“Are you having a laugh?”


A young chap who looked like a surfer dude (Everybody’s going surfing, surfing Toorak”) said the following to me as I offered him a Labor how-to-vote card yesterday:

Are you having a laugh?

In response, I’d like to say the following:


Other memorable moments from election day:

1. Peter Costello turning up to the booth wearing a baseball cap (hey, not much happens at polling booths unless you live in Wentworth).

2. Stephen Mayne bothering to turn up (the current count has the Crikey chap and perpetual candidate possessing 1,239 votes).

2. The lovely Green lady’s exasperation at the obvious disinterest in her party by the youngsters in the electorate.

3. The lovely 80-year-old Liberal lady who kept me entertained for several hours with her tales of life. While her politics were rank, she was a reminder of how much members of the older generation have a commitment to civic engagement.

4. Far away from the seat of Higgins, the voters of Dobell gave a resounding idiot taxeating what the @&?” to a certain blogosphere identity. The said identity (currently on 149 votes) is just ahead of the Citizens Electoral Council.  Kent Brockman’s wrong, democracy does work.

Posted in elections, federal election '07, politics
72 comments on ““Are you having a laugh?”
  1. Snurb says:

    Also having a laugh: that cosmic joker, Christopher Pyne. Fresh from (probably) surviving a 6.4% swing that leaves him on a margin of less than 1%, apparently he’s looking to run for deputy opposition leader. Talk about hubris.

  2. Paul Burns says:

    The Cult of Julia. I thought the reaction of the crowd at the tally-room was amazing. It seems everybody loves this classy woman and I can see why. Not surprising the Right wing ideologues were bad-mouthing them. She must scare the hell out of them.
    Obviously this election was seen by a lot of us as very important by a lot of people, especially the kids. And it was fun to watch. Pity Anthony Green and Kerry O’Brien didn’t have a bit more sense of the historical occasionb and just go with it graciously, even if it did make their job a little bit harder.

  3. Beppie says:

    I’ve already posted about this in another comment, but…

    My most memorable moment handing out HTVs for the Greens in Bennelong: I got to (politely) snark John Howard when he turned up at our booth. 😀 I said, “I hope you have a good night Mr. Howard, but I hope Mr. Rudd has a better one!”

    A friend of mine from New Zealand was very shocked (but pleased) that I’d be so cheeky to the PM!

    From the non-snarky memorable moments, I also had a brief chat with Robyn Peebles, the Christian Democrats candidate– now, I disagree with the CDP on just about all their policies, and given that I was handing out for the Greens, that must have been pretty obvious to her. I said hello to her because she knows a good friend of mine, and because I’d seen her speak at a community forum a couple of weeks ago, where she came across as friendly and likeable. As our polite and fairly a-political chat ended, she clapped me on the shoulder, and said “Good on you!”– and I could tell she was completely genuine, and that she thought it was great that I was doing what I believed in. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. 🙂

  4. Paul Burns says:

    Ooops. badmouthing her – not them

  5. mbahnisch says:

    Julia G got a very big reception at the party last night – in fact Rudd’s biggest cheers were for mentioning Maxine and Julia and mentioning the ALP and the union movement (at last!) It was good to see Anna Bligh briefly on the teev too. We now have a Labor regime with some very very smart women in prominent positions, which I think is just peachy…

  6. zoot says:

    Costello would have to be the most successful invertebrate ever.

  7. LuckyPhil says:


  8. LuckyPhil says:


  9. Enemy Combatant says:

    Paul, wonderful to note that your anxieties have been assuaged:)

    And $ubprime $weetie has just announced that he will become the Coalition Leader that never was. Petit Mal’s got it on a platter. Too easy.

  10. Niz says:

    I just had a vision of Howard booking the Ramones to play the Liberal Party Function…. “Go to hell you old bastard” “Hey I think they liked us” “Have the Rolling Stones killed”

  11. Paul Burns says:

    Thanks, Enemy Combatant.
    I’m sort of walking on air.The Senate is a bit of a worry but I think we can work our way through that.

