Of hot air and Clive Palmer – the sounds of expiration – like a farting balloon

Clive Palmer for PM. Big on promises, small on delivery, and full of hyperbole. Perfect fit!
Clive Palmer for PM. Big on promises, small on delivery, and full of hyperbole. Perfect fit!


15 June 2013

As Clive Palmer mounts his air-charged bid for the prime ministership, and his Palmer United Party mounts its PUP election campaign, his detractors claim that he is all hot air – big on promises, small on delivery, and full of hyperbole.

Whilst Palmer, who is known for his inflated ego, might take umbrage at these assertions, the average cynical punter would declare, “Perfect fit for PM, I’ll vote for the PUP. What a wag he is.”

Sub-editor: The circus is coming to Canberra.

Editor: No, better make it ‘Should Clive Palmer run our nation?’

And running with that headline, The Australian’s Inquirer ran a piece on 15 June 2013. Here are some excerpts:

Clive Palmer is courting the media and the popular vote in an ambitious bid to become prime minister. As his political bandwagon crosses the country and former footballers join Palmer relatives, friends and senior employees signing up for a wild ride on this Queensland-inspired electoral juggernaut, the promises fly thick and fast.

Palmer and his barrackers pledge to grow the economy, cut red tape and create thousands of jobs. They promise much more in a titanic quest for power but Palmer is a veteran of attention-seeking: the former Gold Coast property developer cut his teeth in politics with another unlikely leader, Joh Bjelke-Petersen. And Palmer has also mastered the art of hyperbole.

As Palmer asks Australians to size him up, look in his eyes, be impressed by his commercial success and then vote for him, he revels in his parallel universe. It is a universe embellished in cheerful profiles with the appearance of wealth and opulence on a gargantuan scale.

In this universe, those who work for him are often seen as highly fortunate and content.

The operation of the assets he owns or controls – from a Townsville nickel refinery, Yabulu, to a Sunshine Coast resort, the former Hyatt Coolum, to a vast iron ore resource in the Pilbara – is portrayed as vibrant and successful.

The communities in which Palmer’s businesses operate and the stakeholders with whom he does business are invariably depicted as grateful beneficiaries of his generosity and business acumen. And in this universe, Palmer is usually described as a billionaire miner, one of Australia’s richest, a somewhat eccentric, publicity-loving, far-seeing visionary and “professor” of international renown with a penchant for private jets, vintage cars and grandstanding entrances.

Part of the public and media perception is true. But it has also been fuelled by exaggeration, fiction and the omission of facts that do not fit a popular narrative.

Inquirer can reveal a different portrait emerges from the claims of still-serving staff as well as insiders who worked for Clive Frederick Palmer.


This different portrait is of a belligerent, finger-wagging and sometimes verbally abusive employer, increasingly in the spotlight in his quest to be prime minister, who makes promises big and small but does not always deliver.

Now, as he talks of the Palmer United Party’s plans for improving the lives of Australians, people from his core businesses describe bizarre decisions and numerous broken pledges. There have been serious hardships and job losses for staff and community who believed they had security.


In beachside Coolum on the Sunshine Coast, a little more than an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, numerous people interviewed by Inquirer have little positive to say about Palmer because of the impact his arrival and management style has had on local families, businesses and the community.

Early in the piece in 2011 when Palmer, using funds from the then-profitable Queensland Nickel, bought the five-star Hyatt-badged resort and its adjoining golf course from Lend Lease, the community had high hopes.

Palmer promised a major refurbishment, redevelopment and better conditions and more opportunities for staff and Coolum. He was heralded as a lightning rod for positive change and a draw-card for visitors. The struggling local economy relied heavily on spending by international and Australian visitors to the Hyatt and some 150ha beneath Mount Coolum. Its annual showpiece, the signature Australian PGA Championship, was a lucrative earner that taxpayers had helped foster.

But the bubble has burst in the Coolum community, part of the federal seat of Fairfax in which Palmer is running as a 2013 election candidate.

The Hyatt brand and much of the goodwill is long gone – its ties with Palmer were severed in 2012 after he accused it of running something approaching a criminal racket (one of a number of serious claims that he backed away from when their dispute went to the Supreme Court).

