Culture

Senator James McGrath Is Your Newest Reason To Swear Loudly At The TV

"yes hello I am here to talk about the Freedoms"

The new Senate has been sworn in, and are just about ready to be sworn at. It’s an exciting time; like pre-season football, we can see how our draft picks are going to work out and which one is most likely to be caught pissing into their own mouth. Over the coming months you will be noticing an entirely new batch of faces saying things on Q&A that either infuriate or bore you.

We always knew this would be an interesting class of new Senators, but following the maiden speeches a new dark horse has emerged in the race for the Chris Pyne Award For Outstanding Achievements In Generating Frustration. It’s my honour to introduce to you the person you’ll be shouting even before he says anything on the presumption it will infuriate you, Senator James McGrath.

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Hello!

Before his election, McGrath was most notable for his position as a former advisor to London mayor Boris Johnson until he was sacked following claims he made a racist comment in response to black Britons saying they’d leave the country if Johnson became mayor. Interestingly, while reporting on the story, The Australian claimed that McGrath’s ‘hopes of a parliamentary career in Australia might have been ended.’

Luckily, the fates aligned and James McGrath was elected to one of Queensland’s senate positions representing the Liberal Party. And that’s where the fun begins. If Clive Palmer, as the Telegraph suggested, came in like a wrecking ball, then James McGrath came in like a strange man who wasn’t quite finished shouting on the bus.

The clock struck five and the Senate chamber was calm. Newly-elected Senator James McGrath was welcomed to the chamber and invited to give his maiden speech. And I don’t think it’s too outlandish to claim that at that moment, every red-blooded eagle in the whole damn world stood at attention and allowed a single tear to slide down their face-feathers. Liberty had come to Parliament.

 “Freedom and liberty, one hundred years ago this month, were under threat as the gods of war awoke.”

What an opener. For anyone undergoing Game of Thrones withdrawal, this should have made your ears prick up like you’re one of those wolf things that likes the sad kids a lot. I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the show.

McGrath went on to declare the invasion of Belgium in 1914 the start of a second ‘Hundred Years War Against Tyranny’, and — guess what — it ain’t over yet.

“The ‘Hundred Years War against Tyranny’ continues today on three fronts: first of all Islamist fundamentalism intent on caliphates destroying Western civilisation, especially religious freedom; secondly, democratic governments restricting freedom of speech and association, betraying hundreds of years of liberty; and, finally, leftists delegitimising all views other than their own, especially in media and education.”

Oh boy, the battlelines are drawn. One would suspect Senator McGrath might just shit himself were he ever confronted by an islamic journalist with an ABC press pass. Though, to give credit where it’s due, it must have taken some genuinely impressive acrobatics to deal with the cognitive dissonance of calling for democratic governments to not restrict freedom of speech and call on leftists to stop ‘delegitimising all views other than their own’ in the media without even pausing for breath.

Carrying on, Senator McGrath moved onto the focus of his philosophy:

“Whether I serve here for 16 days or 16 years, I shall always judge myself on how I have battled against tyranny and fought for the axis of enlightenment—that is, liberty of the individual, a free market, small government and low taxes.”

Leaving aside whether or not you agree with free market principles and small government as necessarily a force for good, surely we can all admit that there is a better way to refer to them than The Axis of Enlightenment. Though, it does make an excellent title for a gritty reboot for the Holy Trinity.

McGrath went on to liken the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party to supporters of the PLO and the ‘godless rebranded communists in Mongolia’. This is entirely fair and accurate and does not require comment.

He went on to talk about his family history and focus on education – which curiously bled into this line:

“The first McGrath was a convict, rightly punished by a sensible judge and sent down to Australia. Family folklore has it was for stealing a sheep.”

Yeah! Fuck you, Great-Uncle Herb! Put down the fucking sheep and get yourself a cork-hat, idiot.

Later on, we move through McGrath’s family life to beginning in politics. And if you haven’t warmed to this lovable capitalism fetishist prepare your heartstrings for this one:

“I start with the greatest ever peacetime leader, Margaret Thatcher. I never met Mrs Thatcher, but I get her.”

