The moment Annabel Crabb and Clive Palmer almost went up in smoke.
The moment Annabel Crabb and Clive Palmer almost went up in smoke.

How Clive Palmer almost set Annabel Crabb on fire

SUNSHINE Coast MP Clive Palmer is paranoid about being betrayed and having his party infiltrated by traitors, according to ABC Kitchen Cabinet host Annabel Crabb.  

But he was not so worried about setting himself alight after spraying cooking oil on an open gas fire while cooking salmon and steak for the show.  

"You wanted a bit of fun in the program, didn't you?'' Palmer tells Crabb as he ensures a fiery finale for this year's series.  

The Palmer United Party leader takes the high profile political commentator on a tour of his massive Coolum home, showing her old family photos, including of his dogs, which have passed away, as well as American presidential collectors' items.  

Crabb said she found Mr Palmer to be a 'pretty complicated personality' who was 'performing' a lot of the time, the 'consummate opportunist' who was always keen to make an impression.  

"He's a bit of a quick silver, who is hard to pin down,'' she says.  

Mr Palmer, she says, is often happy to say things which are 'obviously not true' to create a 'puff of smoke' before moving on.  

It makes him an 'infuriating interview subject' for political journalists, but entertaining for her show's format, she says.  

 "His main fear is being betrayed,'' she says, saying that he has often put people into positions in his business, and more recently in PUP, based on how long he has known them, rather than their skills.  

"He fears infiltration and betrayal,'' Crabb says.  

The recent fallout with Senator Jacqui Lambie have only reinforced those fears, she said.  

But she said if he was to establish a national political party, he would need to learn to trust people, other than those he went to school with, or from his family.  

Mr Palmer's concern about being spied upon meant he would not let staff use parliamentary computers, but instead required they go out and buy PUP's own.  

In the program, he talks about ASIO spying continually on Australia's top 100 wealthiest people.  

Crabb says she believes Mr Palmer certainly has talent, as demonstrated by his skills to make a fortune in real estate and bluff his way into some huge mining deals.  

"He's certainly not a stupid man. That's one thing that people should not make a mistake about him.''  

While she says he's not afraid to make a fool of himself to stay in the media spotlight, he 'works so hard to make an impression'' he must care about what people think about him.  

"If you are really relaxed about what people are saying about you, you don't sue people as much as he does,'' Crabb adds.  

As to his political future, Crabb says Mr Palmer must be concerned about losing the balance of power in the Senate, as it makes him less important in Canberra politics.  

"The disintegration of the voting block is hugely significant to him.''  

Not that he would say that.  

Kitchen Cabinet is on Tuesday night at 8pm  


  • The most controversial man in the 44th parliament
  • Bob Hawke (Clive wants to cook him) 
  • A small fire or two (courtesy of Clive)
  • An entree of a watermelon and tomato gazpacho
  • Steak and Salmon
  • Annabel's coconut meringue sandwich from the original Titanic menu.

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