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The Snouties: Awarding the most ‘on the snout’ pollies

As we all know, good government started six months ago – following Abbott’s near demise as our Prime Minister. And this last parliamentary sitting fortnight in Canberra has been another stellar example of this. There’s been press conferences galore, leaky cabinets and question-time performances worthy of entry into the Tonies (pun intended).

We also learned this week that one of the government’s key talking points was to let us know that the Cabinet is working excellently!! Clearly, if they feel the need to stress how well they are doing, the LNP is feeling underappreciated by us – the Australian people. It’s time to remedy this.

Introducing the ‘On the Snout’ awards

It’s time we recognised our Pollies for all the exceptionally excellent work they are telling us that they do.

So I’m introducing the soon-to-be incredibly coveted and prestigious ‘On the Snout’ or ‘Snoutie’ Awards – named in honour of recently retired U.S. political satirist Jon Stewart, whose last words of advice to us everyday punters were:

“Bullshit is everywhere. The good news is this: bullshitters have gotten pretty lazy, and their work is easily detected…..So I say to you tonight, my friends, the best defense against bullshit is vigilance – so if you smell something, say something.”

Well I smell plenty. There’s been a lot of activity by our government that’s been on the nose, or more appropriately for Canberra – ‘on the snout’ – over this last fortnight. And I, for one, believe it’s time we acknowledge them for this.

So I’ve taken stock of the performance of various members of our excellent cabinet over the last fortnight – and let me tell you, there was a lot of competition for the awards. But in the end, as they say, there can only be one winner for each award. I’ve announced my selection of key winners below, and there is also a vote for the People’s Choice Snoutie at the end, where you can cast your vote.

So without further ado, here are the inaugural “On the Snout” (‘Snoutie’) Award winners.

The Inaugural ‘On the Snout’ Award Winners

The David Copperfield Magic with Numbers Award


About the award:

The David Copperfield Magic with Numbers Award is given to the LNP Minister who – like great Illusionist David Copperfield – can work magic, in this case with numbers.

And the winner is – Joe Hockey

Yes, the winner of the inaugural David Copperfield Magic Numbers award is our Treasurer, one Mr Joe ‘Eleventy’ Hockey, for the amazing illusion he created this week around Australia’s unemployment numbers. Let’s revisit his award winning feat…

In question time in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, while responding to a ‘question’ from a Liberal backbencher on the brilliance of the Liberal party’s job creation achievements, Mr Hockey said:

“We have a great record of success in creating 334,000 new jobs in less than two years. In the last month alone, we have created 38,000 new jobs in Australia. The average in the last 12 months under Labor was 3,600 jobs per month.”

Hockey repeated similar numbers six times during question time – obviously wanting to make sure nobody had missed his amazing magic trick, creating the illusion that the LNP are doing a great ‘job’ with jobs.

Luckily, intrepid AIM Network citizen journalist and illusion-spotter – Kaye Lee – was on the case, otherwise Hockey’s magic trick may have gone unspotted, and he may have lost the award to runner-up Greg Hunt for his work with carbon emission numbers this week. Kaye identified that while the 38,000 number was correct, the other numbers were just an illusion. In fact, during Labor’s time in office, an average of 15,180 jobs were created a month, but since the LNP have been in power, only 7495 jobs have been created on average per month.

The George Orwell 1984 Award

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.” (George Orwell, 1984)

1984GeorgeOrwell About the award:

The George Orwell 1984 Award is given to the LNP Minister who increases the power of those in authority and correspondingly decreases the rights and freedoms of the individual.

And the winner is – Peter Dutton (PDuddy)

The winner of the inaugural George Orwell 1984 Award is none other than Minister for Saying-We’ve-Stopped-The-Boats, Peter Dutton – or ‘PDuddy’ as he’s probably not known to his friends – at least to his face. He had three stellar entries that won him this week’s award.

Entry one: revoking the citizenship of dual nationals

PDuddy’s first entry relates to the Australian Citizenship Amendment Bill which proposes to give the government power to strip dual citizens of their Australian citizenship. This is a summary of how the Senate was advised this week that the Bill would work in practice:

We’ve got a secret process conducted by Australian public servants looking at secret classified information, who are going to write a secret report to the secretary of the department, who writes another secret report to the Minister, who signs a form that revokes the Australian citizenship and the Australian never needs to be told and never needs to be given reasons. After this secret process is completed, the Minister does not need to inform the Australian whose citizenship has been revoked until the Minister thinks it’s appropriate.”
(Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus 10 August 2015)

Now that could very well be an excerpt from 1984 – and if it’s not there, it could easily slot right in.

