Revenge of the hyphenated names, part 2

by | Jun 10, 2022 | Lobbyland

Once upon a time, double-barrelled names were the province of effete, chinless types with names like Crispian Ponsonby-Smythe.

Their politics were Liberal and they were picked on by Labor people such as Paul Keating.

In a mini brouhaha over a table at The Lodge in 1993, Keating described the criticism he had attracted as the “revenge of the hyphenated names”, the “blue rinse set” and the “old Tory antique club”.

“It is all the people with their hyphens showing … there is more double names in this stunt than you have ever seen in your life,” he fumed.

Times have changed. Today it’s not Liberals but Greens who assay the exhausting signatures. The Greens’ Senate line-up of 12 has four hyphenated surnames: Sarah Hanson-Young, Jordon Steele-John, Peter Whish-Wilson and newcomer Penny Allman-Payne.

What are the sociological implications of this? The old Liberal hyphenations must have reflected dynastic pretensions. The Greens? Perhaps an era of more equal parenting? Excited as anyone would be by this detail, we searched the entire Greens slate for Election 22.

Alas, the reality was much less exciting. We expected a sea of double-barrels. But only seven of the 172 Greens candidates sported the hyphenated surname. That, surely, is a lower proportion than the community as a whole. So why four of 12 senators?  At that exhausting point, we gave trying to impart any sociological implications of the most pointless research project of Election 22.




Mark Sawyer is a journalist with Michael West Media. He has extensive experience in print and digital media in Sydney, Melbourne and rural Australia.

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