2022 year in review, sort of

year in review

tennis January

The year begins in controversy as tennis player Novak Djokovic is banned from entering Australia to play in the Australian Open, due to his not being vaccinated. Djokovic is well known in COVID circles for having held a tournament at the height of the pandemic which – now here’s a shock – resulted in a lot of players getting COVID.

Djokovic explains to authorities that he does not need to be vaccinated as the Queen of the Pineapple Unicorn Fairies sprinkled magic pixie boo-boo dust on him when he was young. This argument does not persuade authorities, although the player is able to get his visa reinstated by a court; Immigration Minister Alex Hawke then invokes the controversial ‘no jerks’ power in the Immigration Act (this is also the power that has prevented Donald Trump from visiting Australia) and bans him anyway.

Djokovic abandons plans to challenge the ruling as every lawyer he consulted has assured him that he has no prospects of ever convincing any judge that he isn’t a jerk. The outcome leads to a rare moment of bipartisanship in Federal Parliament, with both major parties agreeing to work together to see if they can get the provision applied to Clive Palmer. Tennis Australia complains to the Minister, noting that if the rule were applied generally, they probably wouldn’t be able to put together a tournament.

In more good news, Ash Barty wins the Australian Open, shocking the world by doing so without screaming, grunting, abusing the umpire, smashing a racket or disrespecting an opponent. In doing so she disproves one of tennis’ most cherished theories, The McEnroe Conjecture, which states that it is impossible to be good at tennis without being a sook.

fists February

Spurred on by Novak’s noble fight, a group of anti-vaccine mandate protesters and assorted conspiracy theorist fruit loops converge on Canberra to march a short distance, in pursuit of a goal which is unclear to the general public and apparently not particularly defined in the minds of the protesters either. Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen even takes time out of his busy schedule serving his Far North Queensland constituents from the beaches of Manila to take part in the march.

A second protest – this time in vehicles, probably because marching was not the strength of many of the protesters, if you get my drift – also happens, again drawing out every fringe group in Australia with insupportable beliefs, from ‘QAnon’ and ‘Sovereign Men’ to ‘Elvis Lives’ and ‘I voted for Kevin Rudd’. The protests end when police point out to organisers that the Royal Canberra Show is about to start, and the longer the protest goes on, the more likely it is that the show will run out of Bertie Beetle showbags before the protesters get there.


Internationally, Russia invades Ukraine, based on advice Vladimir Putin received from the leprechaun that lives under his bed, and the ghost of Stalin who apparently lives in a fish tank in Putin’s garage.1

Although Putin expects a quick victory, his plans go awry as a couple of troops of Ukrainian boy scouts, armed with only slingshots, water balloons and whoopee cushions, hold off several Russian battle groups.

Ingenious Ukrainians even turn children’s toys into lethal weapons, taking out Russian tanks with remote-controlled drones purchased from the Ukrainian equivalent of Bunnings. This is despite the fact that such drones, when flown too low over your yard by a smart-arse local teenager trying to annoy you, can be taken out by a 47kg dog with a brain the size of a pea and a surprisingly good vertical leap.2

For its response, the world turns to its Ultimate Weapon: banning teams from sporting competitions. FIFA bans the Russian team from all competitions, although Putin remains defiant. “Who cares? Our football team couldn’t qualify for the pension, let alone the World Cup! Hah!” he retorts, before heading off to look for the Nazis that the leprechaun told him were living in Volodymyr Zelensky’s fridge.

golf March

Sad news to begin the month of March, as both Rod Marsh and Shane Warne are called up to play for the heavenly All-Stars; many batsmen now in the afterlife understandably announce their retirements.

Donald Trump, sensing that in troubling times the world would need to hear that, no matter how hard things got, his golf game is still in order, releases an official statement to the effect that he has hit a hole-in-one. It is sent to various news outlets on his official post-presidential letterhead, as clearly it is too important for Twitter.


For many journalists the news is a relief, since for so long they had feared much scarier official announcements from Trump, such as, “Turns out I kept the nuclear codes at Mar-a-Lago, and so just nuked Canada to see if they still work”, or, “I confirm I am running for President again”.

