The wreckage of Clive

Well in-case you have missed news reports it is pretty clear that Clive Palmer and his political career as the Member for Fairfax and leader of the Palmer United Party (PUP) is well and truly over. Big Clive has been a very naughty guy and has been found to have breached his duties as a director and acted recklessly under the Corporations Act. His company Queensland Nickel (QN) was declared bankrupt, owing up to $100 million to creditors, $75 million of that to the 800 workers. Now, there is a good chance the Australian Taxpayer will be left to pick up the bill to pay for the workers entitlements. Thanks a lot Clive!

Now, why did this happen? Well because Big Clive used Queensland Nickel as his own private ATM to fund his so-called political ambition and career. He syphoned more than $200 million from QN, donating $21 million to his political party the Palmer United Party, thus forcing the company bankrupt. Big Clive of courses blames the demise of QN on the low nickel price. The administrators FTI Consulting of QR claimed the refinery could have continued trading even with the low nickel prices.

Clive Palmer was a former media director for the Joh Bjelke-Petersen National Government in Queensland, where mixing politics with business interests was an accepted way of doing things.

In 1984 Big Clive wanted to build a 66-storey townhouse development on peaceful rural land in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, but the local council knocked back his planning application. Big Clive was going to take this lying down so contacted his mate and minister, Russ Hinze, (also known as the minister for everything) to overturn the council decision. Palmer made the second-largest donation to the QLD Nationals of $15,000, writes Sean Parnell in Clive: The Story of Clive Palmer.  Palmer knew the importance of using politics for personal business.

Clive considered Joh Bjelke-Petersen the best premier in QLD’s history, despite Joh being charged with perjury from evidence given at the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and his government considered one of the most corrupt in modern Australian history. A number of ministers were also jailed for corruption, including the police commissioner. But hey, but you know the adage: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”.  Joh ran Queensland as his own political fiefdom due to the corrupted Gerrymander in place at the time, which allowed the Nationals to rule QLD for 32 years.

Hopefully Big Clive will face criminal charges and do time in prison for what can only be described as corporate criminal behaviour. When he entered the federal parliament as the Member for Fairfax he was meant to have declared all his assets on the federal parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests and placed all assets into a ‘blind trust’, with no contact allowed between himself and his business interests. It is a fairly straight forward policy, but not for Big Clive as it was revealed he used an alias email account under the nom de plume of Terry Smith to communicate with his nephew, the Director of QN, Clive Mensink. This is clearly in breach of the register of members interests. He also wrote on his register that he resigned from QN on the 5th April, 2014.

Will Clive face any penalties for not declaring his “hands-on” role and allegedly lying on his register of members interests? Perhaps not, other than being made to correct his “mistake” on his register. He might be dragged kicking and screaming before a parliamentary committee or the speaker of the House might impose sanctions or fines for his misdemeanour. But then again after July the 2nd Clive’s political career is over, along with the PUP’s only senate seat.

He has left a trial of wreckage in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast, with people glad to see the back of his rather large fat arse. The federal government could force Big Clive to pay his 800 workers their entitlements, perhaps he could sell off his large portfolio of 17 properties valued at $43 million!

Not only has Big Clive ruined the lives of 800 workers, but there is also the environmental consequences of the nickel refinery closing down. The tailing ponds around the refinery are noxious and an environmental disaster just waiting to happen. Last year one of the tailing ponds overflowed, which was a major risk to the local environment and the Great Barrier Reef. The Queensland Government might be forced to clean up and remediate the site, which is estimated to cost anywhere from $25 to $40 million. Former owner BHP believed the environmental clean-up cost may exceed $100 million. Whilst the plant is operating workers are able to maintain the assets. But if it is left vacant it is a great risk to the environment.

But, already Big Clive – as we should expect – is blaming administrators for sacking the workers and for the refinery closing down. He labelled the administrators report as “lies” and “fantasy”. He said he would release documents that “prove the allegations made by the administrators are false”. Including denying that he acted as a shadow director. Typical of Big Clive, it is always somebody else’s fault!

Wiping out Whyalla

Comrades, I’m a little bit confused here at the moment, perhaps it’s the drugs. But, we’re we told that Whyalla was going to be wiped out by the introduction of the former Gillard Governments Carbon Tax which was going to “wipe Whyalla off the map!” Well that’s what former PM Tony Abbott claimed, yes but we all know what happened to him don’t we? He got on his bike and rode around the back blocks of the country for ‘Polly Pedal’ along with selling copies of his book Battlelines. He was also able to claim all his over-night expenses as he’s a federal politician; not sure if that including the non-sales of his book.

Abbott did claim Whyalla was going to be wiped out by the Carbon Tax, which it didn’t because he and his pissants rescinded the Carbon Tax legislation; remember how the Abbott front bench all celebrated in federal parliament? So the dumped Carbon Tax has nothing to do with the possible demise of a once mighty steel making town of Whyalla. The rescinding of the Carbon Tax was meant to take a great weight of industry and make it more efficient and productive. No, what might see the demise of Whyalla was Abbott’s push for free trade deals and the complete removal of protection for the steel industry in this country. Another example of why the man should never have been PM, or allowed near the office again!

Now, what does this mean for ‘our’ esteemed Minister for Industry Minister, the Honourable Christopher Pyne and other Liberals from South Australia? Well, there is a good case the majority of Liberals could lose their seats, including a number of Senators, such the Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne, who is a moderate and a strong Turnbull supporter. In other words the Liberals are in deep shit in South Australia and might want to consider reviewing their industry policy and pretty damn quick.

If Whyalla closes, who is going to supply the steel for the submarines and ships earmarked to be built in SA, the Chinese? I don’t think so! However, the Chinese might jump at the idea of supplying steel for sub’s and destroyers that might one day be used to either monitor them, or God forbid, involved in a conflict with the Chinese People’s Liberation Navy! The steel I dear say might be filled with defects.

If the Arrium steel works in Whyalla closes it would be a death blow for the town and the Eyre Peninsula. There is not much in the steel town of Whyalla, which has only one major employer and that is the steel works. If workers are made redundant they can forget about selling up and moving on as there would be no buyers and the town could possibly end up a ghost town looking like Detroit in the US, with boarded up worthless housing. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Here is a question for you all to ponder on: Why is it all right for the federal government to provide assistance in the housing industry, such as negative gearing, capital gains tax and the first home owners grant. Yet it is not alright to provide government assistance to industries such as the steel and automobile manufacturers? Now, the IPA will suggest it is a waste of tax payer’s money for the government, any government to provide any industry assistance or support in the way of grants, tariffs, quotas or subsidies as it props up unstainable industries and is a form of socialism.

The steel for these important and very expensive ships and subs should be source from within Australia. It is also time to review Australia’s industry and manufacturing policies before the country is completely deindustrialised.

On the bright side, I hear the surf is excellent in Whyalla and so is the fishing.