Prime Minister Julia Gillard is fond of a safety vest, Kevin Rudd always liked a pair of goggles, John Howard owned several pairs of tracksuits (and an Akubra/chambray shirt/chinos combo for the country set), but as far as photo op outfits go, Tony Abbott has raised the bar.

While standing up for berets everywhere in Afghanistan, Tony donned a bomb disposal suit — with the expert help of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal and Weapons intelligence team. Those things are heavy, even for one as brawny as our opposition leader. He looks a little worried:


(published in The Sydney Morning Herald, photo: Penny Stephens)

And yet, not even that ridiculous display could beat “The Audacity Of Grope“. Wins by a country mile.

To quote @AOCarr: Could anything possibly best the Julia & Obama grope story? #SideshowAlley

No, no it couldn’t.

Sure, quite a few media outlets employed tortured political metaphors that relied entirely on Gillard’s gender while President Obama was in the country as they sniggered softly at the warm exchange between the PM and the Prez (Neil Mitchell take a bow for comparing our prime minister to a Justin Bieber fan), but no one could top the Herald Sun‘s Patrick Carlyon and Owen Vaughan for this purple prose.

Let’s start with the take-home points, helpfully bulleted by the Herald Sun:

  • Touchy-feely PM and President met with a kiss
  • “It’s like she’s won a date with George Clooney”

OK deep breath, cue direct quotes:

“They are a touching pair and touchy pairing. Their hands, like disembodied life forms, seek out the other’s shoulders, backs and, quite possibly, bottoms.”

Yes, he said “bottoms”.

“When such targets are out of reach, digits settle on forearms or the nearest available body part.”


“Obama constantly bares his American teeth. His smile alone could power a Third World country.”

American teeth.

“Gillard blushes, like a high school girl who has, finally, after much bedroom plotting, captured the gaze of the football captain.

“Today her football captain held sway in Parliament.”

Suppress gag reference.

“The content of his speech didn’t seem to matter …”

Well, not to Patrick anyway.

“… what was important was that he was there and she had invited him.”

That, and that “Gillard glowed, head bowed, as though a new beau was being introduced to the family for the first time”. The PM has “added a dash of coquettishness, if not flirting, to US-Australian relations”.

Cut to fireplace.