US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, seeks to calm the situation in Europe by declaring, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power”. Biden’s aides rush to reassure reporters, saying, “He didn’t mean Putin; he meant himself.” In response to follow-up questions, the President clarifies: “No thanks, I already ate; now, who stole my hat?”

coconut April

The Australian federal election kicks off, with the traditional argument over how many leaders debates there will be, who will be the moderator and most importantly, who gets first crack at the buffet afterwards. Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, is unable to secure a debate on one of its channels due to a breakdown of negotiations with the Prime Minister’s office, despite the ABC promising that the moderator would not actually throw rocks at the PM (probably).

The campaign gets off on the wrong foot for Scott Morrison, when he makes the mistake of opening his mouth and saying stuff, which has traditionally not been his strong suit. Challenger Anthony Albanese gets COVID early on, and is unable to campaign at all, resulting in his poll numbers skyrocketing.

Sensing an edge, Mr Albanese resolves to refuse to answer any questions during the election campaign, under any circumstances, often preferring to run from a press conference rather than respond to questions from the press. There is no truth to the rumour that he was followed by a group of minstrels clapping coconuts together and singing about his adventures.3

This is a vastly superior strategy to that of Mr Morrison, whose numbers continue to nosedive. Liberal staffers worry about internal polling, which reveals that many Australians now believe that it is ‘very likely’ that Scott Morrison was involved in the Kennedy assassination, and ‘probably’ knows where Harold Holt is.


On the world stage, in his heroic and noble quest to keep the media from prying into his life, Prince Harry does an interview with the NBC News Today Show, which regularly gets around four million viewers. Despite this wily strategy, the prince and his wife continue to gather media attention. “Every time we call media people on the phone and ask them to put us on TV, they do,” moans Harry. “Every. Single. Time. You’d think they give us a break and say no once in a while, but they just don’t care.”

To try and throw the media off the scent, during the interview Harry gives out his address, notes the famous neighbours he has, shows many views of the front of his house and points it out on Google Earth. “If that doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will,” says his grateful wife.

In the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russia continues to make no advances whatsoever, and Ukraine forces manage to sink a Russian warship by cleverly modifying a Tamagotchi, silly putty and a yo-yo. Vladimir Putin quickly claims that the ship was not sunk at all, it was just ‘resting’.

The UN votes to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, prompting most people to wonder how the hell they were on it in the first place.

Voldemort May

The ALP defeats the Coalition in the federal election, with Anthony Albanese becoming Prime Minister and promising a mature, friendlier government and an end to nastiness and division. Swept up in this spirit of collegiality, ALP representative Tanya Plibersek immediately calls new Opposition Leader Peter Dutton ‘Voldemort’.

Channelling his own spirit of conciliation, Dutton responds with a calm, cool and collected response, “Am not, poo-poo head!” he retorts. “My name can’t even be rearranged to spell that!”


Journalists check and determine that his name cannot indeed be rearranged to spell out the Harry Potter villain, although it can be rearranged to spell ‘Rottten Dupe’, which you could argue is even better. Meanwhile, former PM Scott Morrison steps down as Liberal Party leader with a touching speech, noting, “I probably should have had myself secretly sworn in as leader of the ALP, just in case.” At the time, nobody understands this.

New PM Anthony Albanese celebrates his success in finally getting to run Australia by leaving the place and giving every impression that he will never return. Sadly, this turns out to be untrue.

Also, Heaven picks up its all-rounder, with Andrew Symonds passing away, meaning the fielding is better (and the Saturday nights louder) in the afterlife.

whisky June

The annual State of Origin series kicks off with a resounding win to Queensland in the first game, although sportingly Queensland allows New South Wales to win the second game, in order to ‘build the drama’ according to Queensland Coach Billy Slater.

New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese continues his long-running overseas tour, meeting many foreign leaders, such as the Prime Minister of Canada, the President of Indonesia, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for that month.

