Meeting Politicians the ‘Strayan way.

It’s been a funny old day in Australian politics.
On the front page of the national newspaper today was a picture of Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, being “bunny-earsed” by some kid at a reception for the Diamonds, the Australian representative netball team.

TA_BUNNY EARS

I really enjoy this picture, because it looks like it’s Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition, doing it. That would be funny, too, although perhaps a bit harder to justify as an innocent prank.  The second picture definitely shows that it’s a kid’s arm behind the PM.

TA_BUNNY EARS 2

Personally, I think someone should give that kid a knighthood, or at least a medal. With one gesture, he has summed up the feelings of many Australians. Moreover, it’s humorous and typical Aussie larrikin behaviour, without causing any harm or any significant disrespect.

Let’s face it, giving someone bunny ears in a photo has been the Australian way for generations. How many years worth of school photos do we all have where someone is doing the bunny ears, or crossing their eyes, or wearing someone else’s glasses?  Those are the things that make actually getting those photos taken worthwhile.

It’s also a reminder that we are very privileged to live in a country where we can meet and mingle with our national leaders without getting tasered or spear-tackled to the ground and, in the case that we should survive that, arrested.  I can’t imagine being able to get close enough to Vladimir Putin, or Kim Jong Il, for example, or daring to “bunny ears” either one of them. And taking on the POTUS bodyguards? No. No thank you. I’ll be good.

Australia really is a great country.  It’s a great place to live, especially if you’ve got a bit of a sense of humour and don’t take yourself, or your politicians, too seriously.

It’s official: Australia’s Prime Minister is a real winker.

 

Australia’s Prime Minister has proven to be a real winker… or something like that.

I was listening to 774 ABC Melbourne radio in the car on my way to work this morning when a woman named Gloria phoned in. In introducing herself, she told the Prime Minister that she was a grandmother with several chronic, life-threatening illnesses who had to work on a phone-sex line to make ends meet.

When she said that, Tony Abbot smirked and winked at the radio host, Jon Faine.  Obviously, I didn’t hear that on the radio, but it was all captured on film, since the station had the video camera rolling as well. Not surprisingly, outrage immediately flooded Twitter, Facebook and every other social media site people could get their fingertips on.

Apart from the fact that it’s kind of creepy, it’s totally inappropriate.
Gloria didn’t call to be sensational or give anyone cheap thrills.
She called to let the Prime Minister and all of Melbourne know how she feels about the way things are for her now, and the ways in which they’ll be worse when the Government’s latest budget is implemented on July 1 this year.

He acknowledged she was doing it tough and then started talking about how repealing the carbon tax would give her an “extra couple hundreds of dollars a year” more.
I was dumbfounded.
For someone in her situation, is “a couple of hundred dollars a year” more going to make a significant difference? Is it going to release her from having to work that part time job on the phone lines?
He didn’t even sound sympathetic. She was just another opportunity for him to tell the world how good he thinks he and his Liberal Party Government are.

I’ve got news for you, Tony Abbott. You’re getting harder and harder to believe all the time.
Gloria was right. You don’t give a stuff.
And I don’t feel very nice about you either.