For the past three weeks we’ve endured “selfies”, twerking and plane trackers, but it’s now official that nothing is sacred when it comes to campaigning politicians.
On Saturday, for the first time ever, three members of Parliament will host the ABC’s revered music video program, rage.
For a 2013 election special, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop and Deputy Leader of the Greens Adam Bandt will take to Aunty’s tatty couch to share their 20 favourite songs with the nation.
Her party may enjoy playing coy when it comes to certain things like policy costings, and judging from Bishop’s favourite ditties by the likes of Beyonce, Whitney Houston and U2, so too does she.
The 57-year-old with the stare as cool as Siberia is a closet sappy idealist according to Curtin University’s Professor of Cultural Studies Jon Stratton.
“There’s a certain romanticism about her choices. I have always thought of Julie Bishop as a hard woman but here we have Crowded House’s song Better Be Home Soon about yearning for a lover.
“It’s the same with Whitney Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You. Although in Whitney’s case, it is the woman that is leaving and the strength of that song is found also in Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It). There’s an overwhelming sense here of women having to make decisions and move on with their lives.
Mr Albanese’s playlist, featuring The Smiths, The Pixies, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, is an homage to vintage alternative rock with a smattering of political undertones.
The inclusion of Midnight Oil’s Lucky Country is sure to raise a few eyebrows, given that Peter Garratt has now essentially left the ALP band.
“We’re all working on an easy way / Even when the debts are gone,” the former Federal MP sang in the early 80s anthem, which is an ode to being trapped by the working day and wanting a better life.
Albo’s despair and hope are the two themes which stand out in his playlist according to Professor Stratton.
“Anthony Albanese’s songs are very much about male anguish. The Go Between’s Lee Remick is about impossible love – of one being in love with a film star.
“Wide Open Road by The Triffids is the classic male Australian song of despair, with lyrics like, ‘How do you think it feels / Sleeping by yourself / When the one you love/ Is with someone else’,’’ he notes.
While their ideologies may be poles apart, Bishop and Albanese’s playlists both feature tracks by Hunters & Collectors.
Albo is a fan of the underground hit The Slab while Bishop enjoys swaying her arms along to the classic ballad Throw Your Arms Around Me.
“They are very different songs. The Slab is an expression of tortured masculinity. Whether it refers to cunnilingus can be debated, as we need to remember the track’s full title is Betty’s Worry Or The Slab. But it is most definitely a song of male anxiety; just listen to the lyrics, ‘Out here in the street / naked in front of God and everyone’,” Professor Stratton said.
“Julie Bishop’s song is another yearning lover song. What a romantic that woman must be under her hard exterior!”
If things don’t work out politically for Christine Milne’s right-hand-man, Adam Bandt should consider a career in radio programming.
His list of relatively unknown, indie and local tunes has a certain Triple J cool mentality about it.
“Adam has listed one of the great songs about living in Australia, which is The Go Betweens' Cattle and Cane. He also has R.E.M.’s Fall On Me, which, like so many of their songs, has a certain drama about it,” Professor Stratton said.
R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe claimed the song is about human oppression. It’s also thought to be concerned with acid rain.
“It’s a good song for someone with concerns about workers’ rights and the environment,” Professor Stratton added.
He notes 41-year-old Mr Bandt is a “good time guy who is clearly of the rave generation” with electro rave and “white funk” songs such as The Chemical Brothers Star Guitar and Girlfriend Is Better by Talking Heads.
“O-U-T but no hard feelings / What do you know? / Take you away / We’re being taken for a ride again,” David Byrne, dressed in an ill-fitting gray suit, sang in the 1984 hit.
With lyrics like that Professor Stratton suggests this track may be Bandt’s theme song for the upcoming election.
What to expect from the politician’s rage playlists…
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) – Beyonce
Throw Your Arms Around Me – Hunters & Collectors
Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers
I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
Better Be Home Soon – Crowded House
Lee Remick – The Go Betweens
Here Comes Your Man – The Pixies
The Slab – Hunters & Collectors
Lucky Country – Midnight Oil
Wide Open Road – The Triffids
Fall On Me - R.E.M.
Girlfriend Is Better - Talking Heads
Soon - My Bloody Valentine
Cattle and Cane - The Go Betweens
No Cars Go - Arcade Fire
rage Election 2013 Special, ABC 1, from 10.30am and repeated again at 11.20pm on Saturday, August 31.