What a Y-Frontery!

According to the promotional blurbs sent out to advertise his new TV show, Y-Frontsline, Tony “Mike Moore” Abbott is such a hit as the Leader of the Opposition, he can afford to share out a bit of his presence by also entertaining the TV masses while he’s at it.

To be truthful, however, Tones is simply moonlighting so that he can meet the repayments of his great big fat mortgage.

So, he has done a few practice interviews and they are simply devastating.

And the story behind the name of his new TV program, Y-Frontsline? Well, he reckoned he got a lot of mileage out of his budgie smugglers motif, so why not trade on the old tried and tested Y-Fronts label as well?

So, at the Sydney studios, Tones is getting ready for his first pre-recorded interview at 11.00 am with a high-flying guest. The latter is visiting from the USA and is called Stevie Ray Finklestein Jr, III. He is one of the directors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Therefore, he is a greenie. And Tones hates greenies, so he’s gonna show up this nerdy, warmist geek big time!

That morning, Tones is at a production meeting to discuss how the upcoming interview should go. Also present are his fellow-reporters (and big rivals), Julie “Brooke Vandenberg” Bishop, and Malcolm “Marty di Stasio” Turnbull, plus the Executive Producer, Rupie “Prowsey” Murdoch. It is 10.00 am.

Rupie: Right, you lot...we gotta make this inaugural interview of Tones work, or it’ll be the second-most humblest day of my life...And, as for you, Tones, you better be a lot more effective as a studio interviewer than you are as Leader of the Opposition – why, that bloody NBN is gonna kill us...

Tones: Erm...your trust is well-placed in my hands, Mr Murdoch – I won’t let you down...

[Malcolm whispers out of the side of his mouth to Julie.]

Mal: Huh...I hope for his sake his guests don’t walk out after two questions, just like he does...heh...heh...

Rupie: What was that, Mal?

Mal: Erm...nothing, Mr Murdoch...I was just saying to Julie that as far as the interviews are concerned, Tones here is going to walk all over them...

Rupie: And rightly so...ratings are all that matter here...and, speaking of ratings, we need to ensure that Y-Frontsline gets more than its market share, and destroys its main rivals...

Tones (sycophantically): Erm...Mr Murdoch, sir...who would our main rivals be at this moment in time?

[Julie “Brooke Vandenberg” Bishop butts in.]

Julie: Erm...if I could just add something at this juncture, Mr Murdoch...in regards to our rivals, I think their identities are staring us in the face...

[Everyone tries to suppress their sly sniggers.]

Julie: And...as I was saying...I reckon that Sophie Mirabella’s new gig over at the ABC is our biggest threat...

Tones: Yeah, I heard The Collectors has got a reprieve and Sophie will be fronting it...

Mal: Yeah...she’ll be inviting all the oldies to send in their valuables to display on her show...

Julie: Yeah, and she has no intention of sending them back...bwah-ha-ha-ha...

[The production team nearly falls off their chairs laughing at Sophie’s expense. After a few minutes, Mal wipes the tears of laughter from his cheeks.]

Mal: Oh...and I reckon Swannie’s new gong from Euromoney Magazine, as the universe’s best tax-collector, was the impetus for him taking over from Alan Kohler on Inside Business...

Tones: Nah...don’t worry about Swannie!!! I’ll have him for breakfast – there’s more economic nous down the front of my Y-Fronts than there is in Swannie’s whole body...

[This time the others do indeed fall off their chairs in paroxysms of laughter. As they roll around on the carpet, making the three hyenas in The Lion King look like Gerald Henderson, Warren Truss and Niki Savva at a WorkChoices cremation and wake, Tones looks from one to the other, wondering what it was he said that was the cause of such uproarious merriment. Eventually, he gives up and exits the meeting. It is now 10.15 am.

So, Tones wanders down the corridor and pops his head into the office of Ban “Elliot Rhodes” Morrison, the “Friday Night Funnyman”, who will perform the musical skits summarising the main political events of the week.

However, Tones hates Ban, as he has the potential to upstage him towards the end of his show.]

Ban: Oh, hi Tones...I’m really looking forward to singing on your new Y-Frontsline show...

