If someone – anyone – knows where the key to the door to reality might be hiding around Parliament House, they’re not telling.
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer and former US vice-president Al Gore at their joint press conference. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
“This must be Thursday,” said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. “I never could get the hang of Thursdays.” ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
As Clive Palmer, a man who plans to dig enough coal to blot out the Chinese sky, stood next to Al Gore in the Great Hall on Wednesday evening, declaring he wanted to save the world, a sort of awful knowledge crept over the assembly.
“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.” ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Al Gore wore the permanently surprised look of a fellow who had lost his way on the stairway to the gentlemen’s lavatory outside a botox clinic and had never figured out quite where the exit might be.
This seems hardly surprising. He is burdened with the inconvenient truth that years ago he lost the US presidency to George W. Bush, a man whose only known talent was in flushing his country’s reputation down the gurgler.
Mr Gore was compensated with a Nobel Peace Prize for his subsequent travelling song and dance act on a coming climate catastrophe, and is on record praising the idea that the burning of coal should be outlawed.
So what precisely was he doing standing alongside Big Clive, who wants to dig Australia’s biggest coal mine?
The unkind would say he was doing something similar to what he was doing when he sold his TV channel to Al Jazeera, a media network which gets its money from the House of Thani, the Qatari royals who get their billions from siphoning oil from the earth. The truly unkind might think he was treating his own reputation to something remarkably similar to George Dubya’s effort with America’s.
But hold the skepticism. Clive and Al want to save the world. We know this because they said so.
And how does Clive want to do this, starting in Australia?
By repealing the carbon tax, by declining to support Tony Abbott’s alternative, Direct Action, and by proposing an emissions trading scheme that will have no effect on anything until such time as the United States, Japan, Korea, China and Europe all have schemes that operate in accord.
Which could be some time. Say, just after world peace is achieved.