Fairfax MP Clive Palmer told parliament that he was leaving politics after just one term today.
The only problem was that he told it to an empty room.
Among the 150 MPs who make up the house of Representatives, just the acting deputy speaker, and the duty MPs from both major parties – health minister Sussan Ley, and Labor Kate Ellis, were there to hear what he had to say. Innovation minister Christopher Pyne jumped up and left the chamber as Palmer began speaking.
It’s a sad picture.
After his address, Palmer told Sky News his exit from politics is for “family reasons” and he won’t be making any future career decisions without the counsel of his wife.
“Before I make my next move I’ll have to ask my wife,” he said. “I don’t want to be divorced.”
He said that his time in politics over the past few has been dull, and it was time to go.
“My vote has never been significant really. It’s a little bit boring sitting in parliament knowing you have no influence,” he said, adding that his party’s action was delivered in the 2014 budget.
Palmer has the worst attendance record for parliamentary sitting days any politician. Parliamentary records reveal the Fairfax MP was Canberra’s most absent politician in both 2014 and 2015, making it to just 54% of parliament last year – 41 out of 75 days.
Palmer’s exit was in stark contrast to former Howard government minister and “father of the house” Philip Ruddock’s hour-long valedictory speech yesterday after 43 years in politics, with a number of his colleagues from the Senate visiting the chamber to listen.
Palmer’s farewell from today is below.
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