Australian Politics, This is Your Life…

August 9, 2010 at 11:19 pm (Uncategorized)

The forthcoming federal election has become a peculiar, surreal trip down memory lane, more akin to a nightmarish episode of This is Your Life than a serious political contest. At this point I’d really like to see the whole thing performed onstage as a knowing folly, a nudge-nudge farce, and preferably by hand puppets. No, really. I think as a puppet show it would make perfectly entertaining viewing, but as a federal election, it’s verging on the obscene.

Both sides have seen a curious roll call of past leaders romp onto centre stage, oftentimes swallowing their candidate’s spotlight whole. On the Labor side, early on we had Bob Hawke and Paul Keating continuing their little long-running uber-ego spat, and I can just see them slapping at each other with their hand-sewn felt fingers. Now we have to contend with Punch himself, Mark Latham, such an oafish boorish pest I just want to swat him – or better yet, see him permanently yanked off the stage by one of those great long hooks. He’s such a slut for a column inch or pixel that he’s yet again managed to spray the whole audience, and now the entire country is in need of a good wash. And Kevin. You poor bastard. First an humiliating rumble with Judy, I mean, Julia, then a gall bladder operation, and now they’re trotting you out like Monty Python’s Black Knight. It’s merely a flesh wound! Come on, then! Stabbed to political death by his own party, now those slimy, engorged leeches are desperately trying to revive their fallen Caesar, prodding him back to his mark, mopping up the blood, and starting up the band. I honestly don’t know how he can stand it, except to imagine that, like me, the thought of Tony Abbott as Australia’s next PM is keeping Kevin Rudd up at night.

Which brings us to the Liberal Party Cabaret. John Howard’s back for another rant, reminding one and all that the current leader of the Opposition was never anything so much as Howard’s personal finger puppet, and we’ve also heard a bit from the Abbott and Costello show, with good ‘ole Pete, the PM who never was because someone forgot to sew on his balls, taking umbrage at the Labor Party’s quoting of him on the pesky question of Abbott’s economic credentials. CUE LAUGHTER.

Then, bursting out from behind the curtain to join the other ghosts of leaders past comes Andrew Peacock, who doesn’t even live in Australia anymore but still wants a piece of the limelight, which airtime he uses to declare, “You’d need to be pretty handicapped not to appreciate this Government is dissolving before your eyes daily.” Sophisticated argument, isn’t it? Needless to say, the disabled voters of Australia are rather insulted by the suggestion that they’re unable to follow the show.

But let’s not forget the two Malcolms, slightly less amusing and much less beloved of their respective generations than The Two Ronnies, it’s true, but for my money probably still the only two people in the Liberal Party worth listening to about anything. Actually, Malcolm Fraser has left the party in disgust and disillusionment over its increasingly arch conservative character, so he’s not a current member of the chorus, but he did make his moment onstage count when he refused to endorse Tony Abbott, and suggested the current Liberal Party is not ready to lead. Sock it to ‘em, old boy. Malcolm Turnbull, on the other hand, is currently on the hustings for his own seat of Wentworth, but every time he opens his mouth, he only succeeds in reminding this voter at least of what might have been. That the Libs went for Tony over Malcolm says too many disturbing things about the party’s direction to name. I’ll give you just one that matters to me: Abbott, like that pathetic, fawning monarchist before him, that great and despicable Referendum saboteur  John Howard, is committed to the patent, appalling absurdity of Australia’s ongoing subjugation to the Queen of England. Malcolm Turnbull – and this, it must be said, is something he shares with Labor leaders past and present – believes in an Australian Republic, and so do I.

I can’t wait for the curtain to drop on this embarrassing debacle. It’s an expensive flop, we know that already, but I almost can’t bear to wonder who’ll be left standing on opening night.



  1. Norwichrocks said,

    Tony Abbott’s views on women and abortion are enough to make me hold him in intense dislike, let alone his absurd stance on asylum seekers and immigration. The fact that he’s a Royalist doesn’t surprise me, and only adds to my list of reasons why I sincerely hope he doesn’t get in.

    Which is terrifying – because I can’t even vote, not being a citizen of Aus, so I’ll just have to live with the outcome, whatever it is.

    And I think Kevin should get a medal for the way he’s handled recent events.

    • doctordi said,

      Yep, me too, Truce. My list is pretty long, and I am really scared that this all-singing, all-dancing distraction is serving to take attention away from the truly dire prospect of this man’s being in charge in a fortnight’s time. Shudder.

      I sincerely wish you could vote.

      Me too – talk about grace under fire. He’s got to be the most unfairly maligned man in the country right now.

  2. LBJ said,

    What pisses me off the most is not the media or even the politicians but we Australians ourselves. We’ll whinge and whine and complain about every angle and pretend that we want a leader with ‘Vision’, but when it comes down to actually doing something and actually making decisions, it all gets too hard and we complain that it’s not as easy as it said it would be in the brochure. Australians are weak, we have no backbone!that’s why we’ve got the choice we have – we asked for it. I want out of here and I’ll come back every three years on holidays.caio. LBJ.

    • doctordi said,

      Oh, Llewie, you sound so horribly disheartened. Yes, I do think that unfortunately you’re right. There’s a real lack-of-accountability disease running rife across every strata of our society, and it’s true the last people Australians ever think are at fault are *ourselves.* As a nation, we seem to believe that our dissatisfactions, limitations, frustrations and failures are always somebody else’s fault, there’s a constant shirking of responsibility – no one wants to be accountable for the state of their own life – the expectation is that it’s someone else’s job to fix it, right now, and yes, this is the sad result.

  3. litlove said,

    The problem of appalling politicians is by no means confined to Australia. Alas here in the UK we tend to feel exactly the same about the jokers and plausible rogues who put themselves up as candidates. It’s a bit like choosing someone to chair a committee – anyone who voluntarily puts themselves forward should be instantly excluded as a possibility. You just know they’re going to have the wrong character. I have long toyed with the thought of starting a Mothers’ Party with the slogan ‘Oh just DO it’. We would so kick ass. Love the idea of the puppet show, tho!

    • doctordi said,

      You’re so right about the committee chair, LL – that makes me laugh!!! I *know* that person – I bet we all do! But letting them run the country? Oh god, it’s depressing.

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