This proposed legislation is a major Orwellian power grab by PDuddy for three reasons:

  • Having security in your citizenship is a fundamental right of a democracy because it literally ensures that there is a piece of dry land on this earth for you to put your feet on. And the reality is, when you undermine citizenship rights for one, you undermine them for us all.
  • It sets a precedent for taking away the protection we all have of being presumed innocent unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.
  • It puts the government above the law. A fundamental cornerstone of democracy is the separation of the power to make laws (by the government) from the power to rule on those laws (which is done by the courts). Once you allow a single body to both make the laws and make rulings on those laws, you place that body – in this case the government – above the law. You are then just one rigged election away from an authoritarian structure like facism – 1984 here we come.
Entry two: revoking citizenship of sole Nationals

In case you thought the above wouldn’t apply to you anyway – think again. PDuddy isn’t content with being able to turf out only those Aussies who have dual citizenship. He and Phillip Ruddock this week announced further details of their plans to extend the above Bill so that it applies not only to people who currently have dual citizenship, but also to those who could apply for citizenship in another country. This apparently applies to around 50% of Australian citizens.

As for the remaining 50% of us, don’t get too cocky. Did you know that all Australian citizens can apply for citizenship in New Zealand? There are certain criteria you need to meet in order to qualify – one of which relates to character, another to having lived there for five years – so there may be some protection there. But nevertheless, technically we all have the right to apply for citizenship in another country. If this is right, PDuddy’s men could come knocking at your door in the middle of the night and have you on the first Air New Zealand flight to Auckland before you know it. It’s a long bow to draw – but with the inaugural winner of the George Orwell 1984 Snoutie Award in charge of citizenship decisions – and behind closed doors with no right of appeal or review – you never know….

Entry Three: Giving guards in detention centres the power to use deadly force on asylum seekers

First PDuddy put up a shroud of secrecy around Detention Centres. Now he wants to pass laws to give guards in detention centres – who have four weeks training – the right to use deadly force (aka to kill) asylum seekers in certain circumstances without having to worry about being prosecuted for pesky criminal charges like assault, battery or murder.

While PDuddy claims this is necessary to protect the health and safety of detainees, these are the same guards who currently guard our Detention Centres where sexual assaults and torture on asylum seekers appear to be continuing. And PDuddy wants to give these guards even more power than they already have.

PDuddy is surely a worthy winner of the inaugural George Orwell 1984 award.

The Dragon Slayer Award

“It’s the ultimate political spin doctoring – create a mythical dragon, fight it, and claim to have saved us from it. And the thing with dragons is that they are far easier to slay – what with them not being real and all – than actual problems. It’s much simpler to be a dragon slayer than someone who actually rights real wrongs or solves real problems.”
(From Abbott the Dragon Slayer: The art of making scary mountains out of tiny molehills)

DragonSlayerawards About the award:

The Dragon Slayer Award – as the quote above suggests – is given to the LNP Minister who creates the largest mountain (the dragon) out of the smallest molehill, and then makes as much noise as he can about how he is slaying that mythical dragon in order to save the Australian people.

And the winner is – George Brandis

The clear winner of the inaugural Dragon Slayer award is our Attorney General, one Mr George Brandis. He wins this award for the battle – or ‘lawfare’ – he is fighting against Greenie Terrorists who he says are using the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to “engage in vigilante litigation to stop important economic projects” and to threaten “jobs, investment and our economy“.

In fact the offending Act has only been successfully used twice to impact a project – out of 5500 projects. Furthermore, the particular problem in the Adani case – the relevant ‘economic’ project (probably better named ‘moneypit’) – was a technical oversight in Greg Hunt’s office that could have been remedied in a matter of weeks.

But that’s what makes it such a brilliant dragon. As I stated above, it’s far easier to be victorious over a challenge that isn’t really there. Kudos to Mr Brandis for turning a paperwork error from a tiny molehill into a full-size mythical dragon requiring the attention of his full department to slay it – probably while doing a war dance chanting ‘no more lawfare, no more greenies, no more lawfare, no more greenies’.

