Twitter 57 Australian Politics Memes That Prove We’ve Been Through A Lot This Decade

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A decade is allegedly 10 years long. And yet, it feels as if we’ve fit many, many more years than that — perhaps centuries — into the 2010s.

The decade in Australian politics was particularly eventful. Since we’ve collectively lost the ability to tell time in a conventional way, this list takes you through the highs and lows of #auspol using… memes.

Twitter 1. Friends don’t let friends vote for Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott was objectively an unpopular opposition leader and then prime minister. His (un)popularity was the genesis for an early meme “friends don’t let friends vote for Tony Abbott”.


Friends don’t let Tony Abbott SLOW DOWN Our Internet / Via Facebook: biz

Twitter 2. I can’t believe he stood in front of it and signed it

Tony Abbott stood in front of a billboard in 2012. Two years later, an altered version of the picture began to circulate. Some made more effort to be believable than others.

twitter It's not like Prime Munster Tony Abbott made a huge billboard of his promises and stood in front of them. Oh wait...

It’s not like Prime Munster Tony Abbott made a huge billboard of his promises and stood in front of them. Oh wait…

twitter The first accurate LNP billboard I've seen. Obviously photo shopped they'd never be that honest. #auspol #libliar

The first accurate LNP billboard I’ve seen. Obviously photo shopped they’d never be that honest. #auspol #libliar

Twitter 3. The “carbon tax”

In 2011, prime minister Julia Gillard introduced a carbon pricing scheme. Her opponents successfully reframed it as a “carbon tax” (despite not actually believing it was a tax, as they later admitted).

Note the use of Impact font, a staple of memes of the day.

Twitter 4. Julia Gillard falls over

We enjoy when we see that our leaders are fallible. A slip by prime minister Gillard during a 2012 trip to India was prime meme fodder. Superimposing wrestler Randy Orton over Gillard’s stumble was so mind-blowing at the time that it was written up by Australian media.

Twitter 5. Gillard/Rudd leadership tensions

Gillard ascended to the top job by successfully challenging then prime minister Kevin Rudd an intra-party contest in 2010. Tensions between the pair simmered for years until … Kevin Rudd became PM again. Truly a time to be alive.

(Film parodies were really in vogue at the time.)

Twitter 6. Tony Abbott rings David Cameron

Fast forward to 2014. Tony Abbott is now prime minister of Australia. Not long after Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 goes missing, Abbott does what any other self-respecting world leader would do: posts of a picture of himself on the blower getting an update about the search.

twitter Just got an update on the search for #MH370 from JACC Chief Coordinator Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret'd)

Just got an update on the search for #MH370 from JACC Chief Coordinator Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d)

Unwittingly, Abbott stumbled into an already existing meme format based on the David Cameron Phone Call, his equivalent from the motherland.

Twitter 7. “Ha ha ha you’re such a cunt.”

Government minister Christopher Pyne allegedly drops the c-bomb in parliament when speaking about the new opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Pyne denied saying this, but that didn’t stop people having fun with it.

Twitter 8. Tony Abbott’s odd stance

Abbott was showing Japan’s leader Shinzo Abe around when this happened.

twitter PM Abe wearing his gift from Australia - RM Williams boots. Both proud to be wearing them today #RMs

PM Abe wearing his gift from Australia – RM Williams boots. Both proud to be wearing them today #RMs

I mean, c’mon. What did you expect would happen?

Twitter 9. #auspol mashups

2014 was the beginning of a golden age of videos mashing up Australian politics with pop culture. We had Arrested Development

And heaps more, many done by the talented Huw Parkinson.

Twitter 10. Captain Cooked

On Sep. 18, 2014 the Daily Telegraph put a graphic of immigration minister Scott Morrison as Captain Cook on its front page to celebrate Australia’s hard-line immigration policies.

Which laid the foundation for this iconic meme.

Twitter 11. Bill Shorten with a mullet

Perhaps the most memorable press conference of Bill Shorten’s half a decade stint as opposition leader was the time he appeared to have a mullet.

Fact check: he didn’t actually have a mullet. It was just the camera angle. The magic of showbiz, hey?

Twitter 12. Tony Abbott: minister for women

When prime minister Tony Abbott announced his cabinet, there was surprise that he — crucially, a man — would be the minister for women. Later on, he named “repealing the carbon tax” as his greatest achievement in the role.

