Yesterday, Bill Shorten railed against News Corp and made the nation feel something. However, last night’s debate was an exercise in apathy.
The debate between our two prospective leaders reminds me of the lazy/smarmy counting format of public school children. One, two, skip a few, ninety-nine, one hundred.
Last night, in case you forgot, was the third scrape between the two, and yes, there will be a test on it. Yesterday was a rather towering day for the Shorten camp, where he railed against the Daily Telegraph’s hack job on his mother, empathetically castigating the patriarchy for offering men advancement at the cost of women. Which, duh, and also, well done for recognising it, but he’s kind of doing the same thing. In a better way. At least it got everyone on Twitter sharing stories about the unfairness that was levelled against the matriarch in their respective bloodlines. Awareness is golden, but I had the feeling that Bill was the fellow at the races who won big earlier in the day and spent the rest of it not gambling, in order to preserve his winnings.
The state of Israel (Folau) seemed to speak loudly to that point, Bill said Folau was “entitled to his views. And he shouldn’t suffer an employment penalty for it,” but he spoke, sort of, about a public figure putting views such as that on social media, “I don’t think it’s a clear-cut issue when the edges bump up against each other.”
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, yadda yadda yadda. It’s objectively wrong, but subjectively right. Stroll yourself down any of the comment boxes of articles and you’ll see the division on the issue. Which makes little sense, but it’s a fair reflection of the country writ large. In that, one should be allowed to be gay, because it’s none of my business who you love, but only on the condition that you can be abused for it whenever a random stranger chooses. Just don’t take away his ability to play foot-foot.
I’m slightly getting off track here, but last night’s debate had no real grand ‘gotcha’ moment, and as was the case with the previous two, the winner was the people who didn’t bother. Maybe, we’ve had too much excitement through the day. It was akin to daytime drinking, only to discover that you have dinner with a different group of people afterwards. The excitement doesn’t match. It was, for all intents and purposes, an exercise in risk minimalisation, where Shorten didn’t want to spoil the laurels of his victory against News Corp, and Scott Morrison didn’t want his campaign to descend into the fifth circle of hell.
No-one wanted to be there. It was a compulsory activity. We would be better served if they rolled our cardboard cut-outs of Shorten and Morrison, or, they had to pretend to be the opposite candidate, or, play a game of celebrity head. My point, we’ve stopped caring, and we care not for what is on display. We scoffed at the setting of the first debate, when it was broadcasted from an obscure capital, on an obscure channel and an obscure timeslot, but maybe the television people are smarter than we give them credit for.
I’d like to leave you with a quote, from the chap currently using the big boy toilet at Parliament House, Scott Morrison, who promised to, well, I’m not sure, but he said this.
“I will lead, as I always have, from the middle…this is the direction I’m heading in and I’m asking you to join me,’ and they have.”
Nine more days. Hell’s teeth.