And the world went crazy …

I only turned around for a few days and look.

Mr Abbott gives Prince Phillip a knighthood. Mr Giles, the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister thinks it must have been April Fools’ Day.

Then that particular day came early to the Northern Territory. The CLP party room dumped Mr Giles and installed Mr Willem Westra Van Holthe as leader. The press were invited to the swearing in of the new Chief Minister. Mr Giles, however, failed to resign. Confusion reigns.

The problem for Mr W W Van H is that he needs to command a majority in the parliament, it is possible that the Giles supporters, now a minority in the CLP, might be joined by the opposition to defeat the flying Dutchman (born in New Zealand) on the floor of the house.

In an effort to avoid that Mr Van H has welcomed back a couple of loose cannons, Alison Anderson and Larisa Lee, who left the party last year and joined the Palmer United Party. When they discovered that everything within reach of that party’s leader was likely to end up as another globule of fat around His Corpulence’s waist they discovered the joys of independence. You can imagine how disciplined Mr Van H’s team will be if he gets as far as the swearing in.

The far more sophisticated Julia Gillard also found the knighthood a subject for mirth. The Sydney Morning Herald reports …

“I had this clearly eccentric idea that Australian honours should be for Australians,” Gillard replied with a cheeky grin, as the crowd – which included federal deputy opposition leader, MC Tanya Plibersek and social commentator Jane Caro – roared with laughter.

The SMH did not remind us that Ms Gillard awarded an Order of Australia to Sachin Tendulkar.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has beheaded Kenji Goto and burnt Muath el-Kaseasbeh alive in a metal cage. Nothing to do with Islam.

Back in Saudi Arabia, an Islamic State governed under sharia law …

Saudi Arabia had on Sunday beheaded a convicted murderer, bringing to five the number of people executed since new King Salman took office, continuing the kingdom’s use of the harshest punishment.

Although there might seem to be some superficial similarities “the difference is clear” …

When we do it in Saudi Arabia we do it as a decision made by a court. The killing is a decision, I mean it is not based on arbitrary choices, to kill this and not to kill this. Interior Ministry spokesperson Major General Mansour alTurki.

Full of hot air …

Peter Reith on Mrs Palmer’s little boy …

Personally, I doubt Palmer will last longer than Pauline Hanson but it’s the voters who will eventually decide his fate and their first chance is coming within weeks.

In elections in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, Palmer will be spending millions to persuade voters to vote for him even though he is not a candidate anywhere. Voters are being bombarded with the Palmer money machine with the message that a vote for Palmer will be good for voters.

He is entitled to spend his own money, he’s entitled to be ambitious, but his lack of democratic instincts and his populist policies, especially to spend billions of dollars by printing money, do not deserve support.

In Tasmania Palmer’s campaign appears to be particularly focused on stopping Will Hodgman from becoming premier. His antagonism towards Hodgman suggests if Palmer does not secure the balance of power, he wants Labor returned. If that is his game, he should say so.

He is not much more open on his proposed spending spree, starting with more ferries between Tasmania and the mainland. His claim that his ferry service will be like the ferries that cross the English Channel is odd. There is a big difference between crossing the 38-kilometre Channel and making the 392-kilometre trip across Bass Strait. On top of that, Palmer will not say where the money will come from for his ferry scheme.

Worse still, in WA Palmer has advocated more GST funds should be returned to that state, which means fewer dollars for places like Tasmania. Telling one story in one state and a different story elsewhere is too cute by far.

He has tried the same trick by advocating a breakaway new state in north Queensland but without mentioning his plans to voters in other places where people might think that the states should be abolished.

And then there is his plan to abolish higher education fees. Once again he offers no answer to the question of how he can pay for his plan. The truth is that he has no answer and he demonstrates once again that populism is his principal modus operandi. But free education is small beer for the big man.

His most irresponsible policy is that the government should be turning on the printing presses to the tune of $70 billion. The US has such a program. It intends to cut it back and its rationale was high unemployment. Australia does not have that issue and we have gross domestic product growth of nearly 3 per cent. It would be folly in the extreme to massively increase Australia’s already large deficits and debt. Our AAA rating would be at risk, our interest rates would most likely be pushed upwards and we would be more vulnerable to economic downturn.

Needless to say, this Palmer thought bubble is a guide to his unimpressive populism. At a time when economic reform and fiscal responsibility is more important than ever, Palmer is a man out of his depth and drowning in his own ego.

Is there any truth, I wonder, to the rumour that the new Tasmanian ferries will be airships created in his own image …

More on Palmer …

During the recount, that looked at informal votes and 1.2 million above-the-line ballot papers, 1375 votes which had been verified in the initial count could not be “located, rechecked or verified in the recount process”.

What a circus. The Australian Electoral Commission are making Palmer look smart.

Meanwhile Mr Palmer has been elected in the seat of Fairfax by 53 votes in the recount there. That represents a swing of 17 votes in his favour …  just between counts!

Approaching Canberra …


The hot air buffoon …

Will he make it? It’s a nail biter, a cliff hanger. Latest news is that Mrs Palmer’s little boy (who’d have thought that Mrs Palmer could become pregnant?), who was romping away in the soon to be capital of FNQ, has had his lead slashed to a mere 64 votes.

Clearly, this is the result of a conspiracy, possibly involving the CIA, FBI, AEC, LNP, YMCA, Uncle Tom Cobbly and the CWA.

A recount is a must, we owe it to Australian politics to get this guy over the line. Parliamentary privilege was invented for a man like him. Can you just imagine it?


Canberra here we come …