What a drag to be Father Kevin Andrews when Malcolm Turnbull is on his lawn
Advertisement

What a drag to be Father Kevin Andrews when Malcolm Turnbull is on his lawn

Kevin Andrews, you may not know, rejoices in the parliamentary title of Father of the House, which means he is currently the longest continuously serving member of the House of Representatives.

He is, lamentably, a mere backbencher these days. Having been a Cabinet minister in both the Howard and Abbott administrations, his brilliance was unaccountably overlooked when Malcolm Turnbull came to the leadership.

You can imagine how he feels.

Fathers want to be honoured as they grow old. They tend to get cranky when they are left sitting in the shade, a car rug over their knees, reduced to shaking their walking sticks and hollering "get off my lawn!"

Father of the House Kevin Andrews waves to the public gallery in Parliament House.

Father of the House Kevin Andrews waves to the public gallery in Parliament House.

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Advertisement

Kevin has known this feeling for too long, particularly when that fancy fellow Malcolm Turnbull hogs the light.

Why, way back in 2009 Kevin was so annoyed that Turnbull was Liberal leader, he actually declared himself ready to take over and moved to spill Malcolm's leadership. Regrettably, a majority of his fellow party members, some of whom were thought to be rolling around the party room in hysterics, couldn't bring themselves to agree with him.

Still, his work bore fruit. A few days later, the party accidentally voted Tony Abbott into the leadership by a single vote after Joe Hockey entered the fray, confusing Liberal MPs who'd never worked out how to handle a threesome.

After all that, poor Kevin – by now Father of the House Without Portfolio – has had to endure the return of Turnbull, this time as Prime Minister.

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt Golding

He's been shaking his stick and yelling about the lawn ever since.

In recent days, with the PM overseas and the matter of the citizenship of the sons and daughters of those who have come from foreign parts a rolling disaster (no, not the poor souls on Nauru and Manus, for Kevin and his fellow conservatives never mention them), he has been doling out some fatherly advice.

Specifically, he has jabbered on about how the nation needs "strong and decisive leadership" and how "if I was prime minister" he would be ordering a full audit to determine the citizenship status of all MPs.

All this having, apparently, fallen on deaf ears – not even his dearest family, surely, could deal with the idea of Kevin as PM without clamping their hands across their mouths to stifle the giggles – he took to the ABC on Friday morning to point out that Malcolm Turnbull's prime ministership was no more than momentary.

Asked whether he might dabble again at getting at getting rid of Turnbull, he replied: "There isn't a vacancy at the moment. The Prime Minister's there."

Loading

Poor Father Kevin.

No matter how hard he shakes his stick, Malcolm's still on his lawn. What a drag it must be, getting old.

Tony Wright

Tony Wright is the associate editor and special writer for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald

Most Viewed in National

Loading

Morning & Afternoon Newsletter

Delivered Mon–Fri.

By signing up you accept our privacy policy and conditions of use