A VETERAN television journalist stood up by Clive Palmer after flying to Boston to discover his 'agenda' for Australia has described the mining magnate as 'dangerous' and 'mad'.
Sunday Night's Mike Willesee, one of Australia's most experienced journalists, was invited by Mr Palmer's publicist to join him on a fact-finding mission to the US.
But the bizarre billionaire failed to show, despite flying his four Senators-elect and about six other people business class to prepare them for holding the balance of power in Australia.
Willesee said Mr Palmer would have easily spent more than $100,000 on the trip which included five star hotels and business class travel for the PUP pollies and others. Seven paid its own way.
But when the Sunday Night crew arrived, Mr Palmer was not there. Willesee said he was told by the publicist that the Sunshine Coast MP was still in the air.
The next morning, however, they were told Mr Palmer's jet had a mal-functioning radar and in fact the Coast MP had never taken off.
Willesee said after 'four or five different reasons' for the no-show, the crew had to fly back to Coolum to find Mr Palmer.
When asked about what happened, Mr Palmer told Willesee: "We did the old switcheroo on you!''.
Mr Palmer's spokesman maintained there was a 'serious' radar problem which grounded the jet.
Willesee said he was unable to get a straight answer on any question he asked the Palmer United Party leader.
Instead, he was taken on a tour of the Palmersaurus dinosaur attraction and his vintage car collection.
"That was mildly interesting,'' Willesee said.
Then they sat down and watched him eat. "That was as interesting as the Palmersaurus.''
He said what emerged during the interviews was that Mr Palmer controlled his Senate candidates to the point of telling them what to say in interviews - a claim denied by Mr Palmer's PR man.
When they were interviewed about their 'independence' , he said Mr Palmer, who was still miked, is heard on camera telling them what to say. "We saw how he controls them.''
Willesee said it was clear that Mr Palmer was travelling the countryside buying the loyalty of political candidates through his 'generosity'.
"In Clive Palmer's party there is no salary cap,'' he said.
Willesee said he believed the mining magnate 'is there for himself', driven initially into politics to destroy Queensland Premier Campbell Newman but more interested in power than policies.
"He is dangerous .. because at his whim he can reject any piece of legislation (through his Senators),'' the veteran interviewer said.
He said Prime Minister Tony Abbott would face great difficulty in getting laws through the Senate because Mr Palmer was so unpredictable.
Willesee said Mr Palmer was definitely from the mould of former Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen who loved to 'feed the chooks' (media) but was more clever than people gave him credit for.
"He's mad,'' Willesee said of Mr Palmer. "(But) he's not crazy.''
Willesee said there will be those who watch his Sunday Night episode on Mr Palmer tomorrow night and think he's an 'idiot'.
Others, will love the fact that he's a political character who is not afraid to do his own thing, unlikely most of Canberra's autocue MPs.
"From time to time, he (Palmer) will wield more power than Tony Abbott.''
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