Twitter 13. Abbott’s speed dealer sunnies

All the leadership tension didn’t stop Abbott from living his best life. Out in a timber yard in Victoria, the man who was fighting for his political life was convinced to put on a pair of sunglasses called “speed dealers”.

Will you just look at the state of this.

Twitter 14. Greens taking credit for things

They say success has many fathers. That was certainly the vibe when Greens MP Adam Bandt celebrated the decision by Labor’s Victorian premier Daniel Andrews to end the East West Link toll road planned by the previous government. Labor supporters were mad about Bandt’s attempt to claim the victory – and the meme was born.

Twitter 15. Choppergate

Government speaker Bronwyn Bishop chartered a $5,227 helicopter flight to fly 75km from Melbourne to Geelong. This expensive dash to a party fundraiser spawned a series of memes about her extravagant lifestyle.

twitter Bronwyn Bishop seen heading to the corner store for a carton of milk & loaf of bread

Bronwyn Bishop seen heading to the corner store for a carton of milk & loaf of bread

Twitter 16. [Checks notes]

While declaring his beliefs at a press conference, Bill Shorten paused to glance at his notes. The moment (which happened AGAIN at the 2015 party conference) became a popular way to suggest Shorten doesn’t believe anything he says.

Twitter 17. Newspoll wow!

News Corp writer Peter van Onselen would, like clockwork, tweet the same two words (give or take) just before a regular poll of election voting preferences was released to the public. This poll was frequently evoked to justify dumping leaders.

It didn’t actually matter what was in the poll. Maybe nothing matters, IDK.

Twitter 18. George Brandis’ jumper

The bar is pretty low for Australia’s political fashion achievements. Arguably, attorney-general George Brandis’ sweater was one of the rare bright spots.

twitter Attorney-General George Brandis arrives back in Canberra for the Spring sitting of Parliament

Attorney-General George Brandis arrives back in Canberra for the Spring sitting of Parliament

Honestly, it’s not even that out there.

Which makes the huge reaction to the jumper even funnier.

Twitter 19. #LibSpill

In September 2015 Malcom Turnbull successfully challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Australians had seen so many different PMs in such a short space of time that we knew what to do. And that was to make more memes.

The Bachelor had just started, and would soon become a mainstay for #auspol/pop culture crossovers.

Twitter 20. #PutOutYourOnions

And some chose to mourn Abbott’s toppling with a throwback to his raw onion moment. RIP to a real one.

Twitter 21. Peter Dutton is a potato

From one vegetable to another: it was around the time that Queensland’s Peter Dutton became immigration minister that people started to realise he had a striking resemblance to a tuber. It became one of the most enduring political memes of the decade.

Twitter 22. What’s your favourite lettuce?

I swear this is just a vegetable coincidence but chronologically, the next significant meme of the decade was about Bill Shorten’s passion for lettuce.

While attempting small talk on the campaign trail, Shorten infamously asked a supermarket shopper to identify their favourite lettuce. What a question! He then declined to identify his own favourite lettuce.

Later, he finally chose one, through this really poor effort at a meme. (Impact font in 2016, you hate to see it.) A media advisor probably made this.

twitter Cos you asked @workmanalice - my favourite lettuce is one that doesn't have a 15 per cent GST on it.

Cos you asked @workmanalice – my favourite lettuce is one that doesn’t have a 15 per cent GST on it.

Twitter 23. Mark Latham wore a dirty polo and oversized shorts to the PM’s XI on Jan. 20, 2016

A twitter user @Mesut_Asuil was struck when he saw former opposition leader Mark Latham at the cricket one day.

twitter @tfswebb Latho was at the cricket in Canberra yesterday. Almost walked past him without noticing as his clothes were ill fitting and grubby

@tfswebb Latho was at the cricket in Canberra yesterday. Almost walked past him without noticing as his clothes were ill fitting and grubby

It soon became an obsession.

twitter The most successful people I've met:
- wear ill-fitting shorts
- a grubby polo shirt
- a sad wide brimmed hat
- attended the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra two years ago

The most successful people I’ve met:
– wear ill-fitting shorts
– a grubby polo shirt
– a sad wide brimmed hat
– attended the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra two years ago

Twitter 24. Clive Palmer counts his money

Clive Palmer was elected to federal parliament in 2016. The billionaire ran on a populist platform that was critical about immigration. And much like a certain other billionaire, he had no qualms about showing off his riches.

