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the media is to do that. And that's the freedom we enjoy as Australians, a lot of countries don't get that, and that's the great value of the National Press Club, let's face it really, as individuals. So, you know, for me personally, I don't agree with the proposition that an Australian should be intimidated from standing for Parliament because of what he's got, because of what he's done. It's whether he's a citizen entitled to stand under the Constitution that really matters. So, you know, we've got a lot of people in Australia that have done well and that are frightened to bring themselves forward for public service. In the United States, if you've done well and you want to be the Secretary of Defence, they'll give you a $1 salary a year and you can go and be the Secretary of Defence, they get a lot of good benefit out of that. But in this country we've got a system that says if anyone's done well, stay away from them, you can't trust them. Let's employ a lot of people who have never done anything, let's put them all in Parliament and we'll have them all sitting on one side of Parliament, the people who have never done anything, and the people who have never done anything, we'll put the other side. So, two lots of people who have never done anything can sit and talk to each other all day, and they can then go and get advice from people who've never done anything as well. Laughter And then suddenly, we say well, what are we going to do? We just to have to increase the debt ceiling. Thanks very much. COMPERE: Next question from Mark Kenny. CLIVE PALMER: Oh there's another one? COMPERE: Two to go. MARK KENNY: Mark Kenny from the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. CLIVE PALMER: Be gentle with me, Mark, I'm a bit shook up after all that. MARK KENNY: I believe I've heard everything now. I've heard a billionaire capitalist defending a pay rise for Karl Marx, so. CLIVE PALMER: It's that lousy bourgeoisie editor. God bless Karl Marx, whenever he is. MARK KENNY: And so history turns. Look we've talked a lot about your past and so forth, but I'm wondering if we can talk about your immediate future in Parliament. The new majority government is about to do something with the standing orders, we don't know exactly what, but make some changes to the way the Parliament is run. It was negotiated last time with a group of independents because it was a minority Parliament and there were things like extra time for private members bills, guaranteed question for the cross-benchers each question time. Are you concerned that the majority Parliament and the majority Government may, in fact, close down some of those rights? And are you looking for, yourself, a question from time to time in question time in Parliament? CLIVE PALMER: Well, I think that there's a great concern that they'll stop other people from being heard, and we shouldn't fear people having ideas that are different from us, or even being wrong, being heard. Any attempt by the Prime Minister to shut down the Parliament I think would be a very negative effect for the members on the cross-benches like myself. It's more than that, you've got to go to the basic principle of it, you know. It's not a question of being a bad winner or a bad loser or trying to shut down opposition in a country. If we believe in the democracy, the more opposition we have is a healthy thing. A person may have a view which is totally foreign to mine, it doesn't go to his integrity or the content of his character or who he is, and there's no reason we have to make fun of him, or we have to be frightened of the challenge. If we really believe in the ideas that we stand for, we shouldn't be frightened of them being tested or challenged. That's what I really believe. And any view to do that like the Prime Minister is short-sighted. He's saying that really I don't think I can withstand 232 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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