Statement Regarding Senator James Paterson’s Connection With The Shovel
Last week Senator James Paterson used a Senate Estimates hearing to read out a popular tweet written by The Shovel.
The incident generated a significant amount of media coverage, with many people questioning why the Senator was spending his time looking through the tweets of a satirical news organisation, rather than doing his job as an elected official.
Given the interest in the matter, we felt it was time we came clean.
Mr Paterson is not a real person, but rather a satirical character created by The Shovel, initially as a joke, but more recently as a way of increasing the reach of our content.
We never really expected the prank to work. The idea of a man whose central belief is the minimisation of government, even though most of his career has been spent in taxpayer funded employment, did seem to be stretching believability somewhat. Plus, he looks about twelve (adult actors are expensive).
But the Liberal Party fell for it, they put him at the top of the Senate ticket and our guy somehow got elected.
We did consider pulling the stunt at that point. But after some consideration, we decided to lean into the project, giving him various tasks and media appearances where he would talk about wacky policy ideas that we’d made up over a few beers the day before. We even gave him a fake beard to try and increase his credibility.
Recently it began to occur to us that the character could be used not just for our own amusement, but also as a way to increase the reach of The Shovel – particularly amongst the 80-85 year old demographic who watch Senate Estimate hearings.
And so last week we told him to start reading out our tweets. We were certain our cover would be blown at this point – a 33 year-old man spending his Saturday nights trawling through the Twitter accounts of ABC journalists just seemed so utterly unbelievable. But, unlike most things in Parliament House, it actually worked.
While the exposure has been great, we felt now was the right time to reveal the truth. We’ve run out of idiot policy ideas and ‘Senator Paterson’ is getting bored of going to Gina Rinehart’s parties.
That said, we won’t be retiring the character just yet. Despite the fact that he is now known to be fake, we expect him to be comfortably reinstated at the next election. After all, Scott Morrison is clearly the construct of an advertising agency brainstorming session, but people seem to love him.