Pauline Hanson has a thing about squat toilets. David Leyonhjelm doesn’t mind but has nonetheless lodged a complaint about being called an “angry white man”. Malcolm Roberts thinks NASA is influencing temperature measurements. Some guys who aren’t elected and (we’d like to think) have no hope of getting elected have “dressed as Muslims” (go figure what that means) and entered a church for some reason.

That is the import of the last 24 hours. And it points to the crushing emptiness of political discussion in Australia right now.

One could blame the media for reporting on the stupid and inconsequential. But “the media” isn’t sentient. It’s like an excitable pet — reacting to stimuli with, for the most part, little ability (or commercial incentive) to look away. No, the blame for this goes right to the top. The crossbench can dominate the discussion because there’s no political agenda. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull might be enjoying his break — but he has left us to the mercies of the craziest of the crazies his double dissolution election has let in. The least he can do is come back and give us something reasonable to talk about.

Peter Fray

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