Nick Xenophon has questioned why Clive Palmer did not release details of his political deal with senator-elect Ricky Muir sooner.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon says Clive Palmer is teasing the public about his political alliance with motoring enthusiast Ricky Muir, comparing the billionaire to a burlesque dancer.
A one-page memorandum of understanding between the Palmer United Party (PUP) and senator-elect Muir’s Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, says each intends to work together in the Senate “where it is practicable”.
However, the October 6 agreement also frees up both parties to vote how they wish on matters of principle.
“This memorandum does not require any party to vote for legislation that is against his or her party’s policies and principles, or against their conscience,” the deal states.
Senator Xenophon had accused Mr Palmer of breaking his promise to release the memo by Christmas.
But having now seen the document, released on the PUP website at the weekend, he’s wondering: “Is that all there is?”
“Why did he make such a song and dance?” Senator Xenophon told AAP on Monday.
“He’s been teasing us with this document, turning it into a big deal.
“He is to politics what Dita Von Teese is to burlesque.”
Senator Xenophon also questioned why the memo appeared to be missing information, with paragraphs skipping from B to D, and 2 to 4.
Mr Palmer has blamed a computer error for the anomaly, prompting an offer of a new computer from the South Australian senator.
“I’m trying to find an old [80s-era] Amstrad 64,” Senator Xenophon joked.
“I think it would be more reliable than the computer that he’s currently got.”
The Greens’ Lee Rhiannon said the memo did not clarify the relationship between the two parties, and called for reform of the Senate voting system.
“Australians should be able to feel confident that when they vote for a party in the Senate, if preferences are distributed they flow according to the voter’s choice,” Senator Rhiannon said in a statement.
Comment is being sought from Mr Palmer.
Mr Muir and the newly elected PUP senators will take their seats at the beginning of July.