Palmer MPs Not Paid To Do Nothing

THE RIDICULOUS NEWS that Clive Palmer and his remaining two Senators will abstain from voting on legislation — on the dubious pretext of “chaos” resulting from the unfortunate contortions over the Liberal Party leadership — is an anti-democratic travesty; Palmer United MPs will continue to enjoy salaries, air travel, staffing and other taxpayer-funded perks for not doing their job. Such a refusal should coincide with departure from Parliament.

It is one thing for an MP to abstain from voting on a single bill, perhaps on principle, or due to a conflict of interest.

It is another matter altogether to simply refuse to vote on legislation altogether, as an act of wilful buffoonery designed to attract attention.

But the announcement by Clive Palmer that the remaining MPs from his silly party will refrain from voting on all legislation until the Liberal Party leadership (and thus the Prime Ministership) is “resolved” is a wanton piece of anti-democratic thuggery that deserves to be met with expulsion from federal Parliament.

Clive Palmer is on the record many times over the past 18 months as being flatly opposed to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government; it seems that in his mad, bad stampede to hound former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman out of office, Palmer has lumped Abbott into the same category as the feisty Queenslander, and with leadership “chaos” (and what might constitute its resolution) being highly subjective concepts, it seems that once again Palmer is attempting to position himself as some kind of arbiter of acceptable standards of political conduct.

If Palmer wants to take action over unacceptable political conduct, he should perhaps seriously review the behaviour of his own party since its unfortunate inception.

Taxpayers resource federal MPs quite generously, with Palmer and each of his Senators paid in the vicinity of some $200,000 each; all are provided with staff, managed offices and other resources, and all are entitled to free travel and accommodation provisions for travel to Canberra.

In short, these individuals are not paid to do nothing: in taking advantage of these provisions, something is reasonably expected from them in return.

What Palmer might think — or demand, decree, or seek to engineer — where the leadership of other parties is concerned is utterly irrelevant to what he and his lamentable Senators were elected to do and (in the context of the Liberal Party and the Coalition more broadly) Palmer forfeited any right or justification he may once have had to input into such matters the day he stormed out of Queensland’s LNP because it wouldn’t behave in office as he expected it to.

There is also no political convention that enables any member of Parliament to cite “chaos” as a pretext for abstaining from voting on legislation, and certainly not where a proposed blanket abstention across all matters before its Houses is concerned.

Should Palmer make good his threat — which would complicate the ability of the government to pass legislation, and see the Palmer United Party fall into line with the similarly unthinking opposition to passing legislation of its brainless former Senator, Jacqui Lambie — it would constitute a reprehensible course of action, and one which should be used by opponents on all sides of the political spectrum to help ensure Palmer forces are preferenced out of winning election to any seat in any jurisdiction in any circumstances in future.

After all, aside from entertainment value that relies on the “train smash” principle, the Palmer United Party adds nothing constructive to politics and government in Australia.

I would hope that any absences from either the Senate or the House of Representatives that contravene Parliament’s Standing Orders are vigorously monitored and pursued: and that should any grounds under these provisions for expulsion from Parliament be satisfied, that the Abbott government will pursue these in an attempt to rid Canberra of the ugly blot on an already tarnished institution whose name has been further besmirched by the masquerade of malice as principle by this most undesirable of political entities.

Perhaps Clive Palmer should look in his own back yard before making faux stands of righteous indignation over “chaos” where the activities of others are concerned.

After all — directed to abstain from all votes on legislation — his Senators voted down a workplace relations bill last night.

It says it all, really.

 

Defence Fracas: Lambie Simply A National Embarrassment

THE BRITTLE EDIFICE of the Palmer United Party looks likelier than ever to crumble, as it battles deregistration in Queensland and as Clive Palmer  faces legal action that may disqualify him from Parliament; now, brainless renegade loudmouth Senator Jacqui Lambie has confirmed she is a law unto herself, with  attacks on her leader and a ridiculous position on pay for service personnel. Lambie, put bluntly, is simply a national embarrassment.

The award of a pay rise for defence personnel of 1.5% by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal might not be to the liking of everyone concerned, but two points need to be made at the outset: one, that the Tribunal is essentially an entity at arms’ length from the government of the day, and two, that whilst defence personnel have secured a pay rise (like all other public servants), the fact they are receiving one at all puts them in a better place than millions of private sector employees who, in straitened economic times, will get nothing.

