Palmer United Party – good thing or bad thing?

Clive Palmer appears to have surprised some people by doing exactly what he intended to do all along. I’m more than a little confused by people who express any sort of surprise or disappointment in Palmer United Party getting rid of the carbon price and/or the mining tax. Personally I think these actions are both mistakes but they were pretty much core promises from PUP in the lead up to the last federal election. If they hadn’t gone through with them that would have been a pretty major broken election promise.
Palmer’s decision to mess around with Abbott for shits and giggles has been funny to see but it was never anything more than a sideshow. On those major policy points PUP was always going to give the LNP coalition what they wanted. Palmer just decided to bend Abbott over, repeatedly thwack his arse and make him say “Thank you sir, may I have another?” each time. And if this government is going to destroy the lives and futures of the majority of the country, we at least deserve some entertainment to go with it.
Clive’s a “character”. Which is to say that virtually everything he says and does publicly is scripted as opposed to being the real him. Some of his PUP cohorts however, seem far more interesting. Jacqui Lambie is someone I’d like an opportunity to talk to and see how open she is to exploring issues. She seems to fancy herself as “down to earth” and I have no reason to suspect she’s anything but the ordinary person she projects. I feel inclined to defend her a bit when people call her a bogan because (a) I grew up in the country and (b) I’m more than a little disturbed when people who consider themselves progressive use classist insults.
It’s perfectly possible Lambie is a horrible regressive bigoted person and I wouldn’t like her. I don’t know her so I have no idea what she is really like. While her discussing her preference for big dicks on a radio station was less than edifying, I don’t think that episode means something should be done to change her behaviour. I’d much prefer it if something was done about the absolute dreck pumped out by commercial radio stations. The most interesting thing to me about her is she’s recently been speaking out about Palmer acting like an idiot.
When Palmer was supposed to tip a bucket of water over Lambie on a TV show called The Project (as part of the ubiquitous Ice Bucket Challenge) he saw a second bucket and apparently thought they were going to spring a surprise on him and challenge him to have the same done to him. He took exception to this and stormed off and has honestly looked a complete tool whenever he has been asked to explain his reaction. Lambie’s simple response of “Welcome to my world” seems rather telling.
More than once Lambie has publicly said she wishes Palmer would be less of a clown which seems like quite a promising sign. She essentially relied on Palmer’s profile and bankroll to get elected but doesn’t seem bothered about speaking out and criticising his poor behaviour when she thinks it’s warranted. It’s far too early to see what sort of lasting impact (if any) PUP will have on Australian politics. But they seem to not like Abbott and take some delight in torturing him and that’s enough for now.

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