Talking points out the window as pollies switch from postmodern to the surreal

”We just have to bind together as a party and get on with it!”: Joel Fitzgibbon made quite an appearance on Channel Seven’s Sunrise program. Photo: Jonathan Carroll As the 43rd Parliament lurches towards its nether end, the vibe around the place grows increasingly postmodern. Which is to say – deconstructed, self-referential, culturally relative and, in select cases, more incoherent than the poetry of typewriter-bound monkeys.

On Tuesday Labor MP and serial Julia Gillard irritant Joel Fitzgibbon began the day with what a jazz cigarette-smoking post-structuralism student would call a very ”meta” television appearance – an interview in which he deconstructed the very process of being interviewed.

Breakfast television host David Koch asked Fitzgibbon about the uniformly disastrous for Labor poll results splashed across three newspapers on Tuesday.

”Joel, Joel, Joel, are you shattered by this?” Kochie asked.

”Hang on, Kochie!” cried the Member for Hunter, with the sort of ebullience and maniacal eye-glint of a man about to go over the top of a rain-and-rat-sodden trench. ”I just brought the manual with me! I’ll see what it says!” he said, and then he held up an actual manual, which looked a lot like the ”talking points” MPs of both sides are issued with daily.

The talking points everybody knows about, but nobody is supposed to talk about.

”It says I should say, ‘Polls come and go but the only poll that matters is on election day!’ ” Fitzgibbon laughed.

In the same interview, Fitzgibbon mentioned there was a seminar being held in Parliament House for retiring MPs and quipped: ”I hope there is not a rush for the door!” Then he pointed out that he had, a few months ago, ”suggested that the party wanted to think about new directions and paths” – a reference to his support for a Kevin Rudd revival, so passive-aggressive it would make your mother-in-law blush.

And then, in a final flourish: ”We just have to bind together as a party and get on with it!”

Just as the Prime Minister’s communications strategy team was about to call in a drone strike, the Member for the Queensland seat of Moreton, Graham Perrett, took to ABC Radio, and operations had to be redirected.

”We are in more trouble than Indiana Jones,” he admitted.

Asked whether he thought Rudd should return as Labor leader to stem the catastrophic electoral tide, Perrett answered in idiosyncratic fashion.

”If my aunt had testicles, she’d be my uncle, wouldn’t she,” he said.

Yes, we suppose she would. We’re just not quite sure where that leaves us, other than in the obvious place – that is, more confused than the gender identity of Graham Perrett’s mother’s sister.

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