Australia governed by ‘nobodies’
Australia is being governed by a cabinet of nobodies that most voters could not pick out of a police line up, according to new research.
In news that will provide grim reading for ambitious politicians jockeying for a position on breakfast television, a majority of voters don't have a clue who they are or would know what they looked like if they passed them in the street.
The name recognition polling obtained by news.com.au reveals that the most recognisable politician in the nation is unsurprisingly, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who scores an 83 per cent rating.
But nearly one in five voters don't even know his name, according to the research conducted by the Australia Institute.
And in a surprising turn of events, some voters appear to have forgotten his name after the blanket Liberal election ads disappeared from our television screens, with his recognition rating taking a modest dip.
Voters were asked which current ministers and shadow ministers they had heard of by the research, commissioned by the Australia Institute.
The next most recognisable face in Australian politics is a woman who hung up her red stilettos and walked out of parliament forever in white Armani in February, 2019.
Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is the second most recognisable politician in the country, according to 74 per cent of voters.
Political hardman Peter Dutton, the bald-headed former drug squad cop whose critics have unkindly compared him to a spud, is the next in the line up of stars.
According to the research 70 per cent of voters do know who he is, while the other 30 per cent don't have a clue.
On average, voters could recognise just nine cabinet ministers out of every 27 names they were quizzed on.
"The Federal Treasurer and Health Minister have become significantly better known throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," said Ben Oquist, executive director at The Australia Institute.
"Following the departure of Julie Bishop at the last election, Michaelia Cash is the highest profile woman in Cabinet, but still just one in three Australians know who she is.
"This data also shows that name recognition has dropped for almost all opposition ministers over recent months. While many Australians have been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the government's response, name recognition has fallen for all opposition ministers except for Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers, whose recognition has increased."
Coming closely behind Mr Dutton in the recognition stakes is former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce with 68 per cent name recognition.
Now a humble backbencher after he left his wife Natalie and found love with his former press secretary Vicki Campion, Mr Joyce scored double the recognition of the man who replaced him as Nationals leader, Michael McCormack, although possibly for all the wrong reasons.
Mr McCormack, a part-time Elvis impersonator, remains a mystery man to 62 per cent of Australian voters who have never heard of him.
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Resources Minister Keith Pitt is the cabinet's biggest blank however, with just eight per cent of voters having a clue he was even an MP.
Coalition voters were the most likely to be able to pick members of the cabinet, according to the research.
Golden oldies were also far more likely to score in the game of cabinet bingo with those aged over 65 three times more likely to recognise MPs actual names.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is a recognisable face to 60 per cent of Australian faces, a big improvement on his result in the last survey where half of all voters didn't have a clue who he was.
Health Minister Greg Hunt is even more mysterious with 52 per cent of voters drawing a blank on the tireless Victorian MP.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who has announced he is quitting politics, can venture out into the wide world in retirement confident that he's a fabulous nobody to 58 per cent of Australian voters.
The most recognisable female face in the Morrison Government's cabinet is Michaelia Cash, who was recognised by just one in three voters surveyed.
Defence Minister Marise Payne also enjoys an air of mystery with just 32 per cent of voters having any idea who the veteran Senator is or what she looks like in the wild.
Over on the opposition benches, former Labor leader Bill Shorten (74 per cent) is also better known than the man who replaced him, Anthony Albanese (66 per cent).
Senate leader Penny Wong is a close third on 66 per cent with former deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek scoring 48 per cent.
But it's slim pickings after that with health spokesman Chris Bowen's name recognition at 40 per cent and former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally scoring 38 per cent.
Labor Party maverick and all-round loudmouth Joel Fitzgibbon's appearance on Sunrise and his frequent party truth bombs have elevated his name recognition to 28 per cent.
But the man often touted as a future Labor leader, treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers scores a big, fat blank for 82 per cent of voters polled.
Just 18 per cent of voters recognised the Queenslander's name when quizzed by pollsters.
Funnily enough, it's the same number former Prime Minister John Howard was lampooned for scoring in the famous cover story for The Bulletin magazine in December, 1988 when a poll found just 18 per cent of voters preferred him to Bob Hawke.
He lost his job as Liberal Party leader before returning for a second go and winning the 1996 election.
Originally published as Australia governed by 'nobodies'