  12. mbahnisch says:

    Speaking of Wentworth, I don’t know if it’s funny or ironic, but after all the soap opera stuff swirling around Dani Ecuyer, her vote was miniscule.

  13. Enemy Combatant says:

    Yes,Paul, I still feel numb too. Re The Senate; the threat of a double diss could be just what’s required to get legislation through. Be fascinating to see Team Tin-Tin play hardball on this.

  14. skribeforti says:

    Paul Kelly on Insiders this morning was basically an advertisement: I’ll whore myself for you too, Mr Rudd, sir.

  15. Enemy Combatant says:

    True, Mark, pity Newhouse failed under the close-ups, but even a much stronger candidate would have struggled against Petit Mal’s mega-funded juggernaut.

  16. Paul Burns says:

    Enemy Combatant,
    I wouln’t want to be the Coalition. You can see the glint of steel in Gillard’s right eye, and we already know Rudd has iron in the soul. If GBW is still around then he’ll see some real politicians made of steel, istead of the usual congo line of suck-holes he’s been used to dealing with.
    Looking at the players, Rudd, Gillard on one side, whatever mad Lib they’d make leader on the other, I wouldn’t try to pull a 1975.
    This lot are knife-men, not pussy-cats, and since they’re dealing it out to the right I kind of like it.
    In any case, the Libs have nowhere else to go now but to the centre. Howard, by pulling them to the mad right, has destroyed them.

  17. Gaz says:


    Costello has applied to join the Labor Party,and will challenge Rudd for the leadership.

  18. Peter Hollo says:

    Haha Gaz 🙂

    I hope the Greens get together another Senate seat after the rest is counted… Having to push everything/anything past Xenophon and Fielding sounds like gruelling work otherwise.

  19. tyro rex says:

    Peter Hollo @ 19 … there are other options apart from Xenophon and Fielding … for example, Barnyard Joyce might be able to be prised off the Nationals now and then. Possibly the Nationals as a whole will be worth dealing with on certain bills.

  20. zorronsky says:

    Paul there is no centre or anything else in that general direction from where ratty has shipwrecked them. I feel some very nasty neocon moments coming on.’72–’75 style.

  21. John Ryan says:

    Went off and voted early, first people I struck were the Libs,told him I did not vote for war criminals,don,t think it went down well.
    Watched the count on Sky and ABC,loved every minute,hoping to see Ackerman but no joy,Insiders was interesting this morning,Costello has always been a gutless wonder,Keating had him down pat.
    I will listen to 6pr tomorrow might be an interesting show.
    Great to be a Labour supporter and voter

  22. Megan says:

    The icing on the cake was Ratty’s own Fokker plane in a roaring tailspin, roiling black smoke in its headlong spiral down to earth. We all squealed with delight! Maxine McKew had gunned him down. What an Ace! And what a great grinning set of shark-teeth jaws!

  23. Mark Hill says:

    I’m not even smirking yet.

    1. Where are the razor gangs?

    2. Can we have Federalism back?

    3. When will Rudd repeal the apalling ASIO Act?

  24. Pavlov's Cat says:

    ‘You can see the glint of steel in Gillard’s right eye’

    Oh, is that what it was. I noticed that her eyes seemed to be getting sparklier and sparklier as the night went on, but I thought it was just glee. One of the mates I was watching with said she looked like Elizabeth I — white gauze late-Renaissance collar, red hair, beaky profile and, yes, now that you mention it, steely gaze.

    My insider spies say the Libs hate Turnbull and will never accept him as leader. Which leaves them a gaggle of unelectables.

  25. Mark Hill says:

    John Ryan – Keating may have had him down pat but Micallef’s rambling impersonation was awesome.

  26. My insider spies say the Libs hate Turnbull and will never accept him as leader. Which leaves them a gaggle of unelectables.

    lawks a lordy, I hope that’s true…

    well I think everyone at ForBattle has been doing an internal version of the Dance of Joy since we all ate too much turkey and sipped too much chardonnay like the socialists we apparently are. the physical manefestation of the afore-mentioned is just way too hard right now 😉


  27. Sam Ward says:

    I had a good laugh on election day. Spent a fair bit of time chatting with the guys handing out HTV cards and interrogating them as to why they put me where they did, seeing as none of the parties have heard of us.

