Why Australians Are Tweeting About the Prime Minister Shitting His Pants at McDonald's

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison campaigning in Nowra, Australia on May 17, 2019, the day before the Australian federal election
Photo: Getty Images

If you follow any Australians on Twitter, you might have seen some really strange references on the social media platform lately—references that don’t make much sense to Americans. People are talking about Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a place called Engadine, pants filled with shit, and something called Maccas. What’s this all about? We’re here to help.

As you may or may not know, Australians are heading to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether they’d like the prime minister to remain the Liberal Party’s Scott Morrison or to hand power to the challenger, Labor Party leader Bill Shorten. And that means Australian Twitter is especially focused on politics lately. But what, might you ask, does any of that have to do with people talking about shit and whatever Maccas might be?


If you translate the tweets from Australian to American (and frankly this would be a useful translation feature for all of the internet) these Twitter users are talking about Prime Minister Morrison supposedly shitting his pants in a suburban McDonald’s on September 13, 1997.


Maccas is the nickname that Australians have for McDonald’s and Engadine is the name of the Sydney suburb where Morrison allegedly unloaded a filthy deuce into his pants in 1997.

Morrison was allegedly at the McDonald’s after his favorite Rugby League team lost the Grand Final. And following the loss, Morrison “wantonly and violently” emptied his bowels into his pants while in the fast food establishment, according to the always reliable folks of the internet.


Morrison became prime minister less than a year ago during an inner-party power squabble between leaders of the Liberal Party (roughly equivalent to the U.S. Republican Party), and the day before he became prime minister, on August 24, a Twitter user came forward with the story that Morrison had shit his pants at the Engadine McDonald’s in 1997.

And “Engadine Maccas 1997" has become a popular Australian meme ever since, as you can imagine.


The story has even made its way into the political mainstream, albeit through tricky ways. Mehreen Faruqi, a Senator with the left-wing Greens party, sent out a series of tweets today that look pretty normal at first glance. In fact, it looks like she’s just discussing tomorrow’s federal election and the importance of voting Green.


But if you take a look at the first letter for every tweet in that thread, it spells out “Engadine Maccas.”


Prime Minister Morrison has never directly addressed whether he ever shit his pants in McDonald’s, but his defenders say that it didn’t happen. Or, at least, that it probably never happened.

The McDonald’s in Engadine has even become quite a spot for illicit art. For example, people keep putting up stickers of the prime minister’s face with things like “1997" across his forehead.


And some pranksters even installed commemorative plaques at the McDonald’s location where Prime Minister Morrison allegedly defecated in his pants, or “shit his dacks” in Australian parlance.


So there you have it. The Australian internet can be pretty weird sometimes but at least this story should make more sense to you now. Well, as much sense as a pants-shitting rumor from the other side of the world can make.


And if you’re reading this from Australia, don’t forget to vote. It’s compulsory, as you know. And even if you don’t mind paying the $180 fine, just remember that there are plenty of Americans who would love to have the right to vote.

Because voting is far from compulsory in many other parts of the world. It’s often barely allowed at all.


Correction: This article originally misstated that Morrison had attended an Australian-rules football game before allegedly visiting the McDonald’s. It was a Rugby League Grand Final. Gizmodo regrets the error.

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog