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15 Times Political Banter Was Fucking Brutal In 2016

Pollies feel the burn.

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1. When former PM Paul Keating dropped the mic on the whole of the United States after Donald Trump was elected.

Paul Keating says Australia should focus less on the US alliance and more on Asia #auspol #abc730

In an interview on ABC’s 7:30 program, Keating was asked about Trump’s pending presidency and immediately launched into a passionate rant about why Australia has a better and more fair society than the US.

"We have universal health protection, from the cradle to the grave."

"We have a retirement income system, with superannuation.

"We have high participation rates in schools.

"We don’t shoot our children in schools and if they were to be shot we’d take the guns off the people who shot them. The Americans do not do this.

"This is a better society than the United States."

Keating went on to criticise Malcolm Turnbull’s reaction to Trump, saying the prime minister “(was) almost saying prayers to the alliance”.

2. Jacqui Lambie’s brutal description of Cory Bernardi as behaving like an "angry prostitute".

Here's the video of @JacquiLambie 1-2 savaging of Bernardi by comparing him to an "angry prostitute"...

A debate around foreign donations to political parties erupted in the Senate after it was revealed Labor senator Sam Dastyari had a Chinese company pay the excess on his travel bills.

The scandal saw conservative senator Cory Bernardi question Dastyari’s political allegiances, calling him a “Manchurian candidate” for the Chinese government.

Then Jacqui Lambie stepped up to the mic.

"Liberal senator Cory Bernardi lecturing this parliament and displaying mock outrage regarding Labor senator Sam Dastyari and Chinese political donations is like angry prostitute lecturing us about the benefits of celibacy," she said.

"And before I receive unfair criticism from the sex workers, I apologise to them profusely in comparing them to senator Bernardi. I know that is a really terrible low down thing to do because I can tell you prostitutes are far more honest, sincere, humane, compassionate and better bang for buck than senator Bernardi will ever be able to deliver."

3. Labor leader Bill Shorten calling Liberal senator Cory Bernardi a "homophobe" on live TV.

Conservative senator Cory Bernardi stopped by a press conference held by Labor leader Bill Shorten in February to sledge him over the Safe Schools Coalition.

"At least I’m honest, Bill,” said Bernardi, whose group of far-right parliamentarians successfully lobbied for an investigation into the school program, which teaches respect for LGBT kids.

Shorten didn't miss a beat: “Nah mate, at least I’m not a homophobe either, mate.”

4. Malcolm Turnbull's Christmas sledge on "socialist" opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Turnbull: Mr Harbourside Mansion was surely the epithet of the campaign. Of course Bill wanted the title for himself

In December the prime minister used his Christmas message to fire off a not-too-shabby zinger at the king of the zingers, Labor leader Bill Shorten.

“Mr Harbourside Mansion was surely the epithet of the campaign,” Malcolm Turnbull joked. “Of course, Bill desperately wanted the title for himself. But like all good socialists he wanted a harbourside mansion paid for by the taxpayer.”

5. The time Greens senator Nick McKim literally made a tin foil hat for One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts and grilled him about conspiracy theories.

Greens @NickMcKim drags climate skeptic Malcolm Roberts with a tin foil hat during a global warming debate.

In November One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts successfully lobbied to get the Senate to debate the government’s policy on “the disputed theory of global warming” in the age of Donald Trump.

Roberts started with 10 minutes of his best material, including claims there is no ~empirical evidence~ of global warming, and his belief that a group of elites (that includes bankers, US billionaire George Soros, and Australian lobby group GetUp) have been getting rich off it.

Then Greens senator Nick McKim literally pulled out a tin foil hat and dragged Roberts about his conspiracy theories.

"Presumably you think NASA’s trying to read your thoughts through the fillings in your teeth? And the chemtrails are impacting on your neural pathways? Or maybe the lizard people are stealing your thoughts through the special implants in your brain they put in while you were sleeping?" McKim said.

"Regardless or not of whether senator Roberts needs the tin foil hat… I look forward to his next motion questioning whether the moon landing actually took place."

6. When Labor MP Terri Butler owned anti-marriage equality Liberal MP Ian Goodenough by calling him single.

.@terrimbutler with one of the most brutal owns in parliament I've ever witnessed, against anti-marriage equality M…

During a marriage equality debate Goodenough delivered a speech against marriage equality, saying traditional marriage was the foundational unit for children and that same-sex couples who use reproductive technologies and surrogates to have children are in “three-way couples”.

“Marriage is not a romantic notion – it is an important social institution that deals with progeny,” said Goodenough.

Butler snapped back something savage.

"It’s a pleasure to rise to follow the member for Moore," she said. "My friend the member for Moore. I do think we may have found an explanation for his bachelor status, given his description of marriage being not romantic, but a social construct important for progeny. If I was to counsel the member for Moore in his quest for love, I would say, maybe don’t roll that one out on the first date. If I was to counsel him, of course I wouldn’t presume to do, Mr Deputy Speaker."

