Has the Aussie voting public disengaged?
THE HARD WORD | Australian MP Craig Emerson’s rendition of the Sky Hooks classic ‘Horror Movie’ went viral. But why the ridiculous, pre-meditated nonsense? Is it cheap PR? Or a desperate, far-fetched attempt to gain traction with a message, in an ever-demanding 24 hour news cycle?
AS A keen political follower I’m becoming more and more disinterested in the whole thing in Australia.
Is it just me or have they completely lost the plot? Why are we being exposed to such ordinariness, to such embarrassing claptrap by highly paid, elected members of parliament? Shouldn’t we the electorate stand up and say enough is enough? Or is the muted response simply confirmation that we the voting public well and truly switched off long ago?
Trade Minister Craig Emerson has long been considered by this scribe, no matter the political persuasion, as an intelligent, forthright, considered politician.
When asked to respond to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s comments that the small town of Whyalla would ‘be wiped off the map’ if the Government’s carbon tax was implemented, Mr Emerson broke out on live television in a rendition of Sky Hooks’s 1975 classic ‘Horror Movie’.
As the 57-year-old bopped away waiting for his cue to enter, The Hard Word looked on in horror (fitting, really) at this car-crash TV, which only got worse once he opened his mouth. Singing in tune is not something any of us are capable of at the best times, but to say this was woefully out of tune would be entirely generous.
The condemnation, and laughter came thick and fast from across the globe.
Only in March last year, Liberal Senator Mary Jo Fisher secured her own slice of, well, call it what you will, when she denounced the Government’s climate change policy with a similarly cringeworthy rendition of children’s song the ‘Hokey Pokey’.
As she twirled her hips, the South Australian sang that “you put petrol in, you take petrol out, you put petrol in and you shake the tax about”.
The condemnation was rightly flung at Senator Fisher, who will resign from politics next month after being reported by police for shoplifting for a second time.
But why the ridiculous, pre-meditated nonsense? Cheap PR? A desperate, far-fetched attempt to gain traction with a message, in an ever-demanding 24 hour news cycle?
Is this really the level that politics has reduced itself to? For this scribe, it’s impossible to ignore the sense that people have simply switched off from their politicians because, well, they just don’t trust them. Legitimate messages are being completely missed as politicians desperately search for their 20 second soundbite on television.
But is this nothing more than an indictment on modern media. Is it our fault that videos like these go viral within a matter of hours? Is it our fault that this clip would have received more coverage in the days following the ‘incident’, than any considered discussion?
Not at all.
The media has a duty to report the news of the day, stories that matter, and of course in any news environment this story would gain serious leverage. If a Government minister, or any backbencher for that matter, breaks out in song, the public has a right to be informed where they can make up their own minds as to the validity of such an exercise.
But the message will be forgotten quickly, and replaced with: “Craig Emerson, that’s the politician that sung that Sky Hooks song a while back.”
It did more for Sky Hooks than any point-scoring about, wait… what was Mr Emerson singing about again?