Also, the best war ever, which had been raging between Canada and Denmark since 1978, and was known as the Whisky War, ends. This really happened. The two countries disputed ownership of Hans Island, and decided to sort out their differences by exchanging bottles of whisky and national flags (seriously).


This may explain the length of the war, given that it might be hard to end hostilities that involve your opponent handing over quality spirits; if chocolates had been involved it would probably have gone on for centuries. In any event, after many years of war, the horrors of which were no doubt confined to sore heads and embarrassing photos of drunken combatants wearing nothing but a witch’s hat and a strategically-placed flag, the two countries agree to split the island down the middle (and probably to continue to exchange whisky, since it has worked so well up to this point).

UN diplomats point out to Vladimir Putin that this shows differences can be resolved without shooting each other, prompting an angry response from the Russian leader. “We have stopped shooting at them! We ran out of bullets weeks ago, and we are already exchanging alcohol with them! What do you mean Molotov cocktails don’t count?”

Queensland Maroons July

For about the 453rd time in the last 10 years, parts of Australia are plagued by floods, which at least is a change from bushfires, although everyone – apart from qualified scientists and genuine experts – agrees that this has nothing to do with global warming. Former MP George Christensen points out that, based on his research in Manila over many years, global warming is a conspiracy between the United Nations and the world’s scientists to make money. How this happens is unclear, possibly due to the research methods he employed in Manila.

In much more pleasant news, Queensland defeats New South Wales in the third State of Origin match to again claim victory in the series, leaving the head-to-head count as 23 series victories to Queensland and 16 to New South Wales. For the sake of any New South Wales supporters having this read to them by a literate friend from another state, and who tend to be slow on the uptake (the supporters, not the readers) (unless the readers are from Victoria), we’ll say that again: 23 Series to Queensland, 16 to New South Wales.

New South Wales coach Brad Fittler complains about the result4 saying, “It totally wasn’t fair; every time Queensland scored a try, the referee awarded it! Referees didn’t do that to New South Wales when I played; how are we supposed to win if the game is decided by skill and dedication?”

Meanwhile the World Health Organisation (WHO)5 moving, as it always does, with the speed of a stunned jellyfish half-buried in the sand in the middle of the Sahara, and which gave COVID such a good head start on humanity, finally decides6 that the monkeypox outbreak that began in May might be a bit of a problem.


The WHO turns to its ‘big guns’ in these situations – acronyms – and declares monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, which is clearly one of the worst acronyms ever. Top scientists everywhere7 agree that something like Serious Acronym-Verified Emergency of Universal Scariness (SAVE US) would be much more effective, and way cooler.

key August

Beloved Australian singer Judith Durham passes away, leaving fans of her band, The Seekers, distraught that the band may not be able to carry on; relief floods the country as it is discovered that Scott Morrison secretly had himself sworn in as The Seekers’ lead singer, just in case. Just to make matters worse, Olivia Newton-John also passes away, meaning that the concert after the cricket match in Heaven is going to be a bottler.

Further investigation reveals that Scott Morrison had himself secretly sworn in to more ministries than even Gough Whitlam ever held; in the end it turns out that he is also a member of the Privy Council, assistant groundsman at the MCG and ‘a few others I don’t remember’. Veteran readers immediately realise that the author won’t tire of this joke any time soon.

In an effort to prove that there is a real, practical benefit to the space program, aerospace company Northrop Grumman uses its Cygnus rocket to deliver pizza to the International Space Station (this really happened). When challenged over the $50 million or so price tag for the delivery, US President Joe Biden reassures reporters: “My understanding is that it wasn’t there within 30 minutes, so it is free.”

Meanwhile, the FBI raids Donald Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, following allegations that when he left the White House he took several boxes of classified documents, the good china, the TV remote with the working mute button, and the spare key.

Trump initially denies this, then remembers that there were some documents in his other jacket. He insists that the documents are no longer classified, as he de-classified them just by thinking about it, using an old Jedi mind trick; he claims he used the same trick to make his tax records disappear.


