An Idiotic Prediction: Clive Palmer To Win Tasmania Outright

CLIVE PALMER has made his first high-profile foray into the state election campaign in Tasmania; in an echo of his discredited prediction prior to last year’s federal election — that his eponymous party would win 100 seats, and that he would be Prime Minister — Palmer now claims to be sitting on polling showing his party poised to win the Tasmanian election outright. Who was polled is unclear, but this prediction is as idiotic as his last.

Tasmanian newspaper The Mercury is carrying a story this afternoon that beggars belief; indeed, I had to read it twice to be certain that federal MP for Fairfax and mining tycoon Clive Palmer has predicted his eponymous party is set to win 13 of the 25 seats in Tasmania’s Hose of Assembly at the 15 March election and with them, government in its own right.

Perhaps this prediction — like the one he made before last year’s federal election, at which he foresaw the Palmer United Party securing “100 seats” and himself the Prime Ministership — is some sort of tactic to make his party feel like a more comfortable entity to voters deciding who to support; I don’t know.

It certainly isn’t grounded in reality.

Palmer’s claim that his party undertook polling of “about 500 Tasmanians” begs questions of who and where they are or were; readers might recall that the basis for his wild predictions prior to 7 September last was “online polls” conducted by local news outlets on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Such polls are easy to manipulate, and are not based on any scientific methodology.

Naturally, no details of Palmer’s internal polling have been released to substantiate his ridiculous claims.

Still, Palmer claims that his PUP “(has) the major parties running scared,” and that the Tasmanian leader of his party, Kevin Morgan (Kevin who?) “will be the next Premier of Tasmania.”

Presumably all of this is why the latest reputable polling out of Tasmania — research conducted by ReachTel, published yesterday — found the state’s Liberal Party on 48.8% of the primary vote, and the PUP sitting on just 4.8%.

Palmer, on those figures, would stand a reasonable prospect of picking up a single seat somewhere under Tasmania’s proportional Hare-Clark electoral system.

But ReachTel — whose findings of Liberal support usually understate the eventual Liberal vote — finding the Liberals on 48.8% identifies adequate support for the Liberal Party to pick up 13 of the 25 seats itself, and possibly one or two others, depending on preference flows and the distribution of votes across the five electorates.

Palmer’s story is laughable, and no more than the kind of fatuous huff and puff that has characterised most of what he has had to say ever since it first appeared he might have won his seat of Fairfax last year.

On balance, he should be ignored, and this column recommends that any Tasmanians contemplating voting for him really need to take a look at themselves.

 

Now It’s Clive Palmer MP: Yet Another Argument For OPV

CLIVE PALMER has finally won the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax, beating Liberal candidate Ted O’Brien by 53 votes on a recount; the win is likely to be Palmer’s first and last, if his erratic behaviour to date is any guide, and is yet another argument in favour of the adoption of Optional Preferential Voting.

First things first: The Red And The Blue congratulates “Professor” Palmer on his belated victory in the federal election; the result may yet be overturned if a complaint is made and upheld in the Court of Disputed Returns, of course, but for now — winners are grinners, and Palmer has certainly won.

I don’t begrudge Palmer his moment of triumph, but a moment is all I can spare, because as far as I’m concerned Palmer hit the nail on the head when he mockingly told a reporter that he shouldn’t be in Parliament.

Readers can access that clip — embedded in a report on Palmer’s win from Sydney’s Daily Telegraphhere.

This column has had cause to be critical of Queensland’s merged Liberal-National Party in the past, notably during a public flaring of tensions along the old Liberal-National divide and some controversy over former state minister Bruce Flegg.

Yet I support the LNP, insofar as my continuing interest in Queensland politics is concerned, despite being vehemently opposed to the merger when it occurred: it’s one thing to get frustrated and to criticise, but it’s another thing altogether to stomp out in disgust and wilfully set up shop in opposition, because you can’t get what you want.

The potted version of the Palmer story goes something like this.

Having been around the then-National Party since the days of Joh Bjelke-Petersen — including a period as that party’s media director — Palmer, having accrued a fortune of uncertain scope, became the single biggest donor to the Nationals in Queensland: a practice that continued with the Queensland Coalition and later with the amalgamated LNP.

Soon after the thunderous LNP win in Queensland last year, Palmer walked out on the LNP in the wake of state government decisions that ran counter to his business interests.

Earlier this year, he set up the United Australia Party (hurriedly rebadged as the Palmer United Party when it emerged the name was already in use) with a prediction he would become Prime Minister of Australia and winning “100 seats in Parliament.”