Now, the resort is shunned by visitors and has become a focus of ridicule and regret. They cite the abysmal occupancy rates (sometimes in the low single-digits) of the re-named Palmer Coolum Resort, the sacking of hundreds of workers, the loss of the Australian PGA, the bizarre dinosaur replicas in the grounds, a wall of framed portraits of Palmer in the lobby, the screening in the rooms of a fawning profile by the ABC’s Australian Story, and curiously higher prices, all of which have deterred visitors. The resort’s more scathing reviews by guests on Trip Advisor are excruciating reading.

While many people fear being sued if they speak out, Gaye Williams, a respected longtime Coolum stalwart and business owner, tells Inquirer that Australians need to know this side of the Palmer story. Palmer is, after all, seeking to be the next prime minister. She says hard-working families in Coolum and its local economy bear scars from Palmer’s arrival and antics at the resort over the past two years.

“It has been a huge kick in the guts. This is a small town. It is affecting everyone the tradies, the restaurants, retail, lifeguards. We are very disappointed,” says Williams. “It’s his resort. He owns it. He is entitled to make these decisions. But he spruiks in the media, on TV shows and on 60 Minutes about how he’s doing wonders for the Australian economy and growing businesses. The reality here is different.

“He can sack who he likes but don’t tell them one day their jobs are safe, then get rid of them. Don’t say you’re doing the right thing. He has been such a successful businessman that I actually defended him at first. Now he is treated as a joke. The resort is a shrine to Clive. People here look and laugh about it. Everyone laughs at him.”


Sixteen months later, an estimated 400 staff and casuals are gone from a quality resort that is likened by locals to a Jurassic-style circus. Several of those who remain tell Inquirer of Palmer’s strong influence on key decisions in the running of the resort in spite of its continuing loss of market share.

“A lot of people are unsure about the future of the area because of him coming in here,” says a Coolum retailer, Howard Gelfand. “I’m not a great fan of Clive. I don’t see any good points from him coming here. If he did just 5 per cent of what he said he was going to do, Coolum might get a lift. What has he done for the area? He wants to be pandered to. He doesn’t want to be asked any tough questions.”


The Australian’s Inquirer article

Penny Wong’s Q&A gay marriage watershed moment


In retrospect: Q&A 14 May 2012 – gay marriage watershed moment

Joe Hockey verbatim: I must confess my views have changed since I’ve had children. I think in this life we’ve got to aspire to give our children what I believe is the very best circumstances, and that’s to have a mother and a father.

Penny Wong acknowledged that comments like Hockey’s were hurtful, and concluded by calmy saying: ”I know what my family is worth.”

Sydney Morning Herald – source, video and full article

Menzies: I did but see her passing by


In retrospect: What he said and what she might have thought. 

It was at Parliament House where Prime Minister Robert Menzies, a devout royalist, was to quote the 17th century words of Thomas Ford: “I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die.”

Sir William Heseltine Private Secretary to HM the Queen 1986-1990: “It was one of the very few occasions I think Sir Robert misjudged his audience. And I can remember that there was a frisson of embarrassment and this was perhaps reflected on the Queen’s own look on that occasion.”

Was Her Majesty squeamish? Take a look at the video

Rebekah Brooks: What, Me Worry?

Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.
Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

6 June 2013

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

Looking up from reading a copy of Mad Magazine, the former editor of the now defunct News of the World, indignant at being interrupted, blithely entered pleas of “What, Me Worry” to five charges relating to her time running two national tabloids.

Ms. Brooks then left the court with her spiritual advisor, Alfred E. Neuman, who spoke to the awaiting media throng saying, “What, She Worry? She is planning to move to Australia to take up a prestigious position at the Poowong Post.


The Editor
Poowong Post

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to apply for the position of Journalist, as advertised in your esteemed newspaper.

I received a cutting of the advertisement in the mail, sent to me by a former colleague who fled to Australia seeking a better climate. You might know her; she works as a barmaid at your pub and goes by the alias of Sheila.

