Show reveals the bitterness that lingers in Liberal ranks
By Jenna Clarke
There is nothing better than politicians off the leash.
Which, together with a menacing soundtrack and ridiculous re-enactments, is what political TV specials usually offer up.
They are the Mad Monday of the Canberra bubble, minus the weird dress-up code, 13 too many drinks and (alleged) public urination.
But political nerds will (figuratively) wet themselves over the Bad Blood, New Blood series, new project by universally respected reporter David Speers which premieres on Sky News tonight.
In a sign that most of us have become accustomed to political spin and pollies who talk around topics instead of about them, the first two minutes of the project will smack you in the face with as much vigour as a drunken Real Housewife at a dinner party.
Peter Dutton opens the first of the two-part series and is, in Urban Dictionary parlance, off the chain.
The Home Affairs Minister, bolstered by his re-election victory, does not hold back about the turmoil which tore the Liberal Party apart last year.
The bloke who failed to get the numbers back in August unleashes on former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull like Conor McGregor in a cage fight.
“He chose to leave in a way that John Howard never would. In a way that Kevin Rudd didn’t, in a way Julia Gillard didn’t and it was done simply out of spite,” Mr Dutton said.
The acerbic Christopher Pyne is also in fine form, serving up soundbites that are as biting as his trademark gin and tonics.
His most bitter comments are about Dutts, claiming that selecting the former Queensland cop as leader would have been “electoral suicide”.
“The leader has to be someone who has broad appeal and Peter Dutton, for all of his great talents, doesn’t,” Mr Pyne smirked.
Sixteen minutes into this deliciously dramatic show, which is similar to the ABC’s The Killing Season in the way it dissected the turbulent Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years, and it dawns on you.
This isn’t a reality show.
We are the judges who get to vote these people in and out every three years.
We are the ones who fund their generous salaries. And yet they act like the token international celebrity guest judge on a top-rating talent show, like combative, self-centred and poorly dressed divas.
Throughout Bad Blood, New Blood we see some politicians treat actual politics as a game of chess, except they’re hollow kings and queens and we — the voters — are the pawns.
If politicians, at all levels, took as much pleasure in serving the interests of all Australians — white, LGBT, indigenous, new arrival et al — as they appear to do in gossiping about each other, we’d be a lot better off.
Stop with the navel gazing. Stop being one-dimensional talking heads. Swear if you want, tell us how you really feel, cry even. Just be human from the minute you step inside those chambers when the 46th Parliament convenes next week.
Thankfully the growing number of women joining parliamentary ranks may just shake up the stuffy robots in suits vibe.
It’s already happening at a State level in Victoria where firecracker Independent MP Fiona
Patten fired up recently.
When hearing the news that One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts had been re-elected to the Senate she got on her virtual soapbox.
Despite spelling his name incorrectly, the leader of the Reason Party — the party formerly known as the Sex Party — bashed out a statement which read:
“You’re f…ing kidding me right? Not that climate-change denying, weirdo, conspiracy theorist. What a d….”
When discussing the hullabaloo engulfing the union movement and the actions of CFMEU Victoria boss John Setka, one female Labor MP said something to The West so profound it should be etched in stone: “I think the whole country is over all these blokes swinging their d…. around.”
Another free-spirited, free-speaking firebrand is Jacqui Lambie, who is returning to the Senate after she quit Parliament in 2017 due to being a dual citizen.
Her renaissance will add some much-needed colour, realness and texture to the political discourse. Hopefully Lambie’s straight-talking, passionate rhetoric will drown out the dog whistling and whinging of the increasingly desperate One Nation party.
Not many people, even legitimately famous folk, have been able to revive their careers after a stint on reality television or after making more gaffes on commercial radio than Kyle Sandilands, but she has.
But the woman who has been described as “feisty” and “an absolute force of nature” by former colleagues has been unusually quiet in the lead up to her political return.
She’s a rare celebrity in Canberra circles so here’s hoping she doesn’t watch Bad Blood, New Blood and wants to get out of there.