In 1977, then Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi declared general elections after two years of Emergency. It was surprising to see that many in the general populace were in support of the martial law. That was the only time in history, government offices in India functioned efficiently and government officials attended duty in time and did not demand bribe for their services. But crimes were committed against those opposed the Government during the emergency, which caused Mrs. Gandhi’s downfall.
Former Prime minister Indira Gandhi
In my home town Cannanore (now Kannur) a place in north Kerala, the southernmost state in India , Indira Gandhi and the Gandhi family were well loved . As a seven year old, I waited for hours to have a glimpse of Mrs. Gandhi when she visited Cannanore during her election campaign . Nearly hundred to two hundred thousand people waited eagerly for the Prime minster who arrived a couple of hours late. That was the first time I had a glimpse of the Prime Minister of India or for that matter any nation. In India politicians addressed large gatherings of people which usually are in thousands. It was possible to see the local Member of Parliament only during election period as one among the thousands who gathered to listen to the crap they talk.
Thirty years later in Melbourne, I happened to see a well-dressed guy, standing alone in front of a closed shop in High Street, near the Preston Market, mostly ignored by the passer-by. He was carrying handful of leaflets and was sporting a face which declared loudly , “ someone please come and talk to me “ or “ Please for God’s sake don’t ignore me “. He was the standing member of Australian national parliament and that was his election campaign, He was distributing his election manifesto to those who bothered to share a smile. Australian politicians were a pleasant surprise for me after getting used to the highly corrupt, unapproachable and uneducated Indian politicians. They seemed so friendly and approachable. Australian politicians never organise large public meetings as a part of their election campaign because Aussies never bother to turn up. Instead even the Prime minister visits shopping malls to meet people, so that they can catch hold of the unwary shoppers.
But there is much more to the lighter side of Australian politicians. Especially if you are from a nation where political figures are stone faced. Like these below.
Stone faced heads of states
Here are a few funny facts about Australian politicians.
Anywhere in the world if demonstrators surround the Prime Minster this is what happens. Riot police will take control and the demonstrators will be sprayed with water, tear gas, capsicum spray or even could be tasered.
In Australia, we take our Prime Minister and run. Below is the picture of Australian Prime Minister’s security officers lifting the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and running after demonstrators surrounded her.
The 70mm Opposition leader Tony Abbott
Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbot is widely known as the man who redefined 70mm smile. It is difficult to find him without his signature smile. A Rhodes scholar, a fitness maniac and a lovable person, he is a good company for any evening beer or BBQ party. .
Above all he is an Iron man too. Mr Abbott – an Ironman first-timer – finished in 1169 spot and completed the triathlon in just under 14 hours -13 hours, 57 minutes and one second. He completed the 3.8 kilometre swim in one hour 17 minutes and 27 seconds, the 180 kilometre cycle in six hours 43 minutes and six seconds and the run in five hours 28 minutes and two seconds The 52 year old Mr Abbott swam 3.8 kilometres, cycled 180 kilometres and ran a 42 kilometre marathon in a test of physical and mental endurance defying experts who claimed he had not put in
enough training for the race.
Kevin Rudd: A crying Prime Minister
Former Prime minister Kevin Rudd cried publically during his farewell speech to the nation when he was disposed by the Labour party. It only enhanced people’s love for him as he was showing his softer side.
PICTURE KEVIN RUDD
The funny looking John Howard
In 1998 when John Howard was elected as the Prime Minister of Australia, Australians faced a much greater dilemma. The question was “How to call this funny looking man, our Prime Minister”?. But he defied all predictions to become one of the best Prime Ministers Australia ever had.
The Beer skolling Bob Hawk
While you watch a cricket match at the SGC , the man skolling beer next to you could be 82 year old former prime minister BOB HAWK.
Harold Holt : Disappeared while swimming
We even had a Prime Minister who disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach in Victoria. It took a while for the nation to realise that the Prime Minister is missing. The term of Prime Minister Harold Holt was brought to an early and dramatic end in December 1967 when he disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria, and was presumed drowned.
Australian Politicians are so cool. That is why we love them.
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