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their wages by ten per cent on that day and we brought in an incentive scheme that mean that each worker could earn an extra $30,000 or $40,000 a year if we could make this work together. That year we went from a production capacity of 70% of the plant’s capacity to 120%. Every worker of the thousand or so people there took home an extra $30,000 or $40,000 and we made $200 million profit as a company. So we went out to look at the plant again and I said to Geoff, “What are we going to do next year?” He said, “I don’t know.” So we took $10 million of the 200 million and had a massive rock concert, a great big party. We invited a thousand workers to come with their families so we had four or five thousand people there. I bought 55 Mercedes-Benz and I gave them out to the staff. I didn’t give them out to the executives, I gave them out to guys who had been throwing water on the plant for 35 years and thought no-one cared about them anymore. But if they didn’t throw that water faster we couldn’t have got to our 120% production. And we the guys came up to get their Mercedes-Benz – a lot of these blokes were about 50 or 60 and no-one had ever awarded them anything – they were all in tears. But they weren’t in tears because they were getting a Mercedes-Benz, they were in tears because they were being recognised for who they were and what contribution they made. So it was a bit of a spot with Geoff and I. We’d given out 55 Mercedes-Benz but there were a thousand workers at the plant. So we said, “Gee, it’s not going to look good. When we get off the stage because the others don’t get much.” We thought we better give them something too, so we gave them 1500 holidays to Fiji. So that was a good thing because we made more money the next year. So it’s being benevolent but it’s good business because every person is an individual; everyone has needs; everyone needs love and recognition and acceptance. As we get older we become colder in many cases. But we’ve got to open up and say to our workforce that we can do it and we can do it together. And I think you’ve got to show a willingness in corporate life to do the hard yards yourself. I spent 15 years in the desert drilling for iron ore and everyone thinks I’m a mongrel because I earn $500 million a year – but it’s not my fault; it’s just that we found a lot of iron ore. Clive Palmer meets students from Western Australia The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 207


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