One doesn’t have to be a republican or a monarchist to appreciate Tony Abbott’s latest attempt to troll half the Australian population. As trolling goes, it’s right up there with Old Holborn.
Last week he gave Phil the Greek a knighthood. Which is hilarious if you think about it, as Phil has breakfast most mornings with the woman who hands them out. It’s a bit like when my kids get Charlie to buy me a birthday gift with money taken from my wallet for them to present to me.
The great thing about Australia is that there is very little that ever goes on of any consequence or threat, allowing vast swathes of the population, political class and media to focus their attention on the truly trivial and meaningless. The broadcast hours and column inches devoted to this new gong allocated to Phillip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg have been comforting in their confirmation that there’s not much else wrong with the world right now.
It’s the only explanation, otherwise how else can one explain a front page of a “serious” newspaper that is dying to tell us about the award along with important information about an advert to be shown during the Superbowl, Lara Bingle being a bit lardy, how to avoid buying a beach house if you don’t want one (erm, is the answer “don’t”?), some singer’s phone or email being hacked, a new Ghostbusters film and some guff about a dead bloke who invented a phone?
By the way, the tagline for the paper is “Independent. Always.” I wonder if anyone at the paper has ever thought about the fact that the full stop breaks the link between the adjective and the adverb thus diluting the permanence of the claim to independence? They were probably too busy wondering if they were brave enough to name Rolf Harris as the “82 year old Australian entertainer” arrested for sexual offences….
Anyway, as if the game was to out-compete with each other to show who was the most detached from reality, the Opposition leader, alleged rapist Bill Shorten, used the knighthood as an opportunity to renew the call for Australia to become a republic.
Now that I’ve submitted my citizenship application I’ve got a lot of sympathy for that idea, it makes a lot of sense in theory. The downside is that a republic would require the election, or worse, the appointment, of a head of state to ratify legislation and appoint governments following elections, etc.
Think that through for a moment. Now try to think of two or three candidates to be the inaugural President of Australia. Tricky, isn’t it? Australia’s not exactly crawling with elder statesmen or women renowned for their wisdom, wise counsel, gravitas and sober impartiality, is it?
Here’s my list of potential Australian El Presidentes;
- Paul Hogan
- Olivia Newton-John
- Gerry Harvey
- Gai Waterhouse
- Germaine Greer
- John Pilger
- Barry Humphreys
- Julian Burnside
- Jeff Fatt
- Angus Young
Who did you come up with?