Politics

RIP Democracy, Michael Hing Has Been Disqualified From Running For The Senate

It was fun while it lasted.

Michael Hing can't run for the Senate

Sorry folks, but the dream is dead: comedian Michael Hing will not be contesting the upcoming federal election on account of him being constitutionally prohibited from doing so.

Hing launched the Michael Hing’s One Asian party in April on the premise that “basically anyone can be a senator”. Unfortunately, it turns out that’s not the case, thanks to our old friend Section 44 of the Australian Constitution! Hing isn’t a dual citizen, but he does technically hold “an office of profit under the Crown” on account of the fact that he works for SBS.

“When we started this, I just thought it would be funny to make fun of the whole system and how broken it is,” said Hing in a Facebook video announcing the news. “You know, the money, the corruption, the preference deals. But I can’t run. I even spoke to a lawyer about it, and it was genuinely one of the most awkward interactions of my life.”

Hing said he was “so touched” by how many people got on board with his campaign, calling it “one of the coolest and most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of”.

“If you’re disappointed, know that I’m also very disappointed,” he said. “If you’re mad about the system, if you don’t feel represented by politicians, you’ve got three years. You should run! Look how far I got, and I’m not even allowed to run!”

We had a chat with Hing to ask him the big questions.

How did it feel to find out you weren’t on the ballot?

It’s a bummer. Like, this whole thing is hilarious, but it would’ve been so funny if I’d been able to get on the ballot. And y’know (for better or worse), the joke is the thing I really cared about at the start.

The bigger thing though right now is that I really can’t deal with disappointing people. The idea of letting people down really bums me out. I think it comes from a lifetime of trying to win my parents’ approval, lol.

Were you expecting people to jump on board with your campaign to the extent that they did?

Absolutely not! I put this video out on a random Thursday morning thinking it would just come and go like the literally hundreds of other videos I put up online, and then like 40 minutes later the Prime Minister called the election and it just snowballed. It’s one of the biggest surprises in my life, and genuinely such an incredible experience to hear from everyone who got on board. We really are in the weirdest timeline.

Do you still believe “basically anyone can be a Senator in Australia”?

They’ve tightened a lot of the real funky stuff from a few years ago, so we’ll wait and see if this incoming crop of senators raises the bar, but I’m not holding my breath. My goodness there are some absolutely cooked units running.

What, if anything, is the future of Michael Hing’s One Asian Party?

To be honest, I don’t really know. It’s been a pretty wild month but I don’t really have time to take a break. There’s a tiny bit of money we made from t-shirts and stuff which I’ll donate to the Flying Doctors or AIME or something worthwhile. So, maybe we’ll look at a resurgent political movement at the next election, but the world’ll probably have burned to a dystopian crisp by then, so elections might be long gone.