Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Clive Palmer’s spectacular demise

The demise of Clive Palmer and his Palmer United Party (PUP) was to be expected. His term in government was riddled with controversies. After the 2013 election PUP had three Senators and Palmer himself in the lower house.

At the 2016 election PUP suffered a 5.5% swing against them and did not win any seats. Expecting to lose, Palmer decided not to even recontest the lower house seat of Fairfax.

The billionaire businessman originally used $25 million to bankroll the PUP. He won support by using populist rhetoric, but soon his real motivations were exposed.

The lack of cohesive policies, coupled with Palmer’s capricious manner, soon saw the PUP fall apart with the defection of Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus. Rot continued to set in with court proceedings surrounding the millions of dollars he donated from his businesses to PUP.

He was discredited further when hundreds of workers were sacked at his Coolum and Townsville businesses, and his mining company Queensland Nickel was wound up amidst an ASIC investigation into his conduct.

With millions of people disillusioned with the major parties, Palmer was able to briefly pose as an alternative. What’s required is a genuine left-wing party for working people, a party that fights for real systemic change.

By Robyn Trott