Along the way, Palmer bought things; one of them was the Hyatt Regency Coolum Resort, which (according to the Sunshine Coast press) has caused great angst in the local community with poor standards and low occupancy rates hurting businesses that have traditionally depended on the resort for their lifeblood.

Along the way, a couple of disgruntled LNP MPs in Queensland agreed to sit under the Palmer banner in State Parliament, their ranks since being augmented by (at present) three Senators and Palmer himself in Canberra.

And he now arrives in Canberra with a policy position — one of many — to repeal the carbon tax and to ensure that the federal government refunds to businesses all monies they have paid in carbon tax bills to date.

It has been estimated in other media that Palmer’s companies would stand to reap a windfall of more than $6 million were this to occur.

Palmer has also demanded his PUP be provided with staffers and other resources in federal Parliament to which they are not entitled; he has brazenly threatened to ensure the Abbott government is unable to pass any legislation — “not a single bill” — until or unless this occurs.

Before and since his departure from the party, Palmer has repeatedly lashed out at the LNP; this time last year he was quoted saying of the state government that “never have such a bunch of crooks held office in Queensland” and accusing the state’s Treasurer, Tim Nicholls, of “cooking the books” to overstate Queensland’s net debt by some $54 billion.

Judged by his own aspirations and 100-seat target, Palmer’s political foray has been a failure; his fledgling outfit has won three Senate spots (one of which, in WA, hangs in the balance pending an investigation into 1400-odd lost votes) and one lower house seat — his own — by the skin of his teeth.

Since the election, the bluster and belligerent rhetoric has continued; the AEC was incompetent, the system corrupt, and a conspiracy being played out to deny him victory.

One of the things Palmer threatened to use his Senate numbers to bring government to a halt over was the issue of electoral reform: Tony Abbott had better deliver it, or else.

Now, however, his PUP will block electoral reform on the basis it could involve the introduction of Optional Preferential Voting (OPV), which would disadvantage his party at future elections.

And it remains to be seen, of course, whether Palmer holds good to his threat to challenge his own victory in Fairfax in the Court of Disputed Returns; I’ll bet tens that he doesn’t do it — but then again, when it comes to Clive Palmer, who’s to know?

Don’t get me wrong; I like Palmer, and find him quite amusing; it would actually be an interesting afternoon to have a couple of beers with him, methinks.

But like mates at a pub, having a bit of time for someone personally doesn’t automatically entitle them to support for Parliamentary service.

Palmer now says — in keeping with his crusade against the Queensland LNP — that he intends to damage Premier Campbell Newman with claims of corruption; this apparently came about during an interview with the ABC, in which he was asked whether he had evidence of “illegal payments” being made to LNP ministers.

Quoting from the Tele, he said that

“Wait for a while, I can’t give you all the news tonight, when I get into Parliament we can table, you can read it and you’ll love it – Campbell will love it, too…what I’ve said is I’ve got a certain amount of evidence, I don’t have conclusive evidence, but it’s in the public interest and we’ll put it out there…Goodbye Campbell Newman.”

I grew up in Queensland under a National Party we all knew was crook; this kind of thing is no trifling matter (NSW and WA readers will know — from the ICAC hearings this year and the WA Inc debacle respectively — something of the first-hand nature of this too).

Indeed, the endemic cronyism and systemic corruption that occurred under that National Party government was one of the reasons I was vehemently opposed to the state Liberals merging with the Nationals — even though I’d been living away from Queensland for ten years by the time it happened.

So if Palmer has “evidence” incriminating the state LNP, individual ministers, the Premier, or anyone else associated with Newman’s government, let him immediately hand it over to the Federal Police and/or Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission — whichever is the relevant jurisdiction — and get the investigation started as a matter of urgency.

On the other hand, if he doesn’t (and Palmer has said his “evidence” is inconclusive), then forget about tabling things in Parliament — under privilege, and with the immunity from prosecution it confers — and stop playing juvenile and vindictive games.

Whichever way you cut it, though, Palmer’s election in the seat of Fairfax is a great recommendation for OPV.

It isn’t as if his win is a resounding one; Palmer scored a mere 26.49% of the primary vote. You can see the AEC tables here.

It quickly becomes obvious that two-thirds of that primary vote was drawn from the Greens and the ALP — conservative Clive winning the votes of the Left — and that preferences from those parties actually elected him.

