PUP needs a bone to chew

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Herald Sun Editorial: PUP needs a bone to chew. 7 November 2014

Clive Palmer is still to name his candidates for the state election. Picture Yuri Kouzmin

Clive Palmer will find he can’t buy votes in Victoria by spending millions of dollars on advertising without explaining his policies.

It worked in the federal election, where his Palmer United Party won the balance of power in the Senate. Mr Palmer seems to think it is going to work in the Victorian Upper House, where he is fielding candidates in every region.

With 23 days to go before the November 29 state election, Mr Palmer is still to name his candidates.

Nor was he able to list his policies at his campaign launch, other than to say he thought the Australian economy could be boosted by turning the coal-powered electricity generating industry in the Latrobe Valley into a minerals processing centre. There needed to be a review to see how the state could do better, said Mr Palmer with a rhetorical flourish.

Mr Palmer also proved to be light on his verbal feet when discussing the Napthine Government’s multi-billion dollar East West Link. Certainly he thought it was important, but then again it might be better if the contracts were torn up as threatened by Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews.

Mr Palmer, who appeared to be hitting his straps, said you have to look at what is best for the people. However, he declined to say what “best’’ might be.

The leader of the Palmer United Party, better known as PUP for its lack of house training in the Senate, was born in Melbourne but appears to have little grasp, if any, of issues that concern people in this state.

This is understandable when you consider Mr Palmer has spent most of his life in Queensland, where he is the Federal Member for Fairfax and where his business interests are mainly based.

Such as the Palmer Coolum Resort and Dinosaur Park. Mr Palmer wanted to call it Jurassic Park, but the makers of the film of the same name objected. Nevertheless, Mr Palmer ordered 160 dinosaur replicas, including a 20-metre long Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The park, which opened a year ago, is known as “Palmersaurus’”, although many people apparently think of this as applying to Mr Palmer. The name carries that double-edged Australian humour. It’s ridicule with a bit of a grin. Mr Palmer has proved to be a populist in his short political career, but any personal popularity he might have had is wearing decidedly thin.

He expanded on this yesterday by stating that in his opinion Australia has too many career politicians “rather than people from all walks of life, who have experienced the reality of life and can reflect those views.’’

Such politicians would presumably be more popular. But whether this will describe the PUP candidates Mr Palmer hopes will win places in the Victorian Legislative Council is not yet known, just as the candidates themselves are unknown.

The PUP leader’s latest form reversal has been his support for Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s direct action policy on climate change, a policy he condemned as merely stupid the last time he talked about it.

His change of heart appears to be based on the Abbott Government’s agreement to have a thorough review of an emissions trading scheme carried out by the Climate Change Authority.

At the same time, the Government says it will never implement such a scheme, which begs the question of whether Mr Palmer has achieved anything at all.

This is something Victorian voters should consider before voting for Mr Palmer’s anonymous candidates on November 29.

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