Another year another new Prime Minister, as the saying goes. As we hop nimbly into 2016, for which you really need to arm yourself with a calendar or two, let’s take a moment to reflect on 2015, another marvellous year for political shenanigans. I present to you my cartoonified trip down memory lane…
Le Doight D’honneur
The year started off with a bunch of crazy people shooting up a bunch of cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris.
There’s too much to say on this topic, but to be brief, while I am not entirely convinced that the pen is in fact mightier than the sword in all situations, the pen is in every respect preferable.
Sir Tin Ear
Back in 2014, while I was off riding bicycles and drinking whisky with some dog (details of which can be purchased here in book form), Tony Abbott decided that what the country needed was more Knights and Dames because not everyone was entirely convinced that he was completely out of touch with the current millennium. While this was pretty funny and we all had a good chuckle over it, it was merely setting us all up for the barbecue stopper on Australia Day 2015 when he bestowed a knighthood on Prince Phillip.
In early February, there was a Very Serious Meeting called in the Liberal party room where Tony just barely managed to survive a leadership challenge against nobody and Tony was given six months to sort himself out or there would possibly be an actual challenger next time whose name may or may not rhyme with Balcolm Burnbull. We were all assured that Good Government Would Start Today, cheerfully acknowledging that things had been just a shade short of good up until that point.
We’re all eagerly anticipating the gritty reboot of George Orwell’s 1984 as a fully-immersive 3D reality game and in February the government floated the idea of ditching the census on the sensible grounds that they will already know everything about you anyway though based on internet data it may well turn out that “Jedi” does in fact turn out to be the majority religion of this country.
Waving The Flag(s)
As Tony’s new era of good government ground on, the most interesting thing about his various press conferences became how many flags would be in attendance, which would invariably outnumber that questions that actually got answered.
Leaks are generally acknowledged as a very bad thing because the populace finds out what our leaders really think and that is frankly terrifying. In this case, it turned out that Tony was pretty keen on going one-up on John Howard and unilaterally invading Iraq possibly on the grounds that it went so well last time why share all the credit? Anyway, this leak came out when Indonesia was taking its opportunity to place politics over human life and execute Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukamaran and sabres were rattling slightly closer to home.
Lest We Remember
2015 was the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli and also the year for Joe to deliver his notoriously difficult second budget, which would be a bit like getting the survivors together and suggesting they take another crack at Anzac Cove.
To be fair to Joe, his second budget was definitely his best one ever.
There was a long-held view that Tony had a bit of a Problem With Women (in the PR sense).
Not even Tony appointing himself Minister For Women and getting rid of the carbon tax as arguably the most important feminist act in this country since women got the vote quite got that lingering perception to dissipate.
The solution to this was Tony’s signature Paid Parental Leave policy where women on high incomes got paid more than women on low incomes to procreate because kids need to learn early on that life isn’t actually fair.
Not entirely surprisingly, Tony also managed to get the pregnancy around the wrong way which was a relief to everybody and let us never speak of it again.
We may well have nothing to fear but fear itself, but frankly that seems to be quite an old fashioned attitude and not at all conducive to getting people to vote for you at elections. The next best thing is to be afraid of entirely made up things which yields all the frisson of a good scare without actually being in any way a real problem. Thus, rather than being concerned by something as tediously real as climate change, which would require quite a bit of mucking about, it is much more enjoyable to become terrified of windmills as their utterly non-existent dangers are a blank canvas for any malady you feel like making up at the time.
I can’t possibly comment on on-water matters as they are commercial-in-confidence, but it seems the solution all along to people smuggling was to pay people smugglers to smuggle people back where they came from.
It is traditional for a new Speaker of the House to be dragged unwillingly to the chair on their first day, but the real trick is separating their bums from the green leather after they’ve made contact. I hate to put this image in your head, but Tony has often been described as the idealogical love child of John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop (it’s nearly Christmas, so perhaps go with some sort of immaculate conception scenario). It’s hard to pick the thing that finally knocked Tony over, but his vigorous defence of Bronwyn “Get To Da Chopper” Bishop’s choice of transport options didn’t help.
