As Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Garrett debate each other today on the environment, there will be a subtext, inside sources tell Crikey.

The joint winners of Crikey’s sexiest male politician of 2006, unhappy at having to share the honour with their opposite member, will be jostling for pole position this year.

Hey, someone has to liven up this debate season. Til now, it’s been pretty even all round — no notable winners, no notable losers — with only Tony “bullsh-t” Abbott offering a whiff of scandal and intrigue.

So, in the interests of interest, here are our suggestions to the Press Club for Election ’07 debates we’d like to see:

The Leadership debate: Howard v Costello. 11 years in the making.

The Defence debate: Brendan Nelson v Joel Fitzgibbon. Pistols at dawn. Fight to the death (or severe maiming).

The Immigration debate: Kevin Andrews v Tony Burke. Less debate, more reality TV show. Watch Andrews and Burke as they attempt to jump the queue, commandeer a boat and pass the Australian immigration test in So You Think You Can Emigrate. Who will gain entry first?

The Old People debate: Christopher Pyne v Jan McLucas. Chaired by the Rudd-hating Scottish accordionist at the Devonport Senior Citizens’ Club. Familiarity with the music hall songbook will be useful. Candidates must learn lyrics to the following songs prior to the event in case of spontaneous sing-a-longs: “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, “Pack up Your Troubles” and “Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay”.

The Big Hair debate: Bronwyn Bishop v Helen Coonan. No headscarves allowed. Hair dryers and Cedel encouraged.

The “wild card”/vitriol debate: Bill Heffernan v Joe McDonald. Audience in two front rows will be given wet weather gear to shield them from the spittle.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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