Part Shakespearian, part soap opera and part Dan Brown, the drama that played out in Canberra last week has left just about everybody gasping for fresh air. With a Federal election looming large it’s surely time to abandon conventional politics and look to a new paradigm free of dogma, 2GB talk back and the ranting possums (i.e. the after dark ideologues) of Fox News.
Movements that ridicule conventional party politics are nothing new and tend to come and go – a bit like Australian Prime Ministers. The Monster Raving Loony Party of the early 80s, headed by Screaming Lord Sutch, was clearly a reaction to the iron fisted rule of Margaret Thatcher. Whilst the Party still survives these days it’s never had the same impact since its eccentric leader Sutch took his own life in 1999.
In Australia this kind of political satire, propelled by an injection of good natured anarchy, has been surprisingly thin on the ground – given our irreverence for politicians in general. The shortlived ‘Deadly Serious Party’ of the 80s promised to dispatch an army of killer penguins to protect Australia’s coastline from foreign invasion. However after an initial splash of bemused media interest it was deregistered in November of 1988 for not having the required 500 members. And herein lies the problem for anybody wanting to put together a low cost political party to contest the next Federal election.
Not only will you have to rally at least 500 members, navigate a minefield of bureaucratic paper work, allow twelve weeks for processing and fork over a $500 fee – you can only have six words in the name of your party. The latter does seem limiting, particularly if you want to incorporate some punchy editorialising into your moniker. For example – “The Party Advocating The Removal Of Tony Abbott From Federal Parliament And His Reassignment As Special Envoy To The Vatican” (hey, he always aspired to be the Pope!). In other words a party that somewhat naively believes in stable government and the absence of back room sniping.
The Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia is an informal group that eschews dogma and promotes the philosophy of ‘pastafarianism’. Pasta is regarded as the holy communion of the Church, gifted by his “Noodleness”, with even gluten free allowed in certain sects. Part of an international movement they state “the only dogma allowed in The Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma” and hold to a belief that “the universe was created by the ‘FSM’ while very drunk, the effects of which can be seen in the resulting imperfections and contradictions in the universe.” Members are often seen sporting a colander on their heads and controversy has arisen world wide when various countries have rejected drivers licence photos of devotees wearing the symbolic headwear.
Unfortunately they would probably have too many words in their party name to ever register as a political party – nor would they ever want to, given their rejection of dogma. Still if you can rake together $500 and assemble a Meet Up group of 500, the door is wide open for you to start your own dogma and policy free political party. It might sound absurd but at least your absence of any doctrine would confuse and bamboozle the Fox News possums as well as leaving the shock jocks speechless. Anybody for a bowl of spag and bol.