This frankly absurd display of (actually rather minor) wealth was an easy target.

Twitter 25. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s apology to Australia

The two celebrities filmed a frankly bizarre apology to Australia after being caught smuggling their pet dogs into the country.

The hostage-style video was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Twitter 26. The double dissolution election

On May 8, 2016 prime minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove and asked him to dissolve both houses of parliament and call an election.

twitter 51 days until the election!

Reminder: only one party has a leader who is named in the Panama Papers. #whatup

51 days until the election!

Reminder: only one party has a leader who is named in the Panama Papers. #whatup

It was an election that would be defined by the dankness of its memes, a trend best captured in the output of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union social media pages.

Twitter 27. “Jobs and growth”

The Coalition’s three-word catchcry quickly became a meme.

Twitter 28. The “fake tradie”

Who could forget the response to this Coalition advertisement?

Twitter 29. Voting for Harambe

Do you remember Harambe, the gorilla who died? Well, he may have been gone but he continued to live on in our hearts and in the ballot box.

Voting for a dead ape instead of a plethora of political candidates? Why not, we miss him so much.

Twitter 30. THAT Dutton Photo

Peter Dutton’s office asked a reporter to remove an “unflattering” photograph of the Minister emerging from the shadows at a press conference. Turns out the internet doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do.

twitter Peter Dutton wants this photo deleted, so please delete it ASAP! 
I'll just pin it here so you know which one it is.

Peter Dutton wants this photo deleted, so please delete it ASAP!
I’ll just pin it here so you know which one it is.

Twitter 31. George Christensen’s tattoo

Liberal National MP George Christensen got a tattoo.

That’s it. That’s the meme.

Twitter 32. A politician argued with a Simpsons meme page

For some reason, Liberal MP Andrew Laming fought with one of Australia’s most iconic and long-running meme pages The Simpsons against the Liberals. The fight itself became a meme.

Twitter 33. The Moat

Okay I get that this decade has been long but did you remember that once we considered making a moat around parliament?

Twitter 34. Prime minister Trumble

White House press secretary Sean Spicer struggling with Turnbull’s name during a press briefing, calling him “Trumble”. And… it was very funny.

twitter Not looking good President #Trumble 
#Newspoll Federal 2PP
LNP 46 (-2)
ALP 54 (+2)
#auspol #60min #libspill

Not looking good President #Trumble
#Newspoll Federal 2PP
LNP 46 (-2)
ALP 54 (+2)
#auspol #60min #libspill

twitter

“Wait – the Prime Minister’s name is Turnbull? I’ve been calling him Trumble this whole time!” #auspol

Twitter 35. Malcolm Turnbull tells everyone he fucks

The prime minister was speaking to 97.3FM when he was asked whether he ever “Netflix and chills” with his wife, Lucy. He replied in the affirmative.

twitter That doesn't mean what you thi...you know what, never mind. You do you Malc. https://t.co/9X8GB9qVs5

That doesn’t mean what you thi…you know what, never mind. You do you Malc. https://t.co/9X8GB9qVs5

Twitter 36. Pauline Hanson wears a burqa into parliament

In August 2017 the returned One Nation senator Pauline Hanson entered the Senate wearing a burqa, which she had railed against in the past. The stunt was condemned by members of parliament. But of course, people on social media wanted a turn dunking too.

Twitter 37. Cory Bernadi ending up in a same-sex marriage photoshoot

Conservative politician Cory Bernadi is no fan of same-sex marriage. That’s why it was a perfect moment when he accidentally gatecrashed a photoshoot for the “yes” side in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

Twitter 38. The dual citizenship saga

Remember that weird time when what felt like half the parliament were found to be dual citizens and resigned/were removed from office?

