Strange Politics: Oddball campaign moves like eating Dumbo
THE pursuit of votes and political donations is taking some peculiar twists as the election campaign drags on, and on, and on...
Easily the week's greatest oddball donation-garnering technique came from the Liberal Democrats, who fashioned an online "spend-O-meter" - a gimmicky Wheel of Fortune-esque affair that generates random fake spending promises from the major parties.
A quick visit to the website spat out such gems as "The Greens are proud to pledge $300 billion for agile and innovative duck crossings for Aussie families" and a $100,000 Coalition promise to buy "fluffy edible jetpacks to stop the boats".
This is from the same party that last year issued a "hurt feelings complaint form" in response to an apparent rising level of "butt hurt" about Liberal-Democrat policies.
One of the checklist subcategories included party leader David Leyonhjelm "told me to f**k off", which he has been known to do on occasion.
"Should anything any of us do, say, think or look like we're thinking of doing or saying cause your knickers to bunch unceremoniously please feel free to fill out one of our handy complaints forms," it counselled.
Labor could do with some better-targeted panhandling efforts.
About an hour and a half before Wednesday night's State of Origin clash, an email from NSW Labor arrived in my inbox telling me: "Now, we don't think we are better than our colleagues in Queensland... but the truth is, we are."
Wrong audience, mate.
The misguided fools tried to solicit some cash so they could beat Queensland Labor in their State of Origin donation drive.
Misplaced confidence simmering over, they promised southern statesman Anthony Albanese and proud northerner Wayne Swan would trade Origin jerseys and post a picture on their Facebook pages if their states lost the funding appeal.
As heart-pumpingly thrilling as that sounds, Labor has just gravely insulted me, a pining and sentimental Cairns lad trapped in the badlands south of the border.
Plus, if I believe the Liberal-Democrat spend-O-meter, Labor wants to spend $800 bazillion on "Labor pledges to spend $200 million for Australian-made petting zoos in Western Sydney", and that does not sound entirely fiscally responsible to me. Should I believe them?
Sporting events are always a favourite among pollies, as we saw with John Howard's love of cricket (let's not mention his bowling skills) and Bob Hawke's famous beer-skolling efforts at big games.
So naturally, prospective prime minister and suspected Melbournian Bill Shorten jumped on the State of Origin bandwagon.
It was ever-so-slightly embarrassing when he said he was backing the Melbourne Storm in the Queensland-New South Wales clash.
"I also have to say the Storm are the underdogs slightly under the bookies market and I am partial to backing the underdogs," he told reporters.
There really is nothing like catching out politicians pretending to be sports fans.
Paul Keating must have felt a pang of mortification when he congratulated rugby league great Steve "Blocker" Roach because he "kicked a lot of tries". Oops, in league you kick goals or score tries, Paul.
One bloke who lives and breathes his sport of choice is Shooters and Fishers (and apparently Farmers too now, since their recent name change) leader Robert Borsak.
The NSW Election is not until 2019 but, in the spirit of finishing this column, let us look at a politician's entire public life as a long-running re-election campaign.
Killing stuff is Borsak's sport of choice, and this week he boasted to NSW Parliament that he had shot an elephant and eaten some of it while on safari in Zimbabwe.
The trophy photos have been around for yonks now, but the revelation that he consumed Dumbo flesh has reignited the uproar.
Maybe it will win him votes with his target audience, who knows? It certainly adds real meaning to the phrase "target audience".
Judging by the party's response to Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham's righteous anger over incident, they do not really care what the majority thinks.
"We are surprised at Mr Buckingham's hypocrisy, given that he was more than happy to eat Mr Borsak's freshly hunted venison sausages at a NSW Parliament House BBQ raising money for Westmead Children's Hospital in June 2013," the party responded, with photo evidence.
"Mr Buckingham happily went back for seconds and thirds and we are still waiting for his gold-coin donation."