None of this matters to rogue Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie, who — not merely content to add her voice to others expressing disappointment over such a modest outcome — has resorted to characteristic overreach and the deeply ingrained ignorance and stupidity for which she has so eloquently and so rapidly forged a reputation since her Senate term commenced just four months ago.

Yet on this occasion, her actions speak to much of what is wrong with the culture of “democracy” that has infected politics in this country by stealth, and despite her claims to want to fix things, Lambie’s “stand” on this particular issue seems more designed than ever to exacerbate them.

I have written despairingly in this column many times of the populist, confrontational and downright destructive spirit in which opposition parties (usually on the Left) increasingly approach political debate; my remarks on “fact” and “truth” during the week, in the context of industrial action by emergency services workers in Victoria that seems designed to help bring down a conservative government, is merely the most recent example.

But on a wider basis, there is a breakdown in respect for authority and for the institutions of Australian society that is not only being fuelled by such tactics, but which engender a cavalier disregard for the consequences of doing so: and Lambie, in her attempts to hit out at the Abbott government by demanding that all soldiers turn their backs on any government MP or minister making official addresses at Remembrance Day services on Tuesday, is grotesquely prioritising her narrow and sectional agenda over what is (and always should be) a moment of reflection over the sacrifices made by others, and which should be free of such partisan endeavours.

Unlike Lambie, I have never served in Australia’s armed forces.

But in and around my family and social networks are countless numbers of returned service personnel (some, of course, now deceased), some of them — unlike Lambie — having served with distinction as commissioned officers, and the collective view of those of these who survive would seem to offer a far sounder basis from which to comment than the word of one disgruntled army truck driver for whom the services seem to harbour little residual affection.

I am very reliably told that most returned personnel (and especially those who have seen action on active deployment in battle scenarios) are mortified by Lambie’s posturing as their “champion,” and are growing increasingly angry at what she says and does supposedly in their name; most want nothing of this destructive loudmouth from Tasmania who is, it seems, a law unto herself.

There seems to be a view among this group that Lambie’s own time in the defence forces was not particular meritorious or distinguished, and a perception from the people I have spoken to that her “expertise” on defence matters is actually a self-serving construct and a diatribe (to translate what I was told into more euphemistic terms) uttered through an anal orifice.

But be that as it may, none of them want to be associated with Lambie in any way, shape or form, even if only by the indirect implication of her ill-advised rantings.

And it’s little wonder.

Piers Akerman, in his Friday column in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, amply captured this sentiment, noting that RSL President Rear-Admiral Ken Doolan slapped Lambie’s call for diggers to turn their backs on government MPs down, observing pointedly that to do so would be an insult to “more than 100,000 who have given their lives for us.”

It’s a key point. The freedoms enjoyed in Australia are owed, in no small measure, to the sacrifices of defence personnel over two world wars and a raft of smaller, but no less significant, conflicts in which Australia has participated.

In an ideal world, of course, the money would be flowing like honey, and current personnel could be given more than a 1.5% rise.

But — and I don’t want to divert too far down the path of an attack on the ALP today — with the $350 billion in debt and a budget haemorrhaging red ink at the rate of another $50 billion per annum that was the bequest of the last Labor government to Australia, the money for such largesse simply isn’t there.

That doesn’t bother someone like Lambie, however, who has adopted the absolutist language of confrontational populism now common with the Left, saying that in granting such a small pay increase, those responsible have shown that “they don’t care or are cowards.”

Well, quite.

And it comes as no real surprise that the response from opposition “leader” Bill Shorten (like anyone infected with Labor’s “fling the money and leave someone else to fix the consequences” mentality) is that the service people should be paid much, much more, even if such a bounty simply doesn’t exist.

Aside from the subterranean disagreement of the bulk of Australia’s defence fraternity (which, characteristically, keeps its collective mouth shut on such things, unlike a self-aggrandising renegade like Lambie), it seems even her own colleagues do not share her views, or support her urgings of disrespect in relation to Remembrance Day services on Tuesday.

Palmer Senator Glenn Lazarus, who says he “married into” a military family, was resolute that soldiers should not in any way entertain the proposed show of disrespect advocated for by Lambie. Her leader, Clive Palmer, declined to offer either support nor sanction to her suggestions.

