Deputy editor Michelle Pini critiques the Coalition and Co's latest comedy production, starring Michaelia Cash and Barnaby Joyce.
JUST when we thought the Coalition may have nothing in the way of new material that could rival recent spectacular performances, they managed to pull out all the stops — seemingly from nothing.
First, we had Tony Abbott stand-in, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s revelation that he had achieved nothing in four years of tinkering with the NBN.
After insisting ad infinitum that the Liberals would deliver broadband faster and cheaper with their second-rate version over the former Labor Government's model, Turnbull stretched his already considerable acting talents to the max by calling the NBN "a calamitous train wreck", but still blaming Labor.
Then there was Senator Michaelia Cash’s spectacular foray into multiple I see nothing; I know nothing soliloquies, delivered with the unwavering confidence we are used to seeing from this seasoned performer.
Following a failed Trade Union Royal Commission, the re-establishment of the ABCC and the formation of an additional union watchdog, the ROC, Cash attempted a death-defying stunt to finally get that slippery roadrunner, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
As TV cameras rolled, 25 AFP officers undertook a dramatic search and seize operation in which endless reams of important looking documents were removed from AWU offices. But in a hilarious twist, it unfolded that since the said documents related to an 11-year-old matter, they probably no longer existed (and are not legally required to exist) and so the raid was looking for … that’s right, nothing!
Questioned about the conveniently placed TV crews present on the scene before the AFP had arrived, Cash maintained her unequivocal position of I know nothing; my staff knows nothing; I see nothing and they see nothing.
But the drama moved steadily towards a momentous climax and Cash conceded that while she definitely lives up to knowing absolutely nothing, the same did not apply to a lone member of her staff, who evidently did know something and who had, apparently, singlehandedly orchestrated the entire media extravaganza.
Crisis averted — at least according to the Coalition and Co, as PM Malcolm Turnbull pronounced that Cash had "acted entirely properly” and so could maintain her position as a completely ignorant no-nothing member of his show. Just fabulous!
Former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce's position as the caretaker of the Coalition's Sanctity of Marriage faction came under scrutiny with rumours circling that he may have done something of an extra-marital nature. Of course, Barnaby maintained the I did nothing theme – which has worked so well for the entire company – and since the position of the Sanctity of Marriage faction is the preservation of doing something "between a man and a woman" (and possibly another woman), the rumours did fit the brief and this part of the show was a little uneventful.
Not to be outdone, however, Joyce swiftly took the whole production to another level after the High Court found – despite his knowing nothing – that Barnaby was, in fact, a dual citizen and had been illegally elected since 2004. Therefore, he really should have done just a little bit less than what he had already achieved as Deputy PM — which is nothing. ROFL.
Given the Coalition know nothing, they extended an invitation to Indigenous leaders to come up with their own plan for constitutional recognition. However, their proposal of a national Indigenous representative assembly to be included in the Constitution was deemed to amount to something. This Indigenous voice to parliament, therefore, did not fit the Coalition's corporate brand of continuing to do absolutely nothing and was promptly rejected.
Finally, breaking with tradition and risking being accused of doing something, support actor and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is now acting Deputy Prime Minister while Barnaby goes about convincing his electorate he is still a proud do-nothing member of the Coalition and should, therefore, be re-elected in the coming by-election. This skit wasn't particularly entertaining, but it did add to the suspense of how long the Coalition can maintain its brilliantly executed do-nothing position.
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