Mathew Mackie

Farewell to our golden age of political stupidity, you will be missed

Source: Crikey

With the citizenship bungles behind us and marriage equality around the corner, it seems that things are finally getting back to normal. Which is a problem. We don’t do normal.



This morning, the spoon has scraped the bottom of the bowl, as we’ve digested the last remnants of our just-deserts, sought after the orgy of our local revolution. Over the last year, we’ve had enough of the established bullshit, stormed the Bastille, and stuffed many heads in the Guillotine, chorusing Section 44.

Let them eat cake, old mate said. I say we’ve overindulged. We’ve now cast our eyes at the expanse of our love handles, and overreacted with hate. We’re off saccharine politics forever. No more junk.



Sam Dastyari might represent the last one force marched up the stairs before summarily having his career lopped off his shoulders. I wonder, as we hold his remains aloft to the crowd, we’re going to look around at the remaining nobility we’ve deemed criminal, and wonder if we’ve taken this winter of discontent thing a bit too far. The heads in the basket are notable: Roberts, Joyce, Ludlam, Lambie, and we’ll soon add the crowned head of Emperor Malcolm I, but we’ve lost something golden. Something we Australians pride far more than an above-board government: Entertainment value.

Whether we’d like to accept it or not, this has been banner year for the absolute pits of Australian politics. In fact, we’ve been so bad at it, we’ve been noticed internationally, heralded as an icon of truly rubbish politicking. Considering that Trumpzilla has trampled the American Dream in the same timeframe, it is no mean feat. We’re the Tommy Wiseau of geopolitics. We’re so bad, we’re good.

Check this. An Australian Prime Minister was satirised in the current tense, on American television. Not just some safe fictional beer swilling knock-off from The Simpsons we all love, this was true satire. That awkward, grating truth that makes us find our shoes while we quietly murmur opposition. A man in a tinfoil hat elected by forty people on a xenophobic platform, a true minorities’ minority took on a world-adored man of Science, armed only with an inkjet printer, and a steadfast belief that the truth was still out there, and everyone else was lying. Someone who had a steadfast allegiance to coal (that really shouldn’t be confirmed) literally brought a chunk of it into work for show and tell. That man later received an award for such behaviour in a move so obvious, it was almost commendable. We even had a religiously motivated van attack that was proven otherwise by the police, a closed investigation kept open by the flapping mouth of the victim that refused to accept it.

And yes, I’ll admit we took it too far, but when we did, even our pushback was legendary. To whit, Pauline wearing a burqa in the Senate to protest the burqa was beyond the pale, however, the sight of a long-running heel turning face and levelling her with a chair shot of naked empathy was worthy of Vince McMahon’s muscliest wet dreams.

George Brandis! Bah-gawd!

As far as comedy goes, don’t laugh. It’s not funny. It’s the country we’re talking about. It’s like walking in on your parents midway through making another sibling, or seeing your nan run down your pop. You laugh, because it’s not funny. You laugh, because it eases the pain you can’t articulate.

What we all witnessed was a golden age of stupidity, and I fear we’ll miss it.

This analysis is probably too close to the postal vote for the comedy to be taken seriously, as the rhetoric it birthed, was nasty, awful and all the way very bad indeed, so a reverse of what we’ve endured will be seen as the right thing. And rightfully so. Right is right. The tears of Penny Wong rung in the dawning of a new era. But, as we all shift ever closer to the good empathetic government of yore, or even to just another hopeful hard reset, we should be aware that a working government will not totally sate us. We’re not that kind of operation.

What made Bob Katter’s Julliard turn so enduring was the sheer insanity of it, an act that stood out in an otherwise tepid day. If he would have offered the same platitude earlier, the gouging would have been far less severe. You call that insanity? *This* is insanity. 

As we step ever closer to welcoming a new political Dad (or Mum) at Christmas lunch, there are some aspects of the previous relationship we should save. For the politics fan who was drawn in by the spruiker who spat promises of brain cells heavily reduced, you can’t just cut us off. At all costs, and in the step of the national interest, we need to solidify the seat of Katter, and hope against hope that someone answers the call of house moron.

We deserve to be taken, drowned and rolled by the croc of abject stupidity every three months.

At least.