Ladies and gentlemen, we are at that stage: the federal election is upon us, and so too is an enormous wave of politicians doing dumb shit in a desperate attempt to win your favour.
For the next few weeks we’ll be giving you a running count of all the deeply stupid, sometimes endearing, but most of the time boring goings-on of the parliamentary class – starting with today, which is day four of a 30+ day campaign.
The day started with Scott Morrison promising $155m for road projects and Bill Shorten pledging to cut hospital wait times with $250m from somewhere, but the show was really stolen by Fraser Anning, after The Australian uncovered the Senator’s instruction manual for prospective candidates which included advice on how to avoid tough questions like “have you stopped beating your wife?”
Anning’s old party, One Nation, also started the day off with a bang after a new poll out from Newspoll found the far-right party’s share of the national vote had dropped to 4%.
Why? Quite possibly that whole meeting-with-the-NRA thing.
Scott Morrison, who can’t go a day without trying to simplify the super complicated world of politics into sporting terms, compared the whole thing to a horse race. With Winx. The horse that wins a lot.
“He’s a big unit and you’re not going to put a big unit on a horse if you want it to run fast.” -PM on why Mason Cox shouldn’t ride Winx (And you shouldn’t burden the economy with taxes) #auspol
— Phillip Coorey (@PhillipCoorey) April 14, 2019
Both major parties have focused in on Labor’s proposed multi-billion dollar cancer funding package, which Health Minister Greg Hunt says contains a $6 billion black hole. Chris Bowen said all of Labor’s policies had been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office, and that the methodology was correct. The package isn’t going to mean free cancer treatment for everyone, as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten pointed out, but “unsustainable tax concessions” will be found back.
Later, per The Guardian, the Health Department confirmed that it provided a costing to the government for lifting the Medicare rebate for all cancer-related items to eliminate out-of-pocket costs. That price tag is $6.8 billion, but Labor said the costing does not reflect its policy.
And then there’s Clive Palmer – you know, the guy from the billboards – who says he will now pay the debt he owed to Queensland Nickel owners (more than $300 million). Previously, he’d repeatedly asserted that he didn’t owe them anything.
The conservative version of GetUp, Advance Australia, was forced to retract a video of its mascot ‘Captain GetUp’ (who is apparently meant to be some form of witty satire aimed to target the actual GetUp) after the Cap’n was filmed rubbing and gyrating against a billboard of independent Warringah candidate Zali Steggall.
I mean… imagine paying for this.
— Matt Burke (@matttburke) April 14, 2019
Australia’s political journalists were also peeved after the PM took the opportunity to walk the streets and post to social media while they sat on the campaign bus unaware of his whereabouts with no information. Such anti-media tactics aren’t new, and do make you wonder why they don’t just… you know, get off the bus. But who are we to argue – we didn’t get an invite onto the bus!
Journalists and TV crews on Morrison’s campaign bus are complaining that they’re being left in the dark, not told where they’re going or what’s happening. There’s a simple solution: get off the fucking bus . Now. All of you
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) April 15, 2019
And finally a little bonus bit of bonus info from the now finalised NSW election: former Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm, who stepped down from federal parliament to try and net himself a long-term state gig, failed in his effort to be elected. Despite the fact he had declared himself a winner two weeks ago. Awkward, that.
It’ll only get better from here, folks!