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[Election '96 - The Political Circus]


[As seen in The West Australian 20/2/96]

Reader Survey (and results) | Hippy Party manifesto | Message from the Electoral Commission | Flashback - 16/8/93 | The Great Debate | Wayne Goss | Ron & Jeff - How Not To Vote | What To Tell The People Handing Out "How To Vote" Cards | Hair: The Political | The Great Debate Again | WillisGate | Election Day! | And The Winner Is…

This page covered the Australian election on March 2nd, 1996. The last new material was added March 11th. The page is now arranged (more or less) consecutively, with the later material at the bottom.

Read Toxic Custard - for the latest in election coverage. (And I do mean latest.) Remember…

If it happened in politics today, you'll read about it in Toxic Custard next week.

5 Feb 96

[Survey]Reader Survey

Forget AGB-McNair. Forget Morgan. This is the poll that counts. If you don't have a browser that supports forms, then… gee, you're going to miss out, aren't you.

Actually, it's all over. The results are below. But you can still read through the questions for a bit of a giggle.

[Total number of respondents: 92]

  1. As the election looms, political experts are debating what the people's preference will be in that most vital of issues - What the election night coverage on the telly should be called. Which do you prefer?
    Election '96 - The Verdict [7; 7.6%]
    Election '96 - The Decision [1; 1.1%]
    Election '96 - The Result [6; 6.5%]
    Election '96 - All your regular favourite programmes cancelled [51; 55.4%]
    I like all of them, so I'll be flicking from channel to channel all night. [15; 16.3%]
    Whichever one's got Ray Martin on it. [12; 13.0%]
  2. What is your opinion of the two main leaders?
    Keating's a complete idiot [7; 7.6%]
    Howard's a complete idiot [14; 15.2%]
    Both Howard and Keating are complete idiots [10; 10.9%]
    The whole bloody parliament are complete idiots! [61; 66.3%]
  3. What issue would you rate as the most important to you?
    How many babies each leader kisses. [4; 4.3%]
    How many times each leader appears shaking hands with great business leaders [3; 3.3%]
    How many times each leader appears wearing a hard-hat and shaking hands with blokes in a factory [13; 14.1%]
    How many times each leader audibly farts on camera during the debates [51; 55.4%]
    Economic, industrial relations, health, environmental policies, all that boring stuff [21; 22.8%]
  4. How much of what the politicians say do you believe?
    None of it, but it's only because I'm a chronic paranoid who thinks the government is out to get me, so I'm holed up in a bunker with more arms than David Koresh. [34; 37%]
    A little of it, but it's only because I'm an obsessive who personally researches every issue and statement in-depth before making a decision. [22; 23.9%]
    About half in half, I guess. [20; 21.7%]
    Most of it, I believe that politicians are good people, and are in no way trying to get themselves into cushy jobs that earn ridiculous wages and a lifetime pension at taxpayers expense. [8; 8.7%]
    Everything, but it's only because I'm a complete idiot. [8; 8.7%]
  5. Finally, let's get right down to the major question. How will you vote?
    I'll turn up to my local polling place, go into the booth, fill in the form and bung it into the box. [48; 52.2%]
    I'll send a postal vote because I'll be away in the wilderness on holiday while the rest of the country is going crazy. [5; 5.4%]
    I'll be so hungover from drinking the night before that I'll forget and only remember when I get fined. [11; 12.0%]
    I'm an Australian living abroad, and will vote through my local embassy or consulate. I may not have a great interest in who runs the country, but I don't want those morons in the <insert party here> party to win. [3; 3.3%]
    I don't live in Australia, and I'm not even an Australian citizen, so I can't vote in this election, but I'm filling out this survey because I'm very opinionated. [25; 27.2%]

4 Feb 96

[Hippy party]The Hippy Party - Manifesto

Man, the Labor and Liberal parties have got it wrong, you know. So we at the Hippy Party would like to get this country moving again with the following policies:

So vote [1] Hippy, man. For a groovier future.

7 Feb 96

[Australian flag]A message from the Australian Electoral Commission:

Australia is a democracy. Participate or else.

10 Feb 96

[Flashback] The News 16/8/93

The Prime Minister, Mr Paul Keating was severely embarrassed by the admission yesterday that he had wet his pants during the previous week's session of parliament. Mr Keating attempted to divert the questioning of persistent journalists by trying to remind them of Opposition Leader John Hewson's loud trumpeting fart last month, but to no avail.

A spokesman for the Continence Alliance denounced the Prime Minister's danglies, declaring that any self-respecting leader of this country should have an iron-clad bladder. He also said it was probably just a publicity stunt to coincide with Continence Week (it's this week folks, I'm not kidding!), and described Mr Keating as a political "wet".

