Well, we’re only a week and a half into the election campaign, and I’m already bored to tears. I have to follow this stuff intimately for work, unfortunately. If, like me, you don’t have the capacity to simply switch off the television like most Australians, why not adopt one of my patented methods of entertaining yourself during Campaign 2007?
1) Heckle John Howard: He may be down in the polls, but our indefatigable PM is still power walking every morning, giving joggers the perfect opportunity to give John Howard a piece of their mind. If Kevin Rudd becomes PM, he won’t do anything as spontaneous and non-media managed as walking through a public place every morning, so take advantage while Howard is still around. Democracy has never been so direct.
2) Play the Kevin Rudd drinking game: It’s easy! Every time Kevin07’s speaking and his dextrous tongue darts out to wet those silvery lips of his, you have to wet your own lips with a sip of your drink. Be thankful there are no more 90-minute debates, or you’d be drunker than a night out at Scores with Col Allan. Note the optional, quite gross rule: like the infamous YouTube video, the loser in the game has to pick their ear and eat it.
3) Marvel at the Steve Fielding video blog: All the parties are trying to embrace Web 2.0, and Steve Fielding has done his bit with a range of fascinating videos. Although I don’t know that forcing your family to appear in your embarrassing clips necessarily counts as putting them first, you can watch enthralled as Steve’s daughter wins Best & Fairest for her soccer club, and his son wins a swimming race. Yep, as the videos prove, Fielding really is a fair dinkum ordinary Australia. With emphasis on the ordinary.
4) Bet on the election: Aussies love to gamble even when it isn’t good for them, and the election’s a much simpler field than the Melbourne Cup. Rudd’s miles ahead – is it an easy profit, or does John Howard represent the chance to win a motza? The good news is that anything you wager you’ll get back in tax cuts.
5) Remember Paul Keating: This campaign could desperately use a bit less spin and a bit more Keatingesque wit. Kevin Rudd has never, in his entire political career, said anything as entertaining as these quotes, more’s the pity. He’s also the only person who’s really taken on the Liberals over the unions. Then again, Mark Latham was a dab hand with the insults, and look where it got him.
6) Recalculate your mortgage repayments: This isn’t exactly fun, but it’ll certainly wake you up a bit if the latest glib Kmail has put you to sleep. When you’ve worked out how exactly much a 0.25 per cent rise will hurt you, why not calculate the impact of the 0.5 per cent and 0.75 per cent that will inevitably follow as the cash handouts from both parties drive up inflation?
7) Find embarrassing Peter Garrett lyrics: This is one of the Coalition’s favourite pastimes. Pull out those old Oil LPs and find the lyric that is most at odds with the new, meek, spin-controlled Garrett. For me, given Labor’s recent awkwardness over the US alliance, it’s hard to go past “US forces give the nod, it’s a setback for your country”.
8) Play “Where’s Ally?”: Every day, why not skim the newspapers and see if you can find any mention of Democrats leader Lynn Allison? Caution – while every page of the Where’s Wally? books features Wally somewhere, most pages of the newspaper do not.
9) Sing along with Pauline Hanson: Pauline’s never been only about the race-baiting – she’s also big on the flag-draping. So why not enjoy her song The Australian Way Of Life here? Recorded with boyfriend Chris Callaghan, it’s a little clunkier than I am, you are, we are Australian. But it definitely owes a certain intellectual debt to fellow guitar-wieldin’ politician Bob Roberts.
10) Start a worm farm: Pay tribute to the most interesting story of the campaign so far (which isn’t saying much) by raising some controversial worms of your own. You can order everything you need from WormMan‘s worm farm store. Then settle the question once and for all by seeing whether the Liberal Party, National Press Club or ABC tries to stop you.