2013: a wild ride for Aussie politics
Time to take a look back at the weird and wonderful moments on the bumpy ride that was Australian politics in 2013.PT3M13S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2zv41 620 349 December 24, 2013
Three prime ministers, 4 1/2; Labor leaders (if you count Chris Bowen and Albo), one very big election and three Labor leadership votes. Federal politics in 2013 has defied history, commonsense and the Australian public's good humour. Promises were made and broken, just as sandwiches were made and thrown. But while the Coalition won the day on September 7, government was not the only prize going in this bumpy year. So hire a suit and shimmy into your sequins as we present the Feds (the federal politics awards for 2013).
The High-Waisted Pants Award for an idea that seemed like a good one at the time:
Announcing the election date early. Julia Gillard thought it was a master stroke to announce the September 14 election date in January. It would be clear which days were for governing and which were for campaigning, she argued at the time. In the end, it gave Labor a deadline for switching to Kevin Rudd and turned the first eight months of the year into a never-ending campaign. Urgh.
The Smorgasbord Award: Clive Palmer. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The Skywhale Award for the biggest boob:
Simon Crean. He strapped 10 packs of dynamite to himself and went out to blow up Gillard's prime ministership in March. If only he had checked his text messages beforehand - he would have known Rudd had no plans to take advantage of the explosion.
The Miley Cyrus Award for most provocative use of a prop in a parliamentary performance: Jane Prentice. After Gillard's infamous ''men in blue ties'' speech, the Coalition had a ''blue tie'' dress-up day in June. The Liberal backbencher went all out with a bright blue suit as well as a blue tie. Sure, she looked like a business Smurf, but her silent protest was loud and clear.
The Pumpkin Prize: Bob Carr. Photo: Marco Del Grande
The Where's Peta? Prize for straying from the talking points:
Tony Abbott. After all that discipline, the then opposition leader strayed big time in August when he compared Liberal candidate Fiona Scott to former MP Jackie Kelly. ''They're young, ah, they're, um, feisty. Ah, I think I can probably say, have a bit of sex appeal,'' he blundered. Abbott later called it a daggy dad joke. Feminists had a different term for it.
The Master Builders Medal for whacking the nail on the head:
Therese Rein. No one could have said it better than the prime ministerial spouse when she introduced Rudd at the Labor campaign launch in September.
''I want to introduce a husband who, when sent to Bunnings for a mozzie candle … comes back with Roman flares, Blu-Tack, an extension cord, potting mix, a stepladder, secateurs - but no mozzie candle.''
The Yoghurt, Mango and Acai Medal for most impressive smoothie: Anthony Albanese. The guy worked closely with Gillard before enjoying a big-wig promotion under Rudd and was still touted as a reconciliation candidate for Labor after the election. Australian Financial Review political editor Laura Tingle did not dub Albo the ''man who walks between raindrops'' for nothing.
The Smorgasbord Award for the MP interested in pretty much everything:
Clive Palmer. What a year for Clive! A new political party, a new baby, a seat in the House of Reps, dinosaurs, a replica Titanic and conspiracy theories about the Australian Electoral Commission and Wendi Deng. Is there anything the PUP leader won't have a go at?
The Calm and Methodical Government Award:
Scott Morrison and Angus Campbell. For introducing the phrase ''on-water matters'' to the Australian lexicon.
The Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars award for really awkward speech making:
Anna Burke. The then speaker introduced new MPs to Parliament in October, but things quickly got off track when she talked about being spotted at the beach in her swimmers and public criticism of her hair. ''Why I'd be channelling the Bieb is beyond me. Even my kids don't like the Bieb,'' she said.
The Pumpkin Prize for tricking and treating:
Bob Carr. Despite previous pledges to stay on in the Senate (and his re-election in September), Carr quit politics in October. He blamed his earlier promises on ''irrational exuberance''. Reports have since emerged of Carr's wild ride as foreign affairs minister, including camping expeditions with Henry Kissinger, Pilates classes and highly specific demands about cashews.
The Huge Big Crazy Dog Ate All My Homework Award for excusery:
Don Randall. The West Australian Liberal MP charged the taxpayer for a trip with his wife to Cairns that coincided with his purchase of an investment property. But Randall insisted he had done nothing wrong. As he said: ''It wasn't as if I got the keys or anything.''
The Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries Award for the blink-and-you'll-miss-it honeymoon:
The Coalition and the Australian public. Such a definitive win! Such lofty vision statements! Such dud poll results within just three months! Suddenly, all the election night rose petals and champagne buckets seem so far away.