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South Australia

Oct 6, 2017

The many publicity stunts of Nick Xenophon

Outgoing federal Senator Nick Xenophon was a master at the political photo opp.

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon announced this morning that he will quit federal Parliament in order to run for the lower house seat of Hartley in the next South Australian election. While my colleague Bernard Keane looks at Xenophon’s policy legacy and what comes next for the Senate crossbench, it’s also a chance to look back at Xenophon’s other legacy: the perfect photo opp stunt.

The citizenship announcement

Perhaps his last big federal photo stunt (apart from today, of course) Xenophon held a press conference to announce that he was a dual citizen — not of Greece but of the UK. He marked the occasion by drinking a pint of Guinness.

Anti-gambling stance

Gambling and poker machines have long been targets for Xenophon, with this stunt in Rundle Mall dedicated to bookie Tom Waterhouse. A tiny violin for Waterhouse, who had made an apology about his betting ads in 2013 had also said it was hard competing against big corporations. There was little sympathy here.


Xenophon also teamed up with anti-gambling advocate Tim Costello in 2008 to ask for “presents not pokies” for Christmas.

What a crock

The case of the parliamentary crockery was a weird one. Xenophon and independent senator John Madigan teamed up to buy Parliament House a set of Australian-made crockery, which was rejected for use (and now piles up in his parliamentary office as seen on Annabel Crabb’s The House). The pair also went searching around the basement for crockery as part of this photo stunt.


Please vote for me

As an independent, Xenophon had to do his own grunt-work to get votes, with a sandwich board and a motorbike not out of the question.


Never a bad time for a prop


Going south

Last of all, the time he celebrated the government’s birthday with a submarine cake to remind them of a failed promise to build a new submarine fleet in Adelaide.

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3 thoughts on “The many publicity stunts of Nick Xenophon

  1. Duncan Gilbey

    Really looking forward to getting him back.
    Really, really looking forward to it.
    No, seriously…

  2. AR

    One photo missing here is him wearing a sandwich board in Rundle (any relation? I think we should be tolled…) Mall after the 2013 election, when he blitzed the SA Senate count,with the words, “Thanks for Voting for me”.
    Anyone recall any other politician ever getting out of the Commonwealth car to do something like that, thanking those who enabled their luxuriant lifestyle?

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