Tones: Erm, Ban...there’s only one way to tell you this, but you’re fired...we just had a production meeting, and it was our unanimous decision to give you the boot...so, clear your desk and rack off...

Ban: But...but...but...I thought I was an integral part of the team, Tones...

Tones: Yeah, you were...until, in rehearsals, you came up with that stupid song about me filling in the back of my Y-fronts when I heard about the High Court putting the kibosh on Nauru...What was that quaint little ditty called again – “I thought Nauru was a dump, til I had a look at Tony’s Y-Fronts”...Well, chum, just keep singing it as you waltz out the door...buonanotte...heh...heh...

[Tones turns on his heel and marches on down the corridor. He enters the office of Barnaby “Geoffrey Salter” Joyce, the TV station’s weatherman. However, if the truth be known, Barnaby hasn’t got a clue about meteorology. Initially, he had applied for the job of company accountant, but, as he failed the adding test at the interview, he remarked to the panel that he would love to move to Sydney, as he was sick and tired of driving into flooded creeks in Queensland. However, as they had no other applicants, the Panel offered the vacant position of weatherman to Barnaby instead.]

Tones: Hi Barnaby...did you hear that global warming has caused the oceans to rise by four feet?

Barnaby: No, get away, Tones! Oh, I get it...it’s another one of your jokes...Well, what about the sea level rising by four feet because of global warming?

Tones: Well, it means that Sophie is down at Bondi, treading water as we speak...bwah-ha-ha-ha...

[The two friends are wetting themselves laughing, but, after a few moments, Barnaby stops. Noticing that Barnanby has stopped kacking himself, Tones also desists.]

Tones (incredulously): What’s the matter, Barnaby – don’t you think my joke’s rip-roaringly funny?

Barnaby: Erm...to be truthful, Tones...I don’t get it...can you explain it to me...please?

[Not for the first time, Tones is disgusted at Barnaby’s inability to get his jokes. Again, he turns on his heel and marches off down the corridor. He pops his head into the office of Peter “Hugh Tabbath” Dutton, the chain-smoking video-editor. Pete is a very loyal servant of the Company, keen to inform everyone that he smokes three packs an hour, so that the Company can maintain its sponsorship deal with Big Tobacco.

The atmosphere in Pete’s office, therefore, is so polluted, it would make the air around Krakatoa in 1883 look like the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve got their marching orders.]

Pete: Hi, Tones...[cough, cough]...Wanna fag, mate?

Tones: Nah, mate...gotta bike ride this arvo...must keep the old lungs in good working order...[cough, cough]...

[Tones notices Pete’s half-empty packet of coffin-nails on his desk.]

Tones: Jeeze, mate...haven’t you seen the disgusting pictures of diseased lungs on the front of your pack...[cough, cough]...Don’t images like that put you off smoking for good, mate?

Pet: Wow! I didn’t...[cough, cough]...realise those pictures were of smokers’ lungs, mate...I always thought they were snaps of nature-strips after Gillard’s NBN had its evil way with them...hee...hee...[cough, cough]...

[Tones can’t endure the atmosphere in Pete’s office any longer, so high-tails it before he becomes just another statistic of industrial manslaughter. He strolls down the corridor and spots Annabel “Domenica” Crabb, the company receptionist, at the front desk. Everybody knows that Annabel has the hots for Tones, but it isn’t reciprocated. Tones, however, likes to chat to Annabel as she has the great knack of being able to stroke his enormous ego.]

Annabel (gushingly): Oh, hi Tones-babes!! And how’s my favourite TV personality today? I bet that pert little butt of yours is feeling very comfy inside those sexy Y-Fronts you wear...So, if they’re slipping down a tad, just let me know, and I’ll help you to pull them up nice and tight...Whaddya reckon, big boy?

[Tones can’t help blushing, but is keen to get Annabel to inform him, as if he doesn’t know it already, of his schedule for the rest of the day. She reminds him that he is doing a pre-recorded interview with Mr Finkelstein (of the IPCC) in twenty minutes time at 11.00 am. Just then, however, and prompted by Annabel’s interest in his nether regions, Tones excuses himself, saying he needs to spend a penny. He marches off to the gents, enters the cubicle and sits himself down on the dunny.

