And the Robbie nominees are. . .

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 enquiry.

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?

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