Palmer under the pump [opinion]

Clive Palmer is backing into a corner, lashing out with more WW2-themed insults against his perceived political opponents, this time comparing federal treasurer Scott Morrison to Nazi war criminal Heinrich Himmler.

The treasurer has suggested that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission should look into issues around Queensland Nickel, sparking another of Palmer’s famous dummy-spits.

“Scott Morrison said he would lean on ASIC to take action against me. His comments were similar to what Commandant Himmler used to use in the Gestapo in Germany,” Palmer said.

“Independent government officers in the commonwealth should be free from ministerial prejudice, interference and allow the rule of law to prevail in this country, not political direction.”

Palmer is known for being fond of national-socialist invective…

And that is all good and well, however Palmer’s role as an “independent government officer” does not preclude him from being investigated in his capacity as the owner of the Yabulu refinery, who stands accused by administrators of operating as a shadow director under the guise of his membership of a purchasing committee.

Palmer is known for being fond of national-socialist invective, once describing former Queensland premier Campbell Newman as a Nazi.

“Of course he’s a Nazi…He wants to use the Gestapo, you know. Look at his popularity. He’s just below where Hitler was when he got elected,” went the 2014 accusation. What less could we expect from the man who made insulting the Chinese people on national TV a spectator sport?

Penny Wong grimaces as Palmer refers to "Chinese bastards" on QandA in 2014.
Penny Wong grimaces as Palmer refers to “Chinese bastards” on Q&A in 2014. Source: ABC

With the Federal Government staring down the barrel of a $73 million bailout from the Fair Entitlements Guarantee, it bears heavy consideration that Palmer should be forced to reach into his own presumably deep pockets to ensure his employees and other creditors are paid fairly in the wake of complete and total failure of the management of the Yabulu nickel refinery.

The damning evidence that Palmer used the business as his own personal piggy bank to the tune of more than $220 million, to finance a failing political party and other “Titanic” business ventures, does not suggest a man who deserves a bailout from the taxpayer so he can continue to profit from our nation’s resources.

When accused of being a shadow director by the very administrators he appointed, Palmer has said they “misunderstood” the structure of affected companies, however no-one misunderstands the fact that Clive Palmer owns all of the companies involved in the ownership, management and decision-making around the Yabulu Refinery. While he blames the ownership structure on former owner BHP, he is perfectly willingly to exploit that structure in the attempt to shield himself from the failure of his own management, in the hands of bumbling nephew and sometime fall-guy Clive Mensink. Nothing could paint the picture more succinctly than Getup’s “Canary F. Palmer” meme …

canary f palmer

The notorious litigant is floundering, and it is very unlikely he will make a convincingly impassioned sell as he did at the last federal election, or have the same capacity to fund it as he did last time. Palmer’s estimated net worth nearly halved 12 months after his entry to politics (dropping a cool billion and 12 spots on the BRW Rich List in ‘14), and bookies will be offering long odds on his retention of the seat of Fairfax. A move to the Senate has been flagged by pundits, but Palmer insists this won’t happen, apparently on the basis of his personal taste.

“I don’t like red, it’s a shocking colour,” he said. “Red carpet, everything’s red over there.”

“I haven’t made any moves to do that, unless I lose my endorsement in Fairfax, which is always a possibility in my party,” he said in a rare moment of clarity.

Although Palmer is undoubtedly a mercurial man, one can be sure he won’t go down without a fight, and in his case that equates to throwing around hefty bundles of cash (not just buns). The question is how will his finances look after July 2? Once bitten, twice shy, and Palmer is short on time to recruit new members to run for office around the country, let alone trust them not to pull a Lambie or a Lazarus on him.

The most honourable way out of this situation would be to take the money he would have spent on campaigning and some, and pay the people he let down, in a show of still having some worth to the Australian people beyond the shock and entertainment value we’ve all come to enjoy at his expense.

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