However, he has no sooner finished, when his mobile rings. Tones answers it and it is Annabel on the line, informing him that “Mr Finklestein is in reception”. “Crap!” says Tones to himself, “what is it with these bloody greenies – haven’t they heard of watches! He’s fifteen minutes early, ffs!”

However, Tones has a brainwave. “I’ll teach this leftie warmist bastard a lesson...heh...heh...” He tells Annabel to keep him in reception for a couple of minutes and then send him to meet him in the gents.

So, in the reception area, Mr Finklestein makes himself comfortable, leafing through the Y-Frontsline catalogue which he found on the coffee table. He is so taken by one picture in particular, that he can’t resist the temptation to rip it out and put it in his pocket.

Meanwhile, Tones jumps off the dunny, without flushing it, grabs the toilet rolls and hides them in the cupboard, and turns the thermostat on the wash-handbasin’s water-heater right down to freezing. He then races up the back stairs to Barnaby’s office, grabs something off the bookshelf and skates back down again to the gents, just before Mr Finkelstein arrives, carrying a clip-board.]

Mr Finklestein: Aha! You must be Mr Abbott...But, I must say, I am finding it very unusual to be directed to the male toilets to meet you...very unusual protocols, to say the least, my good man...

[Mr Finkelstein proceeds to record something on his clip-board. Tones, however, is intrigued that this greenie Yank has suddenly developed an Australian accent, but, then, what do you expect from these subversive mongrels who are trying to impose their primitive, tofu-munching ideology on normal people like him.]

Mr Finkelstein: But, before we go any further, Mr Abbott, I must say I haven’t completed my ablutions today, so I will utilise yonder cubicle, if you don’t mind...

[Mr Finkelstein enters the cubicle and locks the door. Immediately, however, Tones hears a gasp of disgust emanating from within.]

Mr Finkelstein: Euwww! Good gracious! How disgusting! The last person in here didn’t flush the toilet!

Tones (dismissively): Don’t fret yourself, mate...shit happens...heh...heh...

[Tones can hear Mr Finkelstein scribbling frantically on his trusty clip-board. Then the toilet is flushed, followed by the sound of Mr Finklestein unzipping his flies. After another few moments, another anguished cry emanates form within the cubicle.]

Mr Finkelstein: I don’t believe it! There’s no toilet paper in here!

[Again, Tones hears the tell-tale sounds of Mr Finkelstein writing on his clip-board. So, Tones fires under the door the big book he had grabbed off Barnaby’s book-shelf.]

Tones: Oh, stop your whinging! Here’s a copy of the latest report from your greenie mates at the Productivity Commission – if it’s good enough for Barnaby to use as toilet-paper, it’s good enough for you...haw...haw...

[After a few moments, Tones hears the toilet being flushed and a very irate Mr Finkelstein, still scribbling furiously on his clip-board, emerges. Totally speechless with rage, he puts down the clip-board and runs the water in the wash-hand basin. After an eternity, the water is still stone-cold!]

Mr Finkelstein (rhetorically): I don’t believe this, Mr Abbott! Don’t you know that, for hygiene reasons, hot water should be provided in wash-hand basins?

[Again, Mr Finkelstein writes something on his clip-board.]

Tones: Look, mate...the water used to be hot, but because of global cooling, its temperature seems to have gone down a notch or two...heh...heh...

[Then, as Mr Finkelstein continues to record on his clip-board, Tones’ mobile goes off.]

Tones: Hallo? Oh, hi Domenica...Who? What do you mean there’s another Mr Finkelstein in reception? You...you...you are saying this one’s got an American accent and is here to be interviewed by me on global warming!

[Tones looks at this very irate Mr Finklestein and the penny starts to drop.]

Tones (barely audibly): Erm...you’re not Mr Finkelstein from the IPCC, are you?

Mr Finkelstein (sternly): No, I’m not! I happen to be Mr Ray Finkelstein, chairman of the Inquiry into the Australian Media ...and, Mr Abbott, after I write my report, and if the terms of reference are widened to include dubious programs like yours, I think your career in the TV interviewing business will be somewhat stillborn...

Tones: But...but...but...what about my big mortgage? I need the extra dosh from this little earner to help meet the repayments!

