Liberals beer ALP Bob Hawke

Beer. Long as you don’t sink much, it’s safer than babies. This is the bad bet made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who continues to appear as comfortable with beer as I’d be with babies at his Pentecostal megachurch. Kiss a Christian baby, Scott, and leave beer to its better preachers: the ALP.

Morrison’s beer of last Friday did not go down. Not even The Australian or could yank the PM from the cave. Did he learn to drink beer from the shadows of men who drink beer? He learned it from a copy of a copy of Robert JL Hawke.

When News Corp says “mate, don’t do a Hawkey”, you’ve gone a yard too far. Leave the “pub test” pub test to the Nationals and learn that no parliamentary party will ever know the half of what the ALP forgets about beer while you’re sinking one on telly.

They’re fluent and current in beer. They know the most about losing elections, but the most about winning at beer.  

The Daniel Andrews campaign trail became a microbrew trail in regional Victoria. Andrews didn’t just come to this craft beer conclusion but sunk Triple IPA and all your hobbyist whatnot for years. He talked the boutique talk and walked through breweries Saturday, getting good local press about good local jobs for his trouble. Then, Melbourne press “got” Andrews without an invitation, because Andrews “got” the dreams of the bearded artisanal brewer.

If there’s one thing we like in Melbourne more than bearded men, it’s bearded men who follow old recipes for beer, or anything that requires tasting notes. Vote for Dan for his gift to the state of traditional ales and handsome, reconstructed men and inspiring, rustic women.

That’s how you do beer in our state. Federally, do an Albanese, and become the politician who becomes an artisanal beer label.

Andrews was no ordinary politician looking at ordinary goods, but Dan of the People. Cf. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s beer accident a day before. Albanese is not an ordinary opportunist when the Albo Corn Ale is brewing. Cf. Treasurer Scott Morrison announcing tax cuts for small brew entrepreneurs so long after the ALP first began its crafty beer messaging, an ideal Liberal act went unnoticed.

The ALP knows beer. It forgot its constitution years ago, perhaps the taste of beer. But just as Hawke’s yard-glass legend is printed in the Guinness Book, it’s etched into the party unconscious. This memory of Hawke’s beer and charisma goes deep, far deeper than the party’s founding words.

“The democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features,” is the party’s obligation to the people. The party’s obligation is to power. They’re looking for Hawke, a winning personality, a champion beer drinker. Catch him at the cricket and ask him, “Down it, Hawkey,” he’ll still prove himself match fit.

Hawke smashed a 1.5 litre sconce in 1953 and 30 years later won an election, then sworn off the beer but admired for his superhuman drinking nonetheless. The longest serving Labor Prime Minister may, or may not, have been sober as a goat his 11 years in parliament. Either way, photos from Malcolm Fraser’s failed campaign for re-election seem especially full of beer, like he was holding all the women and the drinks Hawkey couldn’t.

Didn’t work. The Liberal bloke still looked like a wowser.

This case I make for Labor beer is not froth but honest observation. Beer is a thing the party knows and always has a use for. Even if not to campaign, it calms a volatile drop. Albo is a “leftist” who suggests his party is not neoliberal enough and a campaigner who spits “socialist” out like poison in an electorate full of Frank Stilwell’s former students. Then, Albo self-soothes with his beer hobby.  

Liberal leaders just fail beer every time. Here, John Howard looks miserable drinking it. Here, Turnbull fails to sink one with Barnaby. The National knows a victory schooner like a competition bodybuilder knows Johnson’s baby oil. He grabs the schooner by the scruff in a pose that implies upper body strength and well-earned manly thirst. Turnbull, quite likely to be the stronger and possibly the thirstier, holds beer like they’ve just been introduced.

Even last year’s Facebook snap of Mal, beer in hand, smooching his infant grandkid at the footy failed. It’s some tender online pro-beer branding. But, people had a fit. Even the Liberal who knows how to stage a beer just can’t. We won’t let them.

Hawke is the Prime Minister of Beer and Labor its true connoisseur. Labor has known the visual language of beer in every era and election, which is why no Labor politician has or ever will “do a Hawkey”. It’s been done and the only person who can do it again is Hawkey, which he will if you say, “Down it, Hawkey”.

The ALP brings so little to the present from its better past, but it does BYO the best beer.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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