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CP: Well first up our party was the United Australia Party. We had Billy Hughes’ granddaughter and a whole lot of other people in the party were looking for a centre of the road party in Politics but some other people registered the name Uniting Australian Party. We had the trademark and we would have had to gone to court for 3 months so the people said we would call it the Palmer United Party for the sake of the last year’s federal election and it sort of stuck, so I have never been a great favour of any person’s name been on a political party so eventually I can see coming back to a normal thing. That was a thing that we did at the time and it’s proved successful. But I think our party really is there to focus on ideas. It doesn’t really matter to us if we’ve got the numbers or we haven’t, it matters that we can introduce a new idea and that idea can be adopted by the Labor or Liberal Party who is in government. You know politicians are too concerned about getting credit for things rather than actually bringing about change. SR: So in terms of people trying to understand where you are on the spectrum from left to right are we talking centre left or the immediate right. Where do you see yourself? CP: We see our self in the centre. If you take a look at the people that vote for us we normally get about 60% ex Liberals and 35% ex Labor people and 5% ex Greens, so really it’s a mix of people. I think that’s where we are. On the Liberal side of things we’re focusing more on enterprise ideas and growth. Where the current Liberal Party is more about prosperity and cutting and there is our difference. I guess the Liberal party was a broad church where they had a left a middle and a right, there’ve economically gone to the right so we’ve maintained the position. For example Bob Menzies when he was Prime Minister, Australia had 40% debt. Today we’ve got 12% debt. We’re the third lowest debt country in the OECD. We’re one of thirteen Nations that have a AAA credit rating, but wouldn’t know that if you listened to the debate in Federal Parliament. If our debt continues to increase at the rate it is, in 50 years’ time we’ll have less debt than the US has now as a portion of GDP or what Japan has now or UK has now or the OECD has now, so to say we are in a debt crisis is just misleading the public. SR: Can I ask you a few things about the system. One thing I am interested in is your perspective on political donations. As a business person you were someone who made political donations. I think from what the public look at that they say well no one is giving political donations to anyone unless they want something in return. Is that system dangerous and do you think we get to a stage when in fact political parties do things in return because that’s what is expected of them. CP: They shouldn’t and certainly I think about political donations in general is the critical thing is that they are transparent, whether you are donating a thousand dollars or 10 million dollars, it’s transparent. In my case I joined the Country Party when I was 15 I was pretty committed to it I have always given about 5% of my income when I was on wages to the Country Party. That might have been $400 or $500 a year. As I got more wealthy, I’ve given a declining portion of my wealth to the political process. But I think if people are doing well in this country, we’ve got a democracy, we should be contributing. Before I had our Party, I donated to the Labor Party and the Liberal Party although I have always been a member to the Liberal National Party because from a commercial point of view we all have an interest in having a democracy and a diversity of conversation is a good thing but that has all been disclosed. When I donated to the Labor party it was disclosed. It wasn’t me it was our companies. What we donated to the Liberal Party was disclosed because you are helping the system and that is a system that has served us well. But you have to have transparency. If you don’t have transparency, I think there is a lot of dangers. SR: And in general on the political system, at the moment the voters seem as disillusioned as they’ve ever been. Why do you think that is and what do you think the solution is? CP: Well firstly let us look at that the last Federal election. About 30% of the people voted for someone other than the Liberal or Labor Party first up. At the Election in WA, where they had the by-election I think in March, after that 45% of Australians voted for someone other than either the Liberal or Labor parties first up, so we have a growing discontentment. I think the reason for that is that the party system is very structured and it really doesn’t give any individuals any sort scope The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 245


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