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Pollie Waffle Awards 2003
"Another year, another war, another conga line of suckhole quotes to commemorate. As 2003 comes to a close, it's time to rejoice in the bum jokes again." Polly Bush
I'm in blind panic mode over my book, so no break for me. Hope you have a good one. Webdiary will return at the start of February.
Today, Polly Bush's annual Polly Waffle awards. Thanks, Polly! Last year's awards are at Pollie Waffle awards, 2002. Let's chat again next year.
Pollie Waffle Awards 2003
by Polly Bush
Another year, another war, another conga line of suckhole quotes to commemorate. As 2003 comes to a close, it's time to rejoice in the bum jokes again.
It was the year that saw one million Australians take to the streets to oppose bombing the bejeezus out of Baghdad, the year that Peter Hollingworth was evicted from the Big Brother mansion, the year that John Howard provided a pained expression while presenting the rugby world cup medals, the year Mark Latham climbed his own ladder of opportunity, and the year Saddam was found hiding down a dusty hole, not to be confused with a cupboard in Rockhampton.
Keeping with Webdiary tradition, the Pollie Waffle Awards "celebrate the drone and the dribble, the babble and the drivel, and the pure porkies our nation's finest have serenaded us ordinary, extraordinary and not-so-ordinary folk with" in 2003.
[Last year's conventional drum roll replaced with this year's Saddam tribute of sporadic machine gun fire in the air]
To begin proceedings, we delve back to the not-so-memorable Federal budget.
The 2003 McHungry Award goes to …
Former Family and Community Services Minister Amanda Vanstone, who, after her Government provided the budget relief of a couple of extra bucks a week, said:
"$5 – hell, what will it buy you – a sandwich and a milkshake if you're lucky."
Lucky Mandy wins an unpaid national advertisement campaign with a Mchappy McZillionaire company that swiftly produced a picture of the Minister sucking on a rival's (yeah guess who) milkshake. The image was combined with the Minister's comments and the underlying words, "She's obviously going to the wrong place."
Never a shy flower, the Minister for Fast Food Promotion was so flattered by the advertisement she generously decided to share her hard-earned tax cuts with the creator of the advertisement. How?
"I'm that impressed that I'm taking the guy who thought up the idea … out to lunch," Senator Vanstone said.
Also in response to this year's federal budget is another gong. While the Budget made Senator Vanstone hungry, it caused regurgitation from others, which leads to …
The 2003 Finger-Down-The-Throat-Award. The award goes to …
Federal MP for Parramatta Ross Cameron.
The Liberal MP in Sydney's western suburbs took on those horribly unfair and ungrateful baby boomer sods who, how dare they, complained about the lack of spending on luxury services like health and education. Cameron got the bucket out, responding:
"People turn around and have this massive collective whinge - they make me want to throw up."
Cameron's prize is contesting his 1.2% held seat in next year’s federal election, and counteracting the new Opposition Leader's Meatloaf-appreciation-constituents head-banging across the rest of Sydney's west.
Moving up the NSW coast to another marginal seat leads us to …
This award is presented to pig-farmer-and-politician descendant, Larry Anthony.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (they should really think about changing that word "affairs") wins a gong for continuing the Howard Government’s degradation of women’s voices in Australia. In response to Nicola Roxon's take that the Federal Government's Inquiry into child "custody" was "dog whistle politics to men's groups aggrieved by the Family Court", Anthony said:
"I respect the Member's long academic interest in women's rights - but she must not let that cloud her vision when it comes to children and young people."
For this, Anthony wins a grunt from the men's rights lobby, who heard the whistle loud and clear. He also wins the prize of Roxon being reshuffled to Shadow Attorney-General - a probable sign of pending opposition if the Government decides to turn the whistle into legislation next year.
This prize leads us to the annual Dog Whistle Award, which unfortunately for others only really has one contestant until the Member for Bennelong hangs up his cricket pads or alternately gets his arse wiped in next year's federal election.
Yes, as long as our Man of Steel continues to flush through the extra taxpayer dollars at Kirribilli House, this award is his to keep.
For 2003, John Howard’s Who-Let-The-Dogs-Out corker comes from one of his many and varying reasons why Australia joined in on mass destructing Iraq. Prior to sending in the troops, Howard pulled on raw grieving emotions when he requested the nation lie back and think of Bali:
"I will, amongst other things, be asking the Australian people to bear those circumstances in mind if we become involved in military contact with Iraq."
Howard's eventual prize is Saddam's head [insert sporadic machine gun fire] making it all worth it, changing the initial emphasis on ridding the world of still undiscovered weapons of mass destruction to the "liberation" of the Iraqi people.
Howard also picks up another prize this year – the Nothing-Wrong-With-The-1950s Award. Joining in on some Vatican-fun, Howard rejected gay marriages, arguing:
"Marriage as we understand it in our society is about children, having children, raising them, providing for the survival of the species."