But as is the way of it with Jacqui Lambie, the shenanigans she encourages this coming Remembrance Day seem contrived more as a vehicle for her to advance her own personal political interests than they are grounded in any legitimate basis of reason or, indeed, reasonably founded.

As readers will note from the articles linked, Lambie has bluntly stated that she is “nearly at the point” where she no longer cares what Palmer has to say.

She may, in fact, be right to accuse Palmer of “backflipping all over the place;” yet her ultimatum-like assertion that Palmer either “stands with (her) or near the Liberal National Party (sic)” rather obliquely misses the point that for every “win” Palmer has deigned to gift the Coalition, he has only done so after inflicting enormous political damage on the government, and even then at far greater cost than it either envisaged or desired.

Still, it seems that this issue appears to be the one Lambie has decided to use as her pretext to walk out on the Palmer United Party or, more likely, to get herself booted out of it. After all, expulsion would allow her to continue the narrative of being a victim she so obviously loves — even if that expulsion, if and when it occurs, will undoubtedly have been largely self-inflicted.

And her threat to oppose “all government legislation” until or unless the armed forces get a bigger pay rise than the one awarded to them would (and should) be laughable, were it not for the fact that she actually has a vote in the Senate.

Her calls to effectively politicise and spoil Remembrance Day this year, with the anarchic disrespect for authority they belie, merely feeds in to the general disregard for politics and politicians that has grown dangerously widespread in recent years, and which can be attributed directly to precisely the sort of behaviour that Lambie herself is unashamedly engaging in.

And Lambie has form for it, too, as those who have missed our discussions will see by perusing back articles through this link.

Palmer himself undoubtedly has his problems at present, with the Electoral Commission in Queensland apparently serious about deregistering his party in that state, and with proceedings brought against him by his Chinese business partners potentially threatening consequences (if upheld) that could extend as far as his disqualification from Parliament.

But for once, Clive Palmer must be separated out from the antics of his rogue MP, for whilst he too is guilty of making some outrageous pronouncements as a parliamentarian, what Lambie is up to is something else altogether.

I think — and let me stress that I say this setting aside my connection to the Coalition, and that I say it purely on objective terms — that Palmer might find a great weight lifted from his shoulders if his party were to break up.

After all, if it is deregistered in Queensland (its “home turf”) and if it also loses an unmitigated liability like Lambie from its ranks in Canberra, Palmer could — if inclined to continue his active political enterprise — refashion the Palmer endeavour into a network of “Palmer independents” which would free him of some of the strictures he faces around compliance, and would free him of the disciplines of a party structure which, although ostensibly conceived around his own primacy, is proving inadequate at containing someone who makes no bones of her “superiority” to her own leader.

But that is a discussion for another time, and we will no doubt revisit it.

But the call to wreak havoc on Remembrance Day this year by Jacqui Lambie is an odious show of contempt for an institution — the armed services — to which Australia owes a continuing debt of gratitude, irrespective of what she says her motives are or how sincerely grounded they are in any concern for anything other than her own political furtherance.

It is also a hypocrisy of a particularly contemptible nature, given her claim to speak with authority on behalf of that institution, which nonetheless seems determined to disown any association with her at all.

And when considered alongside other Lambie outbursts — such as the advocacy of a nuclear strike by Australia on China, or her staunch defence of Vladimir Putin in the shadow of the MH17 atrocity, her ignorant ramblings about Islamic law, or the cringeworthy discussion of the state of her nether regions — the sad public reality of Jacqui Lambie crystallises further, and becomes more irrefutable every time she opens her mouth.

And that, simply stated, is that she is a national embarrassment: a miscreant beyond almost any control, this hot-headed imbecile is so inclined to provocative, divisive and inflammatory pronouncements as to make the likes of Pauline Hanson appear sober and reasonable.

And that — without putting too fine a point on it — is no mean feat.

 

 

Beyond Reproach: The Thin, Thin Skin Of Clive Palmer

SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED yesterday clearly illustrated just how intolerant of criticism and thin-skinned Clive Palmer really is; whilst the incident I discuss today is relatively minor, it speaks to virtually every criticism made of Palmer to date in this column, the mainstream media, and in the releases of parliamentarians not enamoured with either his handiwork or intentions. Clive Palmer is a bully who cannot brook even the pettiest dissent.