And finally – the award we’ve all been waiting for….

The Golden Snoutie

TheGoldenSnoutie The Golden Snoutie is the most prestigious of the already ultra-prestigious ‘On the Snout’ awards.

About the award:

The Golden Snoutie award is given to the member of Government who is so ‘on the snout’, as to eclipse the snoutiness of those around them. And in Canberra – that’s no mean feat. The winner of this award should be a master of what Jon Stewart describes as ‘pernicious bullshit’ – “premeditated institutional bullshit, designed to obscure and distract.” The winner of this award will likely excel in all the categories noted above and a few more besides.

And the winner is – Tony Abbott

There really was no competition on this one. Tony Abbott was the standout candidate from day one of this last parliamentary sitting week. In the words of Julie Bishop, speaking of Mr Abbott in Perth today:

“We owe him a debt for the effort and energy that he has dedicated to his role as Prime Minister of this great nation.”

Indeed we do. Let’s quickly recap on some of this fortnight’s standout snoutiness from the head Snout:

Magic with numbers on Climate Change

Tony Abbott – and climate change truthiness guru, ‘Greg Hunt’ – started the week by pulling their own numbers out of a magic hat, claiming that their 26% to 28% emissions reduction target is economically responsible and world-leading.

Abbott correspondingly claimed that any target that Labor sets will sacrifice jobs, the economy and cost households untold millions. Our Golden Snoutie winner would never do that he said – he would not put the environment before the economy. Pure magic.

Abbott’s numbers are not true of course – but what illusion is? As Laura Tingle from the Australian Financial Review pointed out:

the Prime Minister has released a climate policy which must be the dodgiest bit of public policy in recent years, possibly since the Coalition’s now infamous $11 billion hole in its 2010 election policy costings.”

Making Marriage Equality disappear

Following close on the heels of his magic trick with climate change numbers, Abbott moved on to making the issue of Marriage Equality disappear. To do this, he took a leaf out of John Howard’s playbook, successfully taking the issue off the agenda for the rest of Mr Abbott’s term, while at the same time, claiming to be the people’s advocate for Marriage Equality. Snoutiness at its best.

Boasting about his Dragon Slaying days of old

I wrote previously about the three dragons that Abbott is constantly claiming to have slain – the carbon tax, the mining tax and asylum seeker boats. Although these dragons were mythically slain some time ago, at a press conference in Perth today, Abbott was still boasting about his ‘achievements’, puffing out his chest in pride at being able to kill these mythical beasts.

Making sure there are plenty of Terrorists under the Bed

We learned this week that the National Security Committee that Mr Abbott chairs “asked for a list of national-security-related things that could be announced weekly between now and the election” proving yet again, that Abbott’s terrorist announcements are a calculated attempt to ensure that Australians remain in a high state of fear in regards to terrorists under the bed.

All of these example just prove exactly how ‘on the snout’ Tony Abbott is, and why he is such a deserving recipient of the inaugural Golden Snoutie award.

People’s Choice Snoutie

There’s one more Snoutie to be awarded, to give due recognition to the member of the LNP cabinet who has been the most ‘on the snout’ over the last fortnight – and that’s the People’s Choice Snoutie.

So now it’s your turn to vote.

Which of the following members of the LNP cabinet have you found to be most ‘on the snout’ this last parliamentary fortnight? I’ve included key members of our exceptional cabinet (other than Tony Abbott – who isn’t eligible having already won the Gold Snoutie).

You can vote for up to three cabinet ministers – so go for it!

[polldaddy poll=9037596]

This article was first published on Progressive Conversation.


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  1. Kaye Lee

    Great job Kate 🙂

    In the interest of egalitarianism we should not overlook the backbench.

    Can I nominate a Reclaim Australia award?

    As we are confined to the last fortnight I won’t go into history but George Christensen really deserves some form of recognition for producing an “Uluru Bark Petition which rejects #SSM or so-called #marriageequality as an “affront” to Aboriginal culture”.

    Nice comeback after attending the Reclaim Australia rally George. Aboriginal recognition and same sex marriage segued together – if only you had included wind turbine sickness.

