Clive Palmer Recycled A JFK Joke About Karl Marx Being An Underpaid Journalist

Clive Palmer Kevin Rudd and Clive Palmer arrive at a swearing in ceremony in the House of Representatives chamber at Parliament House on November 12, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. Photo: Getty/S.Postles

Update: News Corp Australia’s Malcolm Farr points out that Palmer’s joke about Marx being a low-paid journalist was lifted from a John F. Kennedy speech.


Clive Palmer had his first day in Parliament today, sworn in as the member for Fairfax.

He also addressed the national press club, with an unexpected suggestion of pay rises for journalists.

Palmer does not hide his dislike for journalists but joked during his speech that they should be better paid because Karl Marx was a frustrated correspondent when he turfed in his career to pursue the development of his ideological project.

Here is some of what he had to say, from News Corp Australia:

“In 1851 – a long time ago – the New York Herald Tribune had retained its London correspondent, a little known journalist, named by his mother as Karl Marx.

“Apparently he was without means, his family was sick and hungry, he didn’t have any money.

“He repeatedly appealed to his publisher Horace Greeley … to boost his salary of $5 a story, a stipend his close friend Engels said was the lousiest petty bourgeoise heating that he’d ever seen.

“He sought another means to support his family, to find the recognition that all journalists deserve. So he was forced to give up his job at the New York Herald Tribune so he could spend all his time working on an idea.

“An idea he thought he would leave to the world. An idea which became the foundation if Stalinism, Leninism, revolution, and the Cold War.”

To give this some context, Palmer has made his dislike of the Murdoch press pretty clear.

He has been the subject of several investigative articles by The Australian’s chief correspondent Hedley Thomas, and the businessman-turned-politician has made his views on the coverage pretty clear.

There’s more from Palmer’s address here.

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