Welcome to the 2016 Australian Federal
Election Awards. We are here tonight to
present the nominations for the tri-annual awards, based on form and practice
during the past two years leading up to the scheduled election this year.
The 2013 election was a welcome return to
form culminating in a Prime Minister elect standing on a stage in front of his
adoring party workers and associated hangers-on towards the end of the actual Election night - promising
to govern for all – and forgetting it as soon as the speech was delivered. Who
can forget the debacle of the 2010 election when the result wasn’t known for
two weeks, and then determined by Rob Oakeschott delivering a 17 minute spiel
that covered all the bases on how he made is decision – with the possible
exception of what he had for breakfast that morning.
The Awards Committee has decided to introduce
a new award for the 2016 Election – the Robbie, named after Rob
Oakeschott. This award will only be in
contention when the polling results are close at the time nominations close. For contention, the MP’s under consideration
must be independent and in the committee’s view capable of stringing a long and
detailed explanation of why they have chosen to support a particular side of
politics in matters of supply and confidence.
The first award nomination tonight is
“The White Ant Award”. This prestigious
award is given to the person who displays the most talent and skill in
destabilising the Government of the day from within its ranks. Honourable mentions go to Mal Brough, Eric
Abetz, Cory Bernardi and George Brandis for doing their best to suck oxygen
from the Government’s preferred message.
The nominees however are Malcolm Turnbull for his sterling effort in destabilising
throughout the period of Prime Minister Abbott in the lead up to the leadership
challenge late last year – and Tony Abbott for his similar exceptional work to
destabilise the current Prime Minister since the leadership challenge. The Committee have noted that the current
leadership of the LNP is following the excellent work in this category
previously demonstrated within the ALP leadership between 2007 and 2013. At this stage Abbott is in the lead in the
view of the Committee with his excellent application to the task at hand in
commenting on the planned delivery date of new
submarines currently subject to an Australian Federal Police
A regular favourite is next, the
“Sideways Step Award”. This award is
given to the ex-politician who accepts a role within the Government that
involves considerable overseas travel and more importantly frees up a safe seat
in the House for a favoured party operative. While special mentions go to
Philip Ruddock and Andrew Robb for accepting ‘special envoy’ roles, the favoured
nominee at this stage is Joe Hockey formerly of North Sydney – now residing in
comfortable digs in Washington DC.
The “Go before I’m Pushed Award” this
year has a long list of nominees. The
Committee discounted most ALP senators and members from Western Australia as irrelevant
to the larger picture. While the
Committee considered Joe Hockey to be a worthy nominee, it was pointed out that
he was pushed before he went. Gary Grey however receives an honourable mention
due to someone of his seniority throwing away years of political correctness to ‘drop a bucket’ on the way
out. Mal Brough gets another nomination
in this category due to the method of departure – first stepping back from the
Ministry, then resigning from Parliament not when first under investigation from the Federal Police but when
the level of publicity around the investigation increased. Philip Ruddock and Andrew Robb are both
nominated for dedication to the true spirit of this award. The Committee determined that Robb may make a
contribution to public life in the future as he does have some creditability in
the Trade area – so Philip Ruddock could easily win this award as he will
become a special envoy with no real responsibility except increasing the value
of his frequent flyer points.
So, to the newest award, the Robbie. The inaugural winner of this award will be
forever immortalised in history.
Realistically the nominees have to be Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan,
both independents in the current Parliament.
Both political parties know the financial and emotional cost and the
difficulty of removing good independents from office. The Committee have
determined that either McGowan or Wilkie could win this award in a canter, unless
there is a late challenge from Tony Windsor, formerly the Member for New
England, who is toying with a return
to Canberra. Should Windsor
succeed and there be a hung Parliament, he is a shoo-in for the inaugural
Robbie Award, has he has direct and extensive experience.
The Committee notes that Mal Brough,
while nominated twice in 2016 is unlikely to win anything and suggests he will
have to try harder when next he is a Member of Parliament. The awards ceremony will be at a new venue
this year – the Brisbane Lions Football Club at Richlands – as the budget is a
bit tight to afford the Crown Centre in Melbourne. Nominees should note that transportation will
not be supplied – we recommend the Springfield line train or a 460 bus to
Richlands Station and please take care crossing the busy road.
Get in early to tip the winners ‘below the
line’. What do you think?