Faced with such a depressing choice the Australian electorate did the only right thing in the circumstances and elected neither Abbot nor Gillard leading to a hung parliament and the unedifying sight of a few, normally irrelevant independent MPs being elevated to the roles of kingmakers and clearly revelling in the media spotlight. In the end, after one of the independents quite literally milked his fifteen minutes of fame for all it was worth by delivering his verdict on who he would be backing only after a tedious fifteen minute sermon, the independents went with Gillard. Very much the best of a bad bunch.
Tony Abbott has been in something of a sulk ever since and recently accused Gillard of “Machiavellian bastardry”, a frankly outstanding phrase that would surely have secured the election for him if only he had uttered it a few weeks ago. For fans of insulting Australian political rhetoric Julia Gillard is on record as referring to a member of the opposition as a “mincing poodle” but my all time favourite term of abuse comes from the archives:
During a particularly rowdy session in the chamber, an increasingly agitated MP from the now defunct Country Party by the name of Sir Winston Turnbull tried to make a point by shouting “I am a Country Member!” To which a loan voice replied: “Yeah, we remember”.