I am not sure where Poowong is located, but it sounds like a lovely place. According to Sheila, it is in a dairy farming district in Victoria, but I have been unable to ascertain the exact whereabouts because I donated my laptop to the police as a contribution to the Scotland Yard Christmas Raffle. Those police do such a wonderful job protecting we Brits from the low-lives who attempt to undermine the very fabric of our society, so I was more than happy to have it confiscated.

I have had extensive journalistic experience and have even been editor/chief executive of two major British tabloids. In fact, I have become quite a celebrity, but have tired of the limelight. I want to migrate to Australia with my husband to live a simple rural life and slip into obscurity.

That is not to say that being appointed as a journalist with the Poowong Post is slipping into obscurity. I believe it to be a highly prestigious position. I would be delighted to be at the forefront of breaking news in your town.

In fact, Sheila has already given me a few leads. She says that the Easter Billy Cart Derby was fixed by the local s.p. bookie, that judges of the Country Women’s Association annual cake decorating competition were bribed with cases of whisky, and that the prying telephone exchange operator is having an affair with the Catholic priest, who is enjoying three other sexual liaisons.

This presents me with the opportunity to illustrate my extra-journalistic talents and pro-activity, which I am sure you will applaud. I could bribe the phone exchange lady for all the local gossip she eavesdrops on, in return for keeping mum. I could pay the local policeman for inside information; that would be easy because it was his wife who won the CWA cake decorating competition. And as for the local bookie; well, let’s just say I am very handy with secret tape devices and could get some inside running on your next picnic race meeting. And the Catholic priest might be surprised to read transcripts of his expressions of lust, by courtesy of a device hidden under his bed by yours truly. Yes, pressing the flesh is what it is all about.

I will be the biggest thing to happen to Poowong since electricity was connected. You do have electricity don’t you?

I can guarantee that I will quadruple your circulation within a month and even turn the national spotlight on your little backwater which I would turn into a tsunami. The media will swarm like flies to a Poowong cowpat.

However, that brings a minor point to mind. A shy, shrinking violet such as myself does not desire any adulation for stirring up media frenzies. I have had enough of that. I would prefer to go by the nom de plume of Verity Virago, and not be available for any interviews, especially television.

I must stress that you should not fear for your position of editor. I am known for my loyalty and integrity; just ask any of my former employees at the now defunct News of the World.

Do not bother to reply. I will simply assume I have been successful in this application, and will be there in three weeks time to commence duties. If there are any unforseen circumstances, such as bail complications or passport seizure, I will let you know with plenty of advance notice.

Yours sincerely,

Rebekah Brooks

PS: Does Poowong have mobile phone reception?


Rupert Murdoch

James Murdoch

David Cameron


Coverage by ABC Online: 

Rebekah Brooks pleads not guilty to phone hacking charges

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

The former editor of the now defunct News of the World entered pleas of not guilty to five charges relating to her time running two national tabloids.

The 45-year-old is charged with offences including conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The scandal led to the closure of the tabloid, and eventually to the Leveson inquiry into press standards in the UK.

She is due to stand trial in September.

Her husband Charlie Brooks also pleaded not guilty to allegations of covering up evidence.

Other senior staff, including the tabloid’s former managing editor Stuart Kuttner and former assistant news editor James Weatherup, also pleaded not guilty to charges related to phone hacking, while her personal assistant pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Brooks was arrested in July 2011 along with other members of staff over charges related to the unlawful interception of mobile phone messages to generate front page news stories.

The scandal, which prompted the closure of the mass-selling News of the World and a year-long public inquiry, sent shockwaves through the British establishment as it revealed the close ties between the country’s media, police and politicians.



Kennett – the drop kick is not extinct yet. For Clarkson, the drop kick is a waste of time.

Can a past president be impeached? Can his membership be cancelled?
Can a past president be impeached? Can his membership be cancelled?


4 April 2013

Editor: STOP PRESS! Kennett mouths off.

Sub-editor: Boring! That’s old news. He has done that a thousand times. So what’s new? He’s a drop kick, and Clarkson reckons the drop kick is a waste of time, just like the rest of the football world does. It is extinct and he should be.

Editor: You didn’t let me finish. I was going to add: hits the turf and gets booted.

Sub-editor: That’s what a drop kick is, and that makes him a drop kick.

