The Most Cursed Social Media Posts Politicians Actually Made In 2021

From Malcolm Roberts declaring that he's "fully circumcised" to Gladys Berejiklian bizarrely watching the footy, it's been a big year.

social media politicans australia craig kelly gladys berejiklian photo

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

As Spider-Man once said, “with great power comes great responsibility” — and this year our democratically elected officials took that to heart.

Social media — a powerful tool to communicate to the masses — is also a continual reminder that no matter what walk of life you end up on, a Boomer is always a Boomer, and a Boomer who also just so happens to be a politician is just icing on the cake.

It just goes to show that no matter what side of the political spectrum they sit on, all parties have shared some downright cringey and downright hilarious posts this year. From flat-out fake news, to trying to look #relatable, the internet never forgets — so let’s take a walk down memory lane.

#8. A Liberal Hopeful Pretended Old People Stock Photo Were Real, Local Constituents

Somewhere in the Blue Mountains, local Liberal candidate Jo Bromilow shared a woeful tale of senior citizens forced to move away from the picturesque area they call home. Their kids have moved away, they need to downsize, but there’s nowhere left for them to go.

“They are forced to move away from their family and friends, their support services, their favourite stores, and the area they love,” Bromilow wrote in early November, ahead of upcoming local government elections a month later. Pasted beneath is a sad, white, old couple. They look aghast, stressed while gripping onto important paperwork for dear life. “Is this a local couple? They look so sad,” someone comments. Bromilow confirmed that they were. It truly was a tragic tale.

But for anyone with an attuned eye, it’s immediately clear the pic used was a stock photo. Bored internet sleuths tracked down the original on UK site Alamy, titled ‘Senior Couple Going Through Finances Looking Worried’. And the good news was that the models have a nice ending! Another image in the series showed the pair smiling happily moments later. “Your post has made them a happy couple, again! Yay!” another user replied alongside the positive pic.

The post turned into a breeding ground for jokes, including pretending the established meme of elderly stock model Harold was a neighbour delighted to hear someone was doing something about high-density development issues in Eastern NSW. Bromilow later told the Blue Mountains Gazette that it was all a misunderstanding: “It was meant to express an agreement with the comment included in the question — and I hope that this does not distract from the important issue that our campaign is seeking to pursue with the council,” she said. Time will tell.

#7. Annastacia Palaszczuk Discovers Canva

Annastacia Palaszczuk is known for her hardline pandemic policies, but one thing the Queensland Premier gained this year was a newfound appreciation for aesthetics. Around midway through the year, her social media posts pivoted to pastel colours, inspirational quotes, and curated fonts to best communicate important public health messaging.

But the archetypal Canva look didn’t go unnoticed. Professional Writing Lecturer at the University of Queensland Beck Wise dissected the Premier’s Pinterest-esque pivot as an intentional method ripped off tried-and-tested influencers. “The strong, direct phrasing foregrounds Palaszczuk’s leadership and commitment to Queensland’s security, while the feminine influencer layout helps dodge misogynist accusations of unladylike behaviour,” said Wise in The Conversation.

Interestingly, in more recent months, her social media presence has moved to bold colours, less words, and more stats, in a weightier, 360 degrees branding approach. What can we say, graphic design is her passion.

#6. Matt Canavan Inadvertently Starts Shit In Nationals Party WhatsApp Chat Over ‘The Terminator’

When deepfakes first came out, people were worried about their potential to be used for chaos — which is exactly what happened when rogue Nationals MP George Christensen slapped his colleague and Senator Matt Canavan into the 1984 blockbuster The Terminator to ‘save’ the world from Australia’s Net Zero climate targets.

The clip, shared on Facebook in October, kind of has the same energy as that pixellated Playstation ‘Harry Potter’ game where the characters’ faces are all warped and distorted.

Yeah, it’s bad on multiple levels, but it took a surprisingly hilarious turn when the duo’s conservative colleagues got mad at them in a WhatsApp group chat. Former Deputy Prime Minister Matthew McCormack kicked up a stink over the 15-second vid — not because of its anti-climate sentiment god forbid, but because the Canavan/Terminator hybrid shoots a uniformed cop.

Canavan then had to physically type out that the “cop” was “actually a shapeshifting, T-1000 Terminator model sent from the future back in time to kill John Connor” and therefore“deserved to get smoked for the good of humanity.”

