November 2, 2013
I fully realize that Clive Palmer will use his emerging pivotal Senate role to leverage advantage for his businesses. Aren't the Liberal's doing that for their corporate backers? Or the Nationals? No doubt Palmer will have conflicts of interest with respect to mining and minerals but that's becoming the norm these days.
However, I do hope that he plays a disruptive role, gives the Abbott Government merry hell, and makes life as difficult for them as he possibly can. I sincerely hope that it is not simply play acting and clowning around. Hopefully there is some serious disruptive politics behind the theatrics and nonsense of playing the resident jokester-at-large.
Abbott treated the last Parliament with utter disrespect with his guerilla tactics, thereby creating a space for PUP to use its pivotal role to create chaos in the Senate. PUP gives every indication of not being submissive to the standard bully boy tactics employed by the Coalition. PUP could push for electoral reform to make our electoral system more democratic, or if they are serious, help to break the current two party stranglehold. Or help to make the increasingly authoritarian Newman Government in Queensland more accountable for its heavy handed actions.
We need some critical force now that The Australian newspaper has become a cheerleader for the Abbott Government. This suggests the use by the government and the News Corp media to wield power over citizens by controlling control public and private information flows. We no longer have a vibrant media system willing to stand up to governmental power.
These are just hopes that Palmer 's antics will prise open the door that hides the vacuum in our political culture. You can sense the vacuum when Rupert Murdoch's platitudes and waffle are taken seriously when he used his media empire to stunt and cripple Australia's development and its liberal political culture.
The Coalition under Abbott are not going to modernize, make concessions to the liberal consensus, or move towards the political centre. Why should they. They realize that they won government from the right by dumping all that politically correct nonsense of the liberal consensus in the centre left. Theirs is a successful right-wing populism backed by significant parts of the mainstream media.
The only fly in the ointment is Palmer.