Clive Palmer: renewable energy hero? Or a publicity-seeking miner/politician?

clive palmers head on a green heroes body

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No it’s a miner who loves publicity.

So Big Clive Palmer is suddenly a renewable energy hero? And wants to be revered as the saviour of the clean energy sector? According to some press coverage, the Queensland fossil fuel mining superstar has single handedly changed the climate change debate in our country.

Not for me. Let’s be very careful before we anoint The Big Fella.

First let’s take stock of the events (or more precisely) THE BIG EVENT of last week.

At a time when Clive’s PUP senators are about to take the balance of power in the Senate, a superbly publicised event took place in cold, drab Canberra. This was the press conference called by Big Clive standing next to The Inconvenient Truth Man Himself — Al Gore. In a publicity coup the like of which the Canberra press gallery has never seen, Clive certainly got the attention of reporters … and the wider Australian voting public.

He committed his loose Palmer United Party Senate alliance (which includes a couple of ring-ins) to supporting the repeal of the carbon tax as he promised. So no surprises there but here’s the key. Clive insisted that his party would oppose government attempts to axe the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and would keep the Climate Change Authority. Also surviving under the Palmer plan is the Renewable Energy Target (RET) which will send a shudder through energy companies who are spending millions of dollars in propaganda lies to undermine a current review.

Granted these are important and their retention is vital for a properly functioning renewable energy industry. However ARENA, one of the best performing renewable energy agencies, is apparently (and strangely) consigned to the scrapheap. Is its superb efforts in attracting investments for research and large scale solar projects too much of a threat for mining barons like Clive? We can only wonder.

But why take care before anointing Clive as a renewable energy superhero?

While his actions may (repeat may) help save some of the climate change “furniture” (as cleverly described by the SMH’s Peter Martin), it is our opinion that Clive is first a businessman, second a showman and third a politician. Where it is convenient, and where the Big Man can see a political gain, he will have no hesitation in appealing to the vast majority of Australians who support renewable energy.

However where it conflicts with his own considerable mining interests, such as the repeal of a mining tax, a carbon tax or a renewable agency such as ARENA, Big Clive represents himself and himself alone. So much for democracy? So much for representation of majority opinion?

The publicity coup — brokered by the ACF’s Don Henry — of being seen and, it appears, endorsed by Al Gore, will pay enormous political dividends for Clive. Being seen as a supporter of supporter of renewable energy by voters when he is, in fact exporting massive amounts of coal to China is a quite extraordinary public relations feat.

Good old fashioned chutzpah? Or is there another agenda? One wonders if Al Gore’s minders had fully checked out the Big Fella’s credentials before making the trip. Or had the almost prez just been told it was another photo op with an pro-environment Aussie maverick with an enormous amount of money?

However we are not alone when we call for caution in anointing the Big Man. Independent senator Nick Xenophon has called Palmer’s weird “zero priced until others do the same” emissions trading scheme … a flat out “con”.

Speaking to reporters he pointed out the blatant contradiction of the Palmer ETS plan.

“There is no set time because it’s so conditional on other countries adopting an ETS,” he said. “For that reason I think it’s a con. “There’s nothing there.”

Some may say this is the wrong way to look at the Second Coming of Miner Clive. In an age where supporters of renewable energy from the conservative wing of Australian politics are rare, perhaps we should embrace the populism that is the Palmer United Party.

But no, having such a person at the centre of the debate over renewable energy policy in our country is surely fraught with danger. Clive having any major input in how renewable energy is implemented (or not) will be a path to disaster. Renewable energy is clearly a threat to miner Clive’s financial interests and therefore we can expect his party’s energies to be directed towards increased support for fossil fuel interests: that is Clive and his pals.

Having Clive Palmer as renewable energy superman (whether genuine or not) makes for a bit of colour in a drab, grey, fossil fuel supporting political landscape for sure. His press conferences and publicity stunts (remember the Titanic?) are enough to keep Aussies laughing and entertained. So much more interesting than an Abbott or Shorten interview.

However Clive as renewable energy hero? No thanks.

