Clivosaurus: The politics of Clive Palmer (Quarterly Essay 56)
Black Inc, $19.95 pb, 116 pp
Guy Rundle ends his engrossing account of Clive Palmer with a disclaimer: ‘Knowing Clive, he will contradict everything asserted in this essay in the two weeks between its going to press and hitting the bookstands.’ Since the publication of this essay, Palmer has not contradicted the assertions of the essay, but his party has been challenged. Senator Jacqui Lambie has resigned from the Palmer United Party. At the November Victorian election, preference deals led to the election of micro parties to the Upper House, without a Palmer United Party member.
Rundle’s essay gives a balanced account of Palmer’s recent political activity and personal story. Rundle writes with the confidence of a close observer, marking early what he sees as the ‘moral seriousness’ of Palmer’s purpose. Rundle claims a solitary achievement in noticing that Palmer has any purpose at all. He castigates the Murdoch and Fairfax presses for their ridiculing of Palmer, suggesting they and the wider commentariat overlook his significance because they are locked into the old politics of two main parties with a third minor party holding the balance of power in the Senate.