Now we’re getting into the top quality Far-Right Wet Dream. Margaret Thatcher, the greatest ever peacetime leader. Somewhere, perhaps in the next world, Ronald Reagan tucked an award acceptance speech back in his pocket and stewed in his chair.

“Another Tory minister, Francis Maude, whose father, incidentally, was editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, before serving Mrs Thatcher in her cabinet—it wouldn’t happen nowadays, would it, Fairfax?—taught to me to pick your fights and parties should never be afraid to change or stand up for a fight.”

Perhaps it would be worth Senator McGrath’s while to do a quick revision of his notes on that ‘pick your fights’ lesson because it seems he couldn’t get through an entirely innocuous sentence without throwing a punch towards Fairfax. One feels for the poor barista with the chore of making small talk with this man while preparing his coffee each morning.

“After I was elected I went and saw Campbell Newman and asked him how I could help him and Queensland. Instead of a detailed discussion on taxes, federalism and federal budgets, he just said, ‘Be good, and do good.’”

Though mostly unimportant, this phrase appealed to me purely for the image of a new senator entering the Queensland Premier’s office expecting a robust policy debate only to discover Campbell Newman’s policy desires don’t go beyond the vague idea “do good things and not bad things.” Not to mention that you could argue he hasn’t even managed that.

You’re probably thinking now that Senator McGrath has gotten his thanks out of the way he’ll move onto his positive view for the future of this nation. Well, strap in.

“The Federation of Australia is slowly creaking towards political death.”

Oh boy.

McGrath begins outlining his policy by pushing for the GST to be raised to 15% and broadened to “cover everything”. This is a provocative proposal as the GST tends to hit those on lower incomes harder. Though the amount added to purchases is equal, that amount means more to those low on money as well as removing all exceptions to the GST. Basically, it saying struggling families who need food should save money by eating shit.

That’s a big call and a hard hit for a first speech so that’s probably all he’s going to say then, I guess. Let’s just pack up and casually move towards the door –

“The states run the hospitals and schools, so why does the Commonwealth need to be involved? I am calling for the abolition of the federal departments of health and education, with universities also to be run at a state level. Each year, I will be compiling my own red-tape report to keep my government and my party on the Hayek road—away from serfdom and towards lower regulation, lower taxes and smaller government.”

Aw shit – he’s LiberTearin’ up the dance floor. You take the Hayek road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be the first against the wall when your revolution comes.

And the hits just kept on coming. Speaking of hits –

“I am calling for a review of the ABC’s charter. And if they fail to make inroads to restore balance, then the ABC should be sold and replaced by a regional and rural broadcasting service. In the meantime, Triple J, because of its demographic dominance and clear ability to stand on its own, should be immediately sold.”

This is a fun and interesting argument to have. Triple J, by being a quality radio station and having the privileges that come with being a government broadcaster (lack of ads, primarily), is far and away dominating the youth market and so it should be sold. Whereas if Triple J was bad, sucked, and no one listened to it – it should be allowed to stay. It’s all about balance.

As a cloud bearing an uncanny resemblance to Thatcher began thundering with pride, McGrath went on to call for complete Voluntary Student Unionism and extolled the virtues of unrestricted freedom of speech (the Whitest freedom of them all). At least he was delicate about it.

“From the dockyards of Kronstat to the editorial desk of The Age, the Left always want to control and brutalise. By restricting freedom of speech, they are building Australian gulags for words and thoughts.”

You’re going to be really offended when you Google whatever that means.

Senator McGrath took a few moments in his closing to thank everyone who helped him get to this point and even wish his Nana a happy 97th birthday but decided to really turn it back on for the final notes. McGrath ended his speech with a poem famous for being air-dropped by the Royal Air Force onto Nazi occupied France, which is kinda like the Senate because it’s uh, because of the – you know, there’s no way of ending this sentence that isn’t horrifyingly offensive. The poem itself is a moving cry for liberty from a time when liberty meant freedom to exist not necessarily freedom to not have to pay a price on carbon emissions. Ah, simpler times.

Here’s the whole thing, if you can bear it.