7. This ~saucy~ tweet by former NSW premier Barry O'Farrell.

Ironic work from the man who introduced 1:30am lockouts and 3am last drinks in Sydney.

8. When Labor senator Sam Dastyari cheekily invited Pauline Hanson to share a halal snack pack with him.

Facebook: video.php

At Hanson's election night victory party Labor senator Sam Dastyari invited her to join him for a halal-certified snack pack... which prompted Hanson to absolutely lose it at the mere suggestion she would eat something labelled acceptable for Muslims.

"Pauline, right now, I will invite you to join me in Sydney and I will take you out for a halal snack pack, out in the western suburbs of Sydney, whenever you want," Dastyari said.

"Not happening," Hanson replied. "Not interested in halal, thank you. Not interested in it. I don't believe in halal certification."

9. Education minister Simon Birmingham tore to shreds the head of the Australian Christian Lobby over a false story about toddlers being taught about “sex, sexuality, and cross dressing".

@LyleShelton not my program; entirely NSW based & funded I understand. Be good if you got your facts straight, for once.

Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby Lyle Shelton took to Twitter to mock the “rainbow ideology”, and later said he would call on Birmingham to cancel the program.

Birmingham responded by asking Shelton to get his facts straight “for once.”


10. When Australia's top scientist Dr Alan Finkel calmly destroyed One Nation climate sceptic senator Malcolm Roberts.

Australia’s most prominent anti-climate science senator, Malcolm Roberts, used a Senate estimates hearing to ask the country’s chief scientist whether he believed carbon dioxide caused by humans affected the climate.

Chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel (who has a PhD in electrical engineering and was a postdoctorate fellow in neuroscience) started from the top and gave one of the most simple, step-by-step explanations of how climate change works.

“For whose data do you rely on?” asked the senator.

"All of it," replied Finkel.

11. Liberal MP Russell Broadbent's brutal snap back at colleague George Christensen for “cuddling up” to One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

Facebook: video.php

Veteran government MP Russell Broadbent delivered a late-night speech in November condemning the MP for Dawson, George Christensen, for delivering a "diatribe about the rise of Islam in this country".

"The member’s speech was replete with generalisations, there were appeals to fear and prejudice that appalled me," Broadbent said. "Why then is someone on my side of politics cuddling up to Hansonite rhetoric? Those propositions and policies will only hurt the Coalition parties in the long run.

Read the full speech here.

12. Sky News presenter Janine Perrett’s shady side-eye during her colleague's unhinged rant about how Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comments are a “victory for women”.

This was unforgettable TV. Starring @RossCameron4 with cameos from @SkyNewsRicho and Janine Perrett. I've watched…

In October former politician turned commentator Ross Cameron dressed in Donald Trump apparel and waxed lyrical about how Trump’s comments regarding kissing and groping women against their will were a good thing.

“The Trump conversation, what it tells you is that in the private moment, at the end of the day, when the bloke is sitting down with his mates, the thing that his mind turns to is the female of the species,” said Cameron. “The female is the celestial body around which the male orbits.”

But the true star of Cameron’s ridiculous rant was Sky News presenter Janine Perrett’s shady side-eye.

Sky News / Via Twitter: @BenFordham

13. That time John Oliver delivered the perfect comeback to a question about Donald Trump and broke the hearts of every Australian.

Just minutes after comedian John Oliver won an Emmy award in September, he was asked about Donald Trump by Channel Ten entertainment reporter, Angela Bishop. (Fun fact: she is the daughter of former politician turned commentator Bronwyn Bishop!)

Bishop asked Oliver what he would do if Trump became president. Oliver laid a burn on the Aussie reporter, suggesting she have a look at her own country’s patchy record on immigration.

You can watch the whole exchange here.

14. When Laurie Oakes trolled Sportsbet on election night with his ties.

Australia’s most respected political journalist was the subject of his own betting market on election night: what coloured tie would he wear on the Channel Nine panel?But the doyen of the press gallery is not a man to be messed with. He wore SIX ties throughout the night. Now we all know you don't fuck with Laurie.

Australia’s most respected political journalist was the subject of his own betting market on election night: what coloured tie would he wear on the Channel Nine panel?

But the doyen of the press gallery is not a man to be messed with. He wore SIX ties throughout the night.

Now we all know you don't fuck with Laurie.

15. And who could forget when former Liberal senator Bill Heffernan said, "fuck, that's risky shit".

The ~colourful~ senator Heffernan was chairing a late-night meeting of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport committee when the issue of runways at Melbourne airport emerged.

Heffernan bridled about whether they’d actually have passenger planes landing at different angles, instead of on parallel runways. “Are we talking about cross-runway landings?” he asked.

Senator Nick Xenophon replied, “Yes, that is part of it”.

Heffernan leant back in his chair, exasperated, and muttered, “Fuck, that’s risky shit.”

2016. What a savage time to be in Australian politics.


For more Best Of 2016 content, click here!

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at

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