Three-quarters of his electorate cast a primary vote for someone else: as I have said before, this is an MP with less depth of support in his own back yard than a wading pool.

Somewhere amongst the bluster and hyperbole and bellicose rants Palmer has indulged in since it first seemed he might win the seat, he has championed reform of the federal voting system: I agree, and suggest the only reason he has for blocking it is the same one that will stop him challenging his own election in Court.

On an optional preferential vote the LNP would have easily retained the seat, and all the nonsense from Clive Palmer that we’ve seen since 7 September would be occurring somewhere removed from getting the job of governing Australia underway — if at all.

In any case, Palmer only has a 53 vote margin; losing half of those will wipe it out.

I don’t think Palmer has a snowball’s chance of hell of re-election in three years’ time — if he even seeks it — but based on the past six weeks generally and his promise of “evidence” against Newman’s government in particular, I don’t think he’d win a by-election now.

What do people think?

A “Corrupt” System? Palmer’s Antics Will Soon Become Tiresome

WITH THE PRIME conservative seat of Fairfax seemingly in the bag, Clive Palmer has — since Saturday’s election — continued the eccentric behaviour for which he has become known; whilst some of his arguments have merit, most don’t. His pronouncements and outbursts will quickly become tedious.

I have been keeping an eye on what Palmer has been saying and doing since Saturday, and I am far from impressed; it seems that having achieved a sliver of the political power he has insisted for months would fall his way, he is hellbent on picking all the fights he can.

Which, of course, is his prerogative.

There are two reports today that I want to look at that provide some insight into the way Palmer appears determined to operate, and we will come to those shortly.

It is apparent, however, that barring a huge surge in the LNP vote from postal and absentee votes, Palmer will win Fairfax; the electorate — based on the central and northern parts of the Sunshine Coast — is as traditional a patch of blue-ribbon, heartland conservative territory as you will find anywhere in the country.

Its loss will rankle the Liberal Party, and the merged LNP in Queensland in particular.

At the time of writing, Palmer remains nearly 1,400 votes ahead of the LNP candidate, Ted O’Brien, with over 80% of votes counted; it is quite possible his lead can be overturned as counting is finalised, but that prospect — regrettably — is receding.

Whether he wins or not, Palmer has launched an unprecedented attack on Australia’s electoral processes; as The Australian reported yesterday, he has declared there is “absolutely no way I will win based on voting irregularities and the security of the ballots,” which might provide him some cover if he loses, or he might — might — have a point.

As readers will see, the article from The Australian goes on to list, in detail, a number of concerns and grievances Palmer says he has issue with over the conduct of the election.

If his concerns are genuinely held, he should make a formal complaint to the Australian Electoral Commission, which in turn would be bound to investigate and to institute remedial action in response to any breaches it identifies.

But Australian politics has historically been remarkably corruption-free; to the extent misconduct or irregularities (deliberate, accidental or through oversight) occur, Australians can have confidence that the occasional instances of prosecutions for electoral fraud, court-ordered supplementary elections and so forth clean the bulk of them up.

Palmer, however, goes a step further, declaring that “if there were UN observers here, this would be regarded as an unfair election.”

It does rather seem like overkill.

Yet the same article records what can only be interpreted as an extraordinary threat of political blackmail (and any member/s of the administrative wing of Palmer’s party prepared to officially clarify this, in writing, can leave their details in a comment and I will contact them to facilitate this — their details will not be published without their consent).

The Australian reports — and I quote contemporaneously — that

(Palmer) says that if he fails to win Fairfax, the two members of his party bound for the Senate will block Tony Abbott’s policies unless electoral reform is promised…“We think it’s a corrupt system. Until that’s sorted out Abbott won’t be getting any legislation through the senate with our support,” Mr Palmer said.

In other words, if Palmer is defeated in Fairfax it will be on account of the “corrupt” system, not through the will of the people, and that if he is defeated, he will instruct his Senators to obstruct the Abbott government in the Senate.

I should point out that with primary support in Fairfax of just over a quarter of the votes cast, Palmer is somewhat fortunate to be in a position to contemplate being elected at all.

And this brings me to the second of the two articles I alluded to; one I have been “sitting” on since the day after the election. This report, from news.com.au, can be accessed here.

Some of the spin and theory propounded by Palmer in this report warrants rebuke.

It is interesting — albeit completely unsurprising — that Palmer is holding himself up as some kind of kingmaker to whom Tony Abbott should be grateful for winning the election.

Palmer — and this is an old story — stomped out of the merged LNP in Queensland when he couldn’t get it to do what he wanted, and set up the Palmer United Party to get candidates elected who would.

