John Alexander, the Liberal MP who resigned from parliament in the midst of the citizenship crisis, was re-elected yesterday in the Bennelong by-election, but if you thought it would take more than five minutes for him to make a painfully uncomfortable public gaffe, then you were sorely mistaken, bucko.
In delivering his victory speech, all Alexander needed to do was thank the good people of Bennelong and maybe say some nice things about embattled Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, but he decided to go … a different way, somehow veering off into a wild anecdote about disabled parking stickers.
“The funny conversations you have,” said Alexander, setting his story up like the world’s corniest stand-up. He went on to say that a man in work clothes had approached him earlier in the day, explaining that he was a landscape gardener who had worked on tennis centres.
Alexander, who began his career as a tennis player, then continued on his bizarre train of thought:
“I got to a time when I thought my tennis career was finished, I hurt my back, I started coaching there, the back got better. I was eligible for the disabled sticker on my car! Then I got to about number fourteen in the world. The doctor at the time said ‘you have eligibility for a disabled sticker’, I said ‘I still have some pride’. That was before I entered politics.”
Seven News has footage of the incident, in which Malcolm Turnbull can be seen standing next to John Alexander, frozen grin on his face, another part of his soul slowly dying.
.@TurnbullMalcolm endured an awkward moment on stage last night, with re-elected MP @JAforBennelong cracking a joke during his victory speech, at the expense of disabled people. #auspol #7News pic.twitter.com/fRwBgp3h26— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) December 16, 2017
John Alexander’s comments quickly drew condemnation on social media:
‘I still have some pride’ ? John Alexander is privileged and that comment is massively disrespectful to ppl who need that sticker… ????— Tysan Towney (@tysantowney) December 16, 2017
After John Alexander's disabled joke I can see why he had a minder every day to stop him speaking out loud near a camera.— Jill (@Havingmysay2) December 16, 2017
He has yet to make a statement following the incident.