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for new ideas. It’s more or less, who will be more rampant on the Labor ideas if you are a Labor member or the Liberal ideals. Everyone competes with one another saying I am more Liberal than Liberal and more Labor than Labor, that’s their main concern. Let’s look at the Liberals, or the political system in a general sense. If you graduate from University and you are a member of the young Labor or the young Liberals, you may want to get a job with a State or Federal Member as a research officer, that’s a common thing that happens. You stay there for 3 years and then the party normally will say to you, well we will make you a Ministerial Advisor because you know so much. A ministerial advisor maybe five of them keeping an eye on the Minister making sure he follows party policies. If you do that religiously for 10 years and don’t step out of line, follow the party, they will say you are a safe hand and we will endorse you for a safe seat. You become a Member of Parliament and if you don’t rock the boat, do everything you are told to do, they’ll say we will make you a Minister and then you’ll become a minister because you are reliable in the party structure. And over the next 10 years while you are serving as a minister there will be a person that will become more hopeless than anyone else and they will make him the leader. Then you’ll go off and work for a lobbyist firm. A lobbyist firm has an ex Labor minister or ex Liberal minister so a wealthy guy like me comes along gives them a million dollars, they can normally get an outcome. The Ministers that are there are saying that one day they will retire from politics but they really mean where can I go to a lobbyist firm of the future. All that’s wrong. I think you know that’s why I had a conflict with the Liberal Party because I said that we should have a system where members of a political parties, the presidents and vice presidents can’t also be lobbyists at the same time, there is a real conflict of interest. I think and of cause Tony Abbot agreed with me when he became Prime Minister as the first thing his cabinet did was to adopt our policy to make sure that it was no longer that lobbyist to be presidents or vice presidents of the Liberal Party. So we had an impact and that was an important thing for Australia. SR: And given that most of your history is with the traditional conservative parties is there a time when you will kiss and make up and maybe go back and join them again? CP: Well we’ll see. I think it’s not, I don’t think I’m an important politician as my age you know, I’ve gone through the political process. I was the former official spokesman for the National Party I was advisor to the Joh Bjelke-Petersen government from 1983 right through 1986 when we had the power in our own right. There was time to give someone else a go. I was there at the Gair Affair at the Albert field situation so Parliamentary and politics and statutory are not new to me. I think the coalition found that out when our senate team took their seats. It’s amazing how you can leverage power with only 2 or 3 or 4 people in the system. The Fairfax paper has us at Number2 in Australia in the power index so we’ve got a high resolve not to disappoint the people that elected us and hopefully get a better outcome for Australia. SR: Ok there is just a couple of final questions 1. Christopher Pyne is obviously wooing yourself and your party and others on higher education. Is there wriggle room from your point of view? CP: Well Christopher Pyne and Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott, like myself have all been the beneficiaries of a free education system under the Whitlam Government; they brought them in. I don’t think I would’ve achieved billions of dollars for Australia if I couldn’t afford to go to university, so education is very important. I mean, the cost of educating someone from 5 years through primary and high school is more expensive than to cost of one year’s unemployment. So a good education policy is not only a good social policy, it is good economic policy. I don’t think deregulation is going to change that. I don’t think that if a degree becomes more expensive that means that our best people can’t go to university I think the whole nation is the looser. SR: So when you did it about 7% of the population got a university degree, now it’s fifty percent plus. Can we really afford it at that level as a country? 246 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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