Time Out meets Abbott’s stagecrasher, Twiggy Palmcock
Everyone loves a good photobomb, right? Right. Unless you were one of Tony Abbott’s security guards on Saturday night. Tone and his family posed for press shots, revelling in a LNP victory when Fregmonto Stokes’ satirical persona Twiggy Palmcock conquered the stage to shake Abbott’s hand.
Stokes, a 25-year-old activist and graduate student at NIDA, tells Time Out he created Twiggy as a way to satirise the intimate relationship between mining and politics. Stokes is not only troubled about climate change, he’s also concerned about the domination of Australian politics by larger than life mining magnates.
“I think there’s a clear demonstration of that [influence] at this election. Look at Clive Palmer who got upwards of five percent of the vote.”
Stokes, who is mentored by political satirist and Order of Australia recipient Max Gillies, hadn’t really planned to get up on stage for the family’s historic press shots. But had researched the event and gone along to the Liberal Party conference (with a Starburst wrapper around his arm to mimic the official wristband) to see what he could do. When the opportunity presented itself to get up on stage, he just went for it. Stokes says that people now know that he wasn’t a threat and that he was satirising the chummy bond between politicians and the mining industry.
“People are getting the references and I’m getting mostly positive feedback. With this kind of satire you’re trying to reach out to people that wouldn’t normally agree with you. So you’re trying not to make it too in your face or too aggressive. It’s meant to be playful, but also meant to bring up some of those big issues.”
Stokes finishes his degree at NIDA in December this year and says he wants to continue this form of satire – where activism meets theatre.
“I think the climate change movement in Australia is going to have to work very hard to make the process fun and engaging,” he opines.
As for Twiggy? Stokes says that Twiggy plans on donning the Lycra leggings and going on some bike rides with our newly elected PM to discuss his mining interests.
Let’s just hope that life doesn’t imitate satire. Clive Palmer in Lycra? Terrifying.
By Merran Reed