These explanations are happily accepted by right-wing media in the US, who apparently aren’t exactly the sharpest overall tools in the shed, but cuts no ice with the United States Court of Appeal which orders him to hand over the tax records. He also has to give back the china and the remote, but insists on keeping the spare key a bit longer because, “I still have some stuff in the garage, and I’m gonna need the key again in a few years anyway.”

crown September

The month starts disastrously as the evil and dastardly Brisbane Lions, aided by dreadful umpiring and a ludicrous goal-line review, defeat the noble and good Richmond Tigers in the elimination final. Completely fair and unbiased Richmond supporters at the game confirm that the umpires got almost everything wrong, yet the AFL refused to do anything about it.

Even worse news follows as Queen Elizabeth II, the only member of any royal family anywhere on Earth who did not come across as something of a nutter, passes away. A constitutional crisis is averted when it emerges that Scott Morrison had himself secretly sworn in as monarch, just in case. This allows time for nervous courtiers to try and talk Charles out of taking the throne, but he refuses, thus setting the record for the longest a child has stayed living with his parents before getting a job.

Serial embarrassment Peter FitzSimons, displaying all the dignity and restraint of Boris Johnson at a work Christmas Party, waits about 3.5 seconds before calling for a republic. When reporters ask Buckingham Palace for their opinion on the comments, an official spokesperson replies, “Er, Peter who?”

After a quick discussion amongst themselves, the reporters reply, “We’re pretty sure he is married to someone kind of famous. Not, like Cate Blanchett famous, but, you know, sort of like someone who played someone’s ex-girlfriend on Neighbours.”

In the AFL Grand Final, Geelong win the flag, although most fair-minded fans don’t count it due to Richmond being unfairly eliminated.


cricket October

In their concerted effort to prove to the world that they have the collective IQ of a bag of Minties, environmental protesters throw soup on Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting, apparently because Van Gogh was a major emitter of CO2 back in the day. Amazingly, despite these actions, the temperature of the Earth does not drop.

In sport, the Penrith Panthers win the NRL Premiership, and – in a competitive effort to out-jerk tennis players – engage in a bizarre and slightly disturbing celebration, in which they claim that the opposition players are their ‘sons’, and Penrith is ‘daddy’. NRL officials play down the controversy, noting that it is actually a relief to see NRL players not denying paternity.

Also, the T20 World Cup is played in Australia, unfolding across approximately 1153 hard-fought matches, often involving cricket powerhouses such as Afghanistan and Namibia, and watched by maybe 28 people (including ground staff and the media). Concerns are raised that perhaps too many T20 matches are being played, when Australian player Glenn Maxwell is asked if he knows who won the tournament.

“Umm…was it us?” he asked hopefully. When advised that it wasn’t, he is philosophical. “Makes sense, I’d remember a hangover like that. Never mind though, there’ll be another T20 World Cup along in a week or two, we’ll get that one.”

In China, Xi Jinping is elected General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for a third term. This comes after several other candidates drop out for family reasons (largely that they wanted to see their families again, and that probably wouldn’t happen if they stayed in the race) or geographical reasons, being that they had hurriedly relocated to a piece of geography that wasn’t anywhere near China.

Xi receives an impressive 234% of the vote and has the full support of all Central Committee members, who applaud the result and cheer lustily, once their hands are untied and gags removed.


battle November

The United Nations launches COP27, a conference on climate change, although few notice as most people assume it is a South American drug cartel. Although progress is initially slow, after several weeks of negotiation triumphant diplomats announce ‘real progress’ in that they have unanimously agreed that both of the Cs in ‘Climate Change’ should be capitalised; also all parties vow that at the next conference, they will decide whether or not the abbreviation ‘CO2’ is acceptable for official communications.

Also, they intend to give developing nations, such as China, the world’s largest emitter of CO2 and second-largest economy, billions of dollars. Asked what the toughest part of the negotiations were, Chinese President Xi Jinping says, ‘keeping a straight face when people call us a developing nation’.

