Two winners to match a terrible, terrible year.
Daniel Andrews and Jordan Shanks (Image: AAP; Youtube)
Arsehat of the year
Crikey’s Arsehat of 2020 isn’t the first winner of a popular media figure who sees any criticism as evidence that they’re just too dangerous for any mainstream Milquetoast bead coupler.
Hell, he’s not even the second. YouTubers in that regard Jordan Shanks, also known as the FriendlyJordies, has to settle behind Kyle Sandilands and Alan Jones, the 2011 and 2012 winners, respectively. Illustrious Company.
But Shanks is the first, as far as we know, to stand up for victory. Like fools, we failed to get him a kick after using his nominally left platform to tell his mostly young audience that a guy shouldn’t necessarily lose his job for sexual assault.
Indeed, it is appropriately daunting to end this terrible year by giving the arsehat to someone who actually wants it – in front of many other far stronger candidates. Shanks’ campaign at least makes him a slightly more worthy winner.
So congratulations to you and your fans Jordan. You wanted it very badly, we all agree it’s extremely cool and now it’s yours.
Greetings to our silver medalist this year who will go down as one of the great “should bees” in Arsehat history. Had it not been for the above intervention, he would have won by a large margin.
prime minister Scott Morrison started 2020 with really terrible leadership during the bushfires.
It never got better. It has its default setting for evasion and dishonesty. The tautological, meaningless slogans. The irritable, funky answers to legitimate questions. He said, “We will do this together,” as his senior ministers dumped partisan junk on the Victorian state government.
His cheap, confused apoplexy about the Australian Post is buying watches while the Infrastructure Department pays a liberal donor ten times the current price of a piece of land. He led a government that managed to be the shabbiest and most corrupt outfit in Australia in 2020.
Throughout 2020, Morrison and his administration waged an ideological war under the guise of COVID-19 – from building a secret, fossil fuel-dominated commission to respond to the crisis, to draining independent regulators, to belatedly trying to shut down the industry core protecting relationships.
If you are as disappointed as we are that he missed it, take heart. Given Australia’s comparatively strong performance in response to COVID-19 – something it deserves some credit for – and an essentially invisible opposition, it is fair to imagine he will have every opportunity to get back on the list next year.
Person of the year
Crikey readers have by far bestowed the “Person of the Year 2020” award on the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. No leader in the country had a tougher 2020, perhaps except for Morrison early on – and Morrison had a largely compliant medium that was delighted once he left Cobargo. Andrews didn’t have one.
It’s no secret that Crikey joined Andrews and criticized Andrews in some cases – the truth is, there was a lot to criticize.
But it’s also true that the relentless News Corp shack in particular was cheerfully and transparently partisan – you just have to compare coverage of the second waves in South Australia and New South Wales to front pages welcoming Victoria’s setbacks. The same applies to the dirty attacks by the federal ministers discussed above.
Meanwhile, Andrews quietly did something we’ve wanted a politician to do for some time: he showed up. Day after day. For 120 consecutive days, he faced the media, explaining what was happening and why, and staying until no more questions were asked. And after months of lockdown, the tough decisions paid off.
Andrews was also one of the few politicians to recognize the link between the virus and unsafe work, and his government created a budget that recognized that not everyone was equally affected by the virus.
The report on the disastrous hotel quarantine program was released yesterday. Elsewhere, Bernard Keane gives the Andrews administration a well-deserved apology for its many failures on this front. In addition, the way the virus was monitored was extremely problematic. 2020 wouldn’t give us a saint.
Indeed, Andrews, the “party apparatchik from the central casting” who exceeded expectations to become a cartoon villain or cult hero, is a perfect emblem for 2020; great triumphs and miserable failures, relentless buffeting and formidable determination.
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Editor in Chief of Crikey