Culture

This Idiot Senator Wore A Hi-Vis Mining Vest In Parliament And Got Torn To Bits By Everybody

"Look! I got a sponsor!"

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Because the world has seemingly fallen to pieces over the last 24 hours, it’s worth taking a few moments to look at something that isn’t relentlessly, overwhelmingly horrible — namely, this wonderful photo taken by Guardian Australia photographer Mike Bowers.

The old bloke wearing the hi-vis mining vest is Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald, a longtime member of Parliament and evidently a bit of a dickhead. Macdonald took to the floor of the Senate last night wearing the vest to show his support for the repeal of the mining tax, which passed the Senate with amendments and is returning to the House of Representatives for another vote.

The vest, emblazoned with “australiansforcoal.com.au” and Macdonald’s name, was kindly provided to Macdonald by the Minerals Council of Australia. The Council sent a shirt to each member of Parliament about two months ago, presumably so they could keep track of their pet politicians to keep them from running off. It is worth noting at this point that Macdonald, who is both Australia’s longest-standing current Senator and a fully-grown man, is perfectly happy to stand in a chamber of Parliament and loudly advertise that he is literally sponsored by a corporation.

Macdonald’s magical transformation into a walking billboard even managed to disgust his Coalition colleagues; Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan called Macdonald out on his wearing the vest, saying it was “a bloody commercial message” and reminding the Senate of the protocols around advertising material in the chamber.

“I support the mining industry too, but…it sets a precedent. Next thing we’ll have, you know, ‘Bill Heffernan: Friend of Marijuana’, ‘Friend of Coca-Cola’, without my permission! I have told the Minerals and Mining Council to shove this, and everyone else should too”, Heffernan yelled. You can watch it below; skip to 3:00 for the good stuff.

Bear in mind Bill Heffernan is the dude who was forced to apologise after accusing Justice Michael Kirby of using Commonwealth cars to trawl for young male prostitutes. When that guy is telling you you’re out of line, it may be time to re-evaluate your life choices.

Which brings us to that photo. As Macdonald was porridging on about how great mining is, Ludlam plonked himself behind him and held up a hand-written sign reading “srsly!”, prompting a furious response from Acting Senate Chair and wild-eyed lunatic Cory Bernardi.

“You have acted in a most disorderly manner by using a prop as a stunt during a Senator’s speech. What you have done is completely inappropriate”, Bernardi told Ludlam while shielding his eyes from the reflective glare of the hi-vis mining vest being used as a prop by a Senator during a speech. Besides the horrifying prospect of someone putting Cory Bernardi in charge of absolutely anything, the most important thing to take away from this footage is Ludlam walking out of the chamber and blanking Bernardi like something out of Mean Girls.

“Fuck this, I’m done. I am so done.”

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Feature image via Guardian Australia/Mike Bowers.