Political stunts fall well short
TIM Nicholls has been summoning his inner Evel Knievel as the agonising weeks drag on, first with a barramundi bath and then a rollercoaster ride reminiscent of today’s Cairns Post Galaxy poll results.
Election time is here and so are the corny stunts, God bless ’em.
The would-be premier was in fine form during his dunk at the Cairns Aquarium this week.
He granted media a six-minute sound bite in which he declared he was a PADI-accredited scuba diver before heading out of sight to negotiate his way into a skin-tight wetsuit, safely protected from any threat of embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.
TV crews milled around the lofty tank filled with those thoroughly Far Northern barra fish, waiting for Nicholls to take the plunge.
When he finally did, he was accompanied by an election corflute urging us to help the LNP “build a better Queensland”.
It was not quite on par with Peter Beattie, who famously swam in a shark tank in the lead-up to a state election campaign, but a noble effort at first glance nonetheless.
Just a day later, Nicholls performed for the cameras again on a rollercoaster at Movie World, the wind blowing back his locks to reveal a gorgeous hairline with no sign of cranial retreat.
There has been a curious change in election photo-op fashion in recent years – a noticeable dearth of babykissing probably attributable to Tony Abbott’s habit of looking like a creep while wrapping his jaws around newborns. Those photos will live on in perpetuity in children’s nightmares and Google Images search results.
Instead we have Pauline Hanson smashing a bottle of champers over her “Battler Bus”, which promptly hit the skids after breaking down a few days into her tour of regional Queensland. Let’s not forget her recent parliamentary burqa antic, either.
Abbott and Hanson are mere amateurs compared to the true masters of the stunt stakes in Australian politics.
Aptly-named Susan Brown was a Greens candidate for the 1994 Townsville council election when a stormwater drain started spewing raw sewage onto the beach near the Breakwater marina and casino.
She did what any right-minded conservationist would do – built a 10foot replica turd and floated it along the beach before a throng of adoring journalists.
Mark Latham once trundled out his wheelie bin for the cameras, even though it wasn’t bin night, proving he was just like any other Aussie bloke with no perception of time.
Clive Palmer twerked his thenample rump during a radio broadcast, turned up to parliament in a sports car while blaring Van Morrison from the stereo, and once performed a jig in a bunny rabbit onesie for a YouTube video.
Nick Xenophon walked down the street with a goat, telling MPs “not to kid around”, and turned up to parliament in his pyjamas.
Alexander Downer famously wore high heels and fishnet stockings for a photo shoot, which made him a laughing stock back in those heady days of the mid-1990s, but would likely have earned him a landslide in 2017.
Peter Costello danced the Macarena with daytime television queen Kerri-Anne Kennerley, who also managed to convince former Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot to join her in the cha-cha.
In this context, riding a rollercoaster and splashing around with a few fish is actually fairly pathetic and all of our pollies need to up the ante.
Anyway, when is Kerri-Anne going to run for politics?
JOYRIDE: Tim Nicholls (right) takes a ride on the DC Rivals Hypercoaster at the Movie World theme park with Theodore MP Mark Boothman.