Tuesday 20 July 2010


Well, here I am in Australia and it seems I’ve landed in the middle of Exciting Times. A general election has been called for the 21st August and the two main protagonists are two people I’d never heard of two weeks ago. Lots of people offer you the insider’s take on politics. Here’s the outsider’s take.

On the one hand there’s Julia Gillard, current prime minister, head of the Australian Labor Party. (The first thing I noticed is that they spell Labor without a ‘u’ even though they spell everything else English-style and not American-style. Is there a hidden meaning in that?)

Things I Know About Julia Gillard: she is the first female Australian prime minister. She has red hair. She is the first Australian red-haired prime minister. She was born in Wales. She may or may not have knifed her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, to take his job. There’s a lot of comment on her hairstyle, partly because she’s a woman and partly because her partner is a hairdresser. She looks a bit like one of the main characters from McLeod’s Daughters, a show set in the Outback that I became addicted to a few years ago.

On the other hand there’s Tony Abbott who looks like someone I’m sure I’ve seen but I can’t remember who, which tells you a lot, really.

Things I Know About Tony Abbott: he is famous for wearing budgie smugglers. He, also, may or may not have knifed his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull. His party is responsible for perhaps the worst election campaign ad I have ever seen.

Even he doesn’t look excited and the singers who have to sing ‘Stand up for Australia’ sound like they would rather have their fingernails pulled out than sing any more.

In the interests of fairness, I will add that Labor’s jingle(s) may well be just as bad, I just haven’t encountered one yet.

The final thing I have learned is that voting is compulsory. Well, in the sense that you have to be on the register, you have to turn up at the polling station and take a ballot. If you choose to put a blank piece of paper in the box, or scribble obscene messages, that’s up to you.

There. Don't you feel better informed now?

EDITED TO ADD: I've just realised that half the film frame is cut off. I've tried to fix it, but for some reason it's only available in widescreen, and this is not a widescreen blog. You're not missing much though.


  1. At first I thought that we could only see half of his face because he was like that guy from Batman. Also, what are these boats that he is going to stop?

  2. Boats full of immigrants. Like me. Except I came on a Singapore Airlines boat.

  3. rattdl(eircom.net)21 July 2010 at 07:55

    what are budgie smugglers?

  4. I almost made this the subject of a picture dictionary entry, but all of the pictures I could find to represent 'budgie smugglers' hurt my eyes. 'Budgie smugglers' is an Australian term for tight Speedo-style men's swimming trunks that leave little to the imagination.

  5. rattdl(eircom.net)22 July 2010 at 08:44

    ok-k-k-k-k. I thought some kind of soft trainers that one would wear so as not to disturb the budgies but clearly i was wrong. You should make a collection of Australian for beginners.