A Ranking Of The Sookiest Australian Politicians Who Ever Sooked
One sook to rule them all.
In August 1994, Prime Minister Paul Keating gave Alexander Downer some free advice: “I do not hand out free advice to my opponents,” he said. “But I will give the Leader of the Opposition this advice: the one thing the Australian people will never tolerate is a sook.”
Our parliamentary history is replete with accusation of sookiness.
Just a few months later, Downer would turn the accusation of sookiness back on Keating. “[Keating] is a sook who cannot take it,” Downer told Parliament. “He is a man who can dish it out but he is not a man who can take it. That is not somebody who in our country is worthy of respect.”
Penny Wong has called George Brandis a “sooky la la” twice in the Senate. Bill Heffernan and Doug Cameron love the word. Former Small Business Minister Bruce Billson has twice admitted that he himself was guilty of the sin of sookiness. Greens Senator Nick McKim routinely accuses the government of being a bunch of sooks.
But was Keating right? A look at today’s political generation suggests that not only will the Australian people tolerate a sook, we’ll often make him Prime Minister.
What Makes A Sook?
First, there has to be an incident that drives The Sook’s origin story. Real or imagined, something in The Sook’s past must light the fire in their sooky belly, fuelling their never-ending quest to be recognised as justified in their sookiness (which, of course, they never are).
Second, The Sook’s grievance must be imagined or at least exaggerated. Some people have every right to be mad at the way they were treated. Justified rage should not be confused for sookiness.
The reason our greatest sooks stand head and shoulders above the rest is that they occupy their own reality — they live alone on their own little Sook Islands where their truth is absolute and their rage is justified.
Third and most importantly, at the heart of The Sook is a sense of self-righteous indignation — an all-consuming belief that if only people would truly understand The Sook’s point of view, they would come to see the light, and the sookiness would finally be able to end.
But it never does. Because no one else shares The Sook’s sense of being wronged. And so, the sooking continues.
That’s why sooklength™️ is so important in deciding who is the biggest sook of them all. A true sook can never move on and will always find a way to turn the conversation back to their grievance. The longer they can do this, and the more tenuous the link, the bigger the sook.
Some people are able to move on from adversity — to grow from it. While others are never able to separate themselves from their pain. They are sucked into a sook spiral, never to emerge. These are the sookiest sooks of all.
Australia’s Top Political Sooks, Ranked
#5. Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby’s ascent to the top 5 was rapid but inevitable. He’s currently on a six-month sook streak, with no sign of slowing down. Ever since a photo of his pregnant partner was plastered on the front page of The Daily Telegraph in January, Barnaby has been sooking to anyone who would listen.
He’s a sook-seeking missile, calling press conference after press conference to sook about how he’s hard done by. He refuses to accept responsibility for his actions, and has thrown everyone around him under the bus in order to protect himself. Classic sook behaviour.
#4. David Leyonhjelm
If this was a ranking of the biggest sook of the week, Leyonhjelm would win hands down. He’s a classic sook, in that he can dish out the insults, but as soon as someone targets him, he gets upset.
Case in point, the ~free speech warrior~ defended the right of Wicked Camper Vans to display sexist slogans, but then got real upset when The Chaser parked their own van outside his home.
He’s been back on the sook campaign trail this week, making sexist slurs, complaining about misandry and calling anyone who disagrees with him a bitch.
#3. Mark Latham
Allow Mark Latham to serve a warning to sooks everywhere: this is what happens when you are consumed by your sookiness.
Latham has been on a perpetual sook since losing the 2004 election to John Howard. The first signs were his book, The Latham Diaries, which read as a laundry list of personal grievances. Since then, Latham’s sook has propelled him to the right, from where he targets Rosie Batty, women on anti-depressants, and Birdman.
Now you may be wondering why Latham isn’t higher on the list, given the sheer length of his sook (14 years and counting). The simple answer is that Latham’s many personality deficiencies can’t all be put down to sookiness. He has many, many other problems that account for his personality flaws, we can’t blame sookiness for all of them.
#2. Tony Abbott
When Tony Abbott was dumped in 2015, he promised there’d be no wrecking, sniping or undermining, but he never said anything about sooking.
Abbott’s sooking is interesting because it takes a different form to the simple petulance of the other sooks on this list. Abbott has been couching his sookiness in “policy contributions” and carefully times speeches designed to disrupt the government just when it starts building some momentum.
Which isn’t to say he’s not petulant. Often, Abbott’s sookiness resembles a child, like earlier this week when he said he doesn’t believe in tearing down prime ministers.
“I do not believe in that. [Turnbull] does, I don’t,” he told radio station 2GB.
Three years on, still a sook.
#1. Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd takes out the top spot for the sheer length and breadth of his sookiness. The bloke has been mad at EVERYONE for EIGHT YEARS now. He has a legitimate grievance (his knifing in 2010), but has greatly exaggerated the wrong that was done to him.
A quick look over his social media presence show’s he’s still Incredibly Mad Online, mostly at Rupert Murdoch and Wayne Swan. And if you really want to see a sook masterclass, I suggest watching the ABC’s The Killing Season, showing Rudd at his sooky best — deflecting criticism, re-writing history, and occupying his own reality in which he played no role whatsoever in his own downfall.
Rudd’s sook also had the biggest impact of any on this list. It propelled him to tear down another Prime Minister in his quest to prove to the world that his rage was justified.
Sook on, Rudd. Sook on.
Rob Stott is Junkee’s Managing Editor. You can sook at him about this list @Rob_Stott.