Bogans can teach us a lot
There is "a little bit of bogan in all of us", Palmer United Party MP Alex Douglas says, after sending an email saying voters are "bogans living empty lives".PT1M11S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ys7v 620 349 December 5, 2013
Clive Palmer might boast that he's spent most of his life as a bogan, but there's a strongish argument that he was long ago beaten to the title of Australia's most prominent political member of the genre by none other than a prime minister.
Purists, of course, might consider Bob Hawke earned automatic disqualification because he was a Rhodes Scholar and a devotee of the Pritikin diet, though in an era when a billionaire can self-describe himself as a bogan simply because he eats chips and McDonald's, wears Ugg boots and goes four-wheel driving, surely anything goes.
Former prime minister Bob Hawke celebrating the America's Cup win, in THAT jacket, in 1983.
Indeed, Hawkie laid claim to his spot as an early bogan through his world-champion ability to chug a yard glass of beer in 11 seconds and cemented it after an all-night party in Perth in 1983 when he shrugged on a jacket adorned with the national flag and the word Australia slashed all over it and, with bubbly spraying, declared that, "any boss who sacks someone for not turning up to work today is a bum".
It ticked plenty of boxes: ardent patriotism, the celebration of sport from a chair (Australia had just won the America's Cup), disdain for bosses, an enthusiastic embrace of all things barbaric in the apparel department, and the company of other bogans, in this case Alan Bond.
Hawke was not quite the Classical Bogan, however. He was more complicated. A Lair, perhaps, or a throw-back to the Bodgie era of the 1950s, and as a Pants Man, he had a lot more success with beautiful women than most old-school flannie-wearing bogans.
Julia Gillard and Tim Mathieson: Accused of turning the Lodge bogan. Photo: AP
Pauline Hanson remains the undisputed female political bogan title-holder in the classical class. The "please explain" whine marked her out as the poster girl for boganish pride in witlessness, the background in a fish shop offered a satisfying celebration of deep-fried cuisine - an essential in Boganland - she came from Queensland and, well, she was Pauline. The middle-aged tradies' dream girl. No contest.
Wayne Swan, who framed his budgets with Bruce Springsteen on the stereo, the amplifier cranked to 13, was at least a bogan aspirant. And he had the benefit of being named Wayne.
The naming of baby bogans is something of an art, and if you can't saddle a child with a hyphenated construction (Brayden-Dakota?), the title of a high-powered vehicle (Harley) or the mispelled name of a soap opera star (Kyl-ee), a Wayne or a Craig once sufficed. Craig Emerson proved the rule as a Labor frontbencher by singing, in public, off-key and with home-grown lyrics, the works of Skyhooks.
The jury is out on whether Tony Abbott is a bogan. Photo: Stephen Wark
Kevin Rudd could never quite pull off his attempts to pass himself off as a bogan, largely because he tried too hard. There's nothing a true bogan despises more than a try-hard unless it's a Nerd.
Rudd, however, figured he knew a bogan when he saw one. He re-named The Lodge Bogan-ville when it was occupied by Julia Gillard and Tim from Shep. Cruel, but fair.
The jury remains out on Tony Abbott. He admires thongs and wears budgie smugglers on the beach, to be sure, but bogan fundamentalists tend to look down their noses at bicyclists, unless the bicycle is stolen for purposes of weaving home from the pub.
Pauline Hanson: ''The undisputed female political bogan title-holder in the classical class''. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
All of the political luminaries, anyway, are mere shadows of true bogans compared with Nigel Scullion, a Liberal National Party Senator from (where else?) the Northern Territory.
Some years ago Scullion found himself at a pole-dancing club in St Petersburg, Russia, in the company of Icelandic whalers and Canadian crab fishermen. Drink was taken and the man who would become a senator found himself handcuffed to the strippers' pole wearing nothing but his underpants.
"It was a terrific night, it really was," he later reminisced.
He is likely to hold the flag until next July, when the Motoring Enthusiast Party's Ricky Muir, friend of Clive, takes his seat in the Senate.