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March 4, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Political Porn with Hamish – Gillard Monsters Rudd

If you did not find last week’s Australian Labor Party leadership spill exciting, you weren’t looking in the right place. The parody YouTube videos and Twitter accounts—along with television commercials and newspaper cartoons—proved, at least across the ditch, that political satire is alive and well.

Suitably, YouTube provided much of the humour, as seen in the Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard ‘cover’ of Gotye’s ‘Somebody I Used to Know’, which was featured on the Age and Sydney Morning Herald websites. The challenge itself was sparked online, with a video of a frustrated Kevin Rudd surfacing and quickly circulated by the media. Whether the video was leaked by Ms Gillard or, in a Machiavellian move, Mr Rudd, is still unclear.

For many of you, this will be your first week at Victoria University. Some of you will have chosen Victoria due to its law or design school. Others will have migrated here due to their interest in politics and Wellington’s status as the capital. To those students, welcome; this column is dedicated to you. Your choice to come to Victoria benefits me in two ways: firstly by providing this column with a reader base and secondly because I find the large tables of Weir House residents who attend Back Bencher’s humourous.

Unfortunately, the ALP spill has shown to me that you don’t need to live in Wellington to enjoy politics. The drama of the leadership spill was covered by round the clock updates on Sky channel 90 (Sky News “New Zealand”) and several Australian news websites ran live blogs, my favourite being ABC’s ‘Labor at War’. 1.30 am resignations in Washington DC, press conferences galore, gossip and leaked videos saw the one week build-up to the leadership challenge provide much more excitement than November and the New Zealand general election did.

As I’ve said though, you didn’t need to watch the traditional media’s coverage to enjoy the spill. Unlike New Zealand, where Kurt Sharpe’s YouTube channel(s) seem to provide the extent of our satire, Australians have created an array of humourous content, commenting on the political issues of the day. This has been perhaps spearheaded by the Chasers comedy group. The Chasers, who are best known in New Zealand for their 2007 APEC stunt in Sydney, created the ‘Yes We Canberra’, which appeared on taxpayer-funded ABC. Without a fully taxpayer-funded television channel, the Chasers would perhaps not survive, due to their abrasive and offensive content deterring potential advertisers.

Not since Facelift produced its last season in 2007 has New Zealand produced anything close to what’s been in Australia. Wellington, via its city council, refers to itself as the creative capital of the country. Considering it’s also the ‘real’ capital, are the creative people with offices in Te Aro not interested in what’s happening in the corridors in Pipitea?

Therefore, to the first year students starting 100-level POLS papers this week, please consider taking a part-time job at a social media agency, or changing your degree to something more creative. That way, we might see some more political satire and there will be less congestion outside KK 303. It also might mean you avoid the trap which former ACT on Campus Auckland Vice- President Cameron Wayne Browne has fallen into. According to Prime News, he’s under investigation by the Police, after posting “John Banks for Epsom! (Stuff the Electoral Act 1993)” as his Facebook status on election day. It should make for an interesting precedent.

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