There was Billy Shorten – and then there was Hotham. The preselection battle made headlines but fizzled out when challenger Martin Pakula withdrew his nomination after Simon Crean won 70% of the vote in the Labor Party’s local ballot for the seat of Hotham. And it was indicative of how the Victorian federal Labor Party operates. So the award for the Bunfight of the Year goes to the Victorian ALP, for their preselection thrills, spills ‘n’ bellyaches.

Honourable mentions: Peter Costello and The Bunfight That Wasn’t over the Liberal Party leadership. Poor old Pete’s leadership aspirations were short-circuited by his parents telling him never to lie. Make his choice of profession seem curious.

States vs the Federal Minister for education, Julie Bishop, after she described State education authorities as being in thrall to a “Chairman Mao-type left wing ideologues”.

2005 Winner: For pure drama, the “edge-of-your-seat scenes between John Howard and Peter Costello“.

Peter Fray

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