Clive Palmer And His Gang Of One In Queensland

IN VEGAS (that’s BrisVegas) they do things differently; every disgruntled conservative with a hint of notoriety or a bucket of cash storms out of the Coalition tent — determined to bite the hand that fed it — and sets up their own party; in the end, it falls apart under the weight of acrimony, recriminations, and macho posturing. Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter Jr trod this path. Now, quite literally, Clive Palmer is left with a Gang of One in Queensland.

It’s one hell of an operation Clive Palmer is running up in Queensland.

Sometimes it is tempting to be a little smug when proven right; just over a year ago — with defections of two (2) of the less loyal MPs from Campbell Newman’s LNP party room in hand — Clive Palmer was lavishing praise on his newly anointed “leader” in Queensland, the patently contemptible Dr Alex Douglas; I said at the time that Palmer was trying to sell Queenslanders a pup, and that any belief in the propaganda that suggested the insipid Douglas would be “the next Premier of Queensland” was delusional.

Today, Douglas has stomped out of the Palmer United Party; apparently making a stand on principle, it seems that Douglas has his nose out of joint because Palmer has been out recruiting state election candidates without giving Douglas the input or the clear deference to which he obviously thinks himself entitled.

Saying he had been “reliably informed” that a list of candidates was to be published on the PUP website — without his knowledge — Douglas threw a hissy fit, declaring that he doesn’t support “jobs for the boys.”

To find this naive enough is one thing; after all, Palmer makes no attempt to hide the direct control he wields over his MPs, all of whom were hand-picked: a former employee here, a sporting hero there. If the pompous Douglas really thought he had any levity or control over the edifice Palmer is building and funding from his own pocket it shows just how delusional he is.

Now, the Palmer United Party in Queensland has a new leader; what was comprised of two (2) LNP turncoats is now comprised of one; and this Gang of One — Yeerongpilly MP Carl Judge — has today been “appointed” by the Palmer United Party “executive” to be its “new Parliamentary leader” in Queensland.

Like it had much choice.

All of this begins to get murky with a glance at Palmer’s feed on Twitter, where he suggested the reason for Douglas’ departure derived from the fact that Bob Katter was Douglas’ uncle; according to this nepotistic little theory, Douglas had wanted Palmer’s party to merge with the remnants of Katter’s, and stormed out when Palmer refused to entertain the idea.

Douglas, for his part, released a statement this afternoon; in a ridiculous and banal attempt to channel former US President Lyndon Johnson, he said of the candidate list that “I cannot support, nor will I endorse, actions taken that defeat principles that I adhere strongly to.”

It’s heady stuff, especially coming from a serial turncoat who has now deserted two political parties in less than two years, treating the voters in his electorate of Gaven with utter contempt.

Not to be outdone, Judge — who is deserting the voters in his own precariously-held seat, preferring to try to take out Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie in his safe Sunshine Coast seat than to risk near-certain defeat by Labor — is now taking his turn at the master’s feet, with Palmer feting him with faint praise and…well, and bullshit.

“Carl Judge has a strong commitment to Queensland and he has the character to lead the party to confront the many challenges the state now faces,” Palmer claimed.

And awfully good of Judge to be so benevolently disposed toward Queenslanders it is.

No amount of Bjelke-Petersen-style rhetoric will change the fact that Judge wasn’t a team player at the LNP, is unlikely to prove any different at the PUP, and — like Douglas — has treated voters in his own electorate like a bit of used toilet paper; if his “commitment” was worth a pinch of the proverbial, he wouldn’t be running out on them to try to steal a safer electorate 120km away.

Then again, Palmer himself was kicking around the National Party at the time disgraced former minister Brian Austin was moved to a safe National Sunshine Coast electorate when his seat of Wavell in Brisbane was abolished, so no doubt PUP is just following “precedent.”

And in the grand old tradition of “don’t you worry about that, we’re taking care of things,” Palmer has also announced that his party will continue to unveil candidates for the looming state election in Queensland: the business of the Palmer Party goes on, and there’s nothing to see here. People should be reassured, heartened, and becalmed.

So there it is: Clive Palmer and his Gang of One, a prince of turncoats and traitors, will become the next Premier of Queensland; having sold out his party and his electorate, Carl Judge now asks — on behalf of Clive Palmer — for the trust and the votes of Queenslanders.

They do things differently, up in BrisVegas; perhaps it’s time for Queenslanders to break the mould, and to vote Palmer and his band of merry men man out of political existence.

What an absolute farce. When it comes to Palmer and his vindictive, unprofessional party, however, today’s developments follow what is fast becoming a depressingly familiar storyline.