This has not been a good year. Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson were elected, Britain Brexited, David Bowie died, and Peter Dutton shot off his mouth (again). But there were some lights among the darkness (and at the very least, we have lots of arsehats to choose from).
It’s time to vote for the 2016 Crikey Arsehat of the Year, Person of the Year and Sexiest Male and Female Politician. Remember: last year we gave Tony Abbott the coveted Golden Arsehat Lifetime Achievement Award, so he is ineligible to win the Arsehat trophy this year.
Here are the nominees; vote for the 2016 Crikeys here.
Crikey 2016 Person of the Year
Aguek Nyok: Taxi driver Aguek Nyok ran to the rescue of 11 passengers stuck on a fiery Brisbane bus after the driver, Manmeet Alisher, was murdered.
Luke Beveridge: coached AFL team the Western Bulldogs through to their first grand final victory since 1954, then gave his medal to injured skipper Robert Murphy during the celebrations.
Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi: hugged an Islamic State suicide bomber during an attempt to destroy one of Iraq’s oldest and most important Shia shrines, saving hundreds.
Bill Shorten: Yes, Bill Shorten. We know Shorten is usually about as interesting as watching paint dry, but this year he seems to have grown a pair and gave the very strong impression of being an actual opposition leader. He ran an impressive election campaign by anyone’s standards and devastated Malcolm Turnbull’s majority.
Susan Alberti: Alberti stepped down as vice-president of the Western Bulldogs this month, after watching her beloved Doggies break a 62-year premiership drought. The businesswoman and philanthropist is one of the driving forces between the new AFL Women’s league and says she’ll keep pushing for every club to have a women’s team. And is there a more Australian sentiment than this? “I want to see a women’s team at every club. Playing football is not a privilege, it’s a right.”
Bana Alabed: Seven-year-old Bana Alabed and her mother, Fatemah, have been tweeting their experience from the Syrian city of Aleppo, bringing the reality of the constant bombing raids to the world.
Roz Ward: Despite controversies around Ward, she is one of the founders of the Safe Schools program, the anti-bullying education program in schools dedicated to improving understanding and acceptance for LGBTI students. The program has been attacked mercilessly by some sections of the media and politicians, but its work is necessary and will save lives.
Simone Biles: The small American took the world by storm in the gymnastics this year, winning gold at Rio and transforming the world of gymnastics with her signature move.
Mack Horton: The Australian swimmer didn’t just win gold at Rio, he also spoke out about drug cheats in sport, and was then attacked by many Chinese social media users.
Jobe Watson: When the AFL world was focused on him, waiting to hear whether he would take the field in 2017 after a year of suspension, he chose to make another declaration — wearing a hat emblazoned “feminist” as a tribute to a friend who had taught him about gender inequality.
Lionel Shriver: The We Need to Talk About Kevin author set the literary world abuzz with her memorable — and controversial — speech defending the right of authors to represent their characters however they wish.
Crikey 2016 Arsehat of the Year
Malcolm Turnbull: It does not really seem to be the most exciting time to be Australian Prime Minister. Whatever happened to reasonable, leather-jacketed Mal?
Sonia Kruger: Lest we forget that she was still on TV (because tbh we had forgot she was on TV), Kruger used her time on the Today Show to call for a ban on Muslim migrants coming to Australia.
Scott Morrison: ScoMo has won this award before, during his time in Immigration. Proving that there’s no portfolio ScoMo can’t screw up, he has trashed the Australian economy, with the possibility of losing our AAA credit rating after a quarter of negative growth.
Donald Trump: For so many reasons. Don’t make us rehash them all.
Peter Dutton: Dutton was crowned our Arsehat of the Year in 2015, but it looks like he could pull off a back-to-back victory. There are still the ongoing stains on the national character that are Manus and Nauru, but this year brought something truly special: “The reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in, in the 1970s, and we’re seeing that today. We need to be honest in having that discussion. There was a mistake made.”
Rodrigo Duterte: The Philippines’ new President takes the War on Drugs quite literally, with state-sponsored death squads murdering with impunity throughout the country.
Nigel Farage: He forced the UK to the brink of Brexit, then quit as soon as the vote was passed. Whattaguy.
Kevin Rudd: Crybaby Kevin just can’t stop having a go at people who slighted him. You’re not going to be Secretary-General, mate. Let it go.
Vladimir Putin: For (allegedly) trying to influence the US election, and for Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict.
Bernard Salt: For getting mad at young people priced so far out of the housing market they choose to sit on milk crates and eat avocado on toast instead.
Pauline Hanson: Hanson isn’t on the list just for getting elected, or for half the things she has said. She’s here for having a go at squat toilets and for bringing us Malcolm Roberts, Brian Burston and Rod Culleton.
Michelle Guthrie: Whether Guthrie should be on this list greatly depends on your opinion of the changes she has made in just seven short months in the ABC’s top job. Whether Guthrie’s changes turn out to be a visionary new direction for the national broadcaster, the job cuts that have followed her appointment have not been popular.
Tara Brown: The respected Channel Nine reporter was just one of the team arrested in Lebanon after a bungled child retrieval operation — otherwise known as kidnapping.
George Brandis: Oh George, why are you on this list? Let us count the ways. The stoush with the solicitor general, the fight with Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, the scandal over the Bell Group — and that’s not even all.
David Kalisch: The chief statistician of the Australian Bureau of Statistics oversaw the massive screw-up that was the 2016 census.
When it comes to sexiest pollies, an election year is a blessing — there are lots of newbies on the list this year. Will a new kid on the block challenge one of the stayers?
Crikey 2016 Sexiest Male Politician
- Andrew Hastie
- Scott Ludlam
- Malcolm Turnbull
- Matt Canavan
- Mathias Cormann
- Christian Porter
- Adam Bandt/Richard Di Natale (counts only once, as they are identical twins)
- Simon Birmingham
- James Paterson
- Anthony Albanese
- Bill Shorten
- Tim Watts
- Tim Hammond
- Matt Keogh
- Christopher Pyne
- Richard Marles
Crikey 2016 Sexiest Female Politician
- Terri Butler
- Anne Aly
- Tanya Plibersek
- Bridget McKenzie
- Sarah Hanson-Young
- Julie Bishop
- Linda Burney
- Larissa Waters
- Susan Lamb
- Michaelia Cash
- Katy Gallagher
- Skye Kakoschke-Moore
- Jacqui Lambie
- Penny Wong
- Jane Hume
- Lisa Singh
- Pauline Hanson
- Kate Ellis