CNNNN tonight had a hilarious episode in which the immutable backbencher Alan Cadman challenged for the Liberal leadership, which is an amusing enough as a stand-alone scenario. In a wonderful parody of the navel-gazing speculations of the press gallery, Cadman entered the picture unable to provide a precise definition of Peter Costello’s famous ‘tolerance’ comment – a single sentence that inspired kilometres of pundit interpretation in broadsheet columns.
Cadman a backbencher for almost all of his 29-years has a rather modest record on federal politics, as Crikey’s Hillary Bray suggests: “you might need laser surveying equipment to discern Cadman’s profile at a national level.” However, many an ambitious Lib has attempted and failed to usurp Cadman from his seat – Cadman’s ties to the Bible Belt repeatedly keeping him in the House of Reps.
As the mysterious Bray notes: “Cadman’s support base … comes from the congregation of the Redeemer Baptist Church – who have fought so successfully against pubs in the area that thirsty locals have to search through an industrial estate to find the Castle Hill Tavern or brave the traffic of Old Northern Road to stop by the Hillside Tavern – and those Good Weekend cover girls and boys at Hillsong, who draw thousands and take a million plus collection plate each Sunday.” (Anyone who missed Greg Bearup’s profile of Hillsong in the Good Weekend missed out on one of the funniest pieces of investigative reporting in a long time.)
This had me wondering which Liberal and Labor backbenchers would make the most unappealing electoral contest possible. Alan Cadman vs Frank Mossfield, Trish Draper vs Kim Wilkie; its almost enough to make you vote informal. So I’m going to ask a question with a multitude of answers, who are the most incompetent back-benchers in Federal Parliament?