How Australia’s unlikely kingmakers won it for Gillard

In a knife-edge race, the independent candidates have enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.

Australians are breathing a collective sigh of relief at finally having a government again, more than a fortnight on from the federal election. And more than a few will be rejoicing at their country's narrow escape from the clutches of the Coalition leader, Tony "Mad Monk" Abbott.

But you get the feeling that Australia's independent MPs -- Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter, a politician whose devotion to his rural Queensland constituency of Kennedy has been somewhat overshadowed by his passion for the Akubra hat -- have been quite enjoying their moment in the sun. In a race so tight that every vote counted, Oakeshott was the last of the three to declare which party he would back -- an announcement he managed to keep back right to the end of a 17-minute speech.

To be fair, the speech was a pretty good one: his points about a new paradigm for Australian politics and the importance of regional and rural education were worth making, and Oakeshott made them well. But he's been offered a role on PM Julia Gillard's front bench already; maybe he could have saved some of them for later?

Still, compared to Katter, Oakeshott has been a model of restraint throughout the election (you might describe Windsor as monk-like by comparison, if monks didn't signify frenzy in the Australian political context). Katter has been basking in the media glow like an elderly behatted guana, defending his past comments about "the poof population of North Queensland" (non-existent, apparently), calling for the protection of local bananas and sugar, and denying that he has been having fun in the spotlight over the past couple of weeks ("I'm used to power").

This election has rested on a knife edge and the minority government's margin of power couldn't be slimmer. Even so, Gillard might be just a little bit relieved that Katter didn't side with her team in the end.

Screengrab from Telegraph video
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The Telegraph’s bizarre list of 100 reasons to be happy about Brexit

“Old-fashioned light bulbs”, “crooked cucumbers”, and “new vocabulary”.

As the economy teeters on the verge of oblivion, and the Prime Minister grapples with steering the UK around a black hole of political turmoil, the Telegraph is making the best of a bad situation.

The paper has posted a video labelled “100 reasons to embrace Brexit”. Obviously the precise number is “zero”, but that didn’t stop it filling the blanks with some rather bizarre reasons, floating before the viewer to an inevitable Jerusalem soundtrack:

Cheap tennis balls

At last. Tennis balls are no longer reserved for the gilded eurocrat elite.

Keep paper licences

I can’t trust it unless I can get it wet so it disintegrates, or I can throw it in the bin by mistake, or lose it when I’m clearing out my filing cabinet. It’s only authentic that way.

New hangover cures

What?

Stronger vacuums

An end to the miserable years of desperately trying to hoover up dust by inhaling close to the carpet.

Old-fashioned light bulbs

I like my electricals filled with mercury and coated in lead paint, ideally.

No more EU elections

Because the democratic aspect of the European Union was something we never obsessed over in the run-up to the referendum.

End working time directive

At last, I don’t even have to go to the trouble of opting out of over-working! I will automatically be exploited!

Drop green targets

Most people don’t have time to worry about the future of our planet. Some don’t even know where their next tennis ball will come from.

No more wind farms

Renewable energy sources, infrastructure and investment – what a bore.

Blue passports

I like my personal identification how I like my rinse.

UK passport lane

Oh good, an unadulterated queue of British tourists. Just mind the vomit, beer spillage and flakes of sunburnt skin while you wait.

No fridge red tape

Free the fridge!

Pounds and ounces

Units of measurement are definitely top of voters’ priorities. Way above the economy, health service, and even a smidgen higher than equality of tennis ball access.

Straight bananas

Wait, what kind of bananas do Brexiteers want? Didn’t they want to protect bendy ones? Either way, this is as persistent a myth as the slapstick banana skin trope.

Crooked cucumbers

I don’t understand.

Small kiwi fruits

Fair enough. They were getting a bit above their station, weren’t they.

No EU flags in UK

They are a disgusting colour and design. An eyesore everywhere you look…in the uh zero places that fly them here.

Kent champagne

To celebrate Ukip cleaning up the east coast, right?

No olive oil bans

Finally, we can put our reliable, Mediterranean weather and multiple olive groves to proper use.

No clinical trials red tape

What is there to regulate?

No Turkey EU worries

True, we don’t have to worry. Because there is NO WAY AND NEVER WAS.

No kettle restrictions

Free the kettle! All kitchen appliances’ lives matter!

Less EU X-factor

What is this?

Ditto with BGT

I really don’t get this.

New vocabulary

Mainly racist slurs, right?

Keep our UN seat

Until that in/out UN referendum, of course.

No EU human rights laws

Yeah, got a bit fed up with my human rights tbh.

Herbal remedy boost

At last, a chance to be treated with medicine that doesn’t work.

Others will follow [picture of dominos]

Hooray! The economic collapse of countries surrounding us upon whose trade and labour we rely, one by one!

Better English team

Ah, because we can replace them with more qualified players under an Australian-style points-based system, you mean?

High-powered hairdryers

An end to the miserable years of desperately trying to dry my hair by yawning on it.

She would’ve wanted it [picture of Margaret Thatcher]

Well, I’m convinced.

I'm a mole, innit.