Also in November, the world’s best soccer players descend on Qatar, for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, straining the small country’s already thin stocks of acting coaches. Many people were critical of the selection of Qatar as the venue, given its poor record on human rights, but FIFA officials move to reassure the world that they have not taken the decision lightly.

“We raised human rights issues vociferously and relentlessly, and in the end they agreed to give us a very large sum of money, so we feel we have made a difference,” a FIFA spokesperson says.

The US team’s hopes take an early blow, when a last-minute decision is made to restrict the sale of Budweiser, the American beer that was the official beer of the tournament. “It is a real bummer,” says the US coach, “we were kind of hoping the other teams would drink it and get sick, making them easier to beat.” When it is pointed out that it would have the same effect on his team, he replies, “Oh, no chance of that – Americans know what it a tastes like; we don’t touch the stuff.”

The tournament is rocked by a suspected terrorist attack when a group of players is found thrashing on the ground in agony, but it turns out to just be the French team doing a training session.


In a far more entertaining event, the United States holds its mid-term elections, an electoral process designed to ensure that the incumbent President has no power whatsoever for the last two years of their term. The Democrats fear a wipe-out, as tradition dictates that the incumbent party always fares badly in the mid-terms, but the Democrats have a secret weapon in that Donald Trump remains a member of the Republican Party.

Trump decides to endorse several interesting8 candidates, including Mehmet Oz – who advises sleeping with a bar of soap to cure restless leg syndrome – and former footballer Herschel Walker, who assures voters in a campaign speech that they should vote for him, because werewolves can kill vampires, and his opponent was a vampire9. Surprisingly, neither of these candidates wins.

The Democrats do surprisingly well in the mid-terms, largely due to the fact that Donald Trump supported the Republicans. This development concerns humour writers, who fear that Trump will realise he has had his moment in the sun and retire from politics, and deprive them of new material. Thankfully, Trump proves impervious to reality yet again, and announces he will indeed run for President again, ensuring that humour columns everywhere will have fall-back material for at least two more years.

Speaking of disengagement from reality, President Joe Biden – on being woken from his pre-nap doze and advised of the results – announces he too will run again. “I firmly believe,” the President intones, “that with the will of the good Lord, and the support of my good wife, I will again be elected as President of Mexico; I mean, New Mexico! Am I wearing pants? (looks down) Oh, good.”

astronaut December

The cricket season begins (or ends? Nobody can tell anymore) with Australia allegedly playing the West Indies in a two Test series, although it is hard to prove since nobody who attended the Tests has any clear recollection of the West Indies batting at all.

In the World Cup, Australia loses to Argentina and England crashes out to France, prompting a surprising amount of anguish from English fans given you’d think they were used to it. Sports broadcasters begin to get nervous at the prospect of an Argentina-France final, noting the difficulties involved in getting viewers to tune in to 22 men rolling around on the grass clutching their knees.


Finally, the year draws to an end in hope, as NASA’s Orion spacecraft, having broken the record for the farthest distance from Earth travelled by an Earth-returning human-rated spacecraft, safely splashes down again – which is pretty impressive even if it didn’t deliver any pizza.

The flight of the Orion gives humanity hope – hope that people might once again walk on the Moon, hope that humanity might be able to unite itself towards this noble goal, and – most of all – hope that when we get there, we don’t find that Scott Morrison had secretly had himself sworn in as the Man in the Moon – just in case.

Merry Christmas everyone, stay safe.

© Shane Budden 2022

1 OK, so I made that up, but it makes more sense than any of the justifications Putin has offered.
2 No, I am not prepared to discuss how I know this.
3 Although if there were, they’d be singing, “Brave Sir Albo ran away, bravely ran away, away.
When questions reared their ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Instead of saying what he was about,
gallantly he chickened out,
brave, brave, brave Sir Albo.”
4 Which is like saying there was a Tuesday last week.
5 The World Health Organisation; weren’t you paying attention?
6 Probably after getting permission from China.
7 List available on request from participating outlets.
8 By which I mean insane.
9 I swear I am not making this up.

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