It’s been a particularly grim week regarding politics, as candidates from both sides have resigned over awful comments made online. There is a silver lining, though.
Each election cycle, we’re subject to the same inertia. Dirt is dug on candidates by their opponents, and we register the unfortunate shale as it is gleefully dumped into our lap. However, with Tasmanian Liberal candidate Jessica Whelan channelled Lady Di, literally fleeing the media this morning who wanted answers over her anti-muslim statements on social media (which she said were fake), I noticed something. This week, in particular, has been particularly storied in political scandal committed by lesser-known candidates; who are probably forever known as the notoriously embattled x from y party.
In this week alone, we’ve had One Nation’s Steve Dickson quit over thinking with his, as grainy footage emerged from a strip club, castigating those who danced in front of him, whilst making disparaging comments on women that he probably stole from his holiest novelty t-shirt. For his sins, he resigned, and we were punished with the door prize of Pauline Hanson’s blubbering projected into our lounge rooms.
Thank you, Steven. You plank.
May 1 was International Worker’s Day, and it was celebrated in a matter befitting the socialist managerial purges of old, with no less than three candidates resigning over what can simply be defined as behaviour befitting a dickhead. Peter Killin, the Liberal candidate for Wills, sent himself to the gulag after calling his opponent a “notorious homosexual”, Jeremy Hearn left the Liberal Party over yet more anti-muslim commentary was found online. Seemingly, meme hate is a bipartisan epidemic, as Labor’s Wayne Kurnorth pulled the pin after his sharing of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory (and an Islamic State meme) and Luke Creasey shared a joke about rape online (side note, he’s also in strife for the sharing of pornographic material).
Due to it being so late in proceedings, all will remain on the ballot paper. So, there’s that. As is the nature of the apology, which, was ostensibly a variation of Creasey’s tone, who said: “It’s been brought to my attention that some posts I shared on social media a number of years ago have been circulated…they were stupid, immature and in no way reflect the views I hold today. I apologise for these posts which have been removed.”
Clearly, the lesson here is to spread these things, get sprung, ring the public relations people. Clearly, we don’t believe these things, as the approved apologies of politicians are viewed as the sound of one hand balled into a fist, motivated by sarcasm taking the form of an up-and-down motion repeated.
This, of course, is the country that gave us a (One Nation) candidate resigning over ancient pictures of him mowing a swastika into his yard and saluting it. The banished candidate, Mark Ellis, said at the time that he was forced to quit over the actions of “pathetic haters” and not himself, which seems to be both a party trait and odd ownership of your own awfulness.
However, the apology and resignation (and distancing) of long-forgotten awful things on social media is both the absolute pits and the top of Everest. Yes, these people are awful people, who know nothing about empathy (or sanitising your social media once you read office), but their seppuku on the blade of their unfiltered dated opinion is our gain. If they doxx themselves, then the electorate doesn’t have to do it. The candidates above are now banished into the political nether realm, now addressed as ‘zombie’ candidates. Long may they rest as parts of our meme-ory we forget. However, as the great Ken Foree once opined, when there’s no more room in hell, the dead shall walk the Earth. Or, adjusted to local parlance, the dead shall be handing us fliers as we try and edge past them and vote with sausage in hand, and desperately attempt to avoid eye contact.