There’s more than ‘meets the press’ at the ball that stops the busyness of parliament, but there is a process that’s as finely tuned and planned as question time. It includes presentations for excellence in journalism - none for excellence in politics, policy or polity - and then performances and partying. The last the best of course but for some reason the shenanigans that surround this Midwinter Ball are supposed to be off the record. Why? It’s not that newsworthy unlike the olden days when a relative of mine ended the night in gaol, but on the record let me tell you that two fine young men from The West Australian, Andrew Probyn and Nick Butterly won this year’s revamped Press Gallery Award for Excellence.
Most of those present couldn’t care less about the rules and less care is what journalists thrive on, and it’s the only time you really get to see and hear our leaders scripted to the nth degree by the best of their comedy writers whose only intention is to out- do the other bloke and be seen to be funny. We know not to take them seriously.
But the funniest part of the whole night is when the players in this convoluted game of political grandstanding accept the offer of bit parts in a bigger picture, the video clip that’s a production as big as the budget allows, making them look just a tad ridiculous for the show reel of silliness.
Let It Go.....the annoying or exquisite (depends on your taste) song for Frozen a given for JB (Julie Bishop) the Pyne doing his fixin’ and mime that out-mimes the infamous Milli Vanilli with industrial strength hairspray for the coiffure and not dreadlocks as BB, (Bronwyn Bishop ) found her inner Taylor Swift to Shake It Off. The press and the pollies fall over each other to play the game and we marvel at this simple form of entertainment that should be available at least on YouYube for the whole country to see that their pollies are really a fun bunch.
And when all is done, and incredulity sneaks into you visual perspective with Kevin Andrew shaking his booty, Mike Bowers lured to the floor by Katharine Murphy and Tony Burke getting cuddly with his wife the selfies invaded the space. If you thought selfies were only for those desperate to be seen with someone, or anyone famous, then don’t get between a polly and a personality as delightful as the Divine Ms M. How nice she was to them all.