Twitter 39. Bill Shorten raps and dabs

Politicians aren’t cool. That’s OK, it’s not their job to be cool! It’s their job to either run the country or hold those in charge to account. But for some unfathomable reason, politicians continue to try cast themselves as cool despite presumably knowing that the very pursuit of coolness is disqualifying. Anyway, here’s Bill Shorten.

twitter It's the long vs the Shorten! Can a VERY special guest give Fitzy the win over @billshortenmp in our rap battle? 🔥🎤👌🏻 #auspol #fitzyandwippa

It’s the long vs the Shorten! Can a VERY special guest give Fitzy the win over @billshortenmp in our rap battle? 🔥🎤👌🏻 #auspol #fitzyandwippa

Twitter 40. “Let there be a thousand blossoms bloom”

If you think politicians are good at segueing from one topic to another, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Rural politician Bob Katter’s seamless transition from talking about marriage equality to killer crocs is nothing short of mesmerising.

Oh, the range. It’s a surprisingly versatile excuse, too.

twitter [suddenly getting up and walking out of meeting] I ain't spending any time on it because in the meantime every three months a person gets torn to pieces by a crocodile

[suddenly getting up and walking out of meeting] I ain’t spending any time on it because in the meantime every three months a person gets torn to pieces by a crocodile

And then the meme was given a second lease on life when the national broadcaster fact-checked the claim.

Twitter 41. eat shit lyle

After same-sex marriage passed parliament a LOT of people tweeted this at the then managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby.

twitter ‘eat shit lyle’ is so all over my feed that it doesn’t even look like english words anymore. rather, the most beautiful latin phrase known to humanity

‘eat shit lyle’ is so all over my feed that it doesn’t even look like english words anymore. rather, the most beautiful latin phrase known to humanity

Twitter 42. The “weatherboard nine”

Barnaby Joyce resigned from his position as deputy prime minister and leader of the National Party in February 2018, following a series of scandals.

It was, however, a certain turn of phrase that set Twitter alight. Joyce repeatedly spoke of the “weatherboard and iron”, a phrase that supposedly referred to a poorer, rural group of Australians, but some heard it as “the weatherboard nine”.

twitter

“Did you ever hear of the #weatherboardnine? That was me. And eight other guys.” – @Barnaby_Joyce

Twitter 43. Michaelia Cash’s whiteboard

Government minister Michaelia Cash was quite literally hidden behind a whiteboard to avoid the media.

twitter Farcical scenes at Parliament House, as security guards wheel out a whiteboard to stop media filming Michaelia Cash arriving at a #estimates committee hearing

Farcical scenes at Parliament House, as security guards wheel out a whiteboard to stop media filming Michaelia Cash arriving at a #estimates committee hearing

Twitter 44. “Next question… see ya!”

South Australian Coalition Senator Lucy Gichuhi was at a press conference when she got a question she didn’t want to answer. Rather than talk about a scandal consuming her party colleague, she gave this response which went super viral.

And turns out, you can use it for any question you don’t want to duck.

Twitter 45. ScoMo’s unlikely victory

Even though Peter Dutton was behind the wild, days-long 2018 leadership spill, it was Scott Morrison who emerged victorious.

And honestly, people were exhausted.

Twitter 46. What’s the go with the au pairs?

This meme was a response to a scandal involving Peter Dutton and his decision to provide visas to a couple of au pairs.

twitter .@PeterDutton_MP @quaedvliegs 

Hey guys just getting a chain going where we can discuss what the go is with the au pairs

.@PeterDutton_MP @quaedvliegs

Hey guys just getting a chain going where we can discuss what the go is with the au pairs

It picked up steam on Twitter until eventually, Labor shadow immigration minister Shayne Neumann opened a press conference by asking what the go was, putting an end to to this meme being funny.

twitter It's a little-known fact that 'au pairs' is actually short for Australian Pairliament Pairson Organised New Visas And No One Knows Why

It’s a little-known fact that ‘au pairs’ is actually short for Australian Pairliament Pairson Organised New Visas And No One Knows Why

Twitter 47. “I Stopped These”

One of the insights from the New York Times’ interview with Scott Morrison was that his office contained a boat-shaped trophy that read “I Stopped These”.

People created their own versions of what other trophies Morrison might have. It got dark.

Twitter 48. I whisper “G’day mate”

Andrew Broad is a former Nationals politician who left parliament after New Idea exposed that he had chatted to and dined with with a woman he met on on a sugar baby website.

twitter the white australian male... god help us

the white australian male… god help us

“I pull you close, run my s

















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