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Adventures of a Girl Reporter, Australia, Observations, Politics

Monkey business ahead for Malcolm, Bill and Tony

Zodiac wheelWhat does the Year of the Monkey have in store for 2016? Since it’s an election year I thought it would be fun to check out the Chinese horoscopes for our political leaders.

Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was born in the Year of the Horse; the leader of Her Majesty’s (for now) loyal Opposition Bill Shorten was born in the Year of the Goat; and the unofficial leader of the disloyal opposition Tony Abbott is a Rooster. Your Girl Reporter had little choice but to investigate. 


Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, is the embodiment of the characteristics of the year ahead. Everyone knows that he’s cheeky and impulsive, but he’s also wise and honourable – and a lifelong hero of Your Girl Reporter’s. My thanks to Wang Yuxi for permission to share his depiction of Monkey. I urge you to check out the stunning detail in his work at DeviantArt.

The key to understanding Chinese astrology is to think a little about the characteristics of the animal in charge.

In February 2016 we are leaving the sedate, sure-footed pace of the Goat and embarking on the wild ride of the Monkey. So in a Monkey year we should expect the unexpected.

Next, think about the animal of your birth year. How would those two animals interact?

And from there it’s a simple matter – well, incredibly complex if you do it right actually, but simple will be good enough for our purposes – of working out what characteristics of the year ahead will suit you, and what negative characteristics you need to be prepared for.

Of course the greatest monkey of them all is Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, and the embodiment of all the characteristics of the year ahead.

If you want an idea of how 2016 is likely to flow you could do worse than make the time to reacquaint yourself with some of his adventures.

It’s going to be a great year for the risk-takers and the rebellious, for wild schemes and bold new enterprises.

Fortune favours the brave in the Year of the Monkey but take nothing for granted! In the spirit of irrepressible Monkey, let’s turn our piercing gaze to the year ahead.

Malcolm Turnbull – Year of the Horse

TurnbullJohn Howard famously said the times would suit him and current prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will no doubt be hoping for similar luck. He might just get it too.

A Monkey Year is one in which “agile, inventive minds, sheer guts and bravado will win out,” which came straight off the Astrology Club website but could easily have been written by our loquacious PM himself.

You could say there’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian prime minister and thoroughbred Malcolm is certainly starting the race as firm favourite. But watch out! Fancy riding will take you only so far.

This is not a sprint and Malcolm is so heavily handicapped by party room division and the Abbott legacy that he can scarcely raise a trot. He’s going to have to do more to keep Monkey and the nation onside than toss his mane coquettishly.

There are hard yards ahead but prizes for the horse who can stay the course. Sorry, but I have to ask: Can Malcolm stop the Goat? Or is he just a show pony after all?

Bill Shorten – Year of the Goat

ShortenThe Goat, also referred to as the Sheep in Chinese astrology, is ruler of the year just ended. Incidentally in Chinese astrology your birth year is not likely to be a good one, so props to Bill for getting through it in one piece.

The Goat is patient and stoic through adversity and is also known for being incredibly sure-footed. Monkey is said to get on well with the Goat and can inspire our unassuming ungulate to leap for glory. According to Master Tsai at Chinese Fortune Calendar, when Sheep meets Monkey a shy sheep will prepare to get in the spotlight.

The coming year is not one for plodders – but if Shorten can keep calm and trust his instincts he may yet find that Monkey has led him, via a merry dance, to the higher ground he seeks.

Tony Abbott – Year of the Rooster

AbbottYesterday’s rooster is today’s feather duster but it’s clear that our former PM is not ready to be consigned to the broom cupboard just yet.

Those born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be sticklers for rules and regulations and it’s true that Abbott is at his best when he’s defending the status quo from what he regards as unnecessary change.

Rooster tends to dislike Monkey’s anarchic nature which means Abbott will probably find a Monkey year stressful with its chaotic twists and turns but if he can overcome his undoubtedly wounded pride and spend the year on some personal growth work he could yet become more of a leader than even he might expect.

A Rooster open to the lessons of the Monkey could brush up on the skills of teamwork, diplomacy and the art of compromise – all important attributes for success in the turbulent year ahead – and all famously lacking in the Abbott toolbox.

It’s never too late to learn and if we know one thing about a Monkey year it’s to expect the unexpected.

Australia – Year of the Rat

Yes, our great nation was born, on 1 January 1901, at the tail-end of a Rat year making us clever and affable, good natured and gullible but unlikely to make the same mistake twice (sorry, Tones, still not looking great for you).

Rats and Monkeys have a lot in common and we can expect more playfulness and fun in 2016. With our innate cunning we should do well in a Monkey year of agility and inventiveness, finding opportunity in challenge.

According to Master Tsai, when Rat meets Monkey that is a sign of the blessing of God and really who could argue with that? Over at the Astrology Club, Rats are advised this year to go with Goats and treat Horses and Tigers with caution. Which brings me neatly to…

Sally Baxter – Year of the Tiger

Most texts will simply tell you that monkeys and tigers don’t get on, but every so often you’ll see something startlingly contradictory – “the monkey is best friend to the tiger,” was a comment I heard once and have never forgotten.

As a Tiger it’s in my nature to enjoy complexities and the relationship between these two creatures in Chinese astrology is particularly complex, which may be why I look forward to a Monkey year.

The monkey and the tiger are diametrically opposed on the wheel of the zodiac and they do say opposites attract. There’s a legend that sums up the relationship as I see it: When they first met Monkey pulled Tiger’s tail and ran up a tree – not realising that Tiger could also climb trees.

As long as we approach each other with mutual respect, a great friendship can indeed be had between Monkey and Tiger. But this is Monkey. If there’s a tail to be pulled, it will be.

Kung hei fat choi, from my household to yours. Wishing you good health, happiness and prosperity in the Year of the Monkey. Here’s to a wild ride!

Further reading:

There are so many books and websites dedicated to the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac but I have quoted from just two, Astrology Club and Chinese Fortune Calendar

© Sally Baxter 2016

This post was also published at the Australian Independent Media Network

Want more Baxter? Some memories of a colonial childhood in Hong Kong here 


About Sally Baxter

Once I was a girl reporter, blogging as Sally Baxter. Now I'm writing under my name at www.mariaspackman.com covering the past, present and future of journalism and whatever else takes my fancy. All views my own.



  1. Pingback: The Year of the Monkey | THE PUB - February 12, 2016

  2. Pingback: There’s a lesson from Brexit and how Britain regrets it | Sally Baxter - June 26, 2016

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Your Girl Reporter is now filing as Maria Spackman at www.mariaspackman.com Same great content, whole new website. I’m leaving Sally Baxter up, as I can’t quite bring myself to let her go completely, but it’s time to honour my family name – and use it. Hope you’ll join me for the Further Adventures of a Girl Reporter. It’ll be fun.

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