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29 Photos That Sum Up How Ridiculous Australian Politics Was In 2016

There's never been a more exciting time... to drain the swamp.

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1. Old Abbotts die hard.

Instagram: @bailey.eldering

Queensland Year 12 student Ivy Thomas was out surfing at Easter when former prime minister Tony Abbott dropped in on her wave and her epic side-eye was PRICELESS.

“Only in Australia can you get dropped in on by the former prime minister," Thomas told BuzzFeed News.

3. My Little Brony.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

Labor backbencher Tim Watts opened a can of worms in February when he staged a stunt involving a My Little Pony figure in Question Time.

Watts and fellow MP Pat Conroy brought what they thought were “unicorns” into Question Time to sledge treasurer Scott Morrison, who had previously likened Labor’s tax policy to a “unicorn” fantasy.

They were promptly booted from the chamber and ever since have been harassed by bronies online for not knowing the difference between a pony and a unicorn.


5. The wizard of Oz.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

Foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop's shoes are a stark reminder of the R.M. Williams-dominated male frontbench of the Turnbull government.

This picture was taken during the announcement of Warren Truss and Andrew Robb's retirement from politics in February.

6. Australia is a wonderful island.

Australian Government - Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

In April Johnny Depp and Amber Heard filmed a video apology to Australia for smuggling their dogs into the country.

Depp gives the second worst acting performance of his career (*cough* Mordecai *cough*) but Heard gives us this beautiful description of Down Under: "Australia is a wonderful island with a treasure trove of unique plants, animals and people".

Depp went on to say deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce looked "inbred with a tomato". Rude.

A few weeks later the couple broke up.

7. Pliber-PSYCH.

Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

Seconds after this picture was taken during the reopening of parliament in April, governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove snubbed Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek after she reached out for a handshake.

Plibersek laughed off the blanking and when the GG came back to open the new parliament in August she got a hug!

8. Dad joke.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

"Father of the House" Philip Ruddock photobombed prime minister Malcolm Turnbull during the last class picture of the 44th parliament in March. He retired in May after 42 years in parliament to become Australia's first special envoy for human rights.


10. Deep sea Pyne-ing.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

Then-innovation minister Christopher "The Fixer" Pyne tried on a pair of Microsoft's Mixed Reality HoloLens during a visit to Saab during the election campaign.

12. Naaaaaaaaaants ingonyamaaaaaaa bagithi baba.

Andrew Taylor / AAPIMAGE

"Wombat King" deputy prime minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce held the "wombat trail" mascot up for the National Press Club to view, Lion King-style. The wombat trail is the nickname given to the election campaign run by the Nationals.


13. Will the real fake tradie please stand up?

Liberal Party of Australia / Via

Who could forget when the bracelet-wearing tradie star of the Liberal party's election ad – who was drinking a cup of coffee on a worksite, and "just wants to get ahead with an investment property" – turned out to be a real tradie!

16. The hair-raising election campaign.

Dan Peled / AAPIMAGE

The longest election campaign in history had its highs and its lows.

Here's a photo of the time foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop literally cut a man's hair during a visit to a shopping centre in Brisbane.


17. One day, Albo, all this will be yours!

William West / AFP / Getty Images

Labor MP (and occasional DJ) Anthony Albanese before a press conference in the final days of the eight-week election campaign.

18. Democracy sausage.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

Everyone freaked out when Bill Shorten ate his sausage sizzle from the middle on the morning of election day.

But to be fair to Bill, what choice did he have? Who serves a sanger in a bread roll and not plain old white bread?

19. Australian Idol reunion.

Seshanka Samarajiwa / Getty Images

Former Australian Idol host Osher Gunsberg (formerly known as Andrew G) appeared on election day to campaign for James Mathison, who was running against former prime minister Tony Abbott in the electorate of Warringah.

Mathison promised to both “rock the boat” and “rattle the cage”. He did neither.

20. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

The prime minister made his way into his Sydney election party after midnight to announce the election result was too close to call.

“Tonight, my friends, I can report that based on the advice I have from the party officials, we can have every confidence that we will form a Coalition majority government in the next parliament,” he said.


21. Heading back to parliament after 20 years? Alpaca my bags.

Dan Peled / AAPIMAGE

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson was elected with three ~colourful~ senators after the July double dissolution election.

What was that? Rod Culleton has left One Nation? No prob-llama.

22. Rock on.


The government's chief mischief maker (official title: deputy government whip and founder of the Friends of Australian Music) Ewen Jones lost his seat in the July election. This photo was taken during the last week of parliament before the election was called in May.

23. Wildest gap year, ever.


A month after losing his seat in the July election Wyatt Roy, Australia’s youngest ever federal politician, was attacked by ISIS fighters during an unannounced trip to Iraq.

“We came under fire and [the Kurdish fighters] pushed them back. We got in a car and got out of there. There was then a coalition air strike called,” Roy told BuzzFeed News.

24. Shortening the odds.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

This year we bade farewell to "feral" senators: independent John Madigan; Motoring Enthusiast Ricky Muir; the last Palmer United senator Dio Wang; and footballing legend Glenn Lazarus.

We'll particularly miss the Brick With Eyes' threats to stick his fingers up the prime minister's butt.


25. Submarines are the spaceships of the ocean.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

One of the main defence talking points of 2016 was who Australia would get to build our submarines. In August the government announced the $50 billion winner was French company DCNS.

Here's Liberal backbencher Luke Howarth, one of the men who led the empty seat spill against Tony Abbott, really leaning in to parliament's no-props rule to remind Labor who's in power.

27. How do we sleep while our beds are burning?

Ruttyn / Ruttyn/Newspix/REX/Shutterstock

The former PM is a regular volunteer firefighter and was photographed in November helping fight a bushfire at Castle Cove in Sydney.


29. I can see your halo.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

After eight weeks of campaigning, and one week of utter confusion, Malcolm Turnbull became Australia's prime minister with a thumping one-seat majority.

There's never been a more exciting time...

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Anna Mendoza is a photo editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Anna Mendoza at

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

Contact Alice Workman at

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