#5. Labor Screams “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids” With Fast And Furious Meme

“Family is everything,” said fictional character Dom Toretto in the many, many Fast and Furious films. His commitment to the familial unit is so consistent that it turned into a meme when the latest instalment F9 came out in July.

Everyone was editing actor Vin Diesel into hypothetical situations and conundrums. There was nothing he couldn’t fix — because even if it didn’t make sense, the answer was always family.

It wasn’t long before the Labor party hopped on the trend, paired with the out-of-touch caption: “I ain’t got Labor friends, I got Labor family ❤”.

The stern look of FAF‘s lead guy backed by the cheery, rigid bodies of the entire federal Labor party gave enough juxtaposition to fill a Year 12 English essay. Kudos to the social media intern hopping on the trends but unless Mr Toretto is taking over as Leader of the Opposition in the election next year, we don’t want to hear a bar of it. 

#4. Craig Kelly Reads A Book

Controversial United Australia Party MP Craig Kelly turned heads when he shared a perfectly curated picture of him reading 1984 on Twitter in September. “I always keep a copy of George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984 close by,” he tweeted. “Shows what happens when Big Govt controls our lives with coercion and all the techniques of a totalitarian regime.”

Craig Kelly 1984

Kelly, sat in front of leather bounds and the Australian flag, sternly looks at a page halfway through the literary classic, his grasp firmly snapping the book’s spine in half as if it had never been lifted before. Now we’re not saying that he’d picked a random point that made it look like he actually made a dent in it, nor are we implying he’s never read the book before — we just have our doubts.

But it seems Orwell’s message was lost on him because the irony of a book about the need for truth and facts in politics was being promoted by a man who wasted a lot of money sending spam texts across the country to spread vaccine hesitancy, and attending anti-lockdown ‘freedom’ rallies. “1984 is a warning for us,” his caption said, which is true — but the warning should be Kelly himself.

#3. Bob Katter Gets TikTok Famous

It’s July, the temperatures are frosty in Canberra, and for the love of god, SOMEONE needs to have a bit of a chat with the PM. In comes Bob Katter to the rescue.

The independent MP, who doesn’t even carry a smart phone, joined TikTok and had his account blow up instantaneously. Captioned with the hashtag #silverfox, Katter walks with purpose down the halls of Parliament House to the beat of Imperial March — the Star Wars song they play whenever Darth Vader is on screen. He’s a man on a mission, and he’s got his eyes set on tracking down ScoMo.

Katter has since racked up more than 11,000 followers and nearly 100,000 likes on his small handful of clips — which is easy to believe given how often his infamous crocodile rant pops up on everyones For You Page. “We tend to be the shock jock of TikTok, so there’s the future,” the 76-year-old said to the ABC. “We got a massive reaction from it — people tune right into it.” Let a thousand blossoms bloom!

#2. Gladys Berejiklian ‘Watches’ State Of Origin

The second half of Gladys Berejiklian’s year might have gone to absolute shit, but for one shining moment in June, she was in her element. The former NSW Premier marked the start of the annual State of Origin competition between her state and Queensland with a snap of her prepping for the big match. The blinds are closed, she’s standing in front of a TV wrapped in blue, and armed with a refreshing (and unopened) carbonated beverage.

To this day, we’re still questioning the dimensional difference between her body and the background which looks fully edited. But naturally the stiff vibe of the whole post became an instant meme, with people pasting Berejiklian watching on in games, shows, commercials, and even the scenes of political disasters like the Ruby Princess.

#1. Malcolm Roberts Posts “Fully Circumcised” Vaccine Passport

Some news stories are just so odd, so deranged, and so comical that they stick. This year, that was One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts posting a screenshot of a digital COVID certificate photoshopped to read “Fully Circumcised” instead of ‘fully vaccinated’.

Now, the man loves a rant but this one rubbed everyone up the wrong way. The Queensland Senator — who’s always angry about jabs, and always angry about climate change action — had two worlds collide in October right before the global COP26 conference kicked off in Glasgow.

“They are not just circumcising our country they are castrating it,” he wrote in the caption, mad at the possibility that the Nationals party might concede and do something to save the planet. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, given the dude once said on national television that “penises cause climate change”. What a year, ladies and gents!

Millie Roberts is Junkee’s social justice reporter. Follow her on Twitter