Xenophon questions Palmer's deal
Senator Xenophon questions 'numeracy and literacy problems' after receiving the Palmer United Party and the Motoring Enthusiasts Party 'memorandum of understanding'. Nine News.PT1M30S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-302lo 620 349 December 30, 2013
Clive Palmer says he has nothing to hide about his Senate power-sharing deal with the Motoring Enthusiasts Party, and said independent senator Nick Xenophon, who has been agitating for the details of the deal to be made public, was ''desperate for a headline''.
Nick Xenophon should give himself an uppercut.
After months of goading by independent Senator Xenophon, Mr Palmer, the MP for Fairfax, has now published online a copy of his “memorandum of understanding” struck with Victorian senator-elect and Motoring Enthusiast Ricky Muir.
Senator Nick Xenophon has questioned whether parts of the written deal between the Palmer United Party and the Motoring Enthusiasts Party have been redacted. Photo: Paul Jeffers
But Senator Xenophon has criticised the memorandum as vague. He pointed out that the document appeared to be missing information, with sections jumping from ''B'' to ''D'' and from ''2'' to ''4''.
Senator Xenophon said he wanted to know whether Mr Palmer was having trouble with numeracy and literacy or whether details of the deal had been redacted.
Mr Palmer said that apparent missing sections were errors “in the computer” and went on to personally attack the senator.
Queensland MP Clive Palmer greets Senator-elect Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Photo: Andrew Meares
''Nick Xenophon should give himself an uppercut,'' Mr Palmer told Fairfax Media.
''I understand Nick Xenophon does not have the balance of power ... he's belting his head right now against the bathroom door and he’s looking at how it's affecting his hair.
''I forgive Nick Xenophon for his Brylcreem and his hair dryer.
''He's got the blackest hair, you'd think he's an Asian,'' Mr Palmer said.
Mr Palmer said there was no mystery about the missing letter and number.
''What it's about really ... we originally had the document in the computer,'' Mr Palmer said. ''There’s some other senators who wanted some other clauses in there. We didn’t want to put them in the alliance so we changed them on the computer.''
As a consequence of the deal, Mr Palmer will oversee a voting bloc of at least three senators, meaning Prime Minister Tony Abbott will need to negotiate with his Palmer United Party to pass legislation when the new Senate forms next July.
The deal was announced soon after the election, with the inexperienced Mr Muir suggesting he would take Mr Palmer's guidance when voting in the Senate.
Mr Palmer initially withheld all details of the alliance, saying he would release them as a Christmas present for Senator Xenophon.
The memorandum struck between PUP and the Motoring Enthusiast Party says that each of the parties ''intends to work together and where it is practicable vote together in the Senate'', but it also says that neither party is ''required to vote for legislation that is against his or her party's policies and principles, or against their conscience''.
Keith Littler, a spokesman for the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, said on Friday that the agreement simply said that the parties would vote together ''where practical''.
But he declined to release it, saying there was ''nothing sinister to it'' but it was ''none of your business''.
The Greens released a statement on Monday saying that the release of the memorandum of understanding highlighted the need for reform of the Senate voting system, saying the two parties had failed to clarify their relationship.
Mr Abbott will need to secure 39 votes to get legislation through the new Senate. The Liberal National Party stands to hold 33 seats but this could change, given another election could be held in Western Australia.
More than 1000 WA votes were lost in the September election and the result of a recount is being considered in the court of disputed returns. A decision is unlikely to be made before the end of January.