political opponents looking more palatable. His challenge will be to make political mileage out of any amelioration of the severity of those policies.