25 Jun 2016

Australian election 'a testament to disaffection'

11:35 am on 25 June 2016

Kiwi comedian John Clarke says the Australian election campaign is 'a testament to disaffection' and he can't wait for it to be over.

John Clarke

John Clarke Photo: Supplied

The election - which will take place next Saturday after an extended eight-week official campaign period - is the first double dissolution since the 1987 election.

Mr Clarke, best known in New Zealand for his Fred Dagg character, is providing satirical commentary on the campaign for the ABC.

He told Kim Hill this morning the real issues were not being addressed in the campaign.

"In answer to questions about what you are going to do about the collapse of the health of the Barrier Reef and the loss of coastal properties and all that sort of thing, (Australian Prime Minister) Malcolm Turnbull says 'jobs and growth', and a lot of people, grumpy people, don't necessarily think that's an answer.

"And (Opposition leader) Bill Shorten says 'we are going to do something, it must be in my other pants though, I don't really have it to hand'."

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking at Parliament House in Canberra, Sunday May 8, 2016.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AFP

Mr Clarke said Australian politics was "very Greek", with the frequency of leaders being stabbed in the back.

He said Mr Shorten was the first Labor leader to remain in office between two elections this century, "having knifed the two previous leaders, Turnbull knifed his two predecessors as well."

He said the election was not much fun, with many people looking to the smaller parties because of disaffection with the major parties.

Mr Clarke said despite the loss of his voice, Mr Turnbull remained confident.

"He speaks quite well. If you asked him the time, he'd give you a tutorial about the history of chronology. He's not brief and he waves his arms about like he's at a very interesting dinner party."

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