Strange Politics: Devils, cows and a goldfish
FROM trouser-dwelling devils to swapping cattle ships for leaky refugee boats, the animal kingdom has been thoroughly dragged through the mud in this week's election race.
First a quick description of the Tasmanian devil: a tumour-plagued critter with bone-crushingly powerful jaws which can eat up to 40% of its body weight in a single day.
Not the kind of beast you would like near your big toe, but North Queensland Liberal MP George Christensen would rather fill his pants with the ravenous creatures than make nice with hippies.
Responding to Labor ads claiming he was making deals with the Great Unwashed Greens, Christensen set the record straight in typically colourful fashion.
"I would rather shove two Tasmanian Devils on heat down my pants or eat mung beans for the rest of my life (it's on par with the Tassie Devils thing!) than do a deal with the Greens," he wrote on Facebook. This should come as no surprise.
In 2014, Christensen told parliament "the greatest terrorism threat in North Queensland, I'm sad to say, comes from the extreme green movement". So he would likely get a better reception from devils in his undergarments than a Byron Bay drum circle anyway.
Then there was our resident would-be pooch assassin, who prolonged his war of words with counterfeit pirate Johnny Depp.
We have all seen the to-and-fro: Depp told US talk show host Jimmy Kimmell that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce looked like he was inbred with a tomato and might explode at any moment. There was no explosion, only an admission from Joyce that he now suffers from vegetable body dysmorphia.
Joyce was also hounded for linking Labor's 2011 moratorium on live cattle exports to Indonesia to an influx of refugees coming to Australia. He did not explicitly say the Indonesian Government had purposely let them float to our shores in retaliation, but he came pretty close. He later told Channel Seven he was "just stating the bleeding obvious".
Indonesia's former foreign minister said the claim was "patently false". Presumably, Joyce's comments would not curry much favour with the Indonesian Government either. But he notched up a (less published) win against his main opponent in his campaign to keep the seat of New England, independent Tony Windsor. A video has emerged of Windsor telling a public forum this week he never voted against live animal exports. He did. And it is on the record.
Perhaps the most difficult viewing of this week's seething menagerie came from Australia's political equivalent to a goldfish, poor (not in the monetary sense) old David Feeney. Fresh off a ghastly week of being outed for not declaring his negatively geared $2.3 million house, the Labor frontbencher had several other embarrassing memory slips. He fumbled his way through a Sky News interview, unable to answer whether a Labor government would restore the expiring schoolkids' bonus.
Interview said and done, Feeney left the Sky News studio but forgot to take with him a bunch of confidential Labor policy documents. Someone handed them to the Daily Telegraph, and so pitiable old Feeney's horrible week got even worse. Hopefully, he will have forgotten it by Monday.
Strange Politics is a satirical column. Follow Chris Calcino on Twitter: @ChrisCalcino