2016 is here, and promises to be a year of intense competition. We’ve got national elections both at home and in the USA, the two-week carnivale of the Rio Olympics, and all those pending legal contests between hoverboard manufacturers and their unhappy purchasers.
It’s a year of big prizes, like the $2 billion American Powerball draw, and big disappointments, like that of just about everyone who entered it.
While nobody can truly predict the future, especially those unscrupulous people who’ll try to charge you for doing so, I’ve donned my Nostradomus hat and peered into my tisane leaves to try and forecast what’s likely to happen in the year that, whatever happens from here, can definitely be said to have followed on from 2015.
1. Australia will underperform at the Rio Olympics
While we will perform extremely well for a nation of 24 million people, it will not be enough for a public that is addicted to constant sporting victories. There will be a huge public outcry and a public tarring and feathering for any Olympian cheeky enough to return from Rio without at least one gold medal.
2. The 2016 federal election will be closer than expected…
The polls are far from close now, so anything resembling a contest will fulfil this prediction. Possible reasons for a tightening of the race might include yet another bout of internal instability (likely), the government’s apparent enthusiasm for increasing the GST (very likely) and the shock re-emergence of Godwin Grech (who can say?).
3. … But Malcolm Turnbull will be re-elected
In Wentworth, at least. And just in case that looks like I’m sitting on the fence, I’m tipping an increased majority – Wentworth loves a winner.
No, really – the Coalition’s likely to be re-elected unless it boldly pitches for major economic reform, with an increase in GST at its centrepiece that enables their opponents to run a scare campaign – so you can see why I thought the result might be closer than it looks now.
4. Tony Abbott will stay in Parliament
Believing that all he has to do to once again unseat Malcolm Turnbull is to sit and bide his time, a strategy which will only prove unsuccessful if Malcolm Turnbull remembers that this was the exact strategy he adopted against Abbott.
In the meantime, Abbott will spend the early part of the next parliamentary term writing a sequel to Battlelines. His defence of the Abbott government will be called Never Stopped Stopping Things.
5. ‘Shake it Off’ will top the Hottest 100 at last
But via Ryan Adams’ doleful cover version. Some wit will then mash up the two versions and take out the 2017 title as well.
6. Jon Snow will return in Game of Thrones Series 6
Because of course he will, probably courtesy of Melisandre’s freaky magic. The new series will be slightly less gory than the last one, and also slightly less interesting. Australians will still pirate it voraciously, but take far less joy in doing so.
7. The next book in George RR Martin’s series won’t appear by 31 December 2016
The Winds Of Winter will continue to prove that like winters in Westeros, Martin’s series has no regularity, can last for far longer than anybody expected, and may well never end.
8. John Farnham will celebrate the 14th anniversary of his ‘The Last Time’ tour
And will mark the occasion with a special commemorative tour, the ‘This Is The Last Time I Call A Tour The Last Time Tour Tour’.
9. Facebook will become completely autonomous
In mid-2016 the world’s most intrusive social network will stop needing our assistance, or asking our permission, to post baby photos, ‘like’ statuses that make us look politically correct, check into locations like first class lounges that make us look like we’re showing off, and posting long self-pitying screeds. It will also allow us to automatically reply to the latter with platitudes about how we really love the person and yay.
In 2017, we will completely outsource our entire emotional state to Facebook’s algorithms, and I for one will be glad about all the time that will save.
10. An explosion of public outrage will lead to Mark Latham leaving The Verdict
The outbreak will involve intense attacks on any or all of the following: middle class feminists, mental health conditions, Labor politicians past and present, people who live anywhere besides Western Sydney and people who live in Western Sydney but do not, in Mark Latham’s view, deserve to.
I feel, though, that the tea leaves are slightly unclear on this point – it’s also possible that the whole of The Verdict will be axed except Mark Latham, who will be given his own show.
11. The Twenty20 fad will wane
While it’s currently enjoying huge popularity, T20 will shortly prove too involved for our ever-diminishing attention spans. Instead, we’ll play a new version that lasts for no more than 45 minutes. Bowlers will bowl from both ends simultaneously, ‘tip ‘n run’ rules will apply, and fielders will be allowed to run out batters if they hit them with the ball while they’re running between wickets. The injuries will add a degree of danger that will help to make things more exciting.
12. Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination…
And do so comfortably, despite having taken policy positions that have appalled even many within his own party, for the simple reason that he is more famous and less boring than the rest of the field put together.
13. … And step aside for Hillary
Once Trump wins the nomination, he’ll finally look into what it means to be President of the United States and discover that he would be not only required to work full-time at a workplace without his name on the front in massive gold letters, but would be expected to place his assets in a blind trust. Yeah, nah.
14. At long last, Leonardo DiCaprio will win an Oscar
But only one for Best Costume Design for the work he did growing that beard for The Revenant. It’s so bushy that you can’t see his smirk, making this the greatest DiCaprio performance ever – a dizzying triumph of facial hair sculpture!
Also at this year’s Oscars, a woman who is a far better actor but gets paid a fifth of what he gets will win Best Actress. Probably Jennifer Lawrence so we can all guffaw at her wacky pratfalls yet again instead of treating her with the respect her talent ought to command.
15. The new iPhone 7 will be a mere 5mm deep
But will achieve this by needing to be charged every 15 minutes. Rumours of it losing a traditional headphone jack will come true, and it will also lose all buttons, the speaker, the camera and the microphone. Instead Siri will intelligently anticipate your needs and deliver any relevant content and services to you, which will work very well if all you want is an upgrade to the forthcoming iPhone 8, which will be 2mm thick and able to be folded for origami.
16. There will be a new cooking show
Undoubtedly the most inevitable of these predictions. I’m tipping a cooking/weight loss combo show which explains how to buy kale and instead of eating it, be sustained by sheer smugness alone.