BY TONY BARRASS
MEET Gretel Pinniger or Senator Madam Lash, as she hopes to become.
She and her followers from the Extra Dimension Party has embarked on a big-spending plan she hopes will propel her into the plush red carpets of the Senate.
If she doesn't make it, the Melbourne and Sydney university-educated 50-year old is determined to have a lot of fun trying. An accomplished artist, the Sydney drag queen and entertainer wants to transform Australian politics. But there have been interruptions. She has had public stoushes with the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras organisers, who have kicked her out of this year's parade because she won't declare her sexual preference. And she must finish a painting for entry in the Archibald Prize.
"I am the first extra dimensionalist. I'm still not positive whether the Extra Dimension Party is an art movement, a philosophical movement, a political party or just a prolonged Lash Bash," she squeals as she sits in the studio of her five-level mansion overlooking Sydney's stinkingly wealthy Palm Beach. Her assistant, Miss Demeanour, shows us around the part-museum, part-art gallery residence which houses, among the mannequins, bondage chamber and tower bed room, beautiful 19th century furniture. There's even a bath room mural called The Last Judgment According to Lash.
Gretel Pinniger then emerges as Madam
Lash as the tour finishes. And what a sight she makes. "It's
been unusual for women to create drag queen persona for themselves, she
said. "I learnt it from being a stripper and showgirl. I made my
own costumes and I love doing it." Asked why she decided to
run for the Senate, she said: "I wish to see politics more enlightened,
whether I'm there or not. I would like to be known as an enlightened states
person who changed things for the better." Hmmmmmmm.