The Liberal Party’s go-to damage control strategy is often a surprising pursuit: Tony Abbott calling himself a “very good captain” following his infamous, crippling captain’s call on knighting Prince Philip; sacking well-respected party Whip Philip Ruddock following a leadership spill caucus vote that didn’t bode too well for the Prime Minister, dodging a leadership ballot by the skin of his teeth. The fighting fire with fire tactic is one way to go, sure. But I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand this country’s government.
That knighthood in question gave Australia Day the singular point of conversation that strayed from the Hottest 100 — it was a gentle push of the first domino, (or fall of the first card in a house of cards, if you will) in an elaborate pile up that would put the LNP in dire straits.
Following on from that Knightmare, Australia’s first official ‘Matehood’ has been awarded to a Certified Mate™, after Liberal MP for NSW’s Bennelong electorate and former tennis star John Alexander recently bid to introduce ‘matehoods’ in place of Australia’s highest honour.
John Alexander went on 3AW radio this week to suggest that, in the wake of the ~somewhat unsuccessful~ knighthoods presented on Australia day this year, the Government’s PR strategy for the awards could be changed, as he called for a shift in vocabulary – asking for knights to be branded ‘mates’, and for their official greeting to be ‘G’day mate’: “I think Prince Philip would get a big kick out of that if, when he came
to Australia, the official greeting was ‘G’day Mate’; I think he’d be
tickled because he’s got this great and irreverent sense of humour,” John Alexander said.
Sing it with me:
This week, Tony Abbott and John Alexander awarded John Booth, publisher of a local newspaper ‘The Weekly Times’, a ‘Mate of Bennelong’ award, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Booth was recognised for his efforts exposing corruption related to Ryde Mayor Ivan Petch through an ICAC inquiry. Booth was also accused of fabricating evidence in relation to a series of political ads that ran in the ‘Weekly Times.’ Although a spokesperson for John Alexander told SMH that the ‘Mate of Bennelong’ honour was “not a formal award”, the paper also reports that both Abbott and Alexander’s signature appeared on a certificate for Booth.
You might remember the li’l ole hamlet of Bennelong from previous elections: John Howard famously got booted from the relatively safe Liberal seat by journalist Maxine McKew in the Kevin ’07 days. I certainly remember Bennelong, mostly because it’s my electorate, and it has afforded me the perks of seeing a politician—yes, Howard—kiss a baby on election day, in the flesh. I know! I’m so lucky! So Blessed!
But the point of my proximity to Alexander is that this is officially a very loud and personal PSA directed to my electorate’s mouthpiece to the government John Alexander: I’M WAITING FOR A MATE (hood). Can I have one too? Or is it, “Sheila of Bennelong”…? I will most definitely accept either.
Lead image by Indranil Mukherjee via Getty Images.