Culture

Lisa Wilkinson Called Clive Palmer An “Embarrassment” And A “Disaster” On ‘The Today Show’ This Morning

"Australia thinks you're a joke at the moment."

2016 hasn’t been a stellar year so far for Clive Palmer — the Palmer United Party’s polling is virtually non-existent, his erstwhile PUP colleagues openly call him a “bully”, and he’s almost certain to lose his seat of Fairfax at the next election.

But the new year has brought with it more serious problems for Clive to worry about. In January the businessman and politician’s mining company Queensland Nickel went into voluntary administration shortly after sacking 237 workers, with the company’s administrators refusing to pay the sacked workers their redundancy entitlements. The company’s seemingly parlous financial situation stands in stark contrast to its generosity when it comes to political donations — Queensland Nickel seemingly had enough cash on-hand to donate almost $290,000 to the Palmer United Party just two weeks before, and gave almost $6 million to Palmer United in the 2014-15 financial year.

The sacked workers and their union representatives are calling on Clive to step in, but he insists the issue isn’t his problem. He said as much in an interview with TODAY Show host Lisa Wilkinson this morning, which quickly turned heated as Wilkinson pursued him over the unpaid entitlements and his performance as a Parliamentarian. Palmer has infamously fallen asleep in the House of Representatives chamber and has one of the worst Parliamentary attendance records of any MP. In a fairly terrible case of timing from his perspective, he was photographed counting a roll of money in the chamber a few days ago.

It was his political record which drew the most heat from Wilkinson this morning, who told Palmer “Australia thinks you’re a joke at the moment” as she eviscerated his time in politics as a failure and a vanity project.

“You’re a politician in federal Parliament these days. It is fair to say that your stint has been at best an embarrassment and at worst a disaster? You fall asleep in Parliament, you often don’t bother to turn up, your so-called ‘Palmer United Party’ has imploded, you’ve betrayed the faith of everyone who believed in you, from Queensland Nickel to your Chinese partners to your workers, to voters in your electorate — what do you think the average Australian voter thinks of you right now?” Wilkinson asked.

Palmer sought to interject throughout the course of being asked that question, accusing Wilkinson talking over him and of being in the pay of Rupert Murdoch. Wilkinson’s reaction was roughly what you’d expect.

Notably, many commenters on TODAY‘s Facebook page are accusing Wilkinson of being “rude” and not having “manners”; a very different reaction to what Karl Stefanovic regularly receives when he grills politicians like Tony Abbott. You have to wonder how people would take this interview if Karl had done it.