Po­lit­i­cal stunts fall well short

The Weekend Post - - Views -

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.

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