Comments

  1. Hey!…If the snag is big enough you do well to use whatever brand of lubricant you can get.

  2. Without any doubt the later ! A publicity-seeking fossil-fuels mining, Political power and influence hungry part-time ‘Law-Maker’ without any real interest in either substantial Political issues themselves nor certainly in ‘Climate Change’ !Where-ever ‘Opportunity Knocks’ he will grab it, including dancing to ‘Popular Music’ simply to ‘enhance’ the already substantial ‘spread’ (girth) of his Industrial, Financial and ‘other’ interests ! The availability of Al Gore the messianic Climate Change Evangelist happened to be the latest of those opportunities !

    • yeah yeah yeah….
      Most of the lessons I learnt in one way or another, when I was growing up, was to grab whatever opportunities came along and make the most of them. It’s a philosophy that’s stood me in good stead. Most of the whiners in the world are those who didn’t (don’t).

      …and as for “substantial Politics” ~ there’s no such bloody thing. Politics at its best (ie. least harmful) is no more than a wanker’s fantasy ~ and panders to fellow travelers.

      Further, like it or not, climate change is a permanent fact of life, and has been since the stardust cooled enough to form the planet. The cause of it is not very relevant and it’s progress in one way or another is unstoppable. The record is absolutely clear: Adapting to it is the only hope any creature or species has for survival.

      It’s not Clive Palmer’s fault ~ but in one ‘publicity-grabbing exercise’ he’s done more for the contemporary environment than you’ll probably do in your whole life.
      Suck it up Buttercup!

  3. Yes Minister says

    So presumably you’d prefer to subject the Australian sheeple to the demented rantings of Wacky Wabbott & friends (including Queenslands Dictator Newman), most of whom don’t subscribe to the concept of AGW in any form ?? For what its worth, my ancestors since the Crusades were all good little conservatives although that changed the moment the despicable Mad Monk decided to knife the fish & chip lady. As things stand, I’d gladly vote for the drovers dog rather than any major party grub who couldn’t lie straight in bed. Personally I think its high time we gave anarchy a go …. surely nobody in their right mind suggests so-called ‘democratic’ political systems have ever covered themselves with glory.

  4. It’s all in the propaganda, Yes Minister.
    Marx called Democracy “The Dictatorship of the Proletariat”; and the thought of giving that sort of authority to a brainless football crowd is horrifying.

    Anarchy IS the answer; unfortunately ‘organised anarchy’ is a contradiction in terms.

    sigh……..

  5. David Blake says

    hear hear

  6. Well, he did say on the TV grab, that he does not endorse the proliferation of the unsightly wind turbines that are blotting our landscape. That has to be a plus.
    He may build a high tech coal fired power station or two or three, which he would own, of course!

  7. Great comments folks. So would you consider The Big Man as the lesser of two evils Yes Minister, and Dabbles?

    • Yes Minister says

      He’s certainly a lesser evil than the Wacky Wabbott who is easily the most despicable excuse for an elected official we’ve ever encountered. Any politician who stoops to victimizing an opponent in the way he did with Pauline Hansen doesn’t deserve to be breathing oxygen, let alone hold the position of prime minister. Like her or hate her, she had every right to her opinions and to have them debated. Dunno about Shorten but even though my ancestry is 100% conservative, I’d most definitely give him a try rather than the Wabbott. Big Clive couldn’t possibly be worse but then I couldn’t imagine anyone except maybe General Disaster being more evil than the incumbent PM.. I get the distinct impression that most people form an opinion on politicians based wholly on what they are told by the media, however I have a policy of actually meeting ostensibly ‘significant’ figures to ‘suss them out’ personally. Anyone who believes a word printed in a Murdoch rag needs to take a good hard look at themself, thankfully that particular bottom-feeder doesn’t have lot more days left before joining the ranks of daisy-pushers-up. For what its worth, the Big Bloke comes across as an infinitely more genuine individual than most elected officials, mind you thats hardly difficult given the current crop of turkeys with whom we are saddled. If I had a choice, I’d prefer to see a government composed of independents rather than any party hacks, unfortunately the sheeple tend not to support independents.

