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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Speech MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE Australia’s Political System Tuesday, 1 December 2015 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (15:36): Integrity is an important quality at the heart of public service. Anyone seeking public office, realises it is not about him. It is service for all of us. Members must repress personal interests to put people’s interests first. When, on 30 May 2008, Bruce McIver, former President of the National Party and the LNP, and Gary Spence, former President of the Liberal Party and current President of the LNP, signed a memorandum allowing the Liberal Party and the National Party to merge as the LNP, they supressed their own political ambitions for the benefit of their members. Eighty-five per cent of the Liberal membership voted for the merger, and 95 per cent of the Nationals. But then there was Johnny-come-lately, the member for Fisher, who arrived, promoted by the Victorian Liberals, to knife the Liberal Party president, Gary Spence, in the back. The member for Fisher was now the president of the Liberal Party. Was this a man who would supress his political ambition for the benefit of the people he served, for the greater good of both Liberal and Nationals party members? Or was the member for Fisher more interested in power—power at any price and at any cost? Would he stand in the way of what the membership wanted, for his own selfish gains? In the days before the vote the member for Fisher visited me demanding the presidency of the LNP, demanding that I tell Bruce McIver he could not be the president; only the member for Fisher could be the president of the LNP. The member for Fisher said that if he was not the president the merger would not go ahead, regardless of the views of the membership of the Liberal Party and the Nationals. Six times in the two weeks leading up to that vote he visited me— Opposition members: How many times? Mr PALMER: Six times—and he made public announcements that Bruce McIver could not stand as president of the LNP, and he never wanted to at all; he thought we should have a new president. We met on separate occasions and then together. The vote was supposed to be held when the members of each party would meet on a Saturday and decide that they wanted to merge, and then they would meet together and merge as one party. The member for Fisher challenged McIver publicly to confirm that he would not stand and that I would only support the member for Fisher to be the president of the LNP. Bruce McIver remained silent, prepared to step aside for the benefit of the membership if required. That is real integrity, which the member for Fisher does not have. Leading up to the vote—two days before the vote—the member for Fisher delivered an ultimatum to me: if Bruce McIver does not declare that he will not stand for president, the merger is off. Mr Chester: Mr Deputy Speaker, a point of order: against the standing orders, the member for Fairfax is impugning the motives of another member. The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Vasta ): I will ask the member for Fairfax to be very careful about where he points his comments and make sure that he does not reflect too much on the member for Fisher. Mr PALMER: The member for Fisher told me that he would call a meeting of the Liberal Party executive on the Thursday night and bring the president of the Liberal Party of Australia, Alan Stockdale, up from Victoria to attend the meeting and The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 119


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