The decision by Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party to join a formal alliance with the Palmer United Party is concerning. As I noted previously, the AMEP has more in common with the Liberal Democratic Party (libertarians) than with the Palmer Party. If he had to sign an MOU, he should have joined with David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day. But there is in fact no reason to sign an MOU at all.
More fundamentally, Muir’s vote in the Senate is a valuable option which shouldn’t be given away lightly (and it certainly cannot be sold). Which Senator wouldn’t (in the depths of their heart) like the option of voting freely on each and every division, or even to abstain? The vast majority of Senators do not enjoy that luxury.
In signing an MOU with PUP, Muir said
This will provide the government and the people of Australia with certainty
Yet he won’t be a Senator until 1 July 2014 – there is plenty of time to prepare himself for the job without rushing into a deal.
In an article in the SMH from 11 September 2013, we discover that Muir doesn’t own a suit. Well he has clearly bought (or has been given) one or more suits for his outing with Palmer.
I hope that he hasn’t been bribed or threatened by Clive Palmer. That would be a crime. I suppose in theory Muir, who was reportedly almost broke, could have borrowed against his likely future income stream as a Senator.
Perhaps Palmer wanted to increase staffing? I understand that a party with five or more members in the Senate and/or House is entitled to additional staffing resources. But Muir would have to formally join the PUP rather than sign an MOU to vote with it.
All in all, this is not a good look.