Editor: Listen here! Kennett, the drop kick is still not extinct and that’s news. 

Sub-editor: That’s not news and Kennett is a waste of our time, unless you can come up with a new angle.

Editor: OK then. How about: Kennett, the drop kick takes a punt, torpedoes Clarkson and the stab passes through the heart of Hawthorn.

Sub-editor: That’s much better! 

Yes, it’s the same old story! Jeff Kennett mouths off. The circuit breaker between his brain and his mouth lets him down again, and he is forced to apologise.

Here we go again – yet again – still:

Clarkson should leave, says Kennett

The Age 2 April 2013

Angry at the Hawks’ seven-point loss to Geelong at the MCG on Monday – their tenth-straight defeat to the Cats – and an inability to claim a premiership since 2008, Kennett said it was time for change.

“I think so. I had a discussion with Alastair some time ago. I have always believed six to eight years was as long enough as any coach should stay at any club,” he said on radio station 3AW.

“Alastair has got some wonderful personal values, he has done great service at the club but he has been in charge of one of the best groups of young men going around in footy now for a number of years, certainly since 2008.

Jeff Kennett: “There was an excuse in 2009 for our performance because of injury but 2010, 2011 and 2012, we have underperformed. Someone has to take responsibility for that.”

“There was an excuse in 2009 for our performance because of injury but 2010, 2011 and 2012, we have underperformed. Someone has to take responsibility for that.”

Full story

Hawk sack: Kennett says sorry

The Age 3 April 2013

As Hawthorn players came to the defence of Alastair Clarkson, Jeff Kennett issued a public apology to the premiership coach, less than 24 hours after calling for his sacking.

With Kennett’s extraordinary Easter Monday attack on Clarkson still dominating the airwaves on Tuesday, the outspoken former club president ensured a few more hours of media attention by releasing a letter of apology addressed to his former colleague.

Kennett admitted frustration had got the better of him and it was wrong to single out Clarkson for Hawthorn’s recent failings in big games, such as those against Geelong, of which the Hawks have now lost the last 10.

But Kennett stood by his view that Hawthorn had underperformed in the past three years and did not specifically retract his opinion that the team needed a ”fresh voice” in the coach’s box.

”Yes, someone must accept responsibility for those defeats. But maybe in my support of my club I have come to expect too much!” Kennett said in the letter.

”And on reflection, I was wrong to single out Alastair alone. He, like all at the club, have done their best and Alastair has personal values which I have always gratefully respected. To make judgments based on one game is inappropriate. I sincerely apologise to Alastair and his family for any grief I have caused them.”

Full story




Christopher Pyne – the tenor is on-pitch for a no-confidence accompaniment

WARNING! Repetition and monotony may cause drowsiness.
WARNING! Repetition and monotony may cause drowsiness.


1 April 2013  – coincidentally April Fools’ Day

If you are suffering from insomnia – here’s a sure-fire cure – just read this post:

I’m dreaming of an early election
just like the ones I used to know
Where the Liberals glisten and voters listen
to hear good news on election night

I’m dreaming of an early election
with every press release I write
May your days be merry and bright
and may all your preferences be right

Repeated ad nauseam – with no accompaniment – that might come later

Still awake? This should do the trick:

Christopher Pyne joins Insiders – Manager of Opposition business in the House Christopher Pyne discusses Labor’s spill and the likelihood of an early election.

You really are a hard case aren’t you! Well, read this news.com.au piece and you will be off to nod-nod-land on no time:

Liberal Christopher Pyne says ”progress” made in no-confidence motion

Negotiations with key independents are ”making progress” to secure support for a no-confidence motion in the Federal Government, Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne says.

Mr Pyne says he has talked with crossbench MPs since the Opposition announced a motion of no-confidence had been placed on Parliament’s notice paper.

”I am confident that we are making progress, but that remains to be seen when the debate is held and the motion is put,” he told reporters in Adelaide today.

 Mr Pyne said at least one crossbench MP had indicated that budget week would not be an appropriate time for such a debate, effectively pushing it into the following week.

 ”We want to maximise our chances of bringing the government to an election and that means we’ll listen very closely to the crossbenchers and what they want,” he said.

