Clive Palmer at the Sunshine Coast Show. Unfortunately the joke's now on us.
Clive Palmer at the Sunshine Coast Show. Unfortunately the joke's now on us. Darryn Smith

OPINION: Why I am (almost) sad to see Clive Palmer go

CLIVE Palmer burst onto the federal political scene offering so much.

Larger than life, full of energy, full of ideas.

In the end, he was just full of it. Full stop.

I, like thousands of people in the Fairfax electorate, voted for Clive Palmer, because I was sick of the way the LNP had taken the Sunshine Coast for granted.

Safe seats mean stuff all when it comes to federal budgets.

As we saw again last night.

In retrospect, Ted O'Brien was a far better candidate.

Hard working. Local. Willing to put in the hard yards on the campaign trail.

But I was wooed by the idea of someone out of left field.

(And professionally, the idea of someone who would generate plenty of headlines!)

Someone who would shake things up.

Someone who wasn't afraid to speak his mind and be a little politically incorrect.

During the campaign, I spent a few days with Clive Palmer, jetting from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney, Canberra and back to the Sunshine Coast.

I watched him announce policy  on the run, change his itinerary almost mid flight, and even do a pretty accurate impression of Bob Katter.

I was also in the studio as he 'twerked' with Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O. I'm still undergoing therapy.

For a guy his size, his energy was remarkable.

He survived on a few hours' sleep and would often emerge, as we were trying to get to sleep, full of beans in the aisle, ready to sprout off new ideas.

But in the end, Clive has been a great disappointment for the people of the Sunshine Coast.

The loss of hundreds of jobs at his resort, his failure to be a real local MP - and actually live here - and his failure to get significant wins for the region - mean the punters are less likely to divert from the major parties the next time.

Clive Palmer with the dinosaur Jeff, during the 2012 PGA at Palmer Coolum Resort. Photo Richard Bruinsma / Sunshine Coast Daily
Clive Palmer with the dinosaur Jeff, during the 2012 PGA at Palmer Coolum Resort. Photo Richard Bruinsma / Sunshine Coast Daily Richard Bruinsma

His arrogance in dealing with media asking the 'wrong' questions contributed to his own undoing.

And that's a pity, because the last thing we want to remain is a safe, comfy seat for a lazy LNP or Labor MP.

We need people with energy, ideas and the connections in Canberra to make a real difference.

Clive offered all of that. In the end, he delivered very little.



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