Sack the opinion pollsters! Politicians will get a far better sense of what Australians are thinking by watching Common Sense every week.
The Foxtel and Channel 10 show, which premiered this week on both networks, is brilliantly cast. Australians are filmed in 10 workplaces, chewing the fat on the headlines.
The workplaces include a real estate office, a lingerie store, a retirement village, a hairdressing salon, an office, a butcher and a removalist company.
It’s Gogglebox around the water cooler.
The first episode targeted a broad range of current topics and participants received their news through their phones, the radio or newspapers.
Their chat is tightly edited into a compelling snapshot of what the nation is thinking this week.
Here’s what they had to say…
On politicians receiving a 2 per cent pay increase
“That’s bulls***,” the butcher declares. “I can’t remember when I last gave myself a pay rise.”
“Some of them are doing a good job!” one retirement home resident offers.
“Name one!” another retorts.
On weekend penalty rates being abolished
One Sydney market worker finds the positive side: “That’s good for us because we might be able to hire someone else and have two people.”
But one removalist still considers Sundays a “day of rest”.
“If you’ve got to work, you should be paid,” he says.
On the gay marriage debate
Several of the commentators deliver excellent Christopher Pyne impersonations before getting down to the nitty gritty of it.
“It’s ridiculous we’re talking about this s***,” the real estate agents declare.
“Not in a church,” the hairdressers argue. “The bible says that’s for a man and a woman.”
Meanwhile, the removalists reckon “they deliberately keep it rolling around in Parliament to keep our focus off other issues. It’s just a distraction”.
On the Cardinal George Pell charges
The hairdressers think they know the truth.
“I watch enough movies to know when they are guilty,” one declares.
“This is my Super Bowl,” says one removalist.
“What would be your half-time show?” the other asks.
“Tim Minchin singing his Come Home Cardinal Pell song.”
But the Sydney market workers “would like to believe he didn’t do that stuff”.
On Donald Trump’s tweets about news presenters
“He’s got some kind of disease,” says one woman in the lingerie store.
“He just opens his mouth and lets it rip. There’s no filter.”
But the butchers are Team Trump: “Good on him. Get into them!”
On the census revealing 49.3 per cent of Australians are from a migrant background
“We’re like bananas,” one Asian Sydney market worker says. “Yellow on the outside, white in the middle.”
The lingerie store owners’ take? “There’s a fabulous Chinese restaurant in Dingley, owned by a lovely man named Barry.”
On the revelation male sperm gets less potent with age
Worryingly, the Sydney real estate agents say they’re too stressed about housing prices to have kids.
“I want to have kids, but I’m delaying it for as long as possible. How can I afford a house?” one says.
On an MP breastfeeding in Parliament
The hairdressers reckon this defiant act was “tastefully done”.
“It’s not like her tits are hanging out!”
But the butchers aren’t on board. “Not in the Senate, come on!”