Mr Finklestein: Well, if you need the extra money, Mr Abbott, maybe you can give some consideration to applying for a male model’s position, advertising your company’s wares...I think this image I got from your Y-Frontsline catalogue suits you to a tee...hee...hee...

Holy Rollin’ Politics, Batman!


In the 21st century, contemporary Conservatism has surrendered to a virulent, dystopian and pathologically hyper-individualist state of mind and populist Right Wing ideology.

From the proclamations and intimations by Conservative politicians that the unemployed are poor because they lack drive. An Orwellian political vocabulary of 'job creators' and 'non-productive citizens'; opining that poor people have it relatively easy, thus we have a right and a duty to make their lives harder by forcing them out of their homes and on the road around the country to take whatever work is going in areas seeking unskilled labour to work for small reward or satisfaction, in back-breaking jobs, because it will be good for their souls, for wages barely above the Unemployment benefit they have been forced off. So has modern Conservatism transformed itself away from its traditional 'Liberal' roots supporting a Social Safety Net to a virtual enactment of the Protestant Work Ethic as policy?

The fact is, the Conservative political movement has intertwined itself with the Conservative Christian movement, to the extent that we have had a virtual takeover of one by the other and thus we should now really refer to them as Conservative Christian political parties. The secular nature of most Conservative political parties is fast evaporating in the heat of this hot and heavy takeover by the Religious Right, and thus they have started to manifest as policy stances many positions which only blind faith in religion encompasses.

It's up to the secular, Progressive side of politics to start calling them out as such, to point out the inconsistencies when their stated positions contradict the Christian principles they say they espouse, and the 'Faith-Based' policies that they are trying to insert into government and make the law of the land. Such that they are humiliated by their hypocrisy or they have to come out from behind the facade that they are not what they in fact are, as they try to foist themselves upon the electorate. So that the electorate sees them as the Devils in a Blue Tie that they are, as a result of the contradictory and unchristian principles they also espouse at one and the same time as they proclaim their angelic godliness.

It is because I have begun to wonder lately where the Christian Conservatism of Tony Abbott has taken his party-even further into territory originally colonised in the 'God Under Howard' era of politics we have only just recently slipped the bonds of, that I thought I would tackle this subject. Thus, as a natural extension of those thoughts, where would Tony Abbott's brand of Religious Right Conservatism take Australia and also what does that equate to in a philosophical sense?

Of course, there are links and parallels with the Religious Right in other countries, and most notably the Republican Party in the USA.

Even as a fervent believer in the Separation of Church and State, and as a secular atheist, I nevertheless feel that to ignore the presence of these people in our polity in the hope and belief that the strength of our arguments will prevail in the court of public opinion over the obvious weakness of the ideological world of Christian politics that they inhabit, as we see it from the outside, and while we keep our metaphorical fingers in our ears and our eyes screwed shut ignoring them, in an attempt to deny them any legitimacy, is foolish at worst and negligent at best.

So I'll attempt to explain it as I see it. Which does not make me right and them wrong, as they do what they do and believe in why they are doing and what the philosophical reasons that underpin their lives and their politics are, for reasons best known to them. I just think that we should seek to understand them before we make a decision about them at the ballot box.

Suffice to say I see them as a threat to good governance of this country, especially in their most extreme iterations. On the other hand, you might agree that in the guise of a Christian Moderate politician, such as Kevin Rudd, that these sort of politicians can be well-meaning and effective governors of our country. You could almost argue that is fair enough when combined with social democratic politics particularly. You might almost be able to call it the politics of the Good Samaritan.

However, I can also see that modern Conservative political parties have melded with Conservative Christian religious adherents and have become, almost, religions themselves to their followers.

Let me explain.

Traditional Conservatism, well that which came after Universal Suffrage and the Mercantilists and Landholders lost their grip on it and had been kicked to the curb by the Conservative movement's embrace of Small Businessmen and Women, has been governed by a basic tenet which stressed the importance of continuity and economic and social stability. Those who supported them did so, in the main because they knew what Conservatives stood for, as exemplified by Menzies 26 years in power in Australia, as opposed to Progressive political ideology and its supporters, who advocate social change and policy adventurism as the means to the end of improving society.

