The politician that keeps on giving

Media training: Clive Palmer and the gift that keeps on giving

By John Kananghinis

Media training and professionalism aside, you just have to love unpolished and ill-prepared politicians. They fall into the most embarrassing and entertaining holes.

In the last edition of The Word we remarked on the effective media stunt that was Clive Palmer fronting with Al Gore to announce he would support voting down the Carbon Tax.

That was a well-executed stunt that, irrespective of the value of the content, gave Clive media dominance for at least a day.

Recently on ABC’s Q&A program, he gave the perfect demonstration of how being ill-prepared to deal with persistent media questioning can go badly.

Not to be outdone by his PUP Senator from Tasmania, whose musings on the optimum size of the male reproductive organ doubtless added to the sum of human knowledge, Clive managed to emit a racist and highly offensive rant straight at our most important trading partner and emerging geo-political superpower.

Tony Jones knew perfectly well that his line of questioning was riling Clive and he persisted until he got the explosion that provided the grist to the next day’s media mill.

The look on Penny Wong’s face as she sat between the Clive volcano of highly politically inappropriate anger and the smirking Jones was precious.

The lesson is clear. If the person you are placing in front of the media is in any way subject to poor impulse control, just don’t do it.

On the other hand, even the most calm of front-persons can benefit greatly from effective media training and regular refreshers.

Of course it is literally Clive’s party and he can do as he likes, so any advice suggesting he should hold his temper and his tongue is wasted. But even he had to apologise, twice.

ICG has provided media training to senior executives, communication and PR managers, CEOs and Board Chairs across many industries and sectors for over 30 years. A small investment of time to gain vital knowledge could make all the difference when the serious questions come.


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