Finger-pointing LNP should look within

THE attacks on Clive Palmer, which have scaled up considerably in the past two weeks, are not an indication that he is irrelevant to the political landscape.

It has been simply breath taking to listen to the LNP - which for more than 20 years remained silent on the alleged systemic abuse of entitlements by the former Member for Fisher, Peter Slipper - attack the Fairfax MP for not spending every moment of every session in the House.

It is as if the public is considered blind to the empty parliamentary seats that are so often on show.

Whatever your political view, the inescapable truth is that Clive Palmer, through his energy and wealth, has shaken up a comfortable status quo that framed government as a contest between the Coalition and Labor - often at the cost of what was best for Australia.

Our two-party system has failed to engage any real discussion about what Australians want for their country and their children's future.

While asylum seekers are being demonised, pilloried and locked away in hell holes, the 230,000-plus people who annually flow into Australia through our airports continue to drive a growth agenda that has had zero debate.

Our infrastructure shortfall is a consequence of that growth. Rather than building better, we instead must build more. Politicians grasp at the Ponzi scheme "benefits" of growth to promise more jobs and more lanes on a highway because it is too hard for them to explain why they can't make work what we have now.

It's all in a future arrived at via a "strong plan" and "smart choices".

In Queensland we now have a government that uses the adjective "strong" like it's a life raft in a swirling sea. Did a focus group throw the word up as an attribute, a slim recognition in the face of the VLAD laws attack on our democracy?

Do Clive Palmer and his rag-tailed collective of balance-of-power Senators offer any more?

What is certain is that rather than affecting outrage over his attendance record, the Coalition would do well to engage in some quiet introspection about why increasing numbers of voters now prefer the option Mr Palmer offers, as unclear as it may remain.

We are now watching a fully engaged fight to the political death between Mr Palmer and the Premier and his deputy. Defamation writs have been issued and the CMC called in to investigate belated allegations raised by Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney.

Someone is clearly not telling the unabridged truth. The matters will ultimately be resolved in the courts.

Meanwhile it seems the more Mr Palmer is attacked, the greater his support grows in the court of public opinion.

Topics:  bill hoffman editors picks opinion

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