Politicians polarise when it comes to table etiquette

Not so appeeling. Tony Abbott chomps into a raw onion. Photo: supplied

Not so appeeling. Tony Abbott chomps into a raw onion. Photo: supplied

SO it starts with George Costanza from Seinfeld - and morphs to politicians trying to be Ordinary Joes and Ednas.

And they come a cropper as soon as you can say photo shoot photo bombed by the well intentioned and misguided.

Politicians - be they lawyers, bankers, or union heavies - can often come unstuck when they try to mimic plebian pursuits. Smooching babies too feeble to resist in front of the cameras is one thing - eating like real folk is a whole new beast.

Costanza - that crazy adored 'fail' character from the tv sitcom - prompted wonderment in the States when he tucked into a chocolate bar with knife and fork.

Australian politicians have also had their moments when it comes to tucker - and it hasn't always led to chuckles.

Kevin Rudd got the ball rolling with his quote of "fair shake of the sauce bottle" - no, we don't know what he meant, either. Might have been been better opining on fruit, as he's supposed to be good at Mandarin.

And then there was Tony Abbott. Proving more than a man's man, and perhaps everyone's problem child, he took a bite out of a raw onion. Enjoyed it. Yep, we were the only ones crying.

Roll forward in this disturbed story and we have Billy Shorten. Sausage sanger. What could possibly go wrong. Yet before spin minders could intervene, his first bite was smack bang in the middle of the roll. Who even does that?

Bill Shorten went searching for the middle ground when he grazed on a sausage in a roll. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Bill Shorten went searching for the middle ground when he grazed on a sausage in a roll. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

At Macksville on the NSW North Coast at the weekend - we put a local Nat to the test at the town's agricultural show.

Pat Conaghan - who is in a race with high profile Independent Rob Oakeshott for the seat of Cowper - was asked to tackle a Pluto Pup/Dagwood Dog.

After a brief look of confusion, Mr Conaghan - a Kempsey boy after all - tucked into the sauced and fried sausage on a stick ... just like real folk do, starting at the top.

Pat Conaghan passes the Pup test at the Macksville Show. Photo: Christian Knight

Pat Conaghan passes the Pup test at the Macksville Show. Photo: Christian Knight

Luke Hartsuyker - who was also at the Macksville Show and whose retirement from representing Cowper has opened up the 2019 contest - had some wise words for the current crop of aspirants.

"You can't pretend to be someone you are not - because people will work it out," the long-time MP counselled.