However, lately, you'd have to ask yourself whether the tables have turned and it has become the Conservatives that have become the radicals, advocating that society change away from what has become settled public policy, agreed upon by successive generations in the broad and by most democracies since the time of The Great Depression and World War 2. Basic tenets such as the Social Safety Net. A change typified by Ayn Rand Libertarian economic acolytes from Right Wing Think Tanks, such as The Institute for Public Affairs and The Centre for Independent Studies in Australia, and The Heritage Foundation, Americans For Prosperity, and The Cato Institute, and others too numerous to mention ('cause that's where all the tax dollars they dodge paying to government have gone), in the USA. Who appear to want to go back to the time before The Great Depression and The New Deal, when the Oligarchs ruled the roost, having learnt or not caring about, the history they are dooming us to painfully repeat, to live and die an early death by, all over again. And, if you have been listening to the Republican Party Debates to pick a Presidential contender, you will know what I mean by that.

These people, who are well educated, have discovered the means by which they can co-opt that class of people, and voters, who formerly voted for Social Democratic and Workers Parties.

This they have done by infiltrating religion back into the mainstream of people's lives, and the unquestioning obedience that goes hand-in-hand with that, and a Utopian ideal for them to subscribe to, which they can strive for, as members, not of the Ruling Class, that's for a very select few, but as members of the Aspirational Class.

However they are also the Kindermenschen to the Ubermenschen Conservative elites. Often Small Business Owners and Self-Funded Retirees, who have had some small degree of success in their lives, based on not much by way of an education which would enlighten them either.

These people are easily recognised as they wave misspelled signs at demonstrations, organised by the exploiters of their easily-aroused passions. These demonstrations need to be numerous to keep them on the boil, energised and angry; and their opposition, the Labor party, destabilised, demoralised and constantly antagonised.

This has the twin benefits of making it always seem as though Progressive governments, in whatever country, are doing something wrong and are incompetent, or else why would people be so agitated? Plus, it blocks the good news getting out about the good things the government is doing, and thus maybe seeping into people's consciences in place of the FUD. Aided and abetted by a conspiratorially compliant media it becomes an easy fait accompli.

A bit like religion, really. Constant brainwashing becomes the basis of their reality. Such that you could almost make the case that modern 'backlash' Conservatism has become akin to a religious faith, so reliant is it now, not on provable realities but dogma and doggerel delivered by demi-godlike leaders of political parties deeply grounded in the tricks of the Preacher/Priest trade...Like ex-Seminarian, Tony Abbott. They have brought along fellow travellers who see themselves now as Conservative Christian Warriors for the political parties they follow...Like Anders Behring Breivik in Norway.

I'll just offer this quote from:
'Has American-Style Conservatism Become A Religion?' to explain the concept:

'Ideology is grounded in the real world. It offers us a philosophical lens through which we can efficiently process what's happening in the world around us. Religion is different. It's a fixed belief system based on faith, and it is immune to-or at least highly resistant to-challenges mounted by objective reality.'

...Like the Manicheans-adherants of one of the world's great religions at one point in history-they tend to see a world, in stark relief, in black and white terms, defined by a conflict between the forces of light and darkness, good and bad.'

The forces of good are decent, conservative, 'real', Australian/Americans-mostly White, married, Christians, but with exceptions made for others who keep the faith.'  

Anyway, every movement needs it's foot soldiers. And these people have slotted nicely into the role for the Conservatives as they launch their fight back to power.

They stand immovably opposed to a wide array of diabolical figures (and, don't forget, El Diablo is another name for you know who), such as 'liberals', gays, Muslims, 'Socialists', and, essentially, anyone who disagrees with them.

Like Climate Scientists.

Here is the most pure example of the cross-fertilisation between religion and politics. No one group has been so demonised recently, and as thoroughly as they have.

Look at how it works.

The Climate Scientists have produced an overwhelming body of scientific evidence to prove the existence of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

The Oligarchs who fund and provide direction for the latter-day Conservative movement are recalcitrants when it comes to agreeing to do anything about Global Warming and Climate Change, for to do so would have a negative effect on their bottom line and may cause some of their businesses to have to abandon least cost methods of production, and those who emit the most pollution in their businesses would have to pay a compensatory fee to do so.

