In the United States, pundits are already placing bets on the 2016 election — three years from now. But the election cycle doesn't have to last that long, as our friends down under have proved. In fact, John Oliver tells us, Australia's month-long election season might have a lot to teach America about democracy. For instance, it's illegal not to vote in Australia. "They spend a huge amount of time and energy getting people to the polls, rather than spending time, energy and a Supreme Court decision preventing them," Oliver notes.
Better still, Australia also manages to jam in years worth of political pratfalls into a few short weeks. Do they have a candidate awkwardly kissing a woman's hair instead of her baby? Yes. Do they have a Rick Perry candidate who can't remember five of the six points in his Six Point Plan? You bet. Do they have an Anthony Weiner candidate sending dick pics? Unfortunately (and there's a glass of red wine involved). "Of course, the real test: does it have an under informed right wing woman thrust into a national political spotlight she's not only unprepared for but, at times, seems to barely comprehend? What I'm asking is, does Australia have a Sarah Palin?" Oliver asks. And they do.
"She's not just Sarah Palin, she's a turbo Palin," Oliver says. "That woman is Stephanie Banister. Not only does she think Islamic law is haram — which is a misuse of a Muslim term for sinful behavior — she also thinks Islam is a country." In the same interview Banister, who later dropped out of the election, also said that Jewish people have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ, which is astonishingly inaccurate — or perfect, if you're guest hosting a satirical news show. "Australia, you truly are a nation of criminals," Oliver says. "Because, with that magnificent sound bite, you've just stole my heart." If Australia manages all this in a month, it's probably for the best that their campaign season doesn't last a full three years.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.