Clearly Clive has decided the race between Julia and Tony is a bit snore snore and it is time for him to enter the race!
Mr Palmer has revived the once extinct United Australia Party to enter the campaign at both the upper and lower house. The irony being that the United Australia Party (in 1931) was created by Labor dissidents, this time Clive is coming as an unhappy former Liberal member.
Clive Palmer’s political party is yet to be registered, but don’t worry, it does have policies.
Mr Palmer, the leader of the newly established United Australia Party, said his party would fall into the conservative side of politics and would have very similar policies to the Coalition – except for five key differences.
First of all, lobbyists would be out. Completely.
“Another one is on the carbon tax, right,” Mr Palmer said.
(Adding “right” to the end of a sentence in explanation mode is a familiar tic of Mr Palmer’s. He has used it when explaining what was wrong with the LNP, what was wrong with the Football Federation of Australia and what was wrong with people who didn’t understand his Titanic vision. It’s not a question. Mr Palmer appears to assume he is right, and not care if you don’t agree with him.)
“We think it should be abolished from the day it is introduced, not after its first year, right,” he continued. “And in doing that we think we can refund back to all the people who have been paying higher electricity prices that money.”
Refugees is another political point of difference: “We don’t think it is good sense to spend $5 billion or more every year on the naval blockade of Australia, right. We believe in a similar policy that they have in the United States and other countries, where people can board a plane, whether or not they have a visa, and then they’re shuttled to the airports where there are people in facilities waiting to meet them. They are then interviewed, they are given a hearing and if they are found to not be legitimate refugees, they are put on the next plane back. You won’t need detention centres, that’s what every other country does in the western world. This is what the press calls a ‘beat up’. It’s not really an issue at all and we don’t believe in separating families and mothers and children and putting them in jail, when they have done nothing.”
Number four concentrates on the resource and value-rich regions, (those which profit from industries such as tourism and mining) receiving at least one-quarter of the wealth they generate for their communities.
“And the last one [difference] is we believe we should take the mineral wealth from Western Australia and Queensland and develop processing industries in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, so that we can create more jobs.”
Other policies are a work in progress for the fledging political party.
The Gonski funding reforms are something Mr Palmer supports in principle, but with some adjustments.
“We’re against cutting funding to universities, right,” he said. “What goes with that is our universities are an export industry, right, and the Gillard government has stopped that with the 457 [temporary skilled work] and other visas, and universities have lost a lot of revenue and Australia has lost that export revenue. So that needs to be reinstated, right.”
But expanding the economy, like his party would like to do by building up the minerals and processing industries in Australia, would increase the government’s revenue streams, meaning incorporating the Gonski reforms wouldn’t be such an issue. It’s that simple, Mr Palmer said.
When it comes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, his party’s policy is the same as the Coalition’s – which is it supports the scheme, in principle.
Again, he spoke about increased revenue for the federal government: “If you solve the big picture, if you have more revenue coming through, then you have more money you can spend, that is what we are really trying to say, right.”
When it comes to marriage equality, Mr Palmer, a practising Catholic, said he believes in a “conscience vote for all those issues”.
“It’s not something that I would really determine until I have an issue before me. It can all be in different shades of grey, you know, it really depends on what the proposition is.”
So does Mr Palmer personally believe that same-sex couples should be able to marry, and if so, when would he work to change the marriage act?
“It is not something I have considered at the moment,” he said.
Clive has a massive job on his hands. It is not that long till the elections and if he wants to be a serious player he needs to find 150 odd serious contenders to take on every seat. These contenders need to be baggage free so not to let the party down. Picking 150 candidates in such a short time is going to be anything but easy.
Mr Palmer, if he manages to win any seats or gain many votes could divide the right and hand the election to the left. I would hate to see what would happen to Australia if Julia won another election, especially if she does not really win but only hold off the two right parties.