With federal parliament taking a long break over the Christmas and New Year period, it's a time for our politicians to take some well-earned time off, resting their minds, their bodies and -- for the men, at least -- their razors.
As preparations ramp up for parliament to resume in the first week of February, prominent parliamentarians are starting to make the media rounds, and a worrying/awesome trend has emerged -- the holiday beard, that untamed and unkempt fuzz of facial hair that men let grow free when they don't have any official engagements to stay clean-shaven for.
But the grand-daddy of politician holiday beards is the one currently attached to the face of Senator Mitch Fifield, the Minister for the Arts and Communications. On Thursday, he had an interview with 2GB radio's Ray Hadley, with the entire chat on one topic.
You don't get any points for guessing that topic was "his amazing holiday beard".
Fifield's office released the transcript of the interview on Thursday afternoon, and it's almost a work of art. Anything we did to it would only be like slashing the face of the Mona Lisa, so here is that interview -- about holiday beards -- in its entirety. We particularly liked the part where he sledges Labor's men-folk for not being able to sprout decent beards: "I don’t know what it is about the Labor guys, but they just can’t grow them."
We've highlighted our favourite sections in bold. Enjoy!
The Ray Hadley Show on 2GB
21 January 2016, 11:30am
HADLEY: I was doing a story about 45 minutes ago about beards. I return every holiday from the summer break with either a full beard or a goatee which lasts until usually Australia Day when I work and then the next day I’ll get rid of it. Now I was questioning your beard. Now I don’t mean to be offensive. But you look like one of Queen Victoria’s sons or grandsons. You look like something left over from 1910 with that growth of yours and I’m a bit envious, because mine is a bit more like Wyatt Roy’s. Not really visible if you know what I mean?
FIFIELD: Yeah, I do. I’m glad it worked because I was really going for the Cossack look...
HADLEY: Why don’t you wear a fur hat next time you’re on Sky then you’d have the look complete?
FIFIELD: The thing with the beard that I have at the moment is it doesn’t matter which way I’m up, you can’t really tell.
HADLEY: Well someone suggested to me it looks like you got your head on upside-down.
FIFIELD: Well that’s right it does. But I think it was important to show what a real beard looks like. I mean Sam Dastyari, that was not a beard. Chris Bowen, nice try. Ed Husic, he’s barely getting started.
HADLEY: Well one of the things I noted from him, because he’s younger than me. I think he’s had a little bit of laser. You know how the young blokes get the fine line around the bottom of the chin. A bit of laser treatment so it’s really clean cut.
FIFIELD: It’s too clean. If you are going to have a beard, it’s got to be a real beard. I don’t know what it is about the Labor guys, but they just can’t grow them. I mean we’ve got some good ones on our side. Like my colleague Rowan Ramsey in South Australia. Nigel Scullion, the Indigenous Affairs Minister. He’s got a good one. But what I wouldn’t mind seeing actually, is our economics team having a crack at one. Scomo, Mathias...
HADLEY: Morrison with a beard?
HADLEY: I don’t know that the Government can afford to have the Treasurer with a beard to be perfectly honest. It’s bad enough you’ve got the Minister for Communications looking a Russian Cossack or Prince Edward V or something.
FIFIELD: I’ve got an excuse though Ray. I am the Arts Minister as well.
HADLEY: Of course! Barry Jones, that’s who you look like!
FIFIELD: That’s right, but I think the ultimate beard really was Dick Adams from Tasmania when he was in the Parliament.
HADLEY: How long is yours going to last? When’s it going?
FIFIELD: Look. It’s still a subject of great debate and discussion. I’ve asked for feedback on Facebook. Should I keep it, or should it go? My partner loves beards so she has more votes than most. So look it’ll be a case of watch this space Ray.
HADLEY: May I suggest to you that a whipper snipper may be required when you decide to get rid of it? I don’t think there’s been a razor blade invented that will get through that forest.
FIFIELD: I think I’ll need to deploy some industrial tools should that day come.
HADLEY: Do it in stages. It’ll be like the BER. Stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 although it doesn’t cost as much.
FIFIELD: That’s right I’ll tell my office to block out a couple of days.
HADLEY: Anyway you’re not going to muck around. If you’re going to grow a beard you need to grow one like Mitch Fifield. And it’s an absolute corker. But as I say, you probably wouldn’t be old enough to remember a bloke that appeared on Channel 7, on a children’s show called Captain Fortune.
HADLEY: Now I’d like your staff to Google Captain Fortune, there’s a photo existing of him. If you could get a hat on like a sea fairing type hat. You’re like a dead ringer for Captain Fortune. So either you’re looking like a child or grandchild of Queen Victoria, you think you look like a Russian Cossack, and now Captain Fortune enters the debate.
FIFIELD: Well the ultimate benchmark, of course, is Grizzly Adams.
HADLEY: Now you are showing your age. Grizzlies were a few years ago. Alright then, so did I get a concession there that it’s going sometime in January? Or is it going to stay?
FIFIELD: It’s still an open verdict Ray. I’m taking submissions. So stay tuned.
HADLEY: Well I’m coming down to Canberra I think on February 3 to a forum that you may well be at for the radio industry.
FIFIELD: Yeah, I’ll be there.
HADLEY: Okay, well I’ll look forward to it disappearing sometime between now and February 3 and I’ll be clean shaven as well okay?
FIFIELD: We’ll make sure we’ll be clean and nice.
HADLEY: Okay, thanks Senator.
FIFIELD: Thanks Ray.
HADLEY: All the best. The man with the best beard in Federal Parliament, Senator Mitch Fifield. The Minister for Communications and as he pointed out, the Arts as well. He’s looking rather arty.