So, they decide to fund the least cost method of push back. They fund a few scientists, well past the prime of their careers and suffering Attention Deficit Syndrome and a hole in their retirement savings, to carry out some ethically and scientifically-questionable research for them. They find holes in the research done by the reputable scientists, and attempt to poison the well of public goodwill towards the science.

The Oligarchs empower the politicians that they fund to put their message into the public domain. Many of these politicians are themselves Christian Conservatives, well practised in the art of proselytising, and who are pre-Copernican scientific sceptics, as an article of their Faith, and are antagonistic to any theory which flies in the face of Church doctrine.

Thus the virtuous circle is achieved. Christians + Capitalists, working hand-in-glove to defeat Science, by befuddling and brainwashing the uninformed masses.

Just like Religion does.

So, the next part of this story has to involve an exploration of what exactly will the modern Conservative Movement, infused with religious fervour and the fevered style of Holy Rollin' politics, which has been brought to the political stage, manifest as when it comes to policies on the ground?

We already know that Tony Abbott is vehemently opposed to 'The Morning After Pill', RU486. I have no doubt that he would bring that issue back to the floor of parliament, plus others, such as a Doctor's and Pharmacist's 'right' to choose whether they prescribe and dispense Birth Control for women, based upon their religious faith. Not to mention whether the State should fund Abortions through Medicare, or whether a woman will have to pay for one herself if she wants an abortion, which, as a matter of course makes it doubly-hard for poorer women, those most likely to need one for economic reasons, as well as the myriad of other reasons women have. Thus emasculating, and I use that word deliberately, a Woman's Right to Choose.

Not only that, but we are all well-aware of Tony Abbott's anachronistic belief that women are to be the home-makers, while men are to be the protectors and providers, and the god-given head of the household, who has the authority and the last word in the house. I find it no coincidence at all that Tony Abbott's wife, Margie, works with children. This is a clear reflection of the not-so-extreme end of the Christian Patriarchy Movement, which dictates that, if women are to have a job outside of the home, after child-rearing duties are complete. I mean it is entirely plausible that, even with his greater than average salary as a Member of Parliament, the reason that Tony Abbott is still paying off a Second Mortgage, is that his wife was not a member of the workforce until the children had grown up. The Second Mortgage being taken out to set her up in a Business that accords with his religious beliefs.

So, Nurse, Teacher and Child Care Provider are allowed because the traditional Christian Conservative male believes that women nurse, educate (if you take it to extremes and Home School), and care for the children, and raise them up to be evangelists for the faith and to produce more warriors for Christ, equipped to take back the culture from the godless 'liberals', and restore it to it's Christian foundations.

If all this sounds too extraordinary and extreme a fact to contemplate, let's just reflect on who Tony Abbott's Right Hand man in parliament is. Cory Bernardi-a self-professed Christian Soldier.

What do you think?

Rugby World Cup Wobblies

The Rugby World Cup is in full swing in New Zealand and all the spectators, global TV viewers and radio listeners are having a ball.

And, keen to get some political mileage from the event, in Australia Julia Gillard has organised a PM’s XV to play an exhibition game at the Woop Woop “Stimpac” Stadium, against an Opposition XV.

Tony Abbott has gladly accepted the challenge, as, due to the pressure of his big mortgage, he could badly do with his match fee.

The game is close to getting underway and the co-commentators for the radio broadcast are Dennis “Shanners” Shanahan and Mike “Carlo” Carlton.

Shanners: G’day listeners...and welcome to our commentary on the big game which will start pretty soon...But, Carlo, it really was a stupid idea to refurbish this old ramshackle place, in such an out-of-the-way location, wasn’t it?

Carlo: G’day from me also, listeners...And no, I don’t agree, Shanners...You know I’m a big fan of Kevin Rudd, so his Stimpac Plan was fine by me...I’m not going to knock it, so just let’s keep politics out of sport for once, shall we?

Shanners: Oh, I agree totally, Carlo – you know how objective I am on political matters...heh...heh...

[The friendly banter between Shanners and Carlo is interrupted by the response of a particular segment of the crowd to the on-field entry of, firstly, the PM’s XV.]

Shanners (deadpan): Yes...typically, these one-eyed true believers have given their team a rousing reception...But, Carlo, I notice the cheer-squad, led by Mary Jo Fisher and Melissa Clarke, turned their backs on the lefties and treated them with the contempt they deserved...

