Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Party Games 37/55 Palmer United Party

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Last election the Palmer United Party fielded candidates in every lower house electorate and every state for the senate. This time around they're still fielding senate candidates in each state but a just single lower house candidate. This follows on from two of the three senators the party got elected quitting the party, leaving it with just one vote in the senate, making it less significant a block for the government to deal with.

The other main cause of their decline is the decline of the popularity of Clive Palmer. He's not recontesting his seat in the lower house, and isn't even trying to get into the senate this time around. His performance as a parliamentarian has been mixed, to say the least. At least his goodbye videos have been amusing, and he has inspired at least one photoshop battle on reddit.

Looking back on their policy list from last time, of the five items, one has been achieved, on one he's had some on paper wins but in practice was outmanuevered by the government, and on the other three has made no progress. The one achieved is the elimination of the carbon tax, but with the coalition in power that was never not going to happen. The area he got out manuevered was in terms of refugee policy. Early on PUP made a deal with the government in the area. The government got the PUP votes for a policy, and in exchange introduced Safe Haven Enterprise Visas, which would have allowed refugees to live and work in regional areas. Where they got beaten by the government is that only about 20 of these visas have been issued out of over 2000 applications, so it hasn't been that good an achievement for PUP.

Their campaign this election is a bit different. Instead of being on the party website, the 2016 campaign is at a site with the conspiracy theory suggesting url of www.thetruthhub.com. Then, in the menu at the of the page, before talking about candidates and policies, there's a page relating to the current law suit regarding Queensland Nickel. On this page they don't present any explanation of the case, or provide any context about the collapse of the company, they just have a copy of the legal submission. And while I did browse through it, as a non-lawyer I didn't get much understanding from it. I found it curious that this should come ahead of the policies and candidates, especially as the party is meant to be distinct from Clive Palmer's business interests.

Policy wise there's not much. They support a federal ICAC, education spending, easier access to super before retirement. And while they take credit for keeping funding for the Clean Energy Corporation, they voted for the removal of the carbon tax with only vague support for an emissions trading scheme once other countries had started one, so I think that was a loss for the planet overall. There's a suggestion for a novel new tax scheme that allows companies to pay their taxes once a year rather than quarterly, which make it harder for both the government and the companies to keep track of and manage their cash flows.

The party's achievements page I feel needs to be taken with a heavy grain of salt. I think you need to do more than be one of several groups voting for something to say you did it. For example, I don't really feel that the Palmer United Party can claim all the credit for removing the carbon tax. I think there may have been a few other groups that may have had more of an influence on how things went there.

I suspect that this election will the PUP will not fare as well, and indeed it may only be the ex-PUPs Glenn Lazarus and Jacqui Lambie that remain in the parliament as a sign of Clive Palmer's brief moment of glory.

Final random thought: I wonder what they have against .au domain names.

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