News National PM promises respect, but Clive calls in sick

PM promises respect, but Clive calls in sick

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised a “respectful” new parliament when it assembles for the first time on Tuesday, promising the Labor years will soon fade like “a bad memory,” but high-profile new parliamentarian Clive Palmer could miss day one with a cold.

Addressing the West Australian Liberal branch at its annual conference on Saturday, Mr Abbott pledged a parliament that “discusses the issues, rather than abuses individuals”.

The prime minister said the parliament wouldn’t impugn the motives of opponents or trash their reputations.

If anyone tried to go over the top, new Speaker Bronwyn Bishop would sort them out.

“And I am confident that after just a few weeks of the new parliament – that parliament that diminished our policy and embarrassed our citizens over the last three years – will soon seem like just a bad memory,” Mr Abbott said.

“Rob Oakeshott? Who is he? Tony Windsor? He was part of our system once but not anymore.”

He said the Liberals had already restored “due process” to government, including the 10-day rule for cabinet decisions.

“Now you might think that’s just a paperwork rule but if you don’t get these things right … you end up getting important details wrong.

“I want to say that we have made a good start, that the adults are back in charge and that strong, stable, methodical and purposeful government is once more the rule in our national capital.”

Mr Abbott devoted much of his address to the Liberal’s media strategy, which contrasted with Labor’s “endless interviews, all about glorifying politicians”.

“I think all of you will have noticed that there is a new tone and a new style in Canberra.

“Yes, we will speak when we need to speak. But we won’t speak for the sake of speaking and we won’t bang on things for the purposes of a PR gesture.”

Struck down by illness

Meanwhile, billionaire federal MP Clive Palmer could call in sick for his first week of parliament after coming down with a cold.

The eccentric mining magnate failed to front for a scheduled interview with Network Ten’s Meet The Press on Sunday morning.

When contacted by AAP for the reason behind his no-show, an ill-sounding Mr Palmer advised he had a cold.

Mr Palmer said he couldn’t guarantee he would be in Canberra for his first day of federal parliament on Tuesday, saying he would see a doctor in the meantime.

Asked if he intended to attend every day of parliament over the coming weeks, Mr Palmer replied: “I’ll meet my requirements”.

Late last month Mr Palmer won the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax after a recount with a final margin of 53 votes, almost eight weeks after the federal election.

New MPs are due to be sworn in at 10.55am on Tuesday.