Wentworth, or, How to Hang a Parliament

I’ve been meaning to do another ‘what the hell is going on in Australian politics this week’ post for a while, but I simply can’t keep up.  The ridiculousness just moves way too fast for me to keep up.

But since my computer has just died, and trying to read and synthesise dozens of tiny party policies is an absolute pain on my tiny travel laptop (I like having all the policies open at once in separate windows, so I can group them more readily, and you need a big screen for that), and since I’ve wound up having a day off to take my computer to the computer doctor (two hours with no news is hopefully good news for my data, at least); and since my US friends could probably use the distraction of someone else’s utterly ludicrous politics right now, I feel like now is a good time to catch people up on the most recent installment of Australia’s most popular new soap opera – Pollies  Behaving Stupidly.
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No, but seriously, what the hell is going on in Australian politics this week?

I have to say, this is not how I had planned to return to my politics blog.

But good God, Peter Dutton as Prime Minister?  I mean, I don’t even know where to start with this.  I’m torn between my personal revulsion and queasiness at the idea of someone who is this destructive and lacking in empathy as PM, and a certain awestruck astonishment at the sight of the Liberal Party apparently self-destructing before our eyes.  I mean, we thought the ALP was self-destructive and stupid back in 2013, but this is looking less and less like a spill and more like an actual split in the party.

I’m not going to attempt a lot of analysis here.  I have been at home with a nasty cold all week, my eyes glued to the ABC News channel and to Twitter, and I’m not sure how much analysis I am capable of.  But I feel like the situation is getting so convoluted that it’s worth trying to take a step back and write out the timeline.  Also, I’m feeling bad for all my overseas friends whose timelines have suddenly been taken over by Australians expressing visceral horror about potatoes, or incomprehensible glee about Section 44.

So this is going to be my attempt to disentangle the week’s events so far.  I’m going to make it as complete as I can, but there is just SO MUCH going on that I am bound to miss something.  And I’m fully aware that if this takes me two hours to write, I might miss a change of government, but hopefully this will not be too far out of date by the time I manage to post it.

Also, there will be links to sarcastic commentary because this is frankly a horror story, and I, for one, need a little bit of humour to cope.  And, after all, this whole situation would be genuinely hilarious, if it wasn’t the actual government of our country which affects actual people, and the punchline wasn’t the potential installation of a racist, conscienceless, cruelty-embracing, right-wing politician as our next Prime Minister.

Phew.

Now, this has all been brewing for a while, but I think I’ll start with Monday.  Because God knows, there is enough that has happened since then to keep us all on the edges of our seats.  But first, a little background.

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