“Am I a VLAD now?” Probably what former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is thinking in this photo.
“Am I a VLAD now?” Probably what former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is thinking in this photo. ALAN PORRITT

Strange Politics: Turnbull and the Galloping Goats gang

THE Liberals used a not-so-fake tradie and the Sex Party opted for racy election placards, but Peter Dutton claims Labor’s latest campaign tactic is really something to worry about.

The Immigration Minister was up in arms after seeing photos of an outlaw bikie gang member protesting alongside union members on the doorstep of his electorate office.

Dutton used the photo that showed a Rebels member wearing his club colours and holding a sign reading “Put the LNP last!” as evidence of a link between unions and bikie gangs.

“This is a real test of Bill Shorten’s leadership: Does he condone the bikies in the ALP campaign here in Dickson and elsewhere around the country?” Dutton asked Sky News.

“If the Labor Party has been infiltrated by these bikies and the CFMEU and its highest ranks are involved in this campaign, it’s a serious leadership issue for Bill Shorten.”

To be fair, he is not wrong.

Bikie gang members are largely backing Shorten’s team because Dutton has c ancelled the visas of about 90 outlaw motorcycle gang members, mostly from New Zealand.

It is a bad look to have the unwavering support of people involved in criminal organisations, but if ICAC has taught us anything, it is that neither party can honestly take the moral high ground on that front.

Labor cannot stop people from protesting, even if they do wear a smelly leather vest emblazoned with the name of some other boys’ club. The bikie’s nickname was Gypsy, by the way.

For the sake of scientific research, this Strange Politics correspondent decided to run some politicians’ names through an online bikie name generator.

Dutton’s moniker would be Bug Brain and he would ride or die for the Spirit Stalkers MC.

Bill “Ol’ Shovelhead” Shorten would be representing the Galloping Goats, while Malcolm Turnbull would be wearing colours for the Nutcrushers under the pseudonym Ol’ Dirtbeard.

Which is fitting, considering the ABC expose published earlier this month that blew the lid on his unrequited love of facial hair.

They cited a bunch of instances where the Prime Minister positively swooned over well-groomed chin hair, and posited the theory that his white-collar repression was all that stood between him and total razor abandonment.

It is a decent theory, considering the last prime minister with facial fuzz (a most handsome moustache) was Billy Hughes, who was in the hot seat from 1915–23.

Every prime minister before him sported some kind of whiskers, except for Australia’s first PM Edmund Barton, whose face was bare as a desert.

Is it time to let chin-bristles back into Kirribilli House? Probably not.

Apparently it is not time to get Tony Abbott back on to the front bench either.

The former prime minister wants to be defence minister – he has not explicitly said it in public but it is no secret.

“All sorts of things might happen in the future but right now you’ve got to be content with serving your electorate,” he said.

“I didn’t hear a ‘No’ in there, Tony,” replied Andrew Bolt amid much mirth and gut-busting giggles.

But Turnbull has other ideas, telling reporters in Geelong “the ministry that I will lead after the election, if we win, will be the same as I lead today”.

Ol’ Dirtbeard needs a sergeant-at-arms he can trust.