Carlo: But, what do you expect, Shanners, from shills like those two...and look...see what I mean – the Opposition XV is now coming out and Mary Jo is doing the hokey pokey, whilst Melissa is manically waving her pom-poms and jumping for joy...sheesh!

[Shanners wears a smirk that Peter Costello would have been proud of, but decides it’s better to change the subject.]

Shanners: Now, listeners...it’s clear that Tony Abbott, the captain of the Opposition XV is truly a multi-skilled character...I’ve heard that he’s doubled up today as groundsman and painted the lines on the field with some guano that he brought back from Nauru...

Carlo: Huh...I heard he had to moonlight as a groundsman to help meet his big mortgage payments...hee...hee...But, Shanners, moving right along...is there any information you can give our listeners on the make-up of the teams today?

Shanners: Funny you should say that, Carlo, but I’ve got a summary right here in front of me...I’ve heard that, due to his recent heart operation, your mate Kev will start on the bench...And, for the Opposition, Barnaby Joyce is a sure starter on the wing – in fact, I hear he’s really pumped up to make a big impression...

Carlo: Huh...I hear he wants to finish as the top point-scorer, cos the sponsors have put up an amphibious four-wheel-drive as the prize...heh...heh...But, what’s this I hear about Rupie Murdoch, Shanners – is it true he’s not playing?

Shanners: Yeah, I’m afraid you’re right, Carlo...it seems he’s gotta front the Tribunal in London for some dodgy business he allegedly got up to on the Opposition XV’s last tour of the Old Dart...

Carlo: Pity that, Shanners...haw...haw...But, what about the Opposition’s key player in the front row of the scrum?

Shanners: Oh, you mean Joe Hockey?

Carlo: Yeah, the one with the great big black hole – you sure gotta feel sorry for the poor bastards who are packing down behind him – euwwwww!

Shanners: Oh, very droll, Carlo...Now, can you give our listeners any ideas on some of the crucial match-ups from both sides?

Carlo: Yes, Shans...I see a good prospect of biffo happening between Stephen Conroy and Malcolm Turnbull, over who’s wearing the widest Broadband across their foreheads...And another strong stoush is likely between David Johnston and Stephen Smith as to which pack will have the strongest Defence...

Shanners: Okay, thanks Carlo for that heads-up...Now, let’s go down, listeners, to pitch-side and hear something from our roving reporter down there, Chris Uhlmann...

Chris: Yeah, thanks guys...Well, there’s been a lot happening pre-match down here, while you were chewing the fat in the commentary box...First, the Opposition’s official witch-doctor, Phil Ruddock, has been spreading his Juju all over the paddock, ensuring, we hope, a great Opposition victory...And then we had an explosive incident when one of the Opposition squad, Sophie Mirabella, questioned the referee over the bona fides of the PM’s XV’s captain, Julia Gillard herself...I’ll just play you a tape of the altercation...

Sophie: Hey, Ref!! I reckon this player here is a ring-in!! On the team-sheet she says she’s Julia Gillard...but I reckon she looks more like Col Gadaffi...heh...heh...

Carlo: Oh, it looks like the mind games have started already, Chris...

Chris: They sure have, Carlo...And I also had an opportunity earlier to interview the Opposition captain, Tony Abbott, and this is what he had to say in answer to my question about their likely over-physical approach to the game...

Tones: Look, Chris, I know we’ve got a reputation of being a pack of mongrels who are lower than a snake’s belly, but, in all honesty, today we’ll be going in very fairly – utilising a kinder, gentler polity, so to speak...

Chris: WTF!! You’ve gotta be kidding, Tones – how can a leopard change its spots that quickly?

Tones: Erm...don’t worry, Chris…it’s just another one of my unscripted remarks…hee...hee...

Shanners: Thanks, Chris...Now, while you were playing us that tape, it appears the two teams are ready for the kick-off, and the Opposition are doing their unique version of the All Blacks’ Haka...Talk us through it, Chris...

Chris: Okay...First, Tones calls it the Whacka...So, the Opposition players have lined up across the paddock, facing the PM’s players, nodding and staring bizarrely, shit-happens-style, each brandishing menacingly above their heads a shovel borrowed from Kathy Jackson’s shed