Kath Day-Knight

When Kath Day-Knight voted for Kevin Rudd in 2007, it was the first time she had voted Labor.

“To be honest, I’m a swinger – when it comes to voting at least,” she says with a giggle.

“But when I saw K-Rudd on Sunrise with Mel and Kochie, he just came across like such a down-to-earth guy. I’ll tell ya, he gave my sauce bottle a fair shake!”

Kel was also caught up in the hype of the Kevin ’07 campaign, and produced a special commemorative sausage for the election: a combination of Darling Downs beef, Chinese five spice and cheese.

However, on 24 June 2010, Kath woke up to Mel and Kochie reporting that Julia Gillard was going to challenge Kevin Rudd for the Prime Ministership.

“I couldn’t believe it! I just felt that it was undemocratic you know? And after everything he’d done for us Indigenous Australians.”

After the election in August 2010, Kath gradually began to come round to Prime Minister Gillard. She was proud of the fact that Australia had a female Prime Minister, and one with whom she could closely relate. In Gillard, Kath saw a fellow footy fan (albeit for the wrong team); a  woman who shared her love of shoulder pads. In Tim, she saw a little of Kel.

But all the time there was a niggling feeling that something wasn’t quite right.

“I guess I just felt that Kevin hadn’t been given a fair go you know? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to vote for Tony Abbott, who’s such a negative nancy. But Julia’s just not floating my boat anymore.”

Kath says she’d vote for Kevin “in a heartbeat” if he was to come back for another go, which she compares to Ben Cousins’ return to the AFL to play for Richmond – but without the history of drug abuse.

Her daughter Kim on the other hand can’t see what all the fuss is about.

“Mum and Kel are such Kardonnay Socialites. They forget that Labor brought in the bloody carbon tax. Cujo’s food’s gonna go up $40 a bowl – Brett’s done the sums.”

Kath Day-Knight

Optimus Prime

Prime with climate sceptic Lord Monckton.

This immigrant narrative is a familiar one. A war-torn homeland. Persecution. Asylum sought in a land of prosperity, freedom and perceived justice. A disheveled group of would be vigilantes, looking for another chance to establish themselves as valuable, functionally-important members of a new world.

It was a complex political world which greeted the awakening refugees from Cybertron in 1983 – one which molded their young leader, Optimus Prime, into the robot humanoid truck he is today.

Like so many immigrants before him, Prime’s politics echoed those of the party in charge when he touched down. Ronald Reagan’s view of a strong, optimistic and self-sufficient America was the political foundation of Optimus’ early years in the land of the free.

His gravitation toward the right continued throughout the ’80s. Fuelled by a growing sense of impotence stemming from his inability to escape the violent conflicts of his homeland, Prime became obsessed with strong family values and the strength of America’s position in the world.

Under Prime’s leadership, the Autobots quickly became advocates for the use of force and bravado in foreign policy. This attitude was further hardened by heightening tensions in Cold War America and their contact with Republican humans, Sparkplug and Spike – good old boys whose embrace of their extra-terrestrial friends was an ironic inversion of their lack of empathy toward human immigrants from war torn nations.

With the end of the Cold War, Prime mellowed – while still a registered Republican, he was more open to centrist views and particularly concerned with the rise of the religious right. It took until the year 2005 before Optimus Prime’s once passionate political streak was reinvigorated, this time in the face of an emerging threat from the green-left.  

The alarm bells first rang when he sat in on a screening of An Inconvenient Truth – Gore and his band of climate alarmists would destroy the natural order of life for all machine-kind. As a transforming truck, he was intensely angered by the concept of pricing carbon, seeing it as a literal threat to his lifeblood and that of his friends (raw energon was found to have a global warming potential 2000 times that of CO2). From that point forward Prime committed his life to lobbying for energon exemptions as part of any international climate change agreements or domestic legislation.

Prime’s lobbying efforts have been impressive: he donated generously to the Republican Party in 2008, established a successful web campaign titled Energon-fuel for life, and embarked on a world-wide speaking tour with Lord Monckton. He now counts Monckton as an uneasy ally, unsure of his overall approach and appeal to younger voters, but seeing him as a necessary, and surprisingly effective conduit to other parts of the community.

Prime has recently reached out to Galvatron, requesting his help to combat what he perceives as climate change alarmism. His efforts have been rebuffed, as the transforming cannon has gone on record, believing a price on carbon (and energon) will ultimately make nation states, individuals and interplanetary robotic warriors more accountable for their actions.

As Starscream once said, “you can’t deny the science”.

Optimus Prime

Luke Skywalker

Growing up under an anti-democratic, pan-galactic empire doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be politically aware. Luke Skywalker’s irregular life path is similarly matched by an irregular political evolution which reflects the tempestuousness of the world around him and his own singular personal narrative.

Like many sons of the agrarian lower-middle classes, Skywalker saw the armed forces as his ticket out of the family business and a life on the farm. He was staunchly pro-military, initially as an admirer of order and increasingly as an advocate of aggressive interplanetary foreign policy. With aspirations to transcend his social standing and exceed the wealth and success of his Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, Ronald Reagan spoke to him, as he did to so many aspiring sons of the lower middle classes, keen to make their mark on the galaxy and make their dreams come true.

Skywalker’s dealings with alien races also bred in him a healthy cynicism of other ethnicities and cultures, making him a mild racist in early life. You might be too, if you were sold an R2 unit with a bad motivator on more than one occasion. As such, Skywalker’s early politics were very much centred on the right wing, championing a para-military protectionist approach that was, at best, white nationalist and, at worst, humanoid supremacist.

However, like many who ventured away from their rural roots toward the larger metropolis, his eyes were opened to cultural diversity in early adulthood. He learned to embrace this, particularly enjoying the vibrant cantinas of Mos Eisley and learning to trust and enjoy the cultural nuances of the citizens of Kashik and Endor. This –  as well as his discovery that humankind, and not sandpeople, had been responsible for the death of his surrogate parents – left the young Skywalker disillusioned and questioning the right-wing rhetoric he had previously championed. Skywalker voted Dukakis in 1988 as a flagrant rebellion against the politics of his youth.

Skywalker’s focus on religion changed his political outlook in general. The more he engaged with his spirituality, the more he rejected traditional political thought. After his second spell on Dagobah, Skywalker began looking closely at minor party candidates, but was disappointed by the atheist viewpoints of the left and the bombastic, oversimplification of the right. He voted Clinton in 1992 and then stayed away from the ballot box until 2004.

Having lived through several galactic wars, Skywalker was deeply concerned by the Bush Administration. He was awoken from his political slumber to vote for Kerry, a man who he empathised with as a veteran and as a man of leadership. He has since become an ardent student of the libertarian movement, and his cynicism for big government is only outweighed by his religious beliefs and insistence on judging political candidates based on their midi-chlorian count.

Luke Skywalker