History is repeating itself in the upcoming election. The last double dissolution election was held in the 1980s and the last time the Liberal Party led us into a double-D election was also during the eighties. The 1980s kicked off with a Prime Minister named Malcolm, just like today. The leader of the Liberal Party in the mid-eighties was a multi-millionaire, as is Mr Turnbull. We have a Rhodes scholar and a union boss, again. The Labor leader is from Melbourne and the Liberal leader from Sydney, again. Class warfare is a defining factor on the political landscape while neoliberalism dominates the economic landscape. And, as can be said to be the case for two different Treasurers of the eighties – the present Treasurer will likely become the next Prime Minister.
When future generations look back at the tumultuous Parliament dissolved shortly after the Budget, it will be fairly evident that the election held this year was mostly just a reflection of those glory years of human accomplishment, the 1980s.
In this election, Malcolm Turnbull is basically George McFly. Why? Beyond the fact that he is bound to be replaced for the sequels, the Prime Minister has been so bullied by the far right-wing of the Coalition with their 1950s values, that he is only a shadow of the man he once was. Ideals he claimed to be central to his identity were abandoned in the Faustian bargain he struck with the forces responsible for his ascendancy. He has cast aside any and all progressive positions he once held in an attempt to ingratiate himself with right-wing extremists inside the Liberal and National parties. Perhaps in some alternate reality Turnbull could be a successful PM, but the man we have today is weak-willed and unable to stand up for himself. He may have been told that leading the country was his destiny, but it’s going to take a lot more than a DeLorean with a flux capacitor to help him win this election.
The Clown Prince of
Crime… Union Thuggery… the ALP, Bill Shorten is no stranger to bad jokes, with his leadership being the least funny of all the cruel pranks he has played on the Australian people. Despite his profile, Shorten has failed to define himself or the role he would play as a potential PM, leading few voters to treat him as a serious threat to Turnbull’s rule. It seems that no matter how this Joker tries to endear himself to the masses, he cannot escape the perception that he is a power-hungry sociopath with a disregard for political conventions that led him to oust two first term Prime Ministers. Australia deserves a better class of Labor leader, and Shorten isn’t up to the job.
The Deputy Prime Minister is the sort of man who, once you let him in the House, will destroy everything in sight. His early career was defined by an indifference to the rules set by his masters, though *spoiler alert* it isn’t likely to survive this election. Because Barnaby Joyce chose to become Gina Rinehart’s lapdog, he will likely be forced back to the Senate or out of politics altogether. If he thought giving up any values he may have held for a chance at winning a billionaire’s favour was a good idea, he was probably hitting the home-brewed hooch too hard.
The faithful deputy to a string of Liberal leaders, Julie Bishop is a very clever politician. She has successfully embraced social media, gathering a following among voters who place personality above policy when it comes to popularity. A widely respected and influential Foreign Minister, Bishop has a long, strong record of working to build and secure Australia’s profile internationally. Because of this, JBish is an alien in her own party room. For much of the Coalition, achieving any measure of success could be considered a betrayal of party values. Of course, this hasn’t always been the case. In the 1980s, as a lead lawyer for CSR in their battle against compensation for asbestos victims, Bishop showed her Liberal Party values, helping to deny those dying of cancer any form of recompense from the company that caused it. One might now wonder whether the ghosts of Wittenoom still haunt her, if she would wish for some kind of extra-terrestrial healing power, to fix the lives she helped to destroy.
For the latte sipping, inner-city lefties, Tanya Plibersek has attained a cult-like following. Her passionate, outspoken nature has inspired countless voters to keep her in office for almost twenty years. They’re prepared to forget the fact that, despite claiming to be a champion for LGBTIQ+ rights, she supported and defended Labor’s bipartisan rejection of marriage equality for a number of years, because any criticism of the deputy leader of the Opposition is tantamount to sexism. The cult of Tanya could be said to resemble the following of Gozer the Gozerian in its single-mindedness. For many of those involved, the prospect of any other party or person filling the seat of Sydney would be a disaster of biblical proportions.
The Grand High Witch of the Senate, George Brandis has spent much of his time advocating for the little man: the hateful bigot and the climate change denier; all the while fighting against the evils of society, such as the arts and human rights. While no one would ever directly accuse Brandis of despising younger people, possibly due to fear of being ‘fried’, he certainly does have a hatred of all things Green, comparing green politics to the values of the Nazi party. But it would seem as though Brandis lacks a sense of irony, as he oversaw some of the more totalitarian decisions of the Abbott/Turnbull years, working to suppress the Timor-Leste government and declaring journalists enemies of the state if they reported what whistleblowers disclose about intelligence operations. Out of touch and ignorant, the Attorney-General personifies the ideology of the Liberal Party of Australia.
