A FEW years ago he was almost anonymous, just a name in the history books linked to Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and the Gold Coast’s infamous white shoe brigade.
Then he stumbled on some mining wealth, held a press conference or two and discovered he really liked all the attention.
Bursting back onto the scene about eight years ago, Clive Palmer was soon known to all as the ‘mining billionaire’.
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No one could actually put a number on his true wealth.
But if you had any doubt he was happy to dispel it, shouting at his colourful media conferences: ‘I’m a millionaire’ and ‘I have more money than I need’.
I can’t remember the first Clive media conference I went to but it had become obvious that every time he opened his mouth it guaranteed you an easy story for the next day’s paper.
So his appearances soon became the most popular show in town, with journalists who rarely left their offices, dashing along to them.
It was like watching a Rolls Royce crash.
He would say something outrageous, journalists would giggle nervously.
Then he would angrily attack someone for asking a question he didn’t like and we would all squirm in discomfort as he reminded them how rich he was and how he enjoyed litigation.
The attention was clearly intoxicating.
The southern media soon joined the party, giving him prime time coverage on prestigious news shows where he would flatter the hosts and mug his way out of questions.
One minute he would say something that kind of made sense and voters angry with the big parties would be hooked.
Then the next he would put his big foot in it again.
After spending tens of millions on elections he now has a seat in federal parliament – though you wouldn’t know it as he is rarely there – and his party will soon hold the balance of power in the senate.
But while he won’t properly apologise to Tony Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin for accusing her, a woman with known fertility problems, of pushing for paid parental leave for her own benefit, I will.
The media fed his addiction, we encouraged his outbursts, we set him free to roam the land.
And I am truly very sorry.
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