As the election campaign eases into its fourth year and we gather to learn how badly we’ve done in the exams, we pause to consider the highlights so far:

  • John Howard’s commitment of the many billions of dollars he has saved by not providing proper infrastructure, to fix the problems he has caused or ignored for eleven years. Watch him work. The hands never leave the wrists.
  • Kevin Rudd’s talent for interviewing himself rigorously and without favour. Top work from him throughout the campaign. If all else fails Kevin has had a whale of a time.
  • Peter Garrett’s gift for telling what he calls “jokes.” He seems to enjoy this enormously, although one senses that a fulltime career in comedy perhaps beckoneth not.
  • Peter Costello’s warm satisfaction at being described by his owner as loyal. Sit up Peter. Beg. Good boy. Now fetch.
  • Kevin Andrews’ attempt to find a muslim terrorist and deport him despite having no evidence, no charges and no terrorist. Kevin also brought you the Workplace Relations legislation. Kevin is a Christian.
  • Tony Abbott’s successful audition for the role of Mark Latham in the 2007 production of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot.
  • The thrilling thought that Amanda Vanstone is in Rome, reaping her reward.
  • Nick Minchin’s assurance, itself a watchword in probity, that if re-elected the government will not introduce further workplace relations legislation of the kind he has long advocated and is determined to introduce.
  • Denis Shanahan’s subtle and judicious writing in The Australian. If you missed his piece on how Hitler won the war by attacking Russia, get it online at
  • Joe Hockey’s engaging openness in making no sense of any kind on any issue.
  • Janet Albrechtesgarten’s beautiful essay on the uses of petulance in early childhood.
  • Brendan Nelson’s capacity for looking serious, conceited, twelve, and hopelessly out of his depth all at the same time.
  • Wayne Swan’s smile, which illuminates the area south of his hairdo at the mention of interest rates, budgetary surplus or George Brandis.
  • Mark Vaile’s interesting contention that, as Trade Minister, he knew nothing about how the wheat trade worked while supporting the bombing of our main wheat market.
  • Julia Gillard’s capacity to slide the expression “working families” into any sentence, of any kind, at any time, from a standing start.
  • The sheer elegance of Alexander Downer’s ideas. Whether lying or simply not telling the truth, Alex is all class. As vicious Hapsburg snobs go, he is beyond compare.
  • Those blokes who stand behind John Howard in suits, smirking as he lists the people he hates and why he hates them and how much he hates them.
  • The sustaining joy of watching Malcolm Turnbull trying to fit his Size 8 ego into a Size 3 party.
  • Philip Ruddock’s attempt to be the first deceased person ever to be returned to parliament. Phillip, who died in April, has made no public statements, has not campaigned, has not defended his abysmal record and has not been seen since he opened a new sewer in his brain on the 15th of March.

Do you have a highlight you’d like to add? Send your thoughts to [email protected] with ‘highlight’ in the subject field. make them funny and we’ll publish the best.

Peter Fray

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