For this, along with insulting homosexuals, Howard wins the prize of insulting every heterosexual couple who can’t have, or god forbid, don't want children. He also wins a declining birth rate, and nominates himself for prime first contestant on Australia's version of Queer Eye for an Aging Balding Very Straight Guy.
Despite these being national awards, there is a special international inclusion in this year's ceremony. The Most Visually Inspiring Award for 2003 goes to fellow dictator liberator President George W. Bush, for his description of going power walkies with our steamy esteemed green and gold tracky clad Prime Miniature:
"I was breathing hard and Barney was breathing harder. I had trouble keeping up with him."
For this prize, the President's dog Barney wins a bone, which appropriately leads to …
The Most Inspiring Political Performance For A Baz Luhrmann Production Award.
[intermittently interfuse Saddam tribute gunfire with edited snippets of show tunes, opera, and n-ce-n-ce-n-ce sounds of bum-f^&* music]
Thanks to Andrew Denton the world now knows the truth. The character of a bumbling snooty sounding duke audiences around the globe cringed at in Baz's Moulin Rouge was based on …
Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister, the one and only Alexander Downer.
Looking for inspiration, actor Richard Roxborough needed only tune into the news to catch a grab from the fishnet wearing globetrotter. As Roxborough explained to Denton earlier this year:
"This is completely a true story. I was watching the news and Alexander was banging on about something or another and I thought, there's my man - absolutely perfect".
Alexander wins the prize of not being taken as seriously as his shadow minister, which leads to ... The Honorary Peter Beattie Award for Most Brazen Media Tart. The award goes to ...
Shadow foreign affairs Minister Kevin Rudd.
Krudd shot from virtual unknown to Mr News Grab in 2003, and most recently spent the weekend following Simon Crean's friendly "tap on the shoulder" (euphemism for knifing) um-ing and ah-ing over his leadership ambitions, while coincidentally parading the fam munching out in the Brisbane burbs (Lillith Bartlett was safely tucked in bed that weekend). Rudd proved he is the true generational change leader by regurgitating his line that:
"Once upon a time I said of course I'd like to be a leadership candidate for the parliamentary Labor party by 2020 and that remains my aspiration."
Rudd's prize is backing Beazley in the caucus vote the followed Crean's stabbing, and ultimately missing out on this year's generational leadership change. However, his second chance draw means that should new leader Mark Latham lose next year's election, he might just end up Labor's next Prime Minister … which possibly won't happen until 2020 anyway.
On the topic of leadership ambition, the Oops-I-Did-It-Again Award for 2003 goes to …
Kim "unlucky talisman" Beazley, who only managed to lose two leadership ballots this year.
During his first shot at Crean mid-year, Beazley repetitively reassured us this would be his last shot at becoming a three-time election loser. Beazley told the ABC's PM program:
"There''ll be no second ballot. Not as far as I'm concerned."
The weekend before the ballot against Crean, Beazley again stated:
"I'm in the business of winning this ballot and as I said, I'm not a spoiler. I've said from the outset, I'm here for one shot."
In the business of losing, Kim lost that ballot to Crean, spurring him on to declare following the vote:
"I also said that this was one challenge, the one challenge I would make. I said it, and I meant it."
Yet on November 28 2003, Kim "not a spoiler" Beazley decided to have one more whack at it. Moments after Crean had thrown down his poison chalice, Beazley announced:
"As a result of his decision to stand down, I'm announcing today my intention to contest the leadership again of the Australian Labor Party." Following his loss to Mark Latham most recently, Beazley also picks up the Eat-Your-Own-Words Award for comments in his defeat speech:
"It is never the time in the Labor Party for disunity and it is far too late for disunity now."
Beazley's efforts in 2003 win him the remote chance of the Labor Party being in Government again in the foreseeable future, thanks to his defeats in the caucus room.
The Gritted Smirk Award for 2003 goes to …
Federal Treasurer Peter Costello again!
Patiently waiting for that earmarked 64th birthday party for John Howard, Peter Costello missed out on blowing out the candles and getting his ultimate 2003 wish. Later, his failed plea for generational change was picked up by the Labor Party in its election of Mark Latham as leader, a salty rub into Costello's leadership aspiration wound.
Following Latham's elevation, The Age's Louise Dodson asked the Treasurer whether he welcomed the concept of generational change. It was a ball Costello couldn't dodge:
"Oh, that is a real googly Louise. I think I will just sort of step back and raise the bat as that goes … through to the keeper."
Costello's prize is another good dose of self-imposed tolerance.
Speaking of imposed exiles, the Oh-How-They-Change Award goes to …
Prior to becoming a prison reform campaigner, Hanson came out beating the Laura Norder drum during her attempt for a Senate seat in the NSW election:
"I think that we need to have tougher sentencing that befits the crime."
Later, following Hanson's 'You Used To Bring Me Roses' experience, this comment was picked up by Labor's Mark Latham, who threw back, "Mrs Hanson spent the last New South Wales election campaign campaigning for tougher penalties – and now she's got one."