    • As a devout anarchist by nature as well as philosophically I find myself incapable of forming value judgments on political issues (or religious ones for that matter; one man’s ‘evil’ is another man’s ‘goodness’.)
      But from what I’ve seen of Clive I get a distinct sense of his genuineness ~ which also implies that he can be reasoned with and change his stance if that’s called for. That, and the fact that he’s prepared to put his money where his mouth is, gains him kudos from me. And if he makes some personal profits from doing the ‘right thing’ well more power to him ~ we’d all be better off if more people could do that!

      And that he can shove it so far up those who thought he’d be a Pudgy Pushover as to make their eyes water makes him the first politician, ever, that I might consider voting for.

  8. David Blake says

    My “hear, hear” comment was to Yes Minister, not Dabbles.

  9. Anyone with a thought about how the energy companies will react to The Big Fella running the RET show? After all they’re the ones currently spinning the yarn to the RET review. How would they feel?

  10. All I can say is that Clive has a rare commodity amongst politicians – common sense.

  11. Ian Carter says

    Clive Palmer owns Mineralogy, WARATAH COAL, Palmer Industries, Queensland Nickel and a lot more, (some related to the dinosaurs that walked the Earth when his coal was forests).
    Clive holds the balance of power in voting on the climate related legislation still to come before the Senate. He claims that his voting will be purely “…..for the good of the people of Australia….” now and in the near future. Who believes that? He has his own agenda.
    WARATAH COAL is the largest tenement holder within the GALILEE COAL BASIN and is developing their world class coal assets known as the “Galilee Coal Project.” The proposed thermal coal mine would be linked by a 453 km standard heavy gauge railway line to a new coal storage and loading terminal at ABBOTT POINT* near Bowen. *(From where it was planned to dump dredging spoil into Barrier Reef waters, approved by Hunt the grub.)
    Does anyone really believe that Clive has become a conservationist, like phony Tony?
    Would he do anything that might reduce his profits from the $8 billion “China First” coal contract?
    It’s been reported that Palmer Industries are fighting to avoid meeting their current Carbon Tax liabilities. Would it be far-fetched to think that that influenced the negotiations with the LNP?
    Is it coincidental that Clive’s plan would delay or prevent the establishment of an Emissions Trading Scheme in Australia? (Even if Tony “promised” to adopt it)
    Clive said, “This scheme would only become effective once Australia’s main trading partners also take action to establish such a scheme.”
    Tony said, “The member for Fairfax is absolutely right; abolishing the Carbon Tax will make our industries more competitive!”
    Yes, Clive’s and his Big Pollution mate’s industries.
    It is an undeniable fact of recent history that Tony Abbott made many motherhood statements and promises before the last election to convince the gullible that he was a nice fellow, to be trusted to work in our interest. Once he got the votes, he turned on us like a mongrel dog and attacked our rights, treasured institutions and values.
    Tony Abbott is such a chronic liar that I don’t believe Clive entered into negotiations trusting him, unless the whole event was a pre-planned scam on Australians. ( Except, of course, for the entitled 1%)
    Call me a cynic, but if you believe that warm, cuddly Clive is thinking only of the people of Australia, then I have a great deal on a Harbour Bridge for you!
    What are the odds that Clive is a “sleeper”, helped into place by the LNP to do his dirty deeds when needed. They are devious enough and he certainly is. He sponsored that maggot Jo Bjelke and was rewarded with a life membership of the Nationals.
    What’s the reward this time? “Forget the taxes you owe and do what you like to central Queensland and the Barrier Reef. Joe, give the man a cigar!”

    • Yes Minister says

      One wouldn’t need to be too close to Big Clive to be fully aware of the profound contempt he harbours for the LNP at both state and federal levels. His critics invariably get their opinions directly from the pages of a Murdoch rag, none of which have as much as a nodding acquaintance with fair play.. For what its worth, Clive has a young family and is particularly interested in what kind of world his offspring will inherit. On the other hand, both ostensible paragons of LNP logic, Wacky Wabbott & Noddy Newman have proven countless times they are inveterate liars, probably even more so than previous record holder the Red Headed Witch.

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