Who would take out best and fairest after election campaign?

 

IN AN end-of-season special, Baz has run the ruler over the federal election campaign heroes, has-beens and no-hopers to present his best and fairest awards.

BEST AND FAIREST

Awarded to the long-suffering wives of our major party leaders, Chloe Shorten and Jenny Morrison.

Not only have they had to put up with being in the limelight and keeping a fixed smile upon their dial during a bruising campaign, they managed to carry themselves for the most part with distinction.

Bill Shorten's wife Chloe Shorten, left, and Scott Morrison’s wife Jenny Morrison. Pictures: Mick Tsikas/Lukas Coch/AAP
Bill Shorten's wife Chloe Shorten, left, and Scott Morrison’s wife Jenny Morrison. Pictures: Mick Tsikas/Lukas Coch/AAP

Neither would feel comfortable with the gaze of the nation upon them, but stood right beside their partners throughout a fairly robotic campaign, helping to show Australians that even career politicians have a human side.

MOST CONSISTENT

In a tight race, the Victorian Liberals get the chockies for their vetting of candidates. Consistently missed critical weak points among the team, allowing opposition teams to run through injured players.

Labor may have had problems with Luke Creasey in the seat of Melbourne - they eventually dumped him over creepy social media posts - but they couldn't compete with the Libs' ham-fisted attempts to scrutinise candidate history.

The Liberals didn’t hit the mark when it came to scrutinising their candidates. Picture: Gary Ramage
The Liberals didn’t hit the mark when it came to scrutinising their candidates. Picture: Gary Ramage

There were anti-Islam posts from Isaacs candidate Jeremy Hearn, homophobic rants from Wills candidate Peter Killin, and finally Gurpal Singh's bizarre comments about a rape victim.

Baz counts himself lucky he didn't have a social media account before this gig - who knows what would have ended up on that.

Still, he can't help wondering why political aspirants don't just delete accounts when running for office. Or better yet, don't post weird stuff in the first place.

BALL MAGNET

Liberal turncoat Julia Banks was front and centre for a large part of this campaign as she tried to tackle former colleague Greg Hunt in the seat of Flinders.

Banks became the story on multiple occasions, including when it was unearthed a complaint had been lodged against her over bullying allegations when working at pharmaceutical giant GSK.

Julia Banks has proved a headache for Flinders incumbent Greg Hunt. Picture: David Geraghty/The Australian
Julia Banks has proved a headache for Flinders incumbent Greg Hunt. Picture: David Geraghty/The Australian

Banks, you will remember, had complained of Liberal bullying during the Malcolm Turnbull fiasco, eventually jumping ship from the party she represented when she won the seat of Chisholm in 2016.

There was also Banks' "surprise" meeting with Julie Bishop on the Mornington Peninsula, and complaints about dirty tricks on the campaign trail.

Much like during the recent royal commission into financial institutions, a lot of people were probably sick of hearing about Banks by the time it was all over.

LEADING GOALKICKER

Scott Morrison just kept racking up the possessions during this campaign and managed to slot a number of goals.

Or, as the proud Sutherland Shire native would say, a number of tries.

Baz is far from alone in questioning whether this primary focus on a key forward, rather than the entire forward structure, would help or hinder the Liberals during a big game.

There were plenty of sporting shots with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the election trail. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
There were plenty of sporting shots with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the election trail. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The comparisons with the Sydney Swans couldn't be more obvious, with an over-reliance on Lance "Buddy" Franklin sometimes proving costly if the opposition is blanketing his impact. Even so, you have to admire Morrison's attack on the ball and ferociousness in front of goal.

GONE MISSING

Of course, the reliance on Morrison to carry his team was partly because the Liberal leadership team was in a difficult spot at this election.

For many, it was the first time they needed to work hard locally to defend their usually safe seats.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who is touted as a future leader as long as he keeps his seat, barely stepped outside of Kooyong as he battled Greens ring-in Julian Burnside and businessman Oliver Yates.

Health Minister Greg Hunt was wandering in the endangered weeds of the Mornington Peninsula, and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was largely confined to his Queensland seat of Dickson.

It was a stark juxtaposition to Labor's team, who were loudly marching on marginal seats.

WORST FINALS PERFORMANCE

Guns don't just kill people, they can kill election campaigns too.

Pauline Hanson has been a shadow of her former self since One Nation was swept up in an Al Jazeera gun lobby sting.

Pauline Hanson hasn’t made her usual impact this election.
Pauline Hanson hasn’t made her usual impact this election.