 Independent MP Tony Windsor said Mr Pyne had not spoken with him about the no-confidence motion.

 ”He hasn’t raised it with me,” Mr Windsor told AAP.

 ”They will be trying to milk it for the next five to six weeks to try to create some pressure in the electorate, but that sort of stuff doesn’t have an impact on me.”

 Mr Windsor said he was happy to listen to ”legitimate argument” on the matter.

 Another crossbencher, Craig Thomson, said he would be meeting with other independents in coming weeks.

”But at this point I am not inclined to support the motion because I believe Tony Abbott would be bad for the central coast and for Australia,” Mr Thomson told AAP.


 Sleep tight!

Here’s an amended cover version of Christopher Pyne’s Early Election by Bing Crosby on YouTube 






Crean – Simple Simon or Saint Simon?

Tragic irony - hanged by his own halo - by an executioner to whom he has done the greatest service
Tragic irony – hanged by his own halo – by an executioner to whom he has done the greatest service. Photo source: abc.net.au


24 March 2013

CONSPIRACY THEORY: Kevin Rudd is a cunning character whose game-playing had not been seen through by even his own supporters.

Kevin Rudd‘s sole aim has been to fiendishly plot the ruination of the party that dumped him from the prime ministership – and if his own supporters lose their seats, so be it.

He routinely authorised his supporters to leak damaging stories to the media with the singular purpose of destabilising Prime Minister Julia Gillard. And it worked.

He made many and varied media appearances, clearly designed to bolster his own popularity – as if to be a pretender – in both senses of the word. And the polls had him way ahead of Gillard as preferred prime minister.

He knew that Gillard was becoming increasingly unpopular in her own party and that numbers were shifting his way.

He could see that Labor would be massacred in the September 14 election and that only he, as leader could save the party from that.

He continued to set the trap.

The bitter Gillard/Rudd divisions within Labor were sinking the party and destroying the credibility of both sides.

The Gillard government had become dysfunctional.

And so, as if following Rudd’s script, Labor veteran Simon Crean decided that something had to be done to save his beloved party from ruin.

Crean, a long-time supporter of Gillard had also become disenchanted with her, and could see that Rudd resuming the leadership was the only possible hope.

“Saint” Simon did the honourable thing and called for a leadership spill for the good of the Labor party. He announced his support for Rudd, knowing that he would be sent to the back benches if Rudd lost.

Simon had received assurances from the Rudd camp that Rudd would contest.

But Rudd did not contest!


Because Kevin knew that by not standing, he would throw the party into absolute chaos, making it look an even more farcical shambles with a greater likelihood of being sent into oblivion come September. And it worked!

Rudd’s own supporters are furious with him. Why had they bothered to support someone who would back out of a challenge? Gillard has now relegated them to obscurity.

But Kevin doesn’t care. He never intended to become Labor leader again and has achieved what he set out to do – destroy the whole party.

Now, the even-more-damaged Gillard, who has lost a swag of pro-Rudd talent from her ministry, is looking more vulnerable, no longer from Rudd, but from the electorate which is more than fed up with the dysfunction and bizarre power plays, which are due in part to Rudd himself.

Cunning Kevin!


Saint Simon? The spill was initiated by Simon Crean who was saint-like enough to put himself on the line for the good of the party.

Simple Simon? He was silly to believe Rudd, who he decided to support, and who was delivering directives to him via his supporters.


As it turns out, Crean has done Gillard a huge favour – but he has been sacked by her. As Michael Gordon wrote in The Saturday Age on 23 March 2013:

“The bitter irony of the coup that collapsed is that the man who did Julia Gillard the biggest service pays the heaviest price. Simon Crean has not only removed the threat of Kevin Rudd, he has done more than any other individual to end the destabilisation of Gillard and give her prime ministership a fresh start. Now he’s in exile.

Thanks to Crean, Gillard is more in charge of her destiny than at any point since her 2010 campaign was sabotaged from within and by some poor judgment calls. The upside is that she can govern with more confidence and less concern about being undermined; the consequence is that she will be held singularly responsible for Labor’s performance at the looming election.”

The Michael Gordon article

Crean points finger at Rudd