The Five Weirdest Things That Happened In #Auspol On Wednesday

Jacqui Lambie was demoted, Christopher Pyne launched a campaign to save the ABC, and Pauline Hanson returned. Stop the Parliament, I want to get off.

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.

Mayhem. It’s just utter mayhem. And not the sort of high-production value, take-no-prisoners mayhem you’d expect from your average Expendables film. No, this is more the mayhem-lite of a French farce, sprinkled with the gentle absurdity of a Wes Anderson movie and shot with the production values, script, inspiration and acting skills of The Room.

In the non-stop funfest that is Australian politics right now we have, in the last day alone, witnessed the following:

1. Jacqui Lambie Being Stood Down As Deputy Leader Of PUP

First note: PUP had a deputy leader? Second note: that deputy leader was Jacqui Lambie? Third note: every member of PUP is being paid close to $200 000 a year to act as our elected representatives. Fourth note:

Lambie’s ousting is a bit of a case of “You can’t quit, because you’re fired” for Clive Palmer, as the announcement today comes on the heels of three months worth of increasing rebellion on Lambie’s part, to the point where she’d already stopped going to party room meetings and had recently announced that she was going to vote no on everything until the Government started paying our armed forces more.

Lambie has yet to issue a response to her demotion, but one wonders if she would even notice it had happened.

2. Jacqui Lambie and Ricky Muir Joining Forces In A ‘Coalition Of Common Sense’

See, that statement right there contains about as much common sense as US gun ownership law, policy that I’m sure both Muir and Lambie think warmly of. Yet here we are, Jacqui Lambie and Motoring Enthusiast Party representative and one-time PUP lackey Ricky Muir banding together with Labor, the Greens and Nick Xenophon to overrule the Government’s attempt to loosen up regulations on the financial advice industry. This is undoubtedly terrific news for the average Australian, both because it ensures their ongoing protection in the face of a financial services industry that is, at best, avaricious, and also because it severely undermines the ability of Papa Clive to have the power of life and death over legislation in the Upper House.

Yet just in case you think, “Gee, maybe this Jacqui Lambie character is not as batshit mental as I first thought” she then put her backing behind a useless, vexatious and straight-up conspiratorial inquiry into the non-existent health risks of wind farms, so there’s that.

3. Pauline Hanson Returning To Politics. Again.

She is citing her opposition to halal as inspiration. She has also said her door is open to Jacqui Lambie.

Or, to put it another way:

4. Christopher Pyne Starting A Petition To Save The ABC On The Same Day His Government Stripped It Of $250 Million

Up is down, left is right and dogs is this bucket of chud, because Christopher Pyne has got to be a practical joke being executed on the Australian public. Right? Right? How else do you explain him essentially trying to blame the ABC for making cuts his Government forced them to make? And this a handful of hours before Malcolm Turnbull confirmed the worst kept secret in the country, namely that his party was stripping the ABC and SBS of $300 million in funding for the crime of not being owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Appearing on ABC 891 this morning, Pyne declared “If ABC management in Ultimo decide to cut jobs and production in Adelaide, it is a deliberate act of political vandalism… they have the report in front of them, in black and white, showing how to reduce costs without affecting production and programming and that’s what all our listeners need to know. There is no need for there to be a production change here in Adelaide unless in Ultimo in Sydney, they refuse to actually implement the report Malcolm Turnbull had done for them.”

This is a lovely sentiment, but given that as a proportion of Government budget ABC funding has been declining for the past 20 years, and that a study commissioned under the Howard Government had already suggested that the ABC was efficient but underfunded, your insistence that they maintain all their services and programming while meekly accepting your “savings” is a little rich. So to speak.

Oh, and just for some perspective:

5. Scott Morrison Refusing To Accept Refugees Approved By The UN High Commission For Refugees

Claiming that he’s “taking sugar off the table” for people smugglers as his justification, Morrison has instituted a policy whereby refugees in Indonesia are punished for not getting on a boat. This is almost as comical as his claims that Australia is still committed to the UN refugee convention. Sure thing, Scotty, and I’m still committed to my Yo-Ho Diablo.

And you know what’s really crazy about all of this? There wasn’t a single story today that focussed on Tony Abbott. Although, after the ritual humiliation of the G20, I guess that’s probably a win for him right now.

Ah, what a golden age we live in.