You know what? Australia loves a political scandal, and the reason why it keeps happening is because we want it to. We have a problem.
To be alive (and very much part of the voting public) in this time and place is a very special thing to be a part of. I don’t think we realise how lucky we are. Sure, the government is very much broken, very much shameful, and coasts on the stony back of dinosaur kickbacks, but I find it enthralling that the institutions of this country should be institutionalised.
Yes, Barnaby’s friction is gone. Which is sad, because I don’t think the media had the time to treasure the two weeks worth of having ice cream for breakfast, racing around the house, trashing it, throwing their full nappies at Joyce’s choice. However, last Friday when he packed it in, there was a pall that shrouded the minute revelry. A friend of mine works for SBS, and they informed me that a literal cheer went up when Barnaby announced his exit, but that moment echoed the one felt on New Year’s after the clock reached zero. We kissed whoever was next to us and wished Happy New Scandal, but we did so knowing that after we finished locking lips, the celebration would soon be over, with the morning light of a new day confirming it.
As a country, we’re drunk on scandal. We’re applying the old alcoholic’s mantra of ‘hair of the dog’, the act of getting drunk again to avoid the hangover, and the recompense of last night’s drama. The neg vibes, or indeed, the actions we did whilst drunk will never catch up to us, as we’re never going to be sober again.
I honestly don’t think we have it in us to go cold turkey, to give up the drama and just be a normal democratic country. We all claim that’s what we want, but we’re lying. We don’t want to just have a couple of quiet ones with dinner, we want to be Tarzaning off the shower rail flitting between bouts of laughter and rage, secretly hoping that someone will see through our facade and really reach out to help. We sure as shit don’t want to be New Zealand, but we want to be New Zealand.
I actually don’t think we understand the magnitude of our problem. Today was a work day, and nothing was planned. Yet, we were pissed by lunch as we discovered that our new Deputy PM was not George Christensen (which it almost was) but was against marriage equality as far back as 1993 and as recent as 2012, despite his apology in 2017.
Has he changed, or is he just saying it? Mmm. Warm up that hot take gumbo.
Later that yesterday, a staffer was sacked because of the symptoms stemming from that modern condition, the meme:
I mean, fair play, it’s pretty good, but I’m willing to venture that we’re probably leading the world in meme-related sackings. Even if it’s not true, it seems like something we’d do. We’re the innovation nation. Our jobs and growth is kicking them out of theirs, and the growth is our own disgust. It’s just who we are, we’re all about weird attention at our expense. We excel at creating pieces of genius, or failing that, notable eye-rolling pieces of hogwash that gets us the International spotlight. Like Crocodile Dundee.
It’s just who we are. The beauty of the whole thing is that this rancid smorgasbord clusterfuck is a moveable feast. Every piece of unfortunate barely digestible slop is something new. While we wolf it down with a frown on our little faces, we always return for more.
So, next time something stupid happens, like the Deputy PM uses taxpayer money as a lubricant, or a racist who wears the garb of the people they criticise, or a long banished MP returns through the fog of new scandal to prompt that his scandal wasn’t as bad; don’t roll your eyes, nod your head, because that’s how we do things down here, and that’s how we like it.
Even if we pretend that we don’t.