A yacht for the kid who has everything
Sydney - What did 15-year-old Emily Palmer's dad go out and buy her in September? A mobile phone, a laptop, orthodontics?
No. Instead, mining mogul Clive Palmer, who boasts of being Australia's richest man, bought her a 30-metre yacht costing 5.3 million Australian dollars (4.5 million US dollars). And it wasn't even her birthday. The present was just something he said he picked up cheap at a Brisbane marine auction.
"He's funny and strange, but really caring at the same time," Emily says of her dad. "He's a bit eccentric, just a bit."
Palmer, 55, is unlikely to win lots of votes in Father of the Year contests. Rather than insisting his 19-year-old son gets an education first, he's got Michael Palmer working in the family business.
Child psychologist John Irvine told Brisbane's Courier Mail that the gift was hardly something that would instil notions of reward for effort. "It breeds irresponsibility and an expectation that daddy can always fix things," Irvine said. "It's an ego thing - dad showing off - instead of teaching them to earn what they yearn."
Palmer would likely be affronted at the idea he was spoiling his child. The owner of three corporate jets and two helicopters, he often tells his listeners that material things are not important.
"Family sustains all of us," Palmer said. "It's the motivation for most Queenslanders to work hard, to take care of their families."
Renee Mill, also a child psychologist, believes the gift was misplaced.
"A lot of the rich and famous spoil their children and they get used to it their whole lives," she said. "But if they lose that money, then nine times out of 10 those kids, as adults, have tremendous difficulty getting on their feet and looking after themselves." (dpa)