(If anyone doubts this, look at the Palmer promises on the abolition of Fringe Benefits Tax, cutting income tax, abolishing the mining and carbon taxes, et al — all of which would benefit Palmer’s companies if enacted).

Most of the votes Palmer’s party won on Saturday were drawn from the LNP; far from being responsible for Tony Abbott’s election win Palmer has, if anything, blunted it.

Assuming PUP’s support ends up at 6%, as Palmer says, his preferences cannot be said to have elected Abbott to office; all minor party preferences leak when distributed, and even assuming 80% of them went to the Coalition, that leaves 20% that ended up with the ALP.

Thus, the national ALP vote is at least 1.2% higher after preferences than it would have been had Palmer opted to butt out of conservative politics when he abandoned the LNP.

This means there are seats across the country, now on margins below about 1.3%, that have remained in Labor hands when they should have been won by the Coalition. Palmer’s PUP is directly responsible for these outcomes. And there is no shortage of seats, retained by Labor, in that category.

That said, many of the seats the Coalition won were secured either on primary votes above 50%, or on preference flows from other candidates that rendered anything that might have been forthcoming from Palmer technically redundant.

In other words, whilst there are tightly contested seats the Liberals and Nationals won in which PUP preferences may have been decisive, the reality is that of the 90 seats the Coalition looks likely to end up with, enough of them would have been secured anyway irrespective of Palmer and his PUP.

And far from enhancing the Coalition’s prospects in the Senate, the very presence of PUP has compromised its gains in that chamber: firstly by drawing off the Coalition’s votes, and secondly — again — through preference leakage.

On top of that, the two Senators likely to be elected on the PUP ticket, and Palmer himself in Fairfax, are direct reductions in the Coalition’s seat tallies in the upper and lower houses respectively.

How all of this makes Palmer responsible for Tony Abbott being elected is beyond me.

Don’t get me wrong, Palmer seems likeable enough; I have no issue with him personally.

Even so, these latest events simply continue the pattern of controversial and/or odd public pronouncements that simply don’t withstand scrutiny.

A lot of people — understandably awed by the influx of minor party candidates to the Senate — seem to have lost sight of the fact that all of these Senators, including Palmer’s, are there for six years, not three.

If they really are of a mind to be wreckers, they will act as such for a very long time.

And Palmer himself, if elected in Fairfax, will no doubt be viewed with amusement and consternation in equal measure, even by those who take him seriously.

The fact is that Australia is bereft of larger-than-life figures; the days of the outspoken larrikin in Parliament are gone, and to that extent alone Palmer is refreshing.

Even so, if his comments and commentary prior to and since the election are a reliable indicator of what he is likely to contribute over a period of years of active engagement, a great many people will grow very tired of him, and very quickly.

Clive Palmer’s 100 Seat Haul Takes Firmer, Fatuous Shape

AS WE monitor the developments and goings-on over at Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party, events are moving pretty quickly; today he has provided clarification around his prediction of winning 100 seats at this year’s election, and made comments certain to cost himself votes.

If there’s one thing that can be said about Clive Palmer, it’s that he doesn’t do things by halves; not only has he declared himself the next Prime Minister of Australia — with no parliamentary experience, and an emerging set of similarly experienced candidates — but he has stated that his Palmer United Party will win 100 seats at the looming election.

We have spoken about the aspirations of the PUP in terms of seats won before; for those who missed it, the article can be viewed here.

But it seems I have done Palmer an injustice, by failing to comprehend the true extent of the success he believes he will achieve with the support of the Australian public.

An article in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today contains a clarification from Palmer that the PUP’s aim is to win 100 seats in the House of Representatives, and not a total haul of that magnitude across both Houses of Parliament as I interpreted his claim as meaning in my article a month ago.

I should apologise to Palmer; it was not my intention to misrepresent his ambition.

But now it is clear exactly what he thinks his PUP will achieve, it simply adds to the utter fantasy this entire exercise entails.

No political party has ever won 100 lower house seats at a federal election in Australian political history; Malcolm Fraser’s record election haul in 1975 saw the Coalition snag 91 of the then 127 seats up for grabs on a two-party vote of 56.3%.

Since the enlargement of the House of Representatives in 1984 — making it a bit easier to achieve the “ton” with a big election win — the closest anyone has been to doing so was John Howard in 1996, taking 94* of the 148 seats in the House of Representatives at that time, on 53.9% of the two-party vote.