Hanson also wins her own honorary award – the Please Explain Gong, for her response during the state election campaign on how good a job NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney was doing:
"Well, I don't, and I'm not going to comment on that."
Quizzed further on her knowledge of Moroney, Hanson replied:
"Well, at the election, I will know. "You have to realise that yes, I am from Queensland, I've only been involved in federal politics."
This 2003 multi-Pollie-Waffle award winner also picks up the Blurry-Crystal-Ball Award for this corker, also said during the campaign:
"If I felt that there was any chance of a conviction against me, I would not be standing for a NSW seat."
Hanson's prizes include no NSW seat and a conviction of electoral fraud, successfully overturned on appeal after an 11-week lock up at Brisbane’s WACOL prison. Other gifts include a new-found appreciation of the perils of prison life, an outpouring of shock from political foes across the spectrum, a renewal in public support, a ridiculously bad music single launched by her son, and a lifetime nemesis in Tony Abbott, whose shady set-up of the curiously named ‘Australians for Honest Politics’ fund caused more outrage than applause.
The You're Joking! Award for 2003 goes to …
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock
The hilarious grey-green stallion cracked yet another funny in the House this year, when the Opposition compared his tactics of tackling terrorist organisations in his new portfolio with his asylum seeker strategy as Immigration Minister. The longest serving member of parliament mused:
"I've become fascinated by this new term “wedge politics”. I'm not sure what wedge politics is all about."
Ruddock's prize is a big piece of ASIO legislation cake, slightly chewed on by the ALP, but pretty much still intact.
The next gong is the Tying-the-Extraordinarily-Long-Bow Award. And the winner is …
Senator George Brandis, for his comments that a "feature of contemporary Green politics which bears chilling and striking comparison with the political techniques of the Nazis and the fascists is not merely their contempt for democratic institutions but a very cynical willingness to use those democratic parliamentary institutions to achieve anti-democratic ends".
Brandis' bold statements came after Greens Senators Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle were rugby tackled by some Government members in the House of Representatives during a joint sitting of parliament for President Dubbya’s fly-by-wreath-laying-crocodile-hunter-bbq-ing visit.
Senator Brandis wins a special prize from fellow Liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris, who, with the help of Prime Minister John Howard’s tut-tuts, more recently got away with gross hypocrisy by attacking the stupid but sad actions of the Leader of the Australian Democrats. On that note, Senator Bartlett's decision to hold a press conference with screaming toddler in hand in response to the booze-up broohaha almost qualifies himself for the next award. But not quite.
Instead, the very special Child Care Advocacy Award goes to ...
The West Australian MP gets the Goose of the Year gong for his use of ministerial letterheads in a desperate and reckless attempt to get his son off a traffic fine. While defending his actions in barracking the case of his 40-something-year-old son, Tuckey descended into absurdity, hollering across the House:
"WHY DO YOU HATE CHILDREN?"
Iron Bar Tuckey's prize is being dumped from his ministerial position, with Iron John not-so-convincingly arguing there was no connection with Tuckey’s clear breach of ministerial conduct and the reshuffle that followed.
The topic of reshuffling brings us to our last Pollie Waffle prize for the year. While 2002 produced the unforgettable 'arselicker' comment, 2003 had the same politician continuing to provide us with bum jokes.
And while many tipped Bomber Beazley's re-elevation to the not so prized ticket of leading the Australian Labor Party in the ballot early this month, in retrospect it wasn't all that surprising that he lost another winnable contest. Instead, the rise of Mark Latham to the position of Opposition leader, at the very least provides an interesting election year in 2004, and no doubt a plethora of more waffle on its way.
[drum roll, gun fire and farting sounds]
The 2003 Bend Over And Feel the Breeze Award goes to …
Mark Latham, who, by winning this prize also highlights the most profound political interview of the year, with the ABC 7:30 Report's Kerry "knock out" O'Brien. In his first interview with the new opposition leader, Kerry cut straight to the chase, dropping the bomb:
KO: What is this obsession you have with bottoms?
ML: I've no particular obsession with bottoms, it's a figure of speech -
KO: Howard the arse-licker and the brown nose kissing bums, as you put it, Abbott hanging out of the Queen's backside, the conga line of suckholes.
ML: Well I think 'bum' is a word that gets used a bit in this country. It's not a swear word. I'm sure you have used it yourself, so ... ...you take together a full public life. I have been in public office for 16 years. I will go through your tapes and have a look at some of your commentary -
KO: Feel free, but I'm not aspiring to lead this country.
ML: No, no, but you're leading a fine current affairs program.
KO: I'm glad to eventually have you on it.
ML: I'm very pleased to be here and let's keep talking about the Australian language.
Indeed. New opposition leader Mark Latham's 2003 prize is an orgasmic "oooooohhhh" sigh from the media scrum on the announcement of the caucus vote. Breath it in folks, that's the fart of fresh air, potentially sweeping across the country in 2004. Bend over, soak in the breeze, and have a bloody good one.