You may have seen some photos lately of the awesome milkshakes being served up by a little Canberra patisserie.
Well BuzzFeed News was in Canberra this week, so we figured we'd give them a go... with Clive Palmer.
But first we had to get them in to parliament, and that was not easy.
We drove them, very carefully, from Patissez cafe in Manuka to Parliament House (just a few kilometres away). Then we had to go through security. For some reason they weren't pleased to see the delicious milkshakes.
"There's no way I'm letting those in," was the first thing the security guard, who was really just doing his job, said to BuzzFeed News. "I can't see what's in them." (Chocolate, milk, cream, Nutella, brownie, marshmallow and pretzels, for the record).
There was some very concerned chatter into a walkie talkie, a phone call to a supervisor and some tense discussion in hushed tones.
One security guard got his magic wand out, gave the milkshakes a once-over then turned to BuzzFeed News in a most serious, security guardesque way and says, "Is that a spoon?"
But after several tense minutes we were in! And after a really long walk where not one drop of milkshake made its way to the precious parliamentary carpet, we were finally in Clive's office. Here's what we learned.
1. It's full steam ahead for the Titanic II.
"We've got about 100,000 people lined up for tickets at the moment," Palmer says. "The truth about Titanic II is that about three months ago, we finished building the cabins on shore, to see what they look like before we went ahead and started building the ship."
"It took 7.5 years to design the original Titanic, and it's taken us about three years now. But we've had more problems. We've had to build the Titanic II to comply with all the codes and safety requirement of the U.S., Europe and all over the world, which has been very difficult. There's a lot of things that weren't on the Titanic that shouldn't have been, so we've had to redesign the whole ship."
Palmer says the ship should be on the water some time in 2019.
2. For an MP, he doesn't really like parliament all that much.
"I spend most of my time here speaking to members of parliament. Convincing them what we should do on policy. Not actually in the chamber. Because when you're in the chamber, it doesn't mean anything," he says.
"I actually want to get something done. We talk to other MPs who are not in the chamber at the one time, convincing them of what our policy should be. And they go back to the partyroom and argue for it. That's much more effective."
3. But he does have a favourite colleague. It's rural independent Cathy McGowan.
"She's low key but she brings all of her community up here to see parliament," Palmer says. "She brings depressed kids [to visit]. She's a very good MP as far as that goes. So I've got a lot of time for her."
4. He says his favourite food is salad, but...
Palmer claims he loves a "nice green salad with a vinegar dressing." But he says that literally seconds after enthusiastically describing the triple-fried hamburger he had in New York.
"They drop it in the deep frier and they fry it, then they put another hamburger in, drop it in and fry it again. Then they fry the whole lot again. Fantastic," he says.
5. He's ok with being called "Australia's Donald Trump"
They're both insanely rich men who are disrupting mainstream politics and are known for saying outrageous things, but Palmer says he's not entirely the same as Trump.
"I've got different views to Donald Trump socially and tax wise," he says. "But we both have a common denominator in the sense that we both think the current groups of people running our countries are hopeless and they're not addressing the real issues."
"A lot of things Trump says, I wouldn't agree with. But he is raising issues that are of concern to the community."
6. He thinks discussion about marriage equality is just a distraction from entitlements abuses.
"What happens in politics is, when you're on the ropes you bring up gay marriage. Suddenly we've got them on entitlements, so they [the major parties] say 'Time for gay marriage!'. So they ring up the government and say, 'Let's talk about gay marriage now or they'll get us on entitlements'."
"When do you ever see Liberal and Labor defend each other? When you're talking about entitlements. I'm not saying it's not an important issue. But it's there as a distraction."
7. But he won't say if he supports marriage equality.
"Our official policy, unlike the Liberal party, is everyone has a conscience vote. This is not something where you can force people to change what they really believe," he says.
"I don't express my view publicly, because I don't want other members of the party to think they won't exercise their conscience and will just do what I want them to do. The reality is, in politics, people will sometimes do what they think their leader wants them to do."
"We really do think people should exercise their conscience. And so will I, but when I'll exercise my conscience is when I see a proposition that has the detail so I know what I'm doing."
8. His dinosaurs won't mate.
"Unfortunately they haven't been breeding," Palmer says of his dinosaur models at the Coolum Resort in Queensland. "We've got about 110 dinosaurs there. Half of them are very virile males and half of them are females, but they just don't seem to be able to click together."
"It's a bit like the Liberal and Labor parties here in parliament. Another depository of dinosaurs. But they're great, the kids love them." (The dinosaurs, we assume)
"But the reason I bought Coolum wasn't for the public. It's because I like it. I live there. I had the money to buy it, so I couldn't give a stuff. Does anyone come to anyone else's home and say 'what are you doing with your home? Why aren't you letting the public in to your home?'. Well, because I like it private. I paid for it."
9. He has a list of achievements he's proud of, but one stands above the others.
Sitting with BuzzFeed News, Palmer rattles off a list of things his party helped to either block or amend in the Senate. He lists stopping the GP co-payment, preventing social security cuts and stopping university deregulation. But he's most proud to have helped get kids out of detention.
"You can imagine having kids, nine and 10 years old, 40 of them unaccompanied, being locked up for three years. I mean that's something you can relate to individually," he says.
"When we decided to get the kids off Christmas Island, there were people who says they wanted to get them off Christmas Island but they didn't want to do a deal with the government to get it done."
"They were quite happy to leave the kids there for three or four years because there was a political advantage to it. But I was more concerned, as you would be if they were your kids, with just getting them off the island."
10. He’s not done with politics and he wants to control the Senate again.
"I'll be standing again at the next election," he says. "I think we'll get the balance of power back in the Senate without any problems. We won the balance of power in the senate in one election. We've still got Dio Wang there and our numbers in the party have increased five times from what we had before the last election."
As for a vision for Australia? Clive says he wants to serve the community, get politicians' snouts out of the trough, and keep taxes low.
"I'd like to see a higher standard of living for people. Increasing taxes means you've failed. You haven't been able to be as efficient as the governments that have gone before you, to make the economy work and to get things done. So the easy way is to just say 'well, give me more money'."
But he does want to reform the GST and give more to Western Australia. (*cough* Canning by-election *cough*)
"In WA they send $3.6 billion to Sydney and Melbourne. Now Tony Abbott wants to increase the GST to 15%, which means they'll send another $2 billion over here, and that money is needed in Western Australia," he says.
11. He's reading Socrates at the moment.
"I'm getting back to philosophy and doing some deep thinking. What does it all mean? Where are we all going to?", Clive says.
12. He's written a special poem and he gave us a very animated recital.
Palmer plans to read this at the upcoming Queensland Poetry Festival. He describes it as "a little bit of Hamlet. A little bit of improvisation by me." Please, enjoy.
What a piece of work is man. How noble and how evil
How infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable
In actions how like an angel, In actions how like a god
The beauty of the world. A paragon of animals
I have a place where I live my mirth
This goodly framely seems to be just a promised story
This majestical roof pent with golden fire
It seems no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapour
What a piece of work is man
Oh how the Liberals tried to end his beauty
Oh how Labor tries to end his beauty
Walking in space will find the purpose of peace
The beauty of life we can no longer hide
In this whole world we re-discover creation.
In this whole world we re-discover ourselves
My eyes are open. My eyes are open. My eyes are open.
Why? Why die!
What a piece of work is man
Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Rob Stott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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