Are you all right, Australian politics? You’ve had a rough week.
It started with John Oliver on The Daily Show running an hilarious segment ridiculing all the chaos of the campaign’s opening week. He won’t be short of material for a follow-up.
One example of the distractions: Katy Perry — the pop star famous for her song I Kissed A Girl — took opposition leader Tony Abbott to task over his stance on gay marriage.
She told him that, unfortunately, he couldn’t have her vote because he supports the traditional definition of marriage.
The Perry intervention was one of the many punctuation marks in another less-than-illustrious continuance of the federal campaign.
Let’s recap week two. With GIFs.
Tony Abbott described gay marriage as the “fashion of the moment.”
The Netherlands became the first country to allow gay marriage 12 years ago.
And since then, other fashion-conscious countries such as New Zealand, France, Canada, South Africa and Spain have been swept up by the “trend” of extending equal treatment to same-sex couples under the law.
Marriage equality supporters reacted with disbelief to what was not his only gaffe of the week.
Before that, he’d described Liberal Candidate Fiona Scott, who is running in the Western Sydney seat of Lindsay, as being “young, feisty” with “a bit of sex appeal.”
This week, he also said no one could be a “suppository of all wisdom”.
He meant to say repository, which is a place where things are stored. A suppository is something else entirely.
Abbott admitted the “sex appeal” comments were a little “old fashioned,” and were the product of a “daggy” dad moment. While his shadow treasury spokesperson, Joe ‘George Clooney’ Hockey said they weren’t that offensive, especially since the Opposition Leader often commented on his looks.
“Tony says it to me often that I’m a sexy guy. We’ve got a special kind of love going,” he told Channel Ten.
That was before Hockey, the man who wants to be Australia’s treasurer, said policy costings were boring.
“If the whole election’s going to be about costings rather than about policies like we’re announcing today, then I think everyone is going to bore the Australian people to death and we don’t want to do that,” he said.
Just a crazy idea, but maybe working through the details of how Australia is going to address the structural problems in its budget, and costings, kind of go hand-in-hand.
Didn’t Oliver’s observations on The Daily Show give some occasion for pause?
It included One Nation candidate Stephanie Banister who thought Islam was a physical country, the Liberal Jaymes Diaz who could only name one point of a six-point plan, and Queensland state MP Peter Dowling, famous for sexting a photo of his penis in a glass of red wine.
“You do not pair a penis with red wine,” Oliver told audiences around the world.
While Abbott was a clear winner for the week on the Barry Crocker tally, it was quite a week for Kevin Rudd and Labor too.
Instead of discussing the fallout from Sunday’s debate, we were left to ponder whether the Australian Prime Minister had, in fact, cheated by bringing banned notes to the lectern with him.
Not that he’s in politics any more, but former ALP leader Mark Latham still found a way to make it onto the honour roll of howlers for the week.
The man who spectacularly lost the 2004 election had this to say about Scott, the woman described by Abbott as having “sex appeal”:
“It showed very bad judgment and it shows he has low standards.
“I had a good look at Fiona Scott on page eight of The Australian today and she doesn’t have sex appeal at all.
“She’s not that good of a sort.
“Tony had the beer goggles on and in politics they say it’s showbiz for ugly people and I don’t think she’ll be out of place.”
As well as all of this, both Rudd and Abbott made policy promises without actually saying how much they would cost.
Rudd suggested a one-third tax break for the Northern Territory, and Abbott, speaking to the ABC’s Leigh Sales, admitted he wasn’t going to reveal how much anything he’s promising to do will cost, until the last week of the election campaign.
In the interim perhaps it gives an indication of what we’ll see over the next fortnight: more of the same. Dawson’s face speaks for a nation.
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