The right to self-determination is an important facet in Australia’s reconciliation process, though this right got stretched to its very limit by the determination by people booing Australian Of The Year Adam Goodes at the football that their booing was in no way racist. Being a political cartoonist, I’m more of a snide backstabber than a booer myself, so perhaps there were nuances to this imbecilic bellowing that were entirely lost on me. Please don’t take this as an invitation to attempt to explain them
Love Changes Everything
There are a lot of things invented since the industrial revolution that Tony and fellow current backbencher Eric Abetz are not in favour of, and high on that list is marriage equality. However, the true meaning of Christmas is watching Love Actually on the telly and realising the incredible transformative power of love. In Tony’s case, his forbidden love for the little black rock was abundantly clear and after the year he’s had I’m sure we are all united in hoping Tony gets a lump of coal in his stocking on Christmas day.
On Paper Matters
You may have noticed the rebranding of our rather tediously named Department Of Immigration (or something) as the excitingly threatening BORDER FORCE, complete with frightening logo and sexy uniforms, all designed to make us safer from all the people who are pretty much constantly battering at our borders for the purposes of murdering us and taking our jobs.
This was perfectly fine while they were doing this far far away in the middle of the ocean where our borders are but then somebody accidentally typed out and distributed a media release suggesting they would be walking around harassing people rather closer to home, though it turned out they didn’t mean this at all, or did they, no they didn’t but any misunderstanding was because of terrorists so they might be forced to do this in the future. Or not, if it turns into another PR disaster.
A Drop In The Ocean
This year, Europe has been in the grip of a genuine refugee crisis. Tony suggested they just stop the boats. There was an awkward silence.
How To Vote
This cartoon was drawn about ten days before the Canning by-election when the ALP felt they were in with half a chance with Tony at the helm. They probably were. With impeccable timing I went on holidays shortly after drawing this cartoon and missed the spill, so you will just have to imagine the cartoon which would have been excellent.
Kids These Days
Who could possibly forget the terrifying case-study of Karen, subject of the government’s anti-radicalisation kit.
Karen grew up “in a loving family” but when she went to university Karen became involved in the alternative music scene, student politics and left-wing activism. In hindsight she thinks this was just ‘typical teenage rebellion’ that went further than most.
One afternoon Karen attended an environmental protest with some of her friends. It was exhilarating, fun and she felt like she was doing the ‘right thing’ for society.
I would say you can’t make this stuff up, but apparently somebody did. My suspicion is that they accidentally hired a moonlighting political cartoonist to write this kit and whoever you are, I dips me lid.
We may well look back on the determinedly inarticulate Tony era rather wistfully in the coming months. After being on a steady diet of Tony’s three word slogans and Bill’s excruciating zingers, Malcolm’s buzzword gumbo is enough to disrupt one’s indigestion, especially with all the nimble hopping about you have to do in this innovative and agile era. The budget emergency has morphed, over time, into a spending problem, though (and this is entirely off the record) a bit of extra cash coming in couldn’t hurt tidy up the bottom line. The trick is to nimbly sneak up on, say, a 10% GST wandering past, and agilely disrupt it into a 15% GST, possibly with an app, possibly just by giving everyone free extra lives on Candy Crush and cranking it up while people aren’t looking.
Sections Of A Sphere
In November there was another horrific attack in Paris and at the risk of not being flippant, these attacks were deliberately designed to polarise the world against Muslims. The best way to fight back is to not allow that to happen.
There are a lot of people about who still think climate change, to quote our ex-PM, is crap. Now it must be said that very few of these people are climate scientists, and if I may be so bold, this is because climate scientists generally know what they’re talking about. I am aware that this is rather a radical position to take in the modern feelings-based paradigm, but this is my blog, so deal with it.
We also know that Malcolm, though not a climate scientist, does generally buy into the whole science actually seems to have something going for it thing as well. This is unfortunate, because while he might be a science-loving heretic, he has also inherited Tony’s direct action policy, which to put it politely was cobbled together by people whose hearts weren’t really in it.
And here I cheerfully wave goodbye to 2015. Don’t forget to buy a calendar.