12 Feb 96

The Great Debate

So, who do you think won the big debate, hosted by feared in-depth political journalist and OAP pinup Ray Martin? The early "let's see what a bunch of ill-informed nerks in the Channel 9 studio audience thought" analysis suggests Pauly-baby had the upper hand. Mind you, there was a split second where it looked like they cut to him at the wrong moment and he was picking his nose, but maybe I'm mistaken.

For those of you who didn't get to see the debate, here's an excerpt from the best bit.

[discussing whether the government fulfilled their previous promises]

Paul: Yes we did.

John: No you didn't.

Paul: Yes we did.

John: No you didn't.

Paul: Yes we did.

John: No you didn't.

Paul: Did!

John: Didn't!

Paul: Did!

John: Didn't!

Paul: Did!

John: Didn't!

Ray: But this isn't a debate, it's just contradiction.

John: He's right.

Paul: No he isn't.

John: Yes he is.

Paul: No he isn't.

14 Feb 96

[All those who are premier of Queensland, take one step forward -- not so fast, Wayne!]


16 Feb 96

Ron & Jeff - How Not To Vote

RON: Bloody hell.

JEFF: What?

RON: A got a bloody fine for not voting. But I did!

JEFF: No you didn't.

RON: I did! I went down to the town hall...

JEFF: Yeah, and when you got there, you nutted one of the candidates who was giving you a leaflet, shouted "sod democracy", and went home.

RON: Ah, but I did show up. This says "fined for non-attendance".

JEFF: I don't think when they wrote the law that they specifically had in mind people who turn up but instead of voting, put candidates in hospital.

19 Feb 96

What To Tell The People Handing Out "How To Vote" Cards.

[Just another picture]

22 Feb 96

We at the Toxic Custard Political Circus are never afraid to ask the hard questions. Such as:

Who here has the least realistic hair?


My money's on Mr Court.

Pics: Kernot - Roger Lovell, SMH; Fischer - Andrew Meares, SMH; Costello - John Lamb, SMH

26 Feb 96

The Great Debate Again

[Debate picture]

Orig pic: The Age Green Guide

Did Ray ask the hard questions? Doubts have been raised about Ray Martin as a moderator for something so important. Why? It could be the inane human interest stories he hosts on A Current Affair. Maybe he'd do well to send Mike Munro into the Parliament House bar with a hidden camera. But it's mostly how on Friday 23/2/96 he announced a short clip of The Beatles' "Real Love" as "a first look", when the rest of us saw it months ago as part of The Beatles Anthology!

[Sgt Pepper]

29 Feb 96

At last! Some scandal! It's Willisgate!!

[The letter]Embarrassment for the ALP, as the Treasurer Ralph Willis admits he was wrong: the letter he released purporting to be from Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett to Opposition Leader John Howard was forged. But let's not be too hard on Ralph. The letter looked genuine. See for yourself; only a real expert could tell it was forged.

As Arnold from Diff'rent Strokes would say… "What you talkin' about, Willis?"

4 Mar 96

Election Day!

What I want to know is... you know all those people who work at the Electoral Commission... all the registrar people, and vote counters, and helpers... what do they do for the other 35-47 months of the four years when there are no elections? Surely they don't employ all those people full time for only a month or two's work every few years.

[Sheriff Paul] Nope. I think I've worked it out. You know at university and high school exams, where all these exam attendants turn up who you've never seen around the campus. All those people who know nothing about the subjects you're doing the exams for? It's them. The same people. A huge, mobile workforce of objective independent arbiters who keep our exams and elections clean. They're probably also line umpires at the tennis.

Anyway, election night came. And sure enough, the TV was ablaze with election coverage. ABC had "Election '96 - The Verdict". Channel 10 had "Election '96 - The Showdown", har har har.

"Sheriff Paul, Sheriff Paul, big bad John Howard's comin' into town with the Coalition posse!"

"OK deputy Beazley. Just keep outta sight, I'll take care of this. Where'd I put my campaign pistol?"

Channel 7 and 9 also had coverage, but I didn't pay any attention - I wanted to stick with ABC so I wouldn't miss any Roy & HG. The only relief from election coverage was SBS, with only occasional updates, or Channel "What election?! - we're too busy showing left-wing lesbian sumo-wrestlers from Brunswick" 31.

2 Mar 96/11 Mar 96

[The Winner]And The Winner Is…

[The loser]John Howard, and the Liberal/National Coalition!

And with defeated Paul Keating saying he'll be leaving politics, we get to ponder about what he'll do now. Maybe he'll bring his unique personality to his new job?

According to an independent observer this page was visited by about 670 taxpaying voters displaying pictures between 4th February and 18th March 1996.

Updated 13th March 1996 by Daniel Bowen.

20/7/2010: Blog post about this page

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