First things first: with the prospect of legal proceedings by the Queensland and/or federal government to have Clive Palmer’s sham Senate inquiry into Campbell Newman’s government declared unconstitutional remaining undetermined, Brisbane’s Courier Mail ran a story yesterday that detailed a Coalition plan — in the event that that indecent witch hunt proceeds — to turn the tables on Palmer, transforming the Senate’s investigation into one designed to “easily dominate the proceedings” and inflict significant political damage on Palmer himself.

In other words, either the High Court shuts the Senate inquiry into the Newman government down, or the Coalition hijacks it to attempt to destroy Palmer. Should the latter occur, the words “karma bus” come to mind.

It’s fairly obvious that the LNP, and the Coalition parties more broadly, have had enough of Palmer and his shenanigans, with the Courier Mail quoting senior sources as intent on “drawing blood” and maximising the damage Palmer’s stunt inflicts on himself in the rebound.

Even that report from the Brisbane paper carries an inkling of what I am going to discuss this morning, embedded as it is with a video clip of Palmer describing Newman as “a Nazi;” added to the catalogue of other insulting and baseless slurs Palmer has merrily lobbed in Newman’s direction — that he’s corrupt, that his government is a “bunch of crooks,” and so on — it’s obvious, not that it needs spelling out, that Palmer is quite adept at “dishing it out.”

And another article I included on a similar subject last week underscores the point.

One of the Courier‘s senior government sources has outlined plans — if the inquiry goes ahead — to “blow (Palmer’s accusations against Newman) out of the fucking water,” whilst another predicted that if Palmer holds good to his promise to appear before his own inquisition that he “will be likely to be torn to shreds.”

I’m very happy to see senior Coalition figures drawing the line in the sand over Clive Palmer, and this kind of rhetoric signals they have finally decided that enough is enough; I have been warning since before any of his ghastly candidates were even elected that Palmer is the enemy of any conservative government in Australia, and the kid-glove approach taken to date and attempts to appease and mollify the rogue mining baron were never going to have any other effect than to embolden him.

Palmer has repeatedly and bluntly indicated, many times in the past two years, that his efforts are primarily directed at destroying both the political career and the government of Campbell Newman, a remit that has since widened to include Tony Abbott and WA Premier Colin Barnett, and those Liberals and Nationals who have thus far escaped the direct Palmer assault probably only need await their turn.

In the case of NSW and Victoria, both facing state elections fairly soon, we can expect the Palmer attack to be vociferously and belligerently deployed against those Coalition governments as well. The only unknown quantity in this regard is the degree to which it proves effective.

And even when he has seemed to deign to negotiate with the Abbott government in particular, the “deals” struck to get budget legislation through the Senate only damage the political standing of the Coalition even further; passing the mining tax is one thing. Attaching it to the retention of a raft of measures that will blow a multi-billion dollar hole in the budget is another matter altogether.

It’s a classic pincer movement; on the one hand Palmer goes on a full-frontal assault, making outrageous allegations and accusations that effectively go unchallenged; on the other — in full knowledge that competent economic management is critical to the political reputation of the conservative parties, and that in government those parties have inherited financial arrangements in extreme disrepair and decay — he has been able to inflict the softer (but no less damaging) wounds of “compromise” deals that will merely prolong the political pain to the Coalition in doing the job it was elected to do.

But Palmer — no slouch at “dishing it out” — is not so good at “taking it” when criticism of his behaviour, MPs or activities are concerned.

This column has been a strident critic of Clive Palmer and his party; and whilst I find nothing whatsoever to justify the re-election of either his MPs or of Palmer himself, based on their track records to date, I have hardly been Robinson Crusoe in making these observations.

Most mainstream media outlets (with the notable exceptions of the ABC and the Fairfax press) have slated the Palmer United Party over everything from his childish threats to obstruct Parliament unless he received staff and benefits they were not entitled to, to his pot shots at the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, to his obscene and self-obsessed attacks on China and its government, echoed incompetently by his Senator Jacqui Lambie with her suggestion that Australia take steps to enable — and proceed to undertake — a nuclear strike on “Communist” Chinese.

