Deputy editor Michelle Pini critiques the latest show-stopping performances from the Coalition and Co.
AUSTRALIANS are known for not paying too much attention to our elected leaders.
Not for us the cheerleading exuberance of our American neighbours or the impassioned political riots of the Spaniards or Greeks.
No, in this country, politicians have to earn our attention — which explains former PM, Tony Abbott.
Say what you will about him, but with his bright red speedos, raw onion eating and frequent lapses into indecipherable gibberish, Tony has provided endless entertainment for the masses.
Just last week, Tony outdid even himself, by admitting that he had failed to turn up for a series of key parliamentary votes as he had been so drunk that he passed out. Oh, what a lark!
But in the last few weeks, we have seen numerous equally impressive, if not superior, antics from other performers.
Tony's stand-in, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, led the enthralling capers with a fiery attack on the Greens for their "incredible" dual citizenship “sloppiness”. The very next day, Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce informed the nation he might, in fact, be a Kiwi, but would not be standing down, since he was not like the Greens and therefore no one could accuse him of standards, let alone sloppy ones.
This valiance elevated the Deputy PM's popularity such that he is now a serious contender for New Zealander of the Year.
Not content with antagonising China and North Korea, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop declared war with New Zealand, with whom we previously shared the credit for Sam Neill, Crowded House and Russell Crowe, the ANZUS Treaty and, until recently, unfettered migration between the two nations.
In a not-quite emotional outburst, Ms Bishop (minus her signature pearls to indicate the severity of the situation) accused our closest neighbour of conspiring in a "tawdry affair" with show scoundrels, Bill Shorten's Labor Party, to bring down the Australian Government.
Then we had bigots rights advocate Senator Pauline Hanson arrive fashionably late to Parliament wearing a full burqa. Of course, she was cleverly disguised until she dramatically cast aside her headpiece before smoothing down her hair and announcing her sudden empathy with “these women” who wear burqas.
That is until George “right-to-be-a-bigot” Brandis gave Pauline a dressing down for her offensive choice of dress. George even managed a tear in his eye and an ever-so-slight break in his voice as he delivered his soliloquy to a standing ovation from his arch-enemies, Labor and the Greens, and widespread critical acclaim. Sublime.
But the pièce de résistance was surely the Turnbull Government’s brilliantly conceived "Plan B" response to the Senate's second rejection of its marriage equality plebiscite. The $122 million “Why don’t we ask the people and then reserve the right to ignore what they say?” extravaganza, involves a non-compulsory postal survey, which the electorate did not demand, to rediscover something that is already known.
The exercise will, of course, determine what the populace thinks about marriage equality because the plethora of earlier polls and surveys indicating overwhelming public support were so irritatingly consistent. But in an inspired dramatic twist, this survey will not compel the Coalition Government to do, well ... anything, other than collect our responses. Some may argue that the Government may not even receive our responses since the survey is being administered by the agents of #CensusFail, the Australian Bureau of Statistics. LOL!
Keeping a straight face throughout, former marriage equality champion, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, gave an Oscar-worthy performance as he blamed those Labor Party villains for the fact that same-sex marriage has not yet been legalised.
You've gotta hand it to the Coalition and Co: they know how to entertain.
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