    Another nominee would have to be the Liberal candidate for Canning, Andrew Hastie whose experience defending the Australian way of life in Afghanistan and Iraq make him ideally placed to fight the scourge of ice and for law and order and to protect us against vigilante solar power advocates.

    PS Your vote was impossible. I chose three but needed an e) all of the above

  2. Kate M

    Kaye – thanks. You have nominated two excellent candidates. The trouble is there are just so many. I didn’t even include all the Cabinet in the list!!

    Christensen has been an affront for a long time.

    Hastie I saw for the first time today – I figured he was probably a captain’s pick. Thanks for the links.

  3. Kate M

    If others would like to nominate additional contenders for the People’s Choice Snoutie – please feel free to leave a comment as Kaye has done with reasons.

  4. Janet Simpson

    Does Tony Abbott claim two ministerial allowances for being Minister for Women and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs??

  5. Kate M

    You make a good point Janet.

  6. Harquebus

    Wot! No medals for being on the team?

    Give yourself an award Kate for a great piece.


  7. mark delmege

    I guess to really understand the employment figures you would have to look at net migration etc and the quality of jobs for starters. I don’t have the time or inclination but I see from reading PCRoberts that the US figures are all a fudge.

  8. Jexpat

    Barnaby Joyce has at least to receive some special recognition for his assertion that eliminating Halal certification from Australian beef would cause a major reduction in exports, which in turn would result in dramatically higher domestic beef prices.

    It’s a rare minister who, by pure force of singlemided will, can overrule a fundamental economic law known to people since the dawn of civilisation.

  9. Pingback: The Snouties: Awarding the most ‘on the snout’ pollies – » The Australian Independent Media Network | lmrh5

  10. Kaye Lee

    Dyson Heydon should get special mention

    He was paid $1,400 an hour to listen to the evidence against him and will collect $12,400 a day for the three days he is taking to consider it.

  11. corvus boreus

    I am abstaining from voting in the ‘Snouties’ on the grounds of potential deliberate misinterpretation.
    Any vote for T Abbott, even in a satirical award for the ‘most offensively putrid performer in parliament’, could potentially feed a Rupert headline of “Leftie poll votes Tony Top of the Pops! (EXCLUSIVE).

    I would, however, like to offer a further category; The Shardy Shitslinger Award.

    One reason pollies are so on the snout is that we are paying them to screech like monkeys and throw feces at each other.
    Under cover of parliamentary privilege, some of them mix sharply slanderous little shards of atrocious accusation into the turd-balls that they toss, with the intention of causing serious hurt rather than merely splattering.

    The Shardy Shitslinger Award is awarded to the federal politician who best and most repeatedly uses gratuitously incendiary and inaccurately hyperbolic claims, particularly allegations of or allusion to serious criminal acts and historical atrocities, to score cheap points in parliamentary debate.
    Statements requiring retractions/withdrawals score automatically.
    Bonus points are awarded for breaches of Godwin’s Law.

    Were I a betting man, I would like the odds on the PM for this years Shardy Shitslinger (“I withdraw, I withdraw”).

  12. Wun Farlung

    I don’t think Truss should be on the list as I can’t for the life of me remember hearing or seeing him give any comment on any subject, unless you could claim snoutiness by silence

  13. corvus boreus

    Wun Farlung,
    Warren Truss is a ‘noddy-bobble’, one of those empty suits that loom at the flanks of the podium-pounding spokesman, serving the function of visually reinforcing the idea of truth and wisdom in the words being spoken by the act of silently nodding their head whilst wearing a serious expression.
    When Tones brays slogans bragging of the signing away of our sovereignty rights to communist China through the mechanism of ‘trade agreements’, Truss is often deployed at his shoulder, sternly noddy-bobbling away.

  14. Kate M

    There are some excellent points here – and some excellent suggestions.

    Warren Truss really only stayed on the list because he’s Deputy PM – which is sometimes hard to remember, as you hear more from Joyce than you do from Truss.

    Shardy Shitslinger Award – is a good call. I actually had a similar one as a potential outcome – so may use it in future awards.

    Dyson Heydon was only excluded as he is not ‘technically’ an LNP Minister………But it is absolutely unbelievable that the man who is accused of bias is the one who is deciding whether or not he is bias. I mean seriously. Why is this not the subject of more ridicule?