The chorus of observation, and condemnation, of the vindictive Palmer agenda of destroying conservative governments and tarnishing the personal reputations of their leaders has been more or less universal, and eloquently made at intervening intervals in newspapers and comment forums like this one. The contention that Palmer is motivated solely by a desire for retaliation over not getting what he wanted from the Queensland government is printed in a major newspaper virtually every day. And his penchant for name-calling and hurling defamatory personal smears at Campbell Newman (A “Nazi” who wants to set up “a personal Gestapo” in Queensland? FFS…) is now so commonly recognised and noted that is seems like Groundhog Day to do so again.

Today, on Twitter, I saw that Palmer stooge and Senator Glenn Lazarus was trying to confect some kind of outrage over Courier Mail reporting of the looming Senate inquiry into Newman’s government. He tweeted:

“Do you think the Courier Mail is bias (sic) and corrupt – and only printing stories to undermine anyone or any party…”  and that link opens what can only be described as a sympathetic piece to Palmer that slams the Murdoch press on a charge of “bias” and uses the false premise of Royal Commissions into the Pink Batts fiasco and the union movement as justification.

I responded…

Palmer Twitter Image

Perhaps it was because I called Palmer and his lackey Lazarus “bozos,” or perhaps because I restated the unpleasant truth that this Senate inquiry is nothing more than a witch hunt that is probably unconstitutional. Or maybe it was simply that Palmer is sick of hearing my thoughts on Twitter, and felt that I was one critic he could swat away like a fly, but what happened next came as no surprise.

Palmer Twitter Blocked

I said it was minor, and I said Palmer was proving incapable of tolerating even petty dissent. But you have to wonder whether the torrent of unrelenting criticism, and the effect it appears to be having on the Palmer United Party’s polling numbers, is beginning to wear very thin on Palmer indeed.

After all, he is fast gaining a reputation for terminating media interviews that are too uncomfortable for him to stomach, and whilst he can’t stop every news outlet and commentator from tearing into him, there is every evidence that to the extent he can, Palmer will silence his critics.

Even someone “insignificant” on Twitter like me.

I’d just point out that with 100,000 visits last year, this column is starting to acquire real weight of readership; it still might pale beside mass circulation vehicles like the Courier Mail and other more established online comment forums, but as a place for those who follow the political goings-on in Australia, I’m proud that this column is steadily continuing to develop a growing reader profile.

And it will continue to do so, calling things as they are, and notwithstanding the conservative bent with which my articles are framed, I think most people — even if they disagree with me — would concede that I call it as it is. No bullshit.

Just the kind of approach that is apparently anathema to “Professor” Palmer, who it seems can dish it out, but he can’t take it.

You have to wonder, in the end, whether Palmer will front up at his own inquiry after all. If it goes ahead, that is.

In closing, I would simply observe that I can monitor Palmer’s Twitter footprint at will through one of the other accounts I hold, and whilst I might cease to attempt to interact with him on Twitter, this column will not resile from criticising him whenever it is indicated, and as often as his antics and behaviour — and those of his subordinate MPs — warrant it.

Which is pretty much whenever he or they open their mouths, the way things are going.

I feel sorry for the poor souls who wasted their votes on Palmer and his patsies. Alas, there will always be the gullible and the stupid who are impressed with the likes of Palmer behaving like a jackass in public and saying and promising anything to fool them into voting for him, even if he knows damn well it is unlikely to ever be delivered, or is completely unaffordable, or both.

And on that count, Palmer can continue to expect “the treatment” from this column too.

 

Lambie Cuddles An Unconvincing Show Of PUP Loyalty

IT COULD BE the storyline of a B-grade movie; these people — charged with the pivot of governance — are instead squabbling over the trivialities of minor success. The news Jacqui Lambie is considering leaving Clive Palmer’s party is no surprise; the fact it’s over not being the leader (of three Senators) even less so. This is further evidence, if it were required, that a vote for Clive Palmer is a vote for self-obsessed chaos: to hell with the repercussions.

This column has long been of the view that it’s only a matter of time before the fractious, unruly band of miscreant no-hopers, gravy train surfers, sycophants and other political irrelevances that constitute the Palmer United Party begin to fall apart under the combined weight of egos and petty agendas.

