STRANGE POLITICS: The new emperor Malcolm Turnbull is only too happy to see the backs of Tony Abbott and Smokin' Joe Hockey. Federal politics, Prime Minister, Liberal Party, Canberra, opinion, funny, humour, Game of Thrones. Photo Digitally altered
STRANGE POLITICS: The new emperor Malcolm Turnbull is only too happy to see the backs of Tony Abbott and Smokin' Joe Hockey. Federal politics, Prime Minister, Liberal Party, Canberra, opinion, funny, humour, Game of Thrones. Photo Digitally altered Digitally altered

STRANGE POLITICS: Goodbye Joe, good riddance Nickelback

I COULD handle the tax breaks for the rich.

Going limp on negative gearing and superannuation reform? No biggie.

Even choofing down Cubans and dancing to the (appalling) tune The Best Day of my Life before delivering that pension-crushing budget was pardonable.

But why, oh why, did Joe Hockey use his farewell speech to again reference those purveyors of musical mediocrity, Nickelback?

Some things are just unforgivable.

Hockey's valedictory address was chock-full of good humour, self-deprecation and even a thinly-veiled reference to his nudey bits.

But I recall one particularly iffy moment, and every time I do it makes me laugh.

He admitted Work Choices "did go a little too far" and the fairness test was too late.

In the understatement of the century, he confessed the government "could have done more to win over the Australian people".

But then he claimed he had wanted to change negative gearing all along so it only applied to new homes as an "incentive to add to the housing stock rather than an incentive to speculate on existing property".

Isn't that pretty much what Labor wanted?

The fact Hockey railed whole hog against a negative gearing shake-up smacked of a treasurer more interested in playing politics than applying reforms he believed in.

Same goes for the statement he always thought "tax concessions on superannuation should be carefully pared back".

Maybe he thought he still had time to climb the ladder as Abbott's successor.

He offered no alternatives and slammed the Opposition when it proposed a 15% tax on retirees getting more than $75,000 a year in super.

And this parting speech is how you remind me you wanted super reform all along?

Too little. Too late.

The once-blimpy, now stocky-yet-svelte Hockey was a politician through and through.

He excelled in the limelight and could be hilarious to watch even if, as it now seems, he was full of it and didn't believe in the policies he fought so hard to sell.

There was the time he trekked the Kokoda Trail alongside Kevin Rudd, who slipped spluttering into the murky water and was pulled to salvation by Joe's meaty hand.

The political odd couple were as chummy as a bowl of dog food on the trip, but Hockey didn't mind having a dig at his temporary mate's expense at a later election rally.

"I apologise to the Australian people. I should have drowned him when I had the chance in the mountains," he said.

"In fact I did actually apologise to Julia Gillard on Wednesday before question time and she said, 'Yes you should reflect on that'."

So Joe, it was great to watch you having fun, yet there were certain things that were simply indefensible.

Like your parliamentary swansong's expression of gratitude to your Canberra flatmates Jamie Briggs, Brendan Nelson and Bob Baldwin, whom you said had "seen more of me than many would care to see".

"And I can now confess that our happiest moments were sitting at home late at night, eating Paddle Pops and watching Jerry Springer," you continued.

"And admiring the latest Nickelback album, in my case alone."

It's all in Hansard now.

Forever etched in our country's history.

With Hockey off to play ambassador to the US, hopefully that is the last mention those Canadian hacks will ever get within our national parliament.

First party to make that promise gets my vote.

-APN NEWSDESK



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