    Labor had me 3rd and the Libs 4th, so I returned the favor and preferenced Labor, but WA swung towards to libs anyway and Michael Keenan got up in Stirling.

  28. Enemy Combatant says:

    “In any case, the Libs have nowhere else to go now but to the centre.”

    Yes, Paul, The days of The Mad Monk, The Uglies and Tory Neocon-Lovers are numbered. Petit Mal is hot to trot. He is acceptable to wets and basket weavers. Malcolm also speaks the language of the big end of town. Brendon Nelson is an imbecile, Julie Bishop has an “intensity problem”, $weetie’s sulking and soon for bailing altogether. Brough is gone. Nicholls Minchin is indelibly stained with IR and poor dear darling Eddixinder Diner seems a tad forlorn and was never leadership material anyway. There’s nobody else; the cupboard is bare.

    Either the tories do an ALP/DLP hara-kiri divide, or have a civilised leadership “contest” for pulic consumption before slipping the shadow crown to Petit Mal.

  29. wasjotoo says:

    “Petit Mal is hot to trot. He is acceptable to wets and basket weavers.”

    Very cruel to basket weavers E.C.
    Just hope that his tactics, to win, are investigated.
    It was not a good look for democracy let alone for a prospective opposition leader.

  30. David Rubie says:

    Since Costello has bowed out, their only option is to give Downer another go, then knife him with someone better later on, when the tortured souls of the deep right build up enough bad ju-ju. For this, Ruddocks still beating heart, wrapped in rags and in a coffin somewhere in Berowra, will need to be exhumed and further exhortations made upon it. Alex Hawke, step up you evil hearted little bastard, for your time has come to destroy the Liberal party once and for all. If he hasn’t got a 666 birthmark somewhere on his scalp I’ll eat my mouse.

  31. Enemy Combatant says:

    Some of my closest acquaintances are basket weavers, wasjotoo. Their manual dexterity remains an ongoing source of inspiration.

  32. Jack Robertson says:

    “I had a good laugh on election day.”

    Good on you for having a go, Sam.

  33. Katz says:

    The election defeat is terribly tragic for Mr Downer.

    Mr Downer, it should be remembered, compelled the third resurrection of Mr Howard with his killingly witty “things that batter” quip.

    Who besides Mr Downer would have been able to find the humour inherent in wife beating? And look at the reward he got.

    And now Mr Downer has outlasted Mr Howard, recognising that his beloved Liberal Party is, as he might say in his own native language, “vers le haut de la crique de merde sans palette.”

  34. David Rubie says:

    I should probably add that Australia must be the only country on earth that would elect somebody called “Kevin” as their Prime Minister. Egalitarian, that’s us.

  35. Gaz says:

    I’ve had enough of Rudd already,already unemployments going up.Costello’s resigned from being the over worked opposition leader already.Bring back Howard.

  36. jinmaro says:

    Hate or its absence has never been a factor in either the Liberal or Labor Party in deciding on leadership. Downer and Costello probably hated Howard but the more important factors in play were fear and form. Fear was the major reason why Howard remained effectively unchallenged by Costello et al.

    The real questions are who can be the most successful leader vis a vis the political opposition and/or who has the most fear-inspiring factional bullies to enforce their will.

  37. Tim Hollo says:

    “Petit Mal”! OMG, Enemy Combatant, is that an original? Tremendous. I do so hope it sticks!

  38. Enemy Combatant says:

    Thanks, Tim. I think it suits him. A certain “je ne sais quoi” pompousity in a strutting bantam frame.

  39. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    Check this out before it’s taken off


  40. mick says:

    The best bit was, you know, winning.

  41. Mark Hill says:

    Enough with the laughter comrades, where are the razor gangs?

