The Democrats die on 1 July. But on
Sunday, former leader Andrew Bartlett showed the kind of spirit that
signals there’s life in the party yet. The Senator turned on a goal
blitz to lead a team of politicians to victory over the media in the
annual parliamentary footy competition.

Who knew that under all
that goth make-up beat the heart of a great footballer? Bartlett kicked
six goals, and the media had no answer, going down by two goals. The
pollies took the opportunity to settle a few scores on the field,
putting some big hits on a few girls and girlie-men from the meeja
side. Clearly, some of the pollies weren’t made aware this was supposed
to be a social game and launched into State of Origin-style tackles.

Among the unanswered questions were:

were the media types who unceremoniously switched sides and played for
the pollies – quite clearly forgetting Yoda’s warning about the dark

*Who was the male Nationals staffer who went for a
double-dip after his effort in a previous comp when he shoulder charged
a female ALP staffer during a touch game?

Observers see a rough
and tumble pattern emerging here. No wonder these events are known as
“boys’ own clubs.” Women get beaten up for taking part.

As for
Bartlett’s virtuoso performance, sources close to the Senator point out
that he represented Queensland in Rugby Union at under-16 level, and
was part of the national championship winning team. Bartlett is a past
winner of the press gallery footy tipping competition. And there’s a
heap of footy links on his personal website. He is, in short, a footy tragic.