A truck owner/operator convoy came to Parliament House in Canberra late on Saturday and left on Monday but there was something missing, something wasn’t right…. a vital ingredient was conspicuously absent.
No it wasn’t a large placard screaming “DITCH THE WITCH” or hundreds of screaming idiots akin to a Simpson’s lynch mob urging a lynch mob on the stage to go forth and lynch Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Nor was it the absence of former PM Tony Abbott or the former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, both of whom just love these events, although it’s understandable in Bronnie’s case given the “ditching” the Liberal party undertook on Saturday night. Too soon?
It was the fact that Alan Jones was missing. Sadly for the truckers there was no Alan standing by the side of the road at the border to greet them. I’m sorry but a convoy is not a proper convoy unless Alan is involved. It’s just not the same without a ranting radio announcer at lectern, lecturing and hectoring the assembled crowd. His recent “coming out” as a feminist may have something to do with his truckie convoy no show. Who knows?
But the day and the rally was not a complete failure, thanks to the Wangaratta Warrior, Sophie Mirabella, who came running to the rescue. It wasn’t a stretch as she’s been “running” like a short angry Greek Forest Gump since being ditched at the last election by the people of INDI whom she admitted to ignoring during the latter part of her reign.
Such events naturally attract pollies like bees to honey. But it was Sophie who dominated the event without being officially involved. There are scores of the so called “usual suspects” who are addicted to or in need of some media exposure who pop up at these events to shake hands and nod or shake their heads all the while being seen. It’s an art form. But there are none better than Mrs Mirabella.
The convoy of mostly impressive rigs rumbled through early Sunday morning Canberra for a dress rehearsal for Monday, blasting horns to ensure they were noticed. They pulled a lap of the Federal Parliament before heading back to Epic. They had been noticed and those in the know saw them coming and were ready to soak up the glory. The “glory” which comes from coming down from the big house and mingling with “hard working Australians” fed up with the ALP.At issue was the highly complex Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal introduced by the Gillard Government and which is now dust thanks the truckies’ friend Malcom Turnbull.
Jacqui (Lambie) and Nick (Xenophon) were there doing what they do at such events…turn up, though Nick did a plausible job of “washing his hands” of originally supporting the tribunal. Eric (Abetz) was was spotted slinking his way through the smallish crowd. Sussan (Ley) stopped by only to seemingly take a casual longview of the scene, much like a farmer surveying a wheat crop. Michaelia (Cash) was one of the first to “lob”. On a mission the Employment Minister strode purposefully through the gathering with her much younger minder trailing, to a pre arranged breakfast TV spot before delivering a strong but short speech in which she vowed to “stand by you” and “get you back on the road and doing what you do best”. Both though largely left Barnaby Joyce to soak up most of the truckie love. The member for Bass was loitering for what appeared to be no good reason. Oh and Glen Lazarus was frontrow and centre but he was entitled to be there as it was his convoy. Maybe that’s why the shockjocks didn’t bother.
But forget the latest “next big thing”, Jacqui Lambie , it was the former member for INDI Sophie Mirabella who got the three votes for best on ground by covering more ground than the truckies. She dragged former colleagues from all corners of the conservative political pack into posing for pics by trucks for her social media. She greeted Hillary Clinton style all and sundry around her. Though the body language of some of the “sundry” suggested that the campaigning candidate was not eligible for such a smooze fest. Which, unsurprisingly didn’t slow the Mirabella momentum .Sophie’s “campaign” has been running for a long time.