Or perhaps she has been finding it harder to make headlines after her Senate candidate Steve Dickson resigned over a sleazy strip club video.

While the outspoken MP hasn't gone completely quiet, Hanson's impact on the contest has been minimal.

MOST DETERMINED

Often a title given to the "hungriest" player in a side - which means Clive Palmer had to be in the running even before he spent $30-50 million on his United Australia Party ads.

The larger-than-life businessman, who loves posting on social media about his food cravings, told journalists he didn't give a stuff what people thought of him or his campaign because he is worth "four thousand million dollars".

Clive Palmer says he doesn’t care what people think of him or his campaign. Picture: AAP
Clive Palmer says he doesn’t care what people think of him or his campaign. Picture: AAP

While he lost end-of-season votes for jetting to Fiji during the final few weeks, the ads never stopping coming to keep him in the game. Whether it is money well spent depends on final Senate results.

There are questions about his commitment to further seasons, but assuming Palmer is elected he will no doubt give his all until the day he hangs up his parliamentary boots.

BEST TEAM PLAYER

After cruelling Bill Shorten's chance at premiership glory in 2016 by warring over the CFA's future in the middle of the federal election campaign, Premier Dan Andrews wasn't going to be accused of treachery twice.

Will Bill Shorten be laughing all the way to the finish tonight? Picture Kym Smith
Will Bill Shorten be laughing all the way to the finish tonight? Picture Kym Smith

He bent over backwards this year to be a team player, even spending Victorian taxpayer money to unleash advertisements criticising "Canberra" (aka the federal Liberals) over a lack of state funding.

He posed alongside Bill for photos, co-ordinated media stunts and attack messages, and even shifted his government's budget until after federal polling day.

No doubt Dan was considering this an investment, confident Bill would lead his side to premiership glory and payback would ensue.

His teammates think they're going to need it given the state's growing salary cap problems.

COACH'S AWARD

This trophy is sometimes referred to as an encouragement award, but Baz's winner doesn't need any encouraging.

Corangamite Liberal Sarah Henderson constantly put her head over the ball in support of her team, and came up with some creative play-making opportunities during the campaign.

Who could forget the canine assassination theory she fervently spruiked, after Darcy the pug was found dead somewhere (possibly) near one of Hendo's campaign signs?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Liberal member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson on the green. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Liberal member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson on the green. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

During a day-long visit to the Bellarine Peninsula, Morrison didn't have to ask his MP to join him at the pool table for a photo-op, she already had a cue in hand.

When the PM headed down for a spot of lawn bowls? Hendo leapt on to the turf, shoeless. It was inspiring stuff.

BEST TACKLE

Security officers put the clamps on 24-year-old protester Amber Paige in Albury this month, during a bizarre period of play featuring Scott Morrison.

They weren't quick enough to stop Paige getting a quick handball away, however, as she lobbed an egg at the PM.

The egg inexplicably failed to crack, making it an ineffective touch.

As security bundled up Paige, Morrison helped an elderly lady to her feet who had been knocked over in the tackle.

That sort of 1 percenter in a big game can really lift a team. Of course, it would have helped if someone had put a hard shepherd on in the first place to clear Morrison's path.

KEY TURNOVER

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was all over Bill Shorten like a rash during the second leaders' debate in Brisbane this month.

He was so confident he got up close and personal, after being challenged by the Labor leader over tax break costs.

Unfortunately for the PM, he managed to come across as a bit of a close talker. Shorten milked it for all it was worth, appealing for a free kick by dubbing Morrison a "classic space invader".

The awkward moment wasn't as bad as Mark Latham's brutal handshake with John Howard in 2004, of course.

But it didn't gel well with Morrison's heavily marketed image of a daggy dad.

BEST FINALS PERFORMER

One of Baz's favourite players growing up was John Howard. Dumped as Liberal captain during the turbulent late-80s, Howard was drafted back to the leadership in the mid-90s and led his team to three consecutive premierships.

After being forced into retirement by voters in 2007, he has been routinely called upon to rev up the current players as finals kick off.

Former Australian prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott on the campaign trail. Picture: Jeremy Piper/AAP
Former Australian prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott on the campaign trail. Picture: Jeremy Piper/AAP

A consummate team player, he went in hard this month for his old mate, Tony Abbott. Proving he still knows how to tackle despite his advancing years, Howard delivered an almighty spray to Bill Shorten before being mobbed by supporters at a Seniors Forum.

At a time when the game is changing so rapidly, it was a nostalgic moment that made Baz pine for the good old days - such as when teams didn't feel the need to knife their captain mid-season.

News Corp Australia


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