When the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party announced its alliance with Clive Palmer last week, it wasn’t just a case of a small party getting overtaken from the right. It may have also signalled the end of a short but fruitful period of easy headlines for the country’s newspapers.
Having geared themselves up for at least six years of effortless motoring related puns, news outlets may now be forced to change direction. “We were in cruise control,” said Henry Robbs, a newspaper subeditor. “Every time there was a story about the Motoring Enthusiast Party, we’d be given the green light to pump out these pithy, punny headlines to match. But the wheels have now well and truly fallen off. And we hadn’t really even got to the starting line”.
Robbs said his idea to pre-write all of the headlines for the first year of the new Parliament may have backfired. “It’s a pity, because I had some absolute winners. ‘Motoring Enthusiast Party U-Turns On Carbon Policy’, ‘Motoring Enthusiasts Say Economy Is Overheated, ‘Ricky Muir Outlines Plans For Six-Speed Economy’, ‘Indicators Important, Say Motoring Enthusiasts’. And I was just warming up”.
Asked his opinion on how such a small party got elected in the first place, Robbs said “It was an accident. But it wasn’t their fault”.
Robbs had to shorten his interview with The Shovel to cover the Labor leadership race. “Thank goodness Bill won,” he said later. “Can you imagine trying to get Albanese into a headline?”