So, the race is on for leaders in two of the world's greatest countries, Australia and America, but the campaigns could not be more different. Every time I hear a politician speak in Australia, every time I watch so-called political debate, my eyes glaze over and I dream of being an American voter. Witnessing the very luke-warm controversies caused by Turnbull and Shorten this week (which I'll address in a minute), I couldn't help but feel that democracy could be -- nay, should be -- more exciting than this.
You see, I long to be entertained during the election process. It is not enough for me to live in a democracy and not have to fight for the right to vote -- bor-ring! I love the American grandstanding and huge rallies and candidates bathed in floodlights and celebrity endorsements. Their process is significantly more entertaining than ours, and, more importantly, the colossal displays of money wasting inherent in their campaigns give me comfort about my own questionable spending habits.
But I feel like I need even more than that in Australia to remotely give a crap about who my next leader might be; I need fascinating candidates. Give me outrageously racist, sexist and arrogant proclamations -- give me Trump. That dude is one endless joke after another. I am serious when I say that if I were an American voter, I would love the chance to vote for Trump. Why on earth would we want his trainwreck to end? (Apart from the catastrophic political, economic and moral consequences his policies would have on every American and the rest of the world.) I'll admit, I'd get into the polling booth and be so tempted...for my own entertainment purposes, of course.
And Hillary Clinton; well. Not only is she the calibre of woman that I would name my daughter after, and a badass who knows how to get what she wants despite any personal crisis. She also has the best collection of pants suits I've ever seen, and wore a $12 000 Armani jacket in her most recent speech, which sent people into meltdown. Oh and just a small thing -- she could potentially be the first female American President. I'm also hoping she wins so that she can 'enjoy' a cigar in the Oval Office like her husband did.
I think the most engaging world leader we've ever seen is Obama. Between his hilarious YouTube clips, super cool dance moves and general Insta awesomeness with #FLOTUS (and I guess the fact that he's the first black President is kind of a big deal), every other political leader now has a lot to live up to, especially in terms of online entertainment (which we have a right to now expect; it's 2016 after all).
Trump's social media presence is the only other one that comes remotely close to putting a smile on my dial -- for all the wrong reasons, of course. Put it this way -- Trump's tweets could inspire a prolonged drinking game -- one shot for "Mexican" or "wall" or "Crooked Hilary", and we'd all be drunk in 10 minutes.
Back in Australia, Shorten and Turnbull need to significantly up their game if I'm ever to going bother following them on Twitter. Commendably, this week they both really tried. We have seen the rise of the hashtag #MalcolmWasSoPoor after Turnbull tried to appeal to voters by claiming he grew up as a struggling battler, which was a genius concept.
My favourite tweets responding to his claims were, "#MalcolmWasSoPoor that he couldn't even afford to use a tax haven" and "#MalcolmWasSoPoor even his Prime Ministership is second hand." Nice try, Mal, but the only person who understood your plight was Gina Rinehart.
Shorten, to his credit, tried his best to bring some Trump to the table, but failed miserably. He claimed "Where you've got mums working part-time or fulltime, it's the second job in the family, and frankly they're doing a lot of the unpaid work".
But Bill, dammit, you didn't take it far enough. Shorten stopped short of calling the organisation of childcare solely the woman's responsibility -- he merely said that it generally falls to female in the family to organise the care of the kids when a parent is working. Unfortunately, I think most of us would agree that is true in most (not all) Australian families.
I know for sure that's the situation in every family that I know, from the SAHMs to the part-timers and full-timers. It sucks, and it's exhausting, and as Lisa Wilkinson noted in a recent article, it's not a situation we (both genders) should continue to accept simply because it's the way it has always been done. However, it is the norm in the majority of homes I know, so poor Bill was not really making any outrageous claims.
Alright, so Shorten's stating of the status quo was too real to be sufficiently exciting from a voter's perspective... but then, there was hope... many people objected to his description of childcare arrangement duties as the "second job in the family". Some took it to mean tasks that often fell to women were secondary to the main tasks of performing 'important' work outside of the home.
But, once again, no matter how much I wanted this to be Bill's Trump moment, I just couldn't interpret his words in a belittling way. I have three different streams of income, and I refer to them as my first, second and third jobs. So that's what I thought of when I heard "second job". At the root of it, Shorten simply meant that it's another job that has to be done in the family, and usually, it's done by women. He wasn't being dismissive of the value of the task; he was actually acknowledging it as an important job that requires support from the government. So, if I were to apply the Trump drinking game to Shorten's comments, we'd all be dismally stone-cold sober.
Sarcasm and desire to be relieved of my political boredom in Election 2016 aside, I think we Aussies should be truly grateful that we are not faced with the the threat of a leader such as Trump. Let's put Turnbull's, and especially Shorten's, most recent comments and clumsily-expressed claims into perspective, and in the context of their true intent, and be thankful that neither are megalomaniacs of international proportions.
Having said that, I do hope someone on Mal's and Bill's teams reads this and takes this as a challenge to engage apathetic voters such as myself. I encourage them to up the ante of political drama/entertainment, and take Election 2016 to the United States level, so that we Aussies can truly get something more out of the next few weeks than just another democratically and peacefully elected Prime Minister.