In other words, Palmer’s prediction shows he believes he is on track to record the single biggest election win ever recorded in this country and — whilst anything is possible — you’d have to say he was dreaming.

With the Coalition consistently polling an average 55% of the two-party vote across the reputable polls it is difficult to see where Palmer is going to find the votes he needs.

God alone, quite literally, knows what he thinks he will achieve in the Senate.

And it’s a fair comment to say that the list of candidates Palmer is now announcing, in rolling waves, is pretty lacklustre — and at the very minimum, no better overall than the candidates presented by the two major parties he seems so hellbent on demonising.

The highest profile of any of them, Glenn Lazarus, is a former rugby league identity from Queensland not noted for any skills or history in politics, policy or governance.

It’s true the PUP boasts two “sitting” MPs in Queensland, Alex Douglas and Carl Judge.

Yet aside from the fact they’re state MPs not running for federal seats, both are turncoat LNP members of limited standing in the wider electorate; Judge’s seat is unlikely to ever be won by a conservative except in the sort of landslide the LNP achieved last year, and Douglas and his recent record — as an advertisement for the PUP — is a public turnoff.

Exactly where Palmer’s 100 winners are going to come from is a mystery.

All this comes as the Fairfax press today carried an article attempting to publicise dirty laundry in Palmer’s family; whilst I’m not a Palmer supporter I generally believe that unless there’s criminal behaviour involved (which there isn’t) this sort of thing is simple muckraking, and should be left in the background where it belongs — rightly, wrongly, or otherwise.

Even so, it won’t help Palmer, and nor was it intended to by whoever was the source for the Fairfax story.

And Palmer himself has done his party’s prospects few favours today by foolishly elaborating on his contention that the Liberal and Labor parties “are run by private interests and lobbyists.”

“Most lobbyists employ a former Labor minister and a former Liberal minister,” the Tele quoted him as saying. “Someone like me who’s got a lot of money you go along and offer them a million dollars (sic).”

Even if he’s right, and there’s such a huge issue around professional lobbyists as Palmer suggests, this sort of pronouncement will win few followers.

Nobody doubts that Palmer could throw money around — in million dollar increments — for a very, very long time without going broke and whilst remaining an extremely wealthy individual indeed.

The problem is that the average voter is unlikely to see a million dollars in one place in their lifetime, let alone have such an amount at their disposal to gain the sort of preferment Palmer is admittedly (and justifiably) railing against.

But in phrasing the message in such terms, all he stands to achieve is to highlight — and widen — the chasm between himself as the PUP leader and the very people on whose votes he depends if he stands any chance at all of achieving his goals at election time.

As things stand, I’d give him one chance in 20. Less if he and his PUP continue along the amateurish political path they seem determined to tread.

This whole exercise in alternative electioneering — like so many before it — is a joke.

 

*Three Liberals stood as Independents in WA seats in 1996, and were elected; had those seats stayed with the Liberals Howard’s win would still have fallen short of the mark.

Memo Queenslanders: If Douglas Becomes Premier, Get Out Of Queensland

IT’S A DELUSION that keeps giving; fresh from the announcement his party will win 100 seats at the coming federal election, Clive Palmer’s state leader in Queensland says it’s a “realistic probability” he’ll be its next Premier. Should it eventuate, I have one word of advice for Queenslanders: leave.

I have read with interest this afternoon a story that has appeared on News Ltd sites across the country, in which ex-National-cum-LNP turncoat Alex Douglas claims he’ll be the next Premier of Queensland.

This story is of interest to me as an ex-Queenslander as much as for its value as a political news item in its own right, and sends a shudder down my spine on both counts.

Douglas — had the former Queensland Division of the Liberal Party had any cojones when divvying up seats with the former National Party — wouldn’t even be in Parliament.

Gaven is a classic example of the kind of urban south-east Queensland electorate that may have been fertile ground for the National Party 30 years ago, but not now; but so were many such electorates in Queensland in the days before the merged LNP came into existence, and it’s unsurprising that not only did the National Party ever win more than a couple of them, the presence of their candidates also assisted Labor candidates in other seats to beat their coalition counterparts.

A “Coalition candidate” at a by-election in the seat of Gaven in April 2006, Douglas was narrowly elected, only to lose the seat at the election later that year; he won it back by a tiny margin in 2009, and was re-elected last year in the tidal wave that carried all bar 11 of the LNP’s 88 candidates into Parliament: hardly a personal endorsement.

