No B.S Friday: What’s up with Clive Palmer’s ad blitz?
So, I’ve been seeing these ads come up in the paper, and I had to dig into it. Here’s a photo from my phone.
Can you read the fine print? Can you see who’s behind it?
So suddenly Clive Palmer is championing the cause of feminism? Suddenly he’s evoking the spirit of the suffragettes and burning bras down on campus?
If you’re struggling to get your head around that image, you’re not the only one.
It doesn’t really add up.
No, apparently, he’s just jumping on the band-wagon to drive a personal vendetta against the head of ASIC – a regulator he accuses of infringing on his human rights.
No, that’s a true story too.
ASIC were investigating his collapsed Nickel project and the funding of his now defunct political party.
Through that investigation, James Shipton was ASIC’s chair.
And while Palmer says it’s “nothing personal”, in the last six months he’s dropped almost $4m on the ads, according to the AFR, all of which sink the boot into Shipton:
It’s now been more than six months since the ads began, and up to last Friday, Palmer had booked space worth an estimated $3.8 million in the nation’s newspapers (including this one), according to Nielsen’s proprietary ad spend monitoring. Which we suppose is small change for Palmer, who every year banks about $500 million or so in royalties that CITIC reluctantly passes on.
He has also dismissed suggestions that his campaign has anything to do with his various disputes with ASIC, which have related to the collapse of Queensland Nickel as well as the funding of his upstart (but now mostly defunct) political party. ASIC has a vendetta against him, you see, but on his part, it’s “nothing personal”. Just an altruistic attempt to give the business community the corporate regulator it deserves. Rightio.
Palmer recently tried to have ASIC charges against him alleging breaches of director duties and fraud thrown out, saying ASIC’s actions had breached his rights under Queensland’s new human rights legislation. At last month’s Senate estimates, Labor MP Patrick Gorman asked ASIC’s commissioners how common it was for the body to be accused of human rights breaches.
“A search of records indicates that this is the only occasion proceedings have been commenced against ASIC alleging breaches of human rights.”
To be frank, I think this is pretty disgusting.
It is true that the Holgate/Shipton comparison is valid. Shipton claimed close to $120,000 of tax expenses for himself, on ASIC’s tab. Holgate gave her top executives a bonus.
Holgate had her public reputation destroyed. Shipton was politely asked to leave… after he’d been given a few months to sort out his desk.
The treatment was very different. It is a very legitimate question to ask whether this difference in the way they were treated had anything to do with their gender.
So that is fair enough.
But to jump on this bandwagon just to peruse a personal vendetta is pretty cheap. It’s cheapens the whole conversation.
And it’s a very clear attempt to send a signal. Not to Shipton though. Shipton is on the way out, so why bother?
No, this is a message to future regulators.
Come after me and you’ll cop it in the papers.
This is not how a healthy democracy works.
But Palmer doesn’t give a fig about that.