The more I look at Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd these days, the more I think that ancient Greeks were right, at least for some: the afterlife is indeed a dreary realm of shadows, where the weak and witless souls of the dead wonder around aimlessly mourning their earthly lives. As the spirit of Achilles tells the visiting Odysseus, at least according to Homer, it’s better to be the lowliest slave in life than even the king of the dead.
What the Greeks did not think of their dearly departed was that they were malevolent and threatening. Perhaps it’s because they never had the chance to meet some of Australia’s former Prime Ministers. Here, we shift geographically and folkloristically north from Greece to the Balkans and to the image of the undead wreaking havoc on the living. Turnbull has already attracted the moniker “miserable ghost”, but the recent behaviour of Ruddbull is more reminiscent of insatiable blood-suckers hell-bent on revenge on those who slighted them in life.
While Rudd keeps haunting the social media and lately the halls and committee rooms of the Federal Parliament on his crusade to bring down Rupert Murdoch’s evil empire and save Australian democracy from any viewpoints to the right of ABC, Turnbull this week donned his tinfoil hat while inveighing into the “Cabinet Minister rapist” controversy, telling ABC Radio that “we don’t know for sure that she took her own life, we know for sure that she’s dead.”
Turnbull was, of course, referring to then still anonymous Christian Porter claims, suggesting – and it is as difficult to find any other interpretation as it is to believe Malcolm could speculate on it in the first place – she might have met foul play, murdered in order to silence her and her accusations against the similarly still anonymous (though very much now identified) alleged rapist. If he was trying to say “wait until the South Australian police have completed their inquiries and the coronial inquest has reported”, then his choice of words came straight from tinfoil territory.
Whether Rudd, now looking less like the Milky Bar Kid and more like am angry, hypertensive Colonel Sanders, with his lover-scorned act against Rupert Murdoch, the supposed architect of his political demise as well as all the other evil in the world, or Turnbull, throwing paranoid hand grenades at his former colleagues, Australia is badly in need of political exorcism.
Sadly, it looks like we shall only get ourselves rid of these unquiet spirits when all the anger, hatred and frustration they hold inside finally gives them apoplexy. Until then, they – and us – have to keep on suffering.
Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where a version of this piece also appears.
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