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Visiting Coney Island was an exciting time, it was a time when President Kennedy said: “We choose to go to the Moon, not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. We choose to go the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard.” For a number of years I have been a Director of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston. Stephen Smith, the President’s nephew is one of my best friends. He visits regularly my home in Queensland and is vice-president of the World Economic Council interacting with nations of the world. This week on Sunday Night on Channel Seven, we can see our four senators who will hold the balance of power in the Senate attend the Profile in Courage Awards in Boston where President George Herbert Bush was honored and where President Bush’s grand-daughter Lauren Bush Lauren received the award from President Kennedy’s grandson Jack Schlossberg. In many ways it is symbolic how generations may change but our values and who we are, what we are, remain the same. The world today is a very small place and Australians and Americans have an unequaled history in cooperating in business and international relations. We all need a better world, we all seek a better life for our citizens. I was happy to play an important role in supporting the establishment of the Profile in Courage Awards and I believe in encouraging politicians throughout the world to do better. My son Michael Palmer worked in Senator Ted Kennedy’s office in Boston during the last year of the Senator’s life. I went to Boston and enjoyed the famous pea soup at the Senate Dining Room in Washington. When Michael returned to Australia at 19 years of age, he decided to nominate to stand for a seat in State parliament. The then president of the Liberal/National Party, Bruce McIver stated that, as Michael was considering to nominate, others might not. So I sat down to have a heart to heart talk with him. He said he wanted to give his life to public service. I stated at 19 years of age, he should consider a different future. He said he was 19 and would make up his own mind. I said that was ok but I was at that time a life member of the LNP and had the right to speak at his endorsement. I said if you nominate, I will speak against you. “You can’t do that Dad, what would you say” “I’ll say you don’t tidy up your room, you leave your clothes all over your room, you’re rude to your sister and your toothbrush is left full of toothpaste each morning.” “Don’t say that dad. What should I do?” You should pick the hardest seat in the State and stand for that and prove you’re ready. So he was endorsed for the seat of Nudgee that’d never been held by the LNP and needed a swing of 35%. After 2 weeks door knocking by Michael, I was feeling guilty, so I thought I’d join him campaigning in Nudgee. The shops were on the top of the hill. We stood there handing out how to vote cards. Then I saw her. She was over 2 meters tall. A towering woman standing in a red floral dress. Then slowly, she started to run. It was like Bo Derek in Ten, her whole body swaying from side to side as she ran up the hill. She seemed to line up Michael and was ready to tackle him when I stepped in front of her. She said: “What would you know? You don’t know anything at 19? How can you seek to represent us in Parliament? I’ve forgotten more than you ever knew.” The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 253


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