Even so, re-election by a 70-30 margin appears to have given Douglas delusions of grandeur; certainly it is difficult to believe that he would have behaved the same way after last year’s election had he retained his seat in another knife-edged contest.

And that behaviour has included stomping out of the LNP in high dudgeon; the lowly backbencher Douglas — who refused to acknowledge his place — had been removed as the head of a parliamentary committee; this followed his wife countersigning a complaint to the LNP that sought to have Treasurer Tim Nicholls sacked from the ministry.

Perhaps because it was Palmer who was the other complainant, Douglas felt he was on safe ground. But as a direct result of the former National Party’s past, the LNP cannot even be perceived as operating under the slightest hint of the appearance of the constraint of a conflict of interest.

This is why the LNP was set to bite the hand that fed it — Palmer and his seven-figure donations — until Palmer stomped out of the LNP as well.

Now we have an utterly delusional political party whose lofty ambitions know no bounds, but which is entirely innocent of any grounding in political reality.

I have opined previously that Palmer has no core constituency; no obvious bloc of voters — based on geography or on demographics or anything else — is lining up in a “Draft Clive” movement to sweep the billionaire, and his associates, into Parliament.

It seems nobody else wants to, either; thus far several reputable opinion polls have been conducted federally on voting intention, and none have registered any support for the Palmer Party whatsoever.

And I say the “Palmer Party” because that’s what it is: Clive Palmer’s vehicle to win power.

It is true that this party was to be called, rather misleadingly, the “United Australia Party,” a plan that had to be abandoned because of its similarity to the name of another party already registered with the Australian Electoral Commission.

But the replacement name belies the fact that uniting anyone (except behind Palmer personally) was never the objective of such a party in the first place.

If anyone doubts this, they should head up to Coolum (yes, in Queensland) to what was once the Hyatt Regency Coolum Resort; it is now Palmer Coolum Resort after the mining baron purchased it a couple of years ago.

They should observe the huge dinosaur adorning one of the greens on the golf course at the resort — perhaps before sampling the “fantastic food” at “Palmer Grill” offered by ubiquitous signs all over the place.

So let’s not mince any words over exactly what motivates “Palmer United Party” — or PUP as we will call it — an entity anyone in their right minds would vote for at their peril.

A check of PUP’s website quickly validates any doubt of the party’s bona fides as a mainstream outfit as opposed to the rickety vehicle for the moneyed and disgruntled.

“Australian Children Should Live,” reads the header on a press release that says the first act of a Palmer PUP government will make Australia’s woeful indigenous infant mortality rate its first priority — without a single word outlining how, or indeed what it would do to address the issue.

PUP opposes, according to its media releases, both cuts in government spending and raised taxes; it simply claims “the only way forward…is to elect a Palmer United Party government…and unite all Australians.” It is unclear how PUP proposes to fix the federal budget through this approach, apart from “uniting” everyone.

And there is a strong “get the Liberals” flavour to what appears on the PUP site; this time last year Palmer was all for Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott; now, the LNP is a bunch of crooks* and Tony Abbott is no better than Julia Gillard, according to his site.

Now, Palmer’s protegé in Alex Douglas thinks he’s going to be Premier of Queensland.

Never mind the delusional objectives of the Palmer United Party.

Never mind the unreasoning and unrealistic estimates it makes of its own support.

Never mind the fact it had to have two goes at its registration as a party.

Never mind the total absence of policy, except a “we hate everyone” approach to competitors, and a distinct suggestion of hunger for revenge against the LNP.

Never mind the fact that Douglas — a parliamentary midget of absolutely no significance whatsoever to the governance of Queensland, or to politics generally, south and west of its borders — appears to believe his own propaganda, or the sizeable chip on his shoulder that accompanies it.

The simple fact is that based on present indicators, PUP is unlikely to win a seat anywhere, let alone form a government in any jurisdiction in Australia, be it as a majority, minority, in coalition with someone or any other permutation.

Clive Palmer is a brilliant businessman and respect is owed on that account, but this column questions the wisdom of the political enterprise he has embarked upon, and the available published pretexts that have thus far been offered in justification of it.

Especially when it attracts the likes of Douglas.

The advice from this column — in the unlikely event he ever became Premier of Queensland — to that state’s residents is very simple.

Leave.

I think the PUP’s prospects are bleak but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be held accountable to the type of ridiculous nonsense offered up this afternoon.

Simply stated, Alex Douglas — and Clive Palmer — are trying to sell Queenslanders a pup.

*according to Palmer before he resigned from the LNP.