Matthew Reddin

This election’s fare has reached the vomit stage

The vomit principle is a political tactic that wilfully disgusts us in order to grab our attention. Sound familiar?



The other day I was told by someone very close to me that my breath stank. So I went into the bathroom and flossed, then brushed my teeth, and even did that thing where you scrape your tongue so that the bacteria which is just sitting there and causing you to have halitosis in the start is physically removed from the premises, being your tongue.

Problem was, I pushed the toothbrush too far down the back of the tongue and almost vomited. That’s the thing: you go too far with something, you’re in danger of spewing.

So, trying to rid my tongue of bad breath germs almost made me vomit. That’s atop the list. Second of it has been this past month or so, when we bear witness to both major political parties doing what they can to make me vomit as well. Regurgitation seems to be contagious at the moment, as I was recently alerted to something called “The Vomit Principle”, a rule of thumb widely referred to in political offices. The idea is, that if you repeat yourself so much you feel like vomiting, only then is it likely to be cutting through with the public.

Dear Christ, what a price to pay.

So the party HQs for both the Libs and the ALP must be something akin to a bacchanalian feast of the Roman empire now; just an ankle-deep river of regurge as we hear the same nonsense, the same talking points and the same out and out bullshit being spewed from both sides, endlessly, as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

For the sake of argument, we’ll say that at least May 19 will be this so-called light. Last week was a bad week for both sides, wherein a number of candidates from both sides of the political spectrum fell on their ideological swords based on stupid, stupid shit that they posted on social media at one time or another. Some credulous twit named Luke Creasey, the Labor candidate for Melbourne, was found to have once made rape jokes while on Facebook. Okay. Let’s unpack this shit, shall we? First of all, there’s no such thing as a funny rape joke. When Lucy and Ethel were dancing in the vats, making wine in Italy in that classic episode of I Love Lucy, that was a good grape joke, and my pun just now is as close as one can possibly get to there being a funny rape joke. So the ALP decides in its infinite wisdom to not properly vet its candidates, especially their social media feeds (which are a haven for world-class fuckwittery), and have now lost their best chance of reclaiming their once-prized seat of Melbourne from the Greens’ Adam Bandt. Hey, funny story? The ALP held Melbourne for just a tad over 100 years before him. He was actually worried about losing it. Was. Not anymore.

Then there was the handful of Lib-Nat candidates who have either made statements that were anti-Islamic, antisemitic, anti-gay…pretty much by-the-book neo-con stuff, but having done it on social media, much of the initial reaction was to suggest that their Facebook pages were hacked and that the Federal Police were now involved. Which is fine, and utter horseshit, and curious that of all the things a would-be hacker could do to one’s social media feed is post the very same kind of thing that many on a certain side of the ideological aisle would be known to say when push came to shove. Usually, when they hack into someone’s account they send out new friend requests and Uncle Barry all of a sudden seems very interested on me clicking a link so I can get solar panels at a remarkably discounted rate. These crafty hackers post anti-Muslim stuff in the distant past and it’s just too convenient for words.

Look, the thing is, I’m not that offended by there being idiots running for elected office. One only need to fill out a pre-polling ballot paper in Queensland to know that there are candidates running under what is all-but-literally the “Fuck Off We’re Full” ticket, signalling that the whole democracy thing in this country—the Sunshine State part of it at least—has degenerated to a race to see who can reach the bottom of the barrel quickest. Speaking of, there’s Pauline Hanson pretending to show human emotion in the form of an interview on A Current Affair after her gun-toting fellow traveller is shown to be being very handsy indeed while at a Washington strip club. Spouting all manner of sexist, racist stuff. On-brand, but bad for the overall image. Pauline says she cops a world of stick that other parties don’t, then name-checks Craig Thompson who got caught buying sex with a work credit card, was dis-endorsed by the ALP, and she whines that he got away with it. Because she’s an idiot, I guess.

There are lots of things out there that make us want to vomit, and the spin that gets doled out when these knuckle-dragging egomaniacs from all parties get caught being idiots and then try to weasel their way out of it is one of those things. This campaign has been one of the future-former Prime Minster spending each and every minute of his campaigning day saying how Bill Shorten is all-but the fiscal antichrist, doing everything from robbing Nana of her pension and forcing tradies to sell their utes and buy feminised hybrids. And Shorten, he’s out there too, literally repeating himself about how much he likes mornings.

(Morning, per Bill, is the best part of the day. I mean…fuuuuuuuuuu…)

So, the light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that this election campaign is almost over—that, at the end of the day, enough members of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison triumvirate saw the signs and jumped ship early. Also, the fact that almost every single other member of what remains of the ministry has been invisible for the last couple of weeks suggests they know what’s coming. Also, that Ladbrokes has taken a $1,000,000 bet on Labor winning the election, and one just prays that it was Malcolm Turnbull who popped down to the TAB to have that punt. Not that he needs the money, I just love the visual.

There’s that to be thankful for. Also, the fact that we’re not in the US, where campaigning for the presidency essentially begins the day after the midterms, so those poor souls are subjected to two full years of spin, of slogans, of the disingenuous, the sputum. We can be thankful that once this six-week spell is over here, we might very well never have to hear some overfed sentient beanbag from Queensland tell us how he wants to make Australia great.

Sorry…I think I’m about to bring up my lunch.


Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at

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