A parasitic life-form, Christopher ‘The Thing’ Pyne attempts to imitate perceived human interactions, and will absorb any who might disagree with the policies issued by his various portfolios. As education minister, he moved to deregulate universities and reintroduced the school chaplaincy program – banning secular social workers from providing guidance and assistance to troubled school children. This, of course, has led to reports of troubled schoolchildren with mental health issues, seeking answers and help, to have their questions ignored as they are told that only Jesus can solve their problems and, for some bizarre reason, that dinosaurs aren’t real. Pyne refused to explain why chaplains were a superior service for the schools, though one would suspect it had a lot to do with the size of donations from certain religious lobby groups. But then, Pyne has a long history of refusing to provide answers for his decisions, famously declaring himself a ‘fixer’ when it came to questions around finance that he had previously claimed to be inextricably linked to the deregulation of university funding. He thrives on this though, loving the attention his attitude brings. Yet, behind the smug answers is a greasy layer of contempt for the general public. His is an attitude of patriarchal supremacy; a confidence that he knows what’s best and those who won’t get on board will be assimilated.
Mathias Cormann is a man who struggles with identity. Since taking power in 2013, he has only been able to discuss the government’s finances in terms of what Labor did. Questions relating to this years budget were all answered in a manner that implied he had no clue what Scott Morrison had handed down, as he had only just got up-to-date with what the ALP did three years earlier. The parallels with Principal Vernon are endless, yet the most striking similarity is that they could both accurately be referred to as ‘Dick’. Don’t mess with the Finance Minister, Australia. All you’ll get is bull.
One is a weird-looking, sadistic pinhead, unaware of Earth’s customs and governed by an Abbott. The other is a Cenobite. Quite possibly the least competent politician in Australian history, Peter Dutton is a man without equal. Following his push to introduce a GP co-payment and cut funding to Medicare, he was overwhelmingly declared the worst health minister in 35 years. Contemptible, unfeeling, unbalanced, stupid, cruel, sexist, and one of the few remaining MPs who walked out of Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generation, Dutton’s continued existence on the front bench is an insult to good taste, common sense and the Australian people. Whether he’s trying to claim that asylum seekers burning themselves to death on his watch is the fault of refugee advocates or laughing at the fate of the Pacific Islanders whose homes will soon be swallowed by rising sea levels, this semi-sentient root vegetable has bumbled his way through his entire political career.
As a result of her appearance on Q&A, Kelly O’Dwyer has helped frame the 2016 election by reigniting the class warfare debate. The Assistant Treasurer’s rambling response to a reasonable question about tax breaks for the rich, in which she claimed that providing small business with the means to buy a $6000 toaster meant that the government was helping those struggling to survive on the minimum wage because maths. What does she have in common with Rocky Dennis? Both have experience when it comes to discrimination; except that O’Dwyer is more used to reinforcing its place in society through her friends at News Corp.
Former Chief of Staff to John Howard, Arthur Sinodinos has gone some way to proving Vizzini’s claim that Australia is entirely peopled with criminals. His appearance before ICAC in 2014 was memorable for what it exposed; he is either incompetent, ignorant, and oblivious – or he is corrupt. It may be more accurate to say he is one small part of a very corrupt system. Whatever the case, Sinodinos’ latest stunt, refusing to appear at a Senate inquiry into NSW Liberal Party donations, helps sell the case for a federal anti-corruption watchdog. Both Labor and Liberal parties oppose the idea, as they alternate between claiming that corruption doesn’t exist in Canberra and stating that existing arrangements, such as Senate inquiries, are more than capable of exposing corruption. So while the ALP may try to claim that Sinodinos is hiding something by refusing to comply with the investigation, any suggestion that this may lead to a federal ICAC is simply inconceivable.
Despite having been in the Senate since 1997, Marise Payne has seemingly come from nowhere to be named Defence Minister in the Turnbull government. The public knew very little about the NSW Senator prior to her appointment, it was almost as if she had been made up overnight, not unlike a certain Dorothy Michaels. Only time will tell whether Payne turns out to be another in a long line of puppet ministers in the Defence portfolio, selected for their capacity to toe the government line and do exactly as instructed, or if she is capable of standing out in what should be a key ministry for the government.
Elected in 2013, the baby-faced Craig Laundy sought to make a name for himself in his first term, initially seeking to define himself as an independent thinker and somewhat progressive but as time went on, he learnt the importance of following instructions, and was rewarded with a parliamentary secretary position. It is believed that there is a soul to be found somewhere in his body but unlike Chucky, we don’t yet know if he will be a force for good or for evil. What we do know is that running for the Liberal party is child’s play: do as you’re told and you will go far.
In the event that he becomes the next Treasurer of Australia, Chris Bowen has the potential to shape the future of this country. Of course, for the man behind Labor’s disastrous Malaysia Solution, any measure of success will likely be a Christmas miracle. An avowed Keynesian, he looks to end the failed economic policies in place since the 1980s, rebuild the trust in the Treasury, and will be forced to reform the taxation system. In a country that hates change, Bowen certainly has his work cut out for him. He will doubtless be painted as an economic terrorist the same vein as Hans Gruber by the Coalition and parts of the media, someone looking to raid government coffers to fund his socialist infrastructure agenda and destroy the housing market by limiting tax write-offs. The real question is whether he will be prepared to put a stop to corporate influence and the purchase of political favours by ‘donors’.
Desperately clinging to the seat of Grayndler as though it were his personal Holy Grail has seen Anthony Albanese ally himself with certain goose-stepping morons. Electing to adopt the Daily Telegraph’s campaign to “Save Our Albo”, has almost certainly sealed his fate with voters who can remember the Tele’s campaign to destroy Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. Voters are left to wonder why News Corp would throw their weight behind a Labor politician after having been so unabashedly partisan in their support of the Abbott/Turnbull governments. Albanese chose to pen a column in the Telegraph, explaining what he does for voters and attempting to sell the idea that voting for the Greens would be worse than helping Hitler to find the Ark of the Covenant. Some have tried to claim that, just like Walter Donovan, this is a relationship of convenience – if News Corp wants to help Albo, that’s its perogative. But at the end of the day, he chose poorly and so this may just turn out to be Albo’s last crusade.
Stephen Conroy is rumoured to be at least half-human. With the emotional range of a Vulcan, the moral compass of a Klingon, and the logic of William Shatner, Conroy spent a fair part of his time in the Rudd/Gillard governments working to censor the internet and helping pave the way for the complete gutting of the NBN by Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. Open to the idea of a fascist state, as Communications Minister he gleefully proclaimed his “unfettered legal power” over telecommunications regulation. Some have romanticised the ideals of Conroy, forgetting that, like Spock, he is an arrogant, oversimplifying jerk.
A large percentage of experts believe Kevin Andrews to be a fictional character created by either a deeply disturbed individual or a comic genius. Racist, sexist, bigoted, anti-environment and anti-worker, Andrews is often described simply as ‘deeply conservative’. In a career defined by controversial statements and policies, his most recent scandal, branch-stacking, has the potential to end his career for good – though, like the plot of Pee-Wee’s Public Masturbation, there will likely be little impact in the longer-term.
Bumbling and inept are the two best descriptors of Laskey, the security guard at Walley World. For George Christensen, they barely scratch the surface. You see, George hates everyone – from Jews to Muslims, women, gays, and environmentalists alike – no one is spared from his endless stream of rabid attacks. In his spare time (when he isn’t spewing his uneducated bile at any one who doesn’t fit the holy trinity of white, straight, and male) Christensen enjoys fantasising about reintroducing capital punishment and bullying LGBTIQ+ children – linking programs designed to protect them from such bullying to paedophilia. A rumour was started in May 2016 that Christensen collects Nazi paraphernalia and keeps a private shrine to Hitler, but at the time of publishing this had yet to be substantiated.
According to Bill Shorten, Cory Bernardi is a homophobe. According to any reasonable interpretation of the definition, Cory Bernardi is a homophobe. Most of his colleagues have publicly distanced themselves from his comments over the years, because of ridiculously offensive statements such as the time he claimed it was appropriate for a man to put his partner in a headlock. He denies climate change, believes refugees dying in detention and at sea should pay for their own funerals, and argues that marriage equality will lead to legalised bestiality. Bernardi has a history of throwing other members of his own party under the bus if it will help raise his profile. Even Skeletor would find his self-serving nature to be a bit over the top.
Leaving Parliament after almost thirty years, Bronwyn Bishop must be extremely grateful that she is no longer Minister for Aged Care. While the former Speaker will be largely remembered for the expenses scandal that helped end her career, it was bathing elderly nursing home residents in kerosene that truly defined it. Of course, most forget that as Shadow Health Minister, Bishop openly supported tobacco advertising in the face of legislation to prevent it. At various times she has supported:
– forced adoption of children under five;
– banning headscarves (but no other forms of religious attire) from schools; and
– making flag burning a criminal offence.
Unfortunately, because Australians tend to have the memories of goldfish, the title of her future biographies will doubtless draw parallels with Daisy Werthan, the shortest odds being on: Flying Ms. Bronnie.
Gruff, ill-tempered, and unhelpful, David Leyonhjelm cast an eternal stench over the Senate during his brief tenure. He made a fictional character a senior policy advisor and negotiated the loosening of Australia’s strict gun laws in return for his support on immigration legislation. Elected by mistake, Leyonhjelm holds firm to his belief that wind turbines cause adverse health in those living nearby, going as far as instigating a Senate inquiry into the matter – despite this claim being debunked a number of times. Leyonhjelm relies on falsehood and ideological dogma to make his case for stripping back gun control, claiming Australians can only be safe if we are all permitted to carry a concealed weapon. Completely lacking a social conscience, he also has tried to make the case for tobacco, claiming Australia’s smoking laws are a breach of human rights – possibly the right to cause cancer in others. Unlike Hoggle, we shouldn’t need Leyonhjelm at any point in the future.
Clive Palmer has been unfavourably compared to Jabba the Hutt a number of times over the years. With Palmer’s shady business deals, a propensity towards intimidation, and a resistance to Jedi mind tricks, it is very difficult to see any connection with the Tatooine-based gangster beyond the physical, and fat-shaming has no place in modern society. The mining billionaire is still yet to say whether he will run for the Senate in QLD, after accepting that he has zero chance of retaining his seat in Fairfax – though he may not even make it to the election, as there is a high chance of his being strangled by a former
slave Queensland Nickel worker.