So Clive Palmer has a bob or two; owns a resort featuring replica dinosaurs; mines coal and iron ore; refines nickel; owns properties; is involved in a whole host of things that decisions by government can affect. Potential conflicts of interest aplenty. Well so what? Parliaments are now, and always have been, full of people where decisions of government have an impact on personal well being.
To suggest, as some commentators now are doing that Palmer MP will be somehow compromised in voting because he has a pecuniary interest is a nonsense. Should National Party members abstain whenever there is a question relevant to the value of farming properties? Labor MPs dependant for their very position on the support of trade unions absent themselves from votes on industrial law? Beneficiaries of considerable superannuation funds — what should they do when matters of taxation arise?
Give Clive and his party members a break. Members of Parliament have to disclose their pecuniary interests. When they have done that it is up to the voters to judge their actions.
From my weekend reading. A little research into that matter of conflict of interest and members of parliament took me via Sir Ivor Jennings’Parliament to The Life of Henry Labouchere, Algar Thorold’s biography of the 19th century member of the House of Commons: