Australia’s SandwichGate: PM Julia Gillard Better Take Cover

The mainstream media have been accused of trivialising political coverage in Australia over an incident involving Prime Minister Julia Gillard and a sandwich on 8 May 2013. Apparently, it even went viral overseas both in the press and online.

Gawker got into the act with a tasteless [sic] image as lead and an unproven claim about the projectile [Vegemite is an iconic Australian sandwich spread]:

On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was visiting a high school in Brisbane when someone threw a sandwich at her.

And then, for a second, the world stopped.


Vegemite – Image courtesy: Flickr user Stephen Mitchell (CC License 2.0)

Or exploded, if the instant emergence of the #sandwichgate Twitter hashtag was any indication. It wasn’t to David Horton’s taste:

‏@watermelon_man: FFS journalists, with Sandwichgate you've finally lost, after many last chances, any claim to be thought of as a profession.

Craig must be a cuisine conspiracy theorist:

@Cutto1: So there was two sandwiches thrown at the pm. One from the book suppository, and one from the crusty roll, it’s a conspiracy. #sandwichgate

But this was not just a story of tweet oneliners. The Oz blogosphere also answered the call. Insert Clever Title Here satirized the mainstream media’s approach to reporting politics with a series of questions including:

1. Who threw the sandwich, what is their Facebook link and what is the worst photo of them that media can use.

4. What was the carbon impact of the sandwich?

5. What was in the sandwich?

9. Has Newspoll conducted detailed push polling on sandwich

Yale Stephens at The Red And The Blue wanted to hear about school policies not schoolyard pranks:

THE THROWING of a sandwich at Prime Minister Julia Gillard at a Brisbane school today really is small bier; it wasn’t an egg or something really capable of making a mark, and in any case — it missed. Yet this beat-up is even being reported in London tonight [The Telegraph], and people should move on to worthier issues.

However, he couldn’t resist a pun:

Forget about the sandwich folks; at the risk of mixing metaphors, it’s a red herring.

The whole incident seemed preordained as the Prime Minister was visiting a school fundraiser for breast cancer charity Australia's Biggest Morning Tea. Lyrics from Down Under by the iconic Men At Work area are apt:

He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich
And he said,

“I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.”

Crikey cartoonist First Dog on the Moon presented this exclusive interview:

Sandwich Gate

Head Ranga in sanger clanger!
Courtesy: First Dog on the Moon

Now if you think that #sandwichgate is inconsequential, the #skywhale narrative is the latest Oz happening to trend internationally. It is something else that might cause politicians to take cover.

Andrea Carew mused about the nation’s Capital, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary:

@UTLAU: Unfathomable, kind of weird but some of us like it, controversial, + full of hot air – yes #skywhale really DOES represent #Canberra

Vivien Mitchell who works for the Centenary of Canberra unit gave us a sneak preview:

@Viv54: #skywhale Australia's newest mega fauna; gracing our skies from 11 May 2013 @theskywhale_

Sky whale

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