Sunday Night program 'politically motivated': Clive
A CONTROVERSIAL TV program that made Clive Palmer and his senators-elect look to be dills may trigger repercussions for the Abbott Government when the Palmer United Party holds sway in the Senate from next month.
Mr Palmer, the Member for Fairfax, described Channel 7's Sunday Night program as "disappointing" and "done for political purposes" - a point he qualified by noting that reporter Mike Willesee's son worked for Treasurer Joe Hockey.
Mr Palmer said the PUP would control a powerful four-senator voting bloc from July.
"If they want to do their best to make fun of them, they might find they won't be so friendly to them in the Senate," Mr Palmer told The Daily.
"They're all getting worried because they know, at the end of this month, things will change in Australia.
"In the end, Mike Willesee talked like he had a plum up his arse. He had a negative attitude from the word go."
The Sunday Night program's Facebook page was inundated by viewers' comments, with a significant proportion criticising the broadcast. Other viewers expressed concern about the competency of the PUP's future senators.
The Sunshine Coast Daily's Facebook page also attracted comments, mostly critical of Mr Willesee and Channel 7.
"I agree with the thousands of people who went on the Sunday Night site and protested the coverage - they said it was biased and done for political purposes," Mr Palmer said.
Mr Palmer claimed the TV crew had conducted an hour-plus interview with him in which he discussed issues like the GP co-payments and veterans' issues, but those comments were not aired.
He also claimed interviews with the USA's political elite, who attended a JFK Library event in Boston that was featured in the program, had made complimentary comments which were also left on the cutting room floor.
Mr Palmer described Mr Willesee as "an ageing black and white TV journalist" who was close to pension age himself, so "he should be defending pensioners' rights, not criticising those trying to stop the co-payments, which we will stop in the Senate".
The Sunday Night program was critical that Mr Palmer had agreed to meet the program's camera crew in Boston, but Mr Palmer never showed up as agreed. Instead, Mr Willesee was left tailing the PUP's three senators-elect and Ricky Muir, of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party, who will be voting as part of the PUP senate bloc.
Mr Palmer said it was poor form, in particular, to criticise Mr Muir, who he described as "not a media tart" and "just because he can't express himself, doesn't mean he's intellectually impaired".
On the program, Motoring Enthusiasts Party senator Ricky Muir was shown repeatedly hesitating and becoming flustered while trying to answer questions.
Asked by Willesee to define the balance of power, he said: "It's the potential ... if ... say in this case, Labor and Greens ... it's the power to vote down legislation in the right circumstances."
Mr Muir was unable to answer a number of questions, including one where he was asked to define the "aftermarket" automobile industry, which he had repeatedly referred to.
"So, there's the aftermarket industry which ... Sorry, can we go to another question?" he said.
Motoring Enthusiasts Party secretary Keith Littler told the ABC Mr Muir was not used to being bombarded by the media.
"He was just a little bit rattled - [there was] just a little bit of inexperience on his part," he said.
"I don't think there's anything to worry about. I don't think the program showed him up anymore than being an ordinary, everyday Australian."