City Hub

An Abbott Proof Fence

Wake me when it’s over. We live in the middle of a vast, yawning political divide here in 2010. On the eastside of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills, in the upcoming Federal election, my neighbours and I will be asked whether or not to return the Emperor Malcolm Turnbull to his blue ribbon, right wing seat of Wentworth so he can depose Australia’s neo con lite, Tony Abbott as the head of the conservative coalition following the Liberal and National Party’s predicted defeat on August 21st.

A few blocks over, on the other side of Riley Street, my neighbours will be asked whether or not to return Tanya Plibersek to her pink ribbon safe seat of Sydney. The left wing faction of the Labor Party preselected her in a “women only contest” over a decade ago. As Australia’s Minister for Women, Tanya has been put in the unenviable position of having to explain the Gillard government’s ban on gay marriage to one of Australia’s most vocal and visible gay electorates.

On Sunday night as Julia Gillard went head to talking head against Tony Abbott in a nationally televised debate, the pink and blue worms at the bottom of my TV screen moved in a straight line, resembling the ECG of a corpse. Like the rest of the country, here in Darlinghurst we could barely get our worms up.

Talk about elect-aisle dysfunction.

When Julia Gillard spoke, the pink worm (which tracked the response of women in a studio audience) mounted the male blue worm; when Tony Abbott blabbed the blue worm slowly slithered on top. Here in Darlinghurst locals were asking: “Where was Bob Brown?”

If the UK can invite the leaders of all three major political parties to participate in a televised debate, why wasn’t the leader of the Green Party invited into our living rooms on Sunday night? We certainly would have had a more stimulating and engaging national debate.

Ever since Tony Abbott hijacked the Liberal Party agenda by one single party room vote, he has moved the national debate back to the days of John Howard. In response, Labor Party strategists have allowed this election campaign to lurch even further to the right while claiming we are “Moving Forward”. Climate change? We will think about it. Boat people? We will find a better gulag. Gay marriage? Get stuffed. End of debate.

Where was Bob Brown on Sunday night as the worm snored and choked on its proverbial snot? At least we could have had a sensible debate in relation to climate change, political refugees and gay marriage had the Green Party been included in our national debate.

Here in 2010 we are counting the days till the Federal election when Bob Brown’s Greens gain control of the Senate (thanks to a preference deal with the ALP), Malcolm Turnbull reclaims control of the Liberal Party and Julia Gillard is officially elected Prime Minister of Australia. August 21st can’t come soon enough in our date books.

Here in postcode 2010, the locals are making the best of an otherwise deadly dull situation. We are doing what we do best and throwing a party. Up and down Oxford Street, from Whitlam Square in Tanya Plibersek’s safe pink seat to Taylor Square in Malcolm Turnbull’s tight blue seat, the locals are hanging out in cool kerbside cafés, eagerly chattering at trendy gallery openings and dancing the night away until the returns come in on Saturday night, August 21st. Details of where the locals can be found are at

When Austin Tayshis recently launched his campaign for the safe, blue ribbon North Shore seat of Warringah on behalf of the Sex Party, he pledged to build “an Abbot Proof Fence.” I don’t know about you, but I support him: plank by plank by plank.