Clive Palmer rests his eyelids during question time, sitting behind fellow crossbench MP Andrew Wilkie. Photo: Andrew Meares
Clive Palmer has been criticised for his tardy record of attendance in Parliament.
But even when he’s in the House of Representatives, sometimes, he isn’t quite there.
Mal Brough offers a glass of water to Clive Palmer during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
That was the case during Wednesday’s post-budget question time when the Member for Fairfax nodded off on the crossbench.
As Labor hammered away at Treasurer Joe Hockey and Prime Minister Tony Abbott over their budget of broken promises, Mr Palmer was caught napping.
He was eventually brought back to consciousness by fellow Queenslander Mal Brough who delivered a wake up glass of water.
In a tweet that echoed Morgan Freeman’s explanation when he fell asleep during a promotional interview, Mr Palmer wrote: ‘‘Tony Abbott sent me to sleep during question time avoiding questions about his cruel & heartless budget.’’
Mr Freeman explained last year: “I wasn’t actually sleeping. I’m a beta tester for Google Eyelids. I was merely taking the opportunity to update my Facebook page.”
Mr Palmer had earlier delivered his budget reply address on behalf of his Palmer United Party at a hotel in Canberra and was due to face the media at 3.30pm.
Mr Palmer later told journalists that he had started giving interviews on the budget from 2am in the morning.
"I went a bit sleepy. I've had about 38 interviews today, roughly," he said.
During the last session of Parliament, Mr Palmer voted on just one piece of legislation - making his the worst voting record of any MP.
Mr Palmer has vowed to oppose in the Senate large parts of the Abbott budget and stared down the Prime Minister's threat of a double dissolution to break any deadlock after July.
"I think for honesty in government, an election's not uncalled for," he said. "People thought they were voting for one thing and getting something else. It should be up to the Australian people to decide the types of things we're talking about today, especially when they're done for reasons which we know are not valid."
Speaking on ABC's AM program earlier on Wednesday, Mr Palmer described the budget as being based on a series of lies.
"First of all it's based on the fact that they say our debt is out of control. If you get the OECD figures you see Australia has got 12 per cent of its GDP in debt. The average for the OECD of all our advanced economies is 73 per cent.
"There is no debt crisis so this is an excuse to have an ideological budget, one that can hit people that they don't like."
In response to the formal announcement of the debt tax, he said his party would definitely oppose it "because there's no reason for it."
"If the Prime Minister can show to me where we're in debt and how we're falling out of step with the rest of the OECD, then I'll consider it," he said. "But it's not; it's just a lie."
Mr Palmer also said he would "definitely" oppose the co-payment.
"You imagine being a pensioner and earning $300 a week and you're 87 and you've got to go to the doctor four or five times a week and that takes up one third of your income because of the co-payment," he said.
Follow us on Twitter