Party Time

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So we’re throwing a campaign party, but which politicians to invite? We ask two of Australia’s most popular journalists, Fran Kelly and Patricia Karvelas, for their inside tips on dancers, DJs and the perfect host.

FRAN KELLY
Co-host of The Party Room podcast, presenter of RN Breakfast

Party Host

Malcolm Turnbull certainly has the best house for the party...but venue isn’t everything! Perhaps Bill Shorten is the best at catering for everyone’s needs... during the Rudd/Gillard years he somehow managed to be on both their sides.

Party DJ

Wyatt Roy – as the youngest member of the parliament, he’s the only one who is likely to know who Drake is.

Party Trick

Heading back a bit – there was one parliamentarian known for her party tricks. Senator Amanda Vanstone can make a spoon hang off her nose. There’s quite an art to it and it’s a wonder to behold. In terms of modern magic – Malcolm Turnbull was pretty good at making Joe Hockey disappear... which, let’s face it, makes his backbench management a bit smoother... former Treasurers can be difficult to corral!

Party Pooper

Glenn Lazarus and Jackie Lambie did a pretty good job at ruining Clive Palmer’s Party.

Party Moves

This has to be Anthony Albanese. Not for his action on the dance floor – but the smoothest move I’ve seen in a long time is the way he turned a Greens assault on his lead in the seat of Grayndler into a full-front-page endorsement by the Sydney paper the Daily Telegraph. (Save Our Albo)

Party Animal

Someone who takes things too far? It’s gotta be Jackie Lambie – no question about it. From breakfast radio innuendo to holding the government to ransom on the rights of veterans... she brings the good, bad and the ugly, sometimes on the same day.

Party Geek

There are so many Rhodes Scholars to choose from, but I reckon Andrew Leigh is the one. His past life as an Economics Professor means he can out-geek-speak anyone else in the daily thrust of debt, deficit, jobs and growth.

Party Queen/King

Indisputably this is a tie between Tanya Plibersek and Julie Bishop – deputy leaders, opposite shadows, stars of stage and screen, and the occasional United Nations summit.

PATRICIA KARVELAS
Co-host of The Party Room podcast, presenter of RN Drive

Party Host

Tanya Plibersek is easily the hostess with the mostest. She’s always polite, and one of those inclusive characters who speaks calmly and warmly and you can’t help but want to hang out with her. She’s the deputy leader of the Labor Party and has three kids and still manages to stay calm. Tanya is also one of those people who can slap you down with a smile. That’s what you need with a host. Give the woman a medal.

Party DJ

It just has to be DJ Albo – Anthony Albanese – who has become a bit of a cult figure on dance floors across the country. I know the new emerging talent on the Labor side is DJ Dasher (Sam Dastyari) but for us Gen-Xers you can’t look past Albo. A recent music review (I’m serious, he gets reviewed now) described his dance floor hits as coming from “The Cure to Spiderbait, from The Jam to The Clash, from the Smithereens to Joy Division”. Some people think Albo wants to be leader but I’m more convinced he wants to hit the international DJ scene. I can see him dominating the scene in London and New York. Apparently he even plays Taylor Swift so I’m totally in!

Party Trick

Senator David Leyonhjelm wins for the best party tricks of the last Parliament. He has given Nick Xenophon a real run for his stunt money, and Nick was previously the winner of all things stunt. Leyonhjelm plays the social media game (which is where most of the good party tricks are played out now) in a hilarious way. He has made a video where he tries to microwave a shoe, he has smoked a cigar on camera which we all know is no good for you and has generally broken most social taboos.

Party Pooper

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is a goody-two-shoes. Sure he smoked that cigar with Joe Hockey, but now that Joe has gone to Washington he is always on his best behaviour.

I challenge you to find a time where Mathias Cormann has gone off script. He is the official spokesman of the Liberal party during the election campaign and I assure you there’s a good reason for that – the man is very disciplined. I can’t imagine him shaking it up or off.

Party Moves

Can I pass on this? I cannot think of any politician with good dance moves. Honestly I’ve tried really hard.... I can think of some contentious dance moves though ... remember when Bill Shorten’s “dorky” dance moves made waves? The Opposition Leader was on a trip to the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati when he was filmed busting moves with traditional headdress. It was embarrassing, but I think it showed him at his daggy dad best. I’d dance with him while DJ Albo hit the decks any day.

Party Animal

Barnaby Joyce right? It has to be! And I’m so glad that despite now being the second most powerful person in Australia, he hasn’t stopped the unpredictable outlandish behaviour. Just think about his CARRRRRRP moment in parliament or when he stared down two Hollywood superstars for illegally bringing in their hilariously named dogs Boo and Pistol. This guy was once described as the best retail politician in parliament and there’s a reason for that.

Party Geek

Malcolm Turnbull has to be the party geek. He isn’t particularly geeky but he is pretty bright. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a merchant banker, a lawyer, and a man in favour of all things agile. The truth is the parliament is full of really bright people but Malcolm Turnbull has a very big brain and still talks in real sentences despite the push for him to talk in sound bites. Three cheers for full sentences.

Party Queen/King

Hands down Julie Bishop is the parliament’s all-rounder. She is smart, funny, with immaculate presentation. Julie Bishop can woo foreign leaders but then conduct a full interview in emojis. She is the frontbencher most liberal MPs beg to have in their seat during political campaigns because she is a gifted schmoozer.

Listen to Fran and Patricia every Thursday until the election on their podcast The Party Room. New to podcasts? Click here.

This article by originally appeared in the June/July 2016 edition of 50 something magazine. Click here to download a copy.

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