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The greatest strength and the greatest weakness of Clive Palmer’s merry-band-of-mix-n-match senators is that they are entirely lacking in the subtlety that other (major party) senators have fostered and developed over the course of their careers.
It’s one thing for the people to be in want of a plain-speaking, “of the people” politician to give us a break from the hyperbole of the others, but it is entirely another thing to vote for someone who woke up one day, realised they couldn’t pay their bills that month and so decided to run for Senate.
In the chaos that is the wet dream “average Australia” is currently having over Clive Palmer, quality politics is being sacrificed for “Aw, how endearing, that bloke who gets so flustered he can’t string a sentence together is on the telly”.
I like Ricky Muir (despite having no clue as to his party’s platforms), in the relatable way one does when they see someone completely out of their depth. I like Jacqui Lambie in the way you like someone who drunkenly calls out someone cutting in line at the club on a Saturday night when no one else in the line had the guts to do it. I like Dio Wang purely because he seems to be the slightly more reserved one who is often caught out with that expression of “What am I doing here?” on his face.
I even like Clive, the way you like obnoxious comedians who don’t actually contribute much to the social spectrum apart from being a bit of a spectacle and sometimes saying things that would make sense if they were fully formed thoughts.
I’m sure I would probably like Glenn Lazarus, too, if I ever heard him speak.
Sometimes I am unsure whether Clive Palmer is secretly a cunning genius who plots his every move with some grand plan in mind that he is efficiently and effectively achieving (i.e Palmer for PM) or if he is just a big jolly idiot who rattles off bullshit, blinded by his own sense of self-aggrandising gloriousness.
At the rate he’s gaining momentum, though, either option makes him a pretty scary prospect.
As Australia makes the lurching U-turn from the Holier Than Thou, far-right, upper-upper class Government toward the “Beached as, bru” Palmer United Party representatives it’s hard to wade through the rising tides of rhetoric to get down to the bone of which party, and which policies are actually going to help us on a national scale.
Whether the PUPies are off the leash for good or another passing fad or not, if we really want to send a message to the politicians of this country we need to show them we can’t be taken in by the misleading premise that the best political representatives for the people are ones who barely had an interest in Australian politics before Palmer came along and swept them away.