By Mike Welsh
I can’t decide if Treasurer Joe Hockey is a knob, a clown or a buffoon.
I’ve been searching for months now for an accurate and just label for the Federal Treasurer.
Smokin’ Joe, Jovial Joe, Sloppy Joe: all pithy, predictable and popular tags, but they have no value for me.
Some commentators refer to our chubby Treasurer as Good Old Joe: “Looks like Good Old Joe’s been at it again,” etc.
I don’t dislike Joe Hockey. I don’t think too many people, apart from a few of his more sober and nasty LNP contemporaries could believably condemn “Jovial” Joe. I like the way Joe fronts up, smiles and engages all comers, including those relentless terriers of the Canberra Press Gallery. Still, Joe Hockey is often a buffoon and occasionally he could be called a knob, but upon reflection those tags could be a tad mean…and I don’t want to be mean.
Not to Good Old Joe.
“Clown” lacks the slap required here. So it’s out.
So I’ve settled on Good Old Joe the Buffoon. “Good” and “Old” together eliminate any spite or slur from a soft insult. Akin to how Holden Caulfield (Catcher In The Rye) referred his younger sister Phoebe as “old” Phoebe. An affectionate and frivolous term with only a small sting in its tail.
Lately, whenever Hockey speaks “off the cuff”, which is how his advisors laugh off his thoughtless statements, he almost always puts his fat foot in his mouth.
On top of failing to balance the budget, suggesting poor people don’t drive cars and people living to be 150, (Smokin’) Joe bravely marches on…proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that he’s an out of touch, “old” buffoon. Last week, when he should have been counting beans, he was patronising old punters instead.
At the launch of the Age Discrimination report, (Sloppy) Joe stupidly stated that being old was “an attitudinal thing” and that people “never really grow old in their heads.” Getting all folksy, Joe told of an encounter between his children and their 84-year-old school crossing attendant, Merv.
“Every Easter Merv puts on the bunny ears, every Christmas he wears a Santa hat. The kids love him, he loves them and he loves his job,”
“The wisdom he imparts in that brief discussion with parents and children is a reminder we never grow old.”
Then Good Old Joe dug deep into the cliché tin and grabbed the equally empty “You are only as old as you feel.”
The Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan, who is well qualified for a lollipop lady gig at 72, basically said that if you are over 50 and unemployed, your chances of ever even getting another job interview are super slim.
Slimmer than Good Old Joe’s chances of ever being taken seriously.
Joe Hockey clearly comprehends the gravity of Ms Ryan’s report, suggesting age discrimination was “…as reprehensible as racial discrimination, and as reprehensible as religious discrimination.”
Reprehensible, so what to do about it?
Nothing, it’s way too difficult.
Much easier for Good Old Joe the buffoon to swiftly revert to hollow rhetoric with inspirational tales of an 84 year old lollipop man called Merv who wears bunny ears at Easter.
Can’t help wonder how Good Old Joe will be traveling next Easter when he chops $1.90 out of Merv’s pension cheque.