  42. Enemy Combatant says:

    Undoubtedly, Sir Henry, your duties to the Fourth Estate have kept you rather busy lately, but you clearly havn’t been putting in the hard yards on the political blogs. The Domain link is a tad “vieux chapeau”, dear boy.

    Btw, has Mr. Strocchi, aka Jack Strocchi, aka “Stroccers”, former LP habitue and “known” ideologue of the “Rightist” persuasion, paid up on the Bennelong bet yet? Jack always “played hard-done good” but you sold him a beautiful blind-side dummy with that one.

  43. Sir Henry Casingbroke says:

    Leave me alone please, EC, I have a headache.

    JS hangs out at Prof Quiggin’s. And once the postals are in (I note, with interest, that Lib scrutineers have not turned up for duty at counting of Bennelong votes, that must tell us something!) and Maxi is officially badged, I’ll go over and quietly tap him on the shoulder for the brick (or $50, depending on which thread). Then Centrebet for the $750. Ka-ching.

  44. Enemy Combatant says:

    Nice little earner, Sir H. Hope it’s a good kind of headache and not one of those other kind. Nighty night.

  45. Darlene says:

    Tee hee, Beppie you lucky bugger getting to say that to the man himself.

    Good riddance to Costello. I never thought he was going to win over the public. That line that the result would have been different with him in charge is bollocks.

    I bet it was the champers causing that sparkle in Julia’s eyes (oh, and the win). Julia’s hair looked quite nice also.

    Julia’s an impressive woman. She’s got authority. Chix with authority always scare the old boys.

  46. Graham Bell says:

    One of the funniest events, on the eve of the election, would have been the encounter, which Kevin Rudd avoided, with Michael Johnson [Ryan Qld; Liberals] in a shopping centre. Wonder how the media claque would have reported a spirited political exchange between the two in Mandarin Chinese? Note-taking in abbreviated Caoshu cursive perhaps? 😀 L-O-L!!

  47. Tony D says:

    The thing that keeps bringing a smile to my face is that if Howard had resigned a year or so ago he probably would have been remembered as the greatest post-WWII PM. Serious gravy-train-for-life on the pundit circuit stuff.

    And another nice thing is that with such a resounding defeat, we’ll have quite a while until he gets opine airtime like other ex-PMs.

    Although I think the most disappointing performance of the night was Kevin Rudd, the sound-bite man.

  48. Darlene says:

    Howard’s speech was good. I’d say history will be kind to him, but history is generally written by Labor supporters.

    Rudd is not a charasmatic man, Tony D, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

  49. Tony D says:

    And the line that had the room in hysterics was “John Howard has left Kirribilli House and is on his way to the Wentworth Hotel”.

  50. Tomas says:

    the title “Are you having a laugh?” is just wonderful. I’m asking myself who do I laugh so rarely?
    Unfortunately, it’s not hard to answer. It’s enough just to remind who am I – I am the lucky guy who has survived after his head bones crash-was returned to life again (experienced the miracle)but live on disability pension that don’t allow to laugh – enables just be grateful for being alive… the same spirit inhabits us all and the same wonderland is awaiting us all, but we all live in different countries with different well being and different conditions to survive. What makes laugh one causes just sad smile to other.
    No, I am not complaining. It’s deep night in Lithuania as I am writing to you. It’s dark and raining outside and the nearest future promises nothing to enjoy, but mu pictures aren’t dark – I share the gratitude and it comes out of itself. In case I would live in your country, my life may have different form: my pictures receives good feedbacks and I have some recognition, but that means totally nothing in Lithuania – my earnings are just zero, and all my sharing are totally for a free – hoping to meet the benefactor who would cover my Internet fees… Can the beggar smile? Wow, they smile much more than our politics, who talk … nice nonsenses.
    “Are you having a laugh?” I hope to laugh – and I am even grateful at a moment while writing to you. That’s the truth. While writing to you I cease the talking with my walls and even hope to get your response. People laugh when they have a fellowship, but it’s very hard to laugh if we stay alone. That’s why I so love the blogging.