Today, we’ve seen the appearance of the first hints that my prediction could come true, and sooner than anyone thought.

To Palmer’s chagrin, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph published an article today that outlined a serious (and escalating) rift between two of his Senators, footballer Glenn Lazarus and brainless, self-designated military expert Jacqui Lambie, that claimed Lambie was on the brink of walking away from Palmer’s silly party.

The reason? As the story goes, Lazarus — “a recluse” — appointed himself as leader of the party in the Senate, a position to which Lambie felt entitled to on account of her “higher public profile.”

The talk around the traps is that Lambie (who confirmed she was fielding approaches from other quarters) is considering joining a new voting bloc of Independents that includes Family First Senator Bob Day, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, and Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, who is currently loosely allied with Palmer himself.

Everyone is covering it, with another of Rupert’s publications running this, and dear old Uncle Fairfax chiming in with this account.

Palmer United Party

Anything for the camera. (Picture: The Australian)

And of course, there have been predictable attempts to laugh the rumblings off; Lazarus’ rather pithy claim that anyone seeking to poach Lambie would have to go “through him” because he and Lambie were “tighter than ever” reeks of an exercise in going through the motions — as do the multitude of kissy-cuddly pictures of the pair that have found their way into today’s newspapers.

I wanted to comment on this briefly: there are weightier matters at hand, some of which I will cover off on overnight (ready for readers when they arise) but in the meantime, there are a few quick points I would make.

One, that Lazarus, Lambie, their Palmer cohort Dio Wang and the rather mobile Ricky Muir all have one thing to offer: a vote in the Senate. Beyond that, it is highly dubious as to whether any of them have so much as a syllable to contribute to sound governance in Australia in any meaningful or constructive sense. Wang is reportedly extremely intelligent, but publicly at least says nothing. Perhaps — if he’s such an astute individual — he should exercise some of that fine acumen and get out of Palmer’s party himself, where he might be allowed to have his own opinion instead of speaking with his master’s voice (or at the very least, complying with its edicts).

Two — and that said — Lambie in particular is of absolutely no value to the process of government at all. I was prepared to support her in this column on the basis of some early hints she gave off that she might represent the kind of grassroots conservatism that can never have too many voices. Alas, Lambie is preoccupied with the overgrown state of her pubic mane, the size of the penises of prospective male suitors, and how best to enact a nuclear strike on China. It also seems she has an entitlement mentality where the leadership of two other people is concerned. This is hardly an agenda conducive to resolving the real problems Australia faces.

Three, if Lambie (or any of the others, for that matter) go ahead and flee the Palmer coop — unshackling themselves from his vindictive and petty obsessions with revenge against the Coalition at all cost — it can only be a good thing; I don’t care where she goes and I really don’t mind if she finds her way into either of the Coalition parties, provided she toes the line and supports government policy. To the extent she has any value at all in Australian politics, helping to smash the Palmer citadel apart would constitute doing the country a favour. I cannot emphasise the importance of ridding Canberra of the insidious Palmer and his presence in the Senate strongly enough.

But finally…isn’t this about as amateurish as it gets?

We’ve had the silly stunts; the eccentric persona Palmer hides his true colours behind; we’ve had the obstruction he causes the government without exception and we’ve had the growing number of “brain fades” when the facade falls down and the true colours of the Palmer agenda becomes painfully clear.

In this context, Lambie being pulled this way and that — and apparently enjoying and entertaining the attention, to boot — merely reflects the sheer vacuity of this self-proclaimed party of national unity. Everything’s for sale and everyone has a stake to defend, it seems. Given the position of “leader” of the Palmer United Party doesn’t even come with an allocated salary, let alone an official title, it emphasises just how puerile today’s spat actually is.

Never mind that these people were elected to govern, and that Palmer’s people — as insidious as it is to admit it — hold a portion of the balance of power in the Senate, which accords them a pivotal position they neither merit nor deserve, but are nonetheless obliged to discharge.

I still think Palmer’s party will break up, if for no other reason than at some stage his stooges simply won’t be able to stand him — or each other — any longer.

In the meantime, however, two words spring to mind: grow up. Australia has seen more than its fair share of embarrassments elected to various houses of Parliament across the country in recent times. These latest antics, centred on the Palmer United Party, are yet more evidence that it is another of them.