    And yes Barnaby should pretty much always be a contender – I’m sure he will win a future award.

    FYI – Eric Abetz is currently the leader of the People’s Choice Snoutie awards. Will be interesting to see how the day progresses.

  15. Wun Farlung

    Noddy-bobble and Shardy Shitslinger… eloquence personified

  16. corvus boreus

    Hard to say whilst drunk 😉

  17. Wun Farlung

    In the interest of scientific research, I’ll give it a crack later

  18. diannaart

    Awesome work, Kate.

    There is just so much truthiness to choose among the trueblooded contenders for a Snoutie.

    … I suggest an outsider, Sophie Mirabella for her loyalty – she is running to reinstate her born-to-rule right, while blind to the idea that the electorate of Indi prefer a politician who actually knows where Indi is.

  19. corvus boreus

    Only currently swilling pollies are eligible for Snouties..
    If Sophie wants a Snoutie, she will have to bully or bribe the people of Indi into letting her back into parliament.
    Until then she can be content to reap the rewards of her consolation sop-job sabotaging submarines.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Can we have Associate Snouties?

    President-elect of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Tim Wilson, should be recognised for his outstanding contribution in kicking out Disability Commissioner Graeme Innes so he could then focus on repealing Section 18c of the racial discrimination act and getting same sex marriage legislation passed. Tim uses his position to appear on Skynews and the ABC telling us all to respect the views of the government and those mums and dads who are the backbone of Reclaim Australia. A real wawwior.

    Mr Wilson earns $332,000 and gets a $40,000 accommodation allowance. On top of that, he also claimed $77,763 for travel expenses in his first year in office including $14,562 for taxi fares, $17,800 for meals, $26,000 for domestic airfares and $11,000 for business class travel overseas (of which $2000 was later paid back by his hosts), and $13,800 for his partner’s travel.

    In total he was paid $449,763 for his first year on a job he has no qualifications for, or experience in, which was gifted to him by George Brandis after a pleasant evening at the IPA 70th birthday bash.

  21. Stoo1970

    I’d like to give a mention to my local Rep – Ian Goodenough – for NOT living up to his name.

  22. crypt0

    Funny isn’t it …
    It seems that the bigger piece of shite you are, the more you get paid!
    Starting from the very top and working down to the Associate Snouties … and beyond, presumably.

  23. corvus boreus

    For the Associate Snoutie, I would like to offer another name for consideration, Mr Michael Lawler, VP of ‘Fair’ Work Australia (another fine captain’s call by Tony).

    Gifted a salary of over $400,000 p/a, he has become an encyclopedic definition of ‘conflict of interest.
    Lawler spent 9 months (about $300,000 worth) of the last year on a paid psych-stress sickie whilst helping his live-in shag (Kathy Jackson) try to dodge charges of having stolen over a $million in union funds and blown it on luxury shit (that he directly benefited from), whilst he used his appointed position to put in complaints of petty graft against her direct superior at her work.

    I admit that bow-tie Timmie has a serious waft, but Lawler the lounge lizard is putrid from half a mile upwind.

  24. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    I am surprised that one particularly ‘lady’ has been overlooked.
    There should be a Would-be-PM-Worst-Speaker-Ever-Age-of-Entitlement Award to the one and (hopefully) only Bronwyn Bishop.

  25. corvus boreus

    Kate M,
    Rosemary has a very valid point.
    BB dropped a stench that drew media and public focus above and beyond a 7 day cycle.
    If you can post-edit, Bronnie really does deserve consideration of inclusion for the Peoples Choice (as a sentimental favourite).

  26. Kate M

    Well. I’m persuaded. You’ve all made an excellent case. For future Snoutie awards, I’m going to have to allow for an ‘Associate Snoutie’ as Kaye suggests.

    Tim Wilson really was the clincher for me – not so much in the last fortnight, but it can only be a matter of time before he does something snoutieworthy. It would just be wrong to not allow him the chance to win one.

    I’ll announce the winner of the People’s Choice award later in the week.

    And the next full set of Snouties will be at the end of the next parliamentary sitting fortnight, as its the fairest time to give all contenders a chance to shine.

    (Oh – and I’ll have a think about how we can make sure contenders like BB don’t miss out as well.)

    Thanks for your feedback…

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