  51. Darlene says:

    Hi Tomas,

    The title (Are you having a laugh?) actually comes from a catchprase from an English TV program.

    I am sorry to read of the accident you had (I presume it was a car accident). Sorry to read that life is tough for you. I have no idea what the Lithuanian welfare system is like (a good friend of mine has spent some time in your country and she has a strong interest in its politics).

    “People laugh when they have a fellowship, but it’s very hard to laugh if we stay alone. That’s why I so love the blogging.”

    That’s a lovely sentiment. Thanks for it.

  52. Paul Burns says:

    Yes, a totally discredited Howard. Ain’t that lovely. I keep on expecting him to physically strike out at the Chaser as he goes on his morning walk, as they taunt him. And at the moment, he must continue these sham walks. despite the fact nobody cares anymore (except the Chaser)because if he does not, stopping the walks will be seen as an admission of complete personal as well as political defeat. I have no mercy for this man because he had no mercy for his people. Even his “great” moments were political play-acting. (I did eniugh acting in my younger days to recognise bad acting when I see it.)I get a lot of fun out of this.
    Hope you are okay. Keep posting.

  53. Darlene says:

    Paul, were you a thespian?

  54. Darlene says:

    Oh and Graham Bird’s vote is now standing at 155. I guess there was a footy club who spent the day on the booze and then voted on their way home.

  55. Paul Burns says:

    Yes. Had my own little theatre company in Sydney in the early seventies. Did Beckett, Albee, Shaw, Horowitz, Pinter etc. Mostly directed. I’m a terrible actor, but didn’t used to be a bad public speaker and performance poet till my lungs packed up.

  56. Enemy Combatant says:

    “Yes. Had my own little theatre company in Sydney in the early seventies.”

    Ah, Paul, how wonderful was Sydney then, young hearts bursting with dreams and possibilities. When we were kings.

  57. sam says:

    I agree with Tony #48. Rudd’s speech was absolutely awful. The brief happiness one felt after seeing Howard outed, both as PM and in his seat, came to a crashing halt very quickly as soon as Rudd took to the podium. So, this is what Australia’s future looks like: Rudd’s arrogance, cliches, and complete lack of sincerity? He did much to confirm in those brief few minutes why many of us did not want him as prime minister. It was absolutely disgusting that he had the hide to mention Bernie Banton, and once again shows his complete lack of principles.

    And now we have Julia Gillard being described in today’s press as the left’s conscience in government?

    God help us all.

  58. tigtog says:

    Goodness, Sam – it wasn’t that bad. Pedestrian and cliched? Sure. Arrogant and insincere? No: just somewhat uncharismatic, which while a bit disappointing is far from the worst thing in the world. I’m with Mercurius, he needs to stick to the script from some decent speechwriters.

    The nods to Bernie Banton and the union movement both got a huge cheer at the pub I was in. Unprincipled? I very much doubt it. Rudd knows exactly what he owes the unions and made sure they got their mention, and Banton deserved acknowledgement and got it as well.

    Sure, Rudd isn’t radical enough for my tastes, but we knew that a year ago. There are still some genuine leftie voices in the party – we’ll just have to see how they manage to make themselves heard.

  59. Darlene says:

    Ahh, but the trouble is that Rudd has to appeal to “all” (all Australians, where have we heard that before?). If Rudd was radical enough for our tastes, he never would have won.

  60. tigtog says:

    Too true, Darlene. I’d rather he is who he is and has seen off Howard, than be the radical force for social justice who could never have got the LibNats out of government. It’s not ideal, but it’s a lot better than the alternative.

  61. Paul Burns says:

    Ah, EC. Now its our kids and grandchildrens’ turn, and if last Saturday or the campaign against Hanson when she first emerged are anything to go by, they’re going to make us mighty proud. One of the main reasons Howard lost was because the kids didn’t want him. And his nasty little attempt to disenfranchise them didn’t work.
    And, while I’m critcal of Rudd, I agree with Karz. Batter any Labor PM than more of He Who Shall never Be Named Again.

  62. Katz says:

    Several owners of great estates in 18th century England employed “Ornamental Hermits”

    According to one devotee of Ornamental eccetrics, “[n]othing … could give such delight to the eye, as the spectacle of an aged person, with a long grey beard, and a goatish rough robe, doddering about amongst the discomforts and pleasures of Nature.”

    Ornamental Hermits were employed to evoke in the minds of persons who gathered to view them a sense of strangeness and otherness, and a sense of the passage of time and the mutability of culture since time immemorial.

    I mention this interesting fact because I believe that Mr Rudd has an opportunity to establish a very educational hermitage at Kirribilli House. Mr and Mrs Howard could be employed by the Federal Government on behalf of the people of Australia to live out the rest of their lives at Kirribilli House as hermits.

    Visitors to the Kirribilli Hermitage could foregather around the windows of the mansion and witness the antic behaviour of its quaint denizens as they played out the archaic rituals of a long dead world.

    And Mr and Mrs Howard can go on living in their happiest place.

  63. Paul Burns says:

    And I agree with trigtog and Darlene. I get all mixed up here sometimes.

  64. Darlene says:

    Audrey Apple (using her presumably real name of Clementine Ford) has written an article for The Sunday Mail about Gen Y and Kev. She argues in part (alas, it’s not available online) that:

    If you happen upon a successions of horrendously hungover young folk today, drowning in pools of their own despair, chances are that Australia remains under the cold, hard thumb of Howard. If this is the case, expect a mass exodus quick smart as my amigos and I make good on our promises to hightail it straight to New Zealand, applications for citizenship firmly in hand.

    Yeah, we pretty much hate living under a Coalition government.

    “Mr and Mrs Howard could be employed by the Federal Government on behalf of the people of Australia to live out the rest of their lives at Kirribilli House as hermits.”

    Tee hee, not a bad idea, Katz.

  65. FDB says:

    I was stoked to the max with the win, then 2 minutes into Kev’s speech I was heckling the projector screen.

    I had to wait 15 minutes for a single frickin joke. The man is desperately in need of writers and an acting coach. It probably doesn’t really matter in the washup after the election (although a good time to start), but I hope it gets sorted soon. I’ve been waiting since PJK for a PM who’s actually engaging to hear talking.

  66. anthony says:

    By our gravity do we rise and by our levity do we fall, FDB.

    That said, classic PJK on the news last night with some stunning emplyment of comic timing

    “Do you feel any sympathy for the PM?”


    [looks down,

    ponders for a moment,

    flexes mouth]


  67. Paul Burns says:

    Trouble with these ornanental 18c hermits, they were paid reasonably well as well as paid in kind with food.
    Now I’d be prepared to employ Mr. and Mrs. They Who Shall Never Be Named Again so long as they were prepared to sign a collective agreement and undertake to sue me for unfair dismissal if they ever got sacked. I would be prepared to accept them as volunteers, but they would never be so humiliated as to be asked to Work for the Dole. Nor would I breach their Centrelink payments if I had to sack them because of their attitudinal problems to taking orders.If any of this is contradictory, who cares?

  68. FDB says:

    “By our gravity do we rise and by our levity do we fall, FDB.”

    Well I must say I’m surprised to hear that from you Anthony. A lovely arse-about metaphor though, which (perhaps unwittingly, or are you 2 steps ahead of me again?) makes the point I was trying to nicely. I don’t need fucking knock-knock gags, just exactly this sort of pithiness.

  69. Tony D says:

    He Who Shall Never Be Named Again = The Ex-Politician (Formerly Known As Howard)

    Boom, boom.

    FDB is spot on re Rudd’s performance. The other option is to keep him to sound-bites only, let Julia do the talking and then hope no-one notices. Better Rudd speech writing is essential either way.

  70. Mindy says:

    Of course the catch with being a hermit was that your employment contract lasted for 7 years and you only got paid at the end of it. How’s that for an AWA?

  71. Darlene says:

    Tony, I guess John’s just a member of the mob now.

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