Lockdown has led to a lot of interesting and occasionally regrettable choices. One of my braver friends cut their own hair into a bob after watching only half – HALF – of a YouTube tutorial. I started making sourdough, and now there’s a horrible grey thing in the back of my fridge called “mother” that I’m too afraid to touch.

One of the weirdest choices I made this lockdown was celebrating my 30th by having a “few” mimosas and watching the (now-cancelled) Gladys Berejiklian morning show. It felt normal at the time because, well, she felt like a mate. Maybe one of those mates you see out at the pub and you’re never *quite* sure how the night will go. I saw this woman’s face more than many of my friends’, listened to everything she said and gave her honest, yet fair, opinions on her outfits. As far as I’m concerned that basically makes us BFFs. Right, Gladys? Right?

So, it was only natural to pay my mate the ultimate ’90s friendship tribute: make a creepily accurate Sims 4 version of them in lockdown.

australian politicians sims gladys berejiklian

I started with Gladys, but she seemed lonely in this lockdown Sims project, so of course I had to pop in Kerry Chant.

australian politicians sims

Hmmm, not enough. Scott Morrison as well, I guess?

australian politicians sims scott morrison

Cool, I am on a ROLL. Let’s put Peter Dutton in, too.

australian politicians sims

Peter Dutton is a featureless egg. It is surprisingly hard to replicate featureless eggs in Sims 4. There is no option for Voldemort or Nosferatu or golf ball. I settled with the face that would be hard to pick in a line-up of Saos, and gave him the “creepy” walk.

australian politicians sims dutton

However, despite everything, he still came out looking quite, and I hate to say this… pretty?

After the bland potato, my fingers itched for something recognisable to replicate in this cursed lockdown Sims project. Ah, of course. It was way, WAY too easy to craft the blue eye shadow, the red lipstick, the shock of tangerine hair. I gazed with horror-tinted awe upon my creation and whispered, “I don’t like it.”

australian politicians sims pauline hanson

Now my family was done, it was time to choose traits. Most of them got “self-assured” and “business savvy”, because it was the closest thing I could think of to being a politician (insert derisive laughter).

Gladys: a foodie.

Dutton: a hot-headed bookworm. (No, I don’t know, either.)

Pauline Hanson: a hot-headed, evil kleptomaniac with a fondness for “home turf”.

Morrison: evil bro.

Kerry: a genius vegetarian geek. She doesn’t belong in this house. I’m sorry, Kerry.

australian politicians sims

The first thing that happened when I moved them into their bougie mansion was that Gladdy B and ScoMo immediately began flirting. Nope, do not want, unsubscribe, scoop out eyes. I had to turn their TV on as a time out.

Pauline Hanson decided she hated world music which… I just… wow. Kerry Chant left everyone in the living room and went to play computer games upstairs. Honestly, same.

australian politicians sims

Dutton, meanwhile, was reading Untamed Treachery of the Heart, until he got bored and started a fire in the kitchen. Thank God for Kerry Chant, who put it out. Weirdly, at the time of the fire, ScoMo was nowhere to be found…

Pauline missed out on a bed and ended up sleeping at the foot of Gladys’ bed. Those two were an absolute train wreck. Pauline – being outright evil – kept bullying Gladys, and Gladys had to give herself at least two mirror pep talks a day to stop feeling so embarrassed.

australian politicians sims

Then, I decided to put the cat among the pigeons. One last addition was required: Barnaby Joyce was coming to town. Find cowboy hat and put on sim? Check.

Dial everything up to “flirty AF”? Check. Find deep shade of red for Barnaby’s skin tone? No dice. Look, it’s not my best work, but let’s all blame delirium for this one.

australian politicians sims barnaby joyce

The first thing Joyce does is fire up the barbecue. Seems accurate. Then, he begins flirting with Pauline. They hit it off immediately, which will be the stuff of my nightmares for many years to come.

australian politicians sims

A fun surprise for me was the fact I had forgotten to change my poli-pets’ other outfits, which meant wildly chaotic choices of their own. Gladys picked out a pink bra and cargo shorts (bestie, no) and Joyce selected whatever in God’s green earth this monstrosity is.

australian politicians sims
What are you wearing, Joyce.

Morrison suddenly started wearing very dark eyeliner and board shorts, and no matter how many times I changed them back into their little Lib uniforms, they would keep changing back.

Watching them, I realised that, in spite of me, they were just trying to live their best lives in circumstances outside their control in a house they couldn’t leave. Why should I stop their self-care rituals? Who was I to say that Gladys shouldn’t wear only a pink bra when I’m sitting here in a dressing gown and denim shorts? It’s lockdown baby, you do you.

Unless it’s spending your lockdown creating a Sims 4 house of politicians, in which case, learn from my mistakes and talk to your real friends. It’s way healthier.

Madeleine Withington is an actor/writer/voice over artist living on Wangal land. You can see more of her nonsense on Instagram: @madeleine_withington or Twitter: @MaddyWithington.

Image: The Sims 4 / Maddy Withington