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The Australian election has been a political sketch writer’s dream with pratfalls aplenty

“Suppository?” mouthed the Liberal candidate for Deakin questioningly to a room of the forgiving party faithful, bemused journalists, and campaign workers already implementing their damage management strategy.

Seconds prior, in arguably the most memorable moment of the Australian election so far, Liberal leader Tony Abbott had claimed in a speech that “No man is the suppository of all wisdom.” Quite the mental image.  

It was a buttock-clenching moment of political theatre, but by no means the only pratfall to grace this campaign. Despite its brevity, the lead-up to this Australian election has been full of glorious gaffes from all corners of the political spectrum. Here are the most toe-curling.


The viral star

Every election has its overnight sensation and 2013 is no exception. One Nation candidate Stephanie Banister’s interview with Channel Seven turned her from a suburban housewife (albeit one facing criminal charges for allegedly plastering anti-Islamic stickers on supermarket food) to a viral superstar. In a broad-ranging chat the mother of two claimed variously that Jews follow Jesus Christ, the government’s Disability Insurance Scheme was “working well” despite it not coming into effect until 2016 and that she didn’t know the names of any of the candidates she was running against.However, it was Banister’s comments about Islam that really got the world’s attention.

She was frank about her position from the outset: “I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I don’t think their laws should be welcome here in Australia.”Christened, perhaps unfairly, Australia’s Sarah Palin (unfair to Australia, because she isn’t a mainstream party candidate, and unfair to Palin, because even she isn’t that thick), Banister responded by claiming that, despite the interview being videotaped, the journalist had “twisted all my words” and made her out to look like a “stupid moron”.

The sex scandal

Sexting politicians have been all the rage in the news pages recently and Australia, as ever on trend, served up one of their own. Married Peter Dowling, Liberal Party member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly and head of the Ethics Committee, was caught sending lewd messages to his lover.

Among the array of saucy snaps Dowling sent was one of his penis in a glass of red wine. Dowling has since stepped down from his role on the Ethics Committee and said: “I owe my family an apology. I am sorry for the pain and embarrassment I caused you.”




Australian Election 2013: Highlights of the most embarrassing moments and pratfalls so far
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