SATURDAY? What a ride! The kids were beside themselves. Every morning for months I’ve been woken at some ungodly hour with “Mum! Mum! How many sleeps until the council elections. Is it 87? Are we there yet? Stuff Christmas. We’re gagging to find out who’ll be elected councillor for the North-West Ward. If we’re good, will you read us the campaign pamphlets? The independent candidate’s proposed innovation to the current animal registration system and the maintenance of footpaths are fully sick!”
How about that Robert Doyle? Old Popeye is King of Melbourne. I can’t imagine how honoured he must be that the people have spoken and what they’ve said is, “You’re the only name we recognised on the ballot. Didn’t you used to play for Carlton?” I was thrilled to hear a middle-aged, middle-class rich bloke in a suit won the mayoral bling. There just aren’t enough of them in highly paid ceremonial roles that consist of hand-shaking, ribbon-cutting and posing for photographs with visiting local dignitaries.
Doyle is proof of the impossible. That someone is more pompous, soporific and uninspiring than Ted Baillieu. The Liberal Party leadership handover from Robert to Ted was the Born to Rule dream-team; White and Whiter; 100% charisma-free, idea-resistant and void of all traces of originality or your MCC membership back!
Becoming lord mayor is the consolation prize for power-trippers with ambition but no talent. The gig’s made all the more cushy by virtue of the fact that you have no real responsibility whatsoever. The council’s only recent idea has been to put a beach on the Yarra. Like the city doesn’t have enough syringes. Sure Melbourne has the Paris end of Collins Street. But we also have the Congo end of King Street. How about tackling that or at least changing the name of the strip club Spearmint Rhino to something not about bad breath and fat people?
Robert Doyle failed as opposition leader not just because he led the Liberal Party to its worst-ever defeat, but because he’s devoid of any original ideas, insight, leadership skills or warmth and he has no connection with the needs of anyone other than his mates from Geelong College. I’m looking forward to watching him fail at being mayor. Which will be pretty astonishing considering the job’s such a joke that no mayor has ever failed or succeeded at it. All you have to do is show up and not kill anyone and you’re referred to as “The Honorable”.
Doyle wants to reopen Swanston Street to cars, ban bad buskers and stop the city being a bogan magnet. Firstly, Swanston Street and the cars. Where do I start? You’re an idiot, Doyle. Secondly, bad buskers? They’re all bad. That’s their charm. If they were any good, they wouldn’t be busking. As far as stopping the city being a bogan magnet, what’s your plan? Bogans have to get out and about. If they don’t, they’ll breed. How about a bogan-proof fence that redirects bogans to Hawthorn! Watch out Sally and Jonathan, lock up your Southern Comfort.
It seems Doyle wants to turn the clock back to 1959, when Ava Gardner was wrongly reported as saying, “On the Beach is a story about the end of the world, and Melbourne is the right place to film it.” Next thing you know, the six o’clock swill will be back, babies will be taken away from unmarried mothers and doctors will again smoke on their ward rounds.
The only mayor we’ll ever remember is John So, because he was cute and he talked funny. He was so adorable I had a fluffy toy of him hanging from my rear-vision mirror. When I pressed its tummy, it sang John So, He’s Our Bro. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice guy. But let’s face it, potato-cake munching, tram-riding, pot-swilling, hook-turning, cantaloupe-buying, latte-sipping, bathers-wearing friends, he was more a mascot than a mayor.
I’ll miss his TV ads with Livinia Nixon. It was like a confused Asian businessman being led around Melbourne by his translator. As Livinia spoke on his behalf, John So looked like he just wanted to hit the casino, play golf and buy opals.
John So then Robert Doyle. If that doesn’t prove Melbourne is Australia’s comedy capital, I don’t know what does. I’m looking forward to lots of laughs. This is the best joke since more than 70,000 people put their religion down on the census as Jedi.
And you might want to read this.