Fright­fully close field in Fright­bat con­test

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

Three

years ago, to uni­ver­sal ac­claim, I launched the Fright­bat Awards. This vi­sion­ary an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of Aus­tralia’s de­light­ful and not at all ir­ra­tional left­ists has since be­come es­tab­lished as the na­tion’s pri­mary prize for po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary.

Orig­i­nally, in a spirit of ad­dress­ing the male­cen­tric sex­ism en­demic through­out our blighted na­tion, the Fright­bat Awards were only open to fe­male con­tes­tants. Sub­se­quently, in line with modern com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions, Fright­bat Awards nom­i­nees are now de­ter­mined by strict gen­der rules.

There must, for ex­am­ple, be an equal num­ber of nom­i­nees who chose to iden­tify as male and fe­male. Re­li­gious di­ver­sity is an­other re­quire­ment, as is a wide va­ri­ety of ages. The Fright­bat Awards proudly re­ject shal­low ad­her­ence to me­dia ob­ses­sions with youth and West­ern at­trac­tive­ness con­cepts.

As a re­sult, this year’s field was a fes­ti­val of mul­ti­cul­tural en­light­en­ment.

The tra­di­tional ten- per­son field in­cluded for­mer win­ners David Mor­ri­son, Gil­lian Triggs and Guardian colum­nist Vanessa Bad­ham, who faced off against Fair­fax’s Cle­men­tine Ford and Peter FitzSi­mons, Ma­mamia cult leader Mia Freed­man, Mus­lim ac­tivist Yass­min Ab­delMagied, In­de­pen­dent Aus­tralia Marx­ist Martin Hirst, The Project’s Waleed Aly and ABC- pre­sent­ing fox- hunter Jonathan Green.

This year’s poll went live on June 24. I’d an­tic­i­pated a strong early run from 2015 cham­pion Gil­lian Triggs, but I was mis­taken.

In­stead, Yass­min Ad­bel- Magied im­me­di­ately es­tab­lished a sig­nif­i­cant lead — then was over­hauled by Waleed Aly, whose 400- plus ad­van­tage might have set him dream­ing of shov­ing aside that rub­bish Lo­gie to make space on his man­tle. Un­like lesser awards, how­ever, Fright­bat vot­ing is open for 12 months, mean­ing con­tenders can cam­paign while polls are open.

Need­ing a way to counter Waleed’s om­nipres­ence, Yass­min came up with a spec­tac­u­lar pity strat­egy. She went straight for the vic­tim vote.

First, Yass­min claimed to be “trau­ma­tised” by “deeply racist” re­ac­tions to her An­zac Day Face­book com­ments. Then she railed against be­ing “the most pub­licly hated Mus­lim in Aus­tralia”. Yass­min also an­nounced a dar­ing al­lor- noth­ing vote- grab­bing gam­bit. She will leave Aus­tralia! Over the week­end Ab­del- Magied briefly re­gained a 113- vote lead but again found her­self pegged back by Aly, whose sup­port­ers are alert to devel­op­ments. Ev­ery vote surge gen­er­ated by Yass­min is matched by Aly’s army.

With around 23,600 votes counted, Aly was hang­ing on by a slen­der 110- click mar­gin. He shouldn’t feel com­fort­able. Yass­min isn’t about to miss the chance of be­com­ing the first- ever Sunni Mus­lim Fright­bat just be­cause Waleed wants an­other prize.

Please visit my News Corp blog for cov­er­age, or drop by the ABC to see how Antony Green is call­ing things.

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