This just in from the nation’s capital:

The foulest stench is in the air,

The funk of forty thousand years,

And grizzly ghouls from every tomb,

Are closing in to seal your doom.

Congratulations Canberra Press Gallery: we hereby present you with the Crikey Wankley award for your ability to mush together a remarkable amount of zombie/living dead/Back to the Future/night of the long knives/schlock horror clichés in the past week.

Tony Abbott, the politician who just keeps on giving, announced his new “team of shadows”, and you Canberra politicos outdid yourselves. Abbott promised his team would give the Government “the fright of its life” and the Press Gallery proceeded to scared the bejesus out of the rest of us.

Age Canberra correspondent Misha Schubert led the charge:

“It’s an eye for an eye,” one fumed yesterday. “It’s winner takes all, violence begets violence.” Another saw it less in religious terms and more as a zombie movie. “It’s The Return of the LivingDead.”

Not to be outdone, Ben Packham from the Herald Sun got into the spirit and conjured Michael J Fox:

Tony Abbott has dusted off three of John Howard’s most controversial ministers in a back-to-the-future reshuffle that rewards key plotters against Malcolm Turnbull.

Malcolm Farr breathed new life into the dead, no doubt making Mary Shelley proud.

…a feature of Mr Abbott’s new executive is that he has opened the political crypt and promoted key Howard government figures.

As if zombies weren’t enough, they are getting excited out West as well. Andrew Probyn added to the frightening coverage:

Tony Abbott has brought ancient warhorses and battleaxes out of retirement to bring old-school combat against the ascendant Rudd army Philip Ruddock, Bronwyn Bishop and Kevin Andrews are hardly the faces of renewal “night of the living dead” was how one Liberal MP put it.

The table below (care of Media Monitors) shows just how much fun the nation’s journos and sub-editors had with the new Liberal team. Special credit goes to those who thought of carbon dating the (old) new Liberal team, Bishop washing away sins and the return of ‘Kero baths’ Bronny.


Kevin Rudd and his non-zombie team must be starting to wonder what will happen if they go outside at night, let alone call an election.

Never one to be left out, we here at Crikey joined in the fun, putting the Zombies front and centre and celebrating Abbott’s undead new team with a nod to MJ’s own zombie [re] shuffle:


So all you Press Gallery scribes – cue ‘Thriller’ and enjoy your Wankley.

Peter Fray

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