Goodbye campaign 2010, we’ll miss you
Put My Way on the karaoke machine. It’s the end of the night and the sun is coming up on a new government - a Labor minority government, to be precise. If you’re a bit of a political tragic having followed the campaign and its surreal denouement, tomorrow you might wake up feeling as if someone has died.
But conversely if you don’t care - and many normal people don’t seem to have given a hoot, in fact being politically rudderless has been a subject of some mirth - you might feel as if that irritating but really fun friend of yours has just left town. Anyway here’s The Punch’s list of our favourite shark-jumping and oddball moments of the 2010 campaign. Add yours in the comments, and we might build out the list. Let’s start with today’s silliness:
1. Rob Oakeshott’s speech announcing who he would support: Really, could he actually have drawn it out any longer? He started with a list of thank-yous that made it seem like he was accepting an Oscar, then proceeded with a meandering justification of his decision that prompted Laurie Oakes to wonder if we would be here another fortnight. But in the end said he would support Julia Gillard in helping Labor form a minority government.
2. Gillard’s on a boat: Call it the firing of a very big campaign gun. One of the first things Julia Gillard did as Prime Minister was to go to Darwin and get on a naval border patrol boat. She was joined by David Bradbury, the Labor MP for Lindsay, a marginal seat where immigration was significant issue. And you can start your cynicism… now.
3. The Liberal candidate who said Labor was bringing Australia closer to a Muslim nation: David Barker was dropped immediately, but it was an embarrassment for Tony Abbott, confirming some of the worst fears that vacillating voters may have had about core beliefs among the Liberal party rank-and-file.
4. Laurie Oakes’s question to Gillard at the Press Club. The moment it all started to go horribly wrong for Gillard. I also enjoyed the way Oakes had a little drink of water when he was done, like he was sitting back to watch fireworks.
5. Kevin Rudd gets gall stones: A cloud of suspicion had surrounded the former Prime Minister after the damaging leaks against Julia Gillard. It utterly destabilised the Labor campaign and the threat of another leak hung like the Sword of Damocles over Gillard. Rudd had gone to ground in his Brisbane electorate and wasn’t taking questions. But the strain showed: he was admitted to hospital to have his gall bladder removed.
Queue theories about poison-tipped umbrellas and faceless ALP operatives lacing campaign trail meat pies with a little extra something in the ketchup.
6. Real Julia v Fake Julia: One of the more notable tactical errors of the campaign triggered a wave of unpleasant questions about just which Julia Gillard had been out campaigning. It all started with an interview in which Gillard said she would personally take charge of campaign strategy. “It’s time for me to make sure the real Julia is well and truly on display,” she said.
7. Mark Latham starts his career as a journalist. No, Channel 9 weren’t kidding. Confirmed his status as Australia’s biggest ratbag, and also had the hide in his 60 Minutes story to encourage people to cast an informal vote while he is living on his significant pension given to him by his participation in machine politics.
8. The Rudd-Gillard meeting. A particular favourite below, but the full set of excruciating photos is here. See them and weep.
9. Abbott gets on the floor at Rooty Hill “What I want to do mate is go down, be on the level with people.” There are varying view on this. I was watching and just as the thought occurred to me it was a clever stunt, someone nearby said: “What a tosser.” What did you think?
10. Hawke’s speech at the ALP conference: “A really good but very long impression of Grandpa Simpson.” Read about it here.
11. Abbott’s 36-hour campaign finishing stretch: As stunts go this was a pretty impressive one. He even had a beer at one point. Hard core.
12. Parramatta to Epping rail link: The Labor government announced it would build this Sydney rail link with the NSW Government. The trouble was it was something that had been announced repeatedly before and had never happened. It was memorably described by David Penberthy as the Bullshit Express.
13. The sermon at the airport. Bob Katter arrival into Canberra to start negotiations on forming a government was a sublime moment. Resplendent in his hat, he said the press had “given a run” to “every idea under the sun “except us”.
14. Wyatt Roy gets elected: It is an excellent point that if he’s old enough to fight for the country in a war, he’s old enough to serve in the Parliament. But the Doogie Howser wisecracks and jokes about his parents letting him stay up late to celebrate are still funny.
15. The word “paradigm” enters common usage for 48 hours. Paradigm is a word with about 15 various opaque meanings. The best you can get from Google’s various definitions is that it is “an accepted model or pattern” or “a general belief of how the world works”, which is anathema to politics. There was much talk started by the Three Amigos about a new paradigm in politics, and Julia Gillard told the National Press Club that a Labor government would “build a new paradigm for regional development”. Outside of the Twilight Zone I believe the normal word is “policy” or “plan”.
16. The non-result: Not quite knowing who the government would be when the country woke up on the Sunday after polling day left air time and column inches to fill. It all got a bit silly at some points, because with the rural independents giving not indication of which party they would support, there was little to say except that nobody knew what was going to happen.
17. Two glorious weeks of non-government: Why didn’t we have looting?
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…