Mullet Hunters Star J-Rod's Random Meeting With The PM For 'The Bogan Vote'
The most-derided hairstyle of all time got the official Prime Ministerial tick of approval, as a bloke named J-Rod crashed his way into the federal election.
PM Scott Morrison visited the rural Launceston Aussie Rules club of the Bridge North Parrots on Tuesday night, promising upgraded lights and drainage facilities at the footy ground.
But it was the characters in the clubhouse who stole the show, the voters of Bass giving an insight into one of the under-rated battleground seats of this election.
The Parrots, whose junior teams had been kicking balls around the dimly-lit park well into the night, gathered in the modest clubhouse to hear what was, in these parts, a rare speech on a rare appearance from a PM. Boags beer flowed freely behind the bar -- with cans just $5 a pop -- as seasoned players, retired stalwarts and young rookies alike packed out the weathered shed in anticipation.
The PM has been photographed downing local brews with locals all election long, and even the seasoned photographers in the travelling press pack had quietly groaned when told they would be heading to yet another bar. But they didn’t know J-Rod --aka Jarrod -- would be bursting onto the national political stage.
A 17-year veteran of the Parrots, with a seven-year-old mullet growing down past his shoulders, we’re told J-Rod is something of a local legend. Business in the front, party in the back, J-Rod and the PM became fast friends. They exchanged pleasantries, then posed for photos, before Morrison scrawled his signature -- ‘ScoMo PM’ -- on the back of Jarrod’s jersey. Pulling another jersey from somewhere, J-Rod quickly returned the favour, giving his autograph on a playing strip Morrison said he would take home to his kids.
“J-Rod is the best person I’ve met on this campaign so far,” Morrison told 10 daily later with a smile.
When we joked to Jarrod that he’d be famous in the national press by Wednesday morning, he jokingly replied: “I’m already famous”.
“I’m on Mullet Hunters,” he added, referencing a 50,000-strong Facebook page that shares photos of the 80s hairstyle.
“He seems like a very genuine sort of fellow,” Jarrod said of the PM, before adding with a grin “he’s going for the bogan vote, I reckon that’s why he wanted a photo with me.”
“Genuine” was the word many onlookers told 10 daily, as Morrison wandered the clubhouse, beer in one hand, catered KFC takeaway in the other -- “how good is KFC?” he said at one point -- taking selfies with locals. In this quiet town, far from the major cities, they seem pretty genuinely chuffed that the nation’s leader would pop in for a visit, splashing some cash on their beloved club.
“He’s quite personable. His wife’s lovely,” said club official Diane.
But some others were more cautiously watching his performance, reserving judgment. Steve stood quietly near the bar. A truck driver, and veteran of the Parrots, his young son was one of those who Morrison shared a beer with earlier in the night. He watched and listened as Morrison made his announcement, but wasn’t sold.
“I want him to live up to his ‘fair go for people who have a go’,” Steve said, referencing Morrison’s recent campaign slogan. He spoke of his son’s friend, who works three jobs just to make ends meet.
“The only time [politicians] are interested in us, is when there’s an election… absolutely we are the forgotten state.”
Another younger man, Jayden, has just turned 18 and is voting in his first election. He said he only recently learned Morrison was the PM. He said he liked “ScoMo”, thought he was “a cool bloke” and that “it was a bit stupid that he got egged”. As for Shorten, he said he knows absolutely nothing about the Labor leader.
“I followed politics up until Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard,” Jayden said, talking of politics that happened as he reached puberty -- “but after that, nothing.”
Steve said he isn’t committed to any one party, having variously voted Labor, Liberal and Greens in recent elections. But he doesn’t agree with negative gearing concessions and wants to vote for someone doing more to support low-paid workers. He said he doesn’t know anyone earning anywhere near the median wage. Even at this late stage, he doesn’t know who he’ll vote for.
“I’ll give anybody a go, as long as they give us a crack,” Steve said.
“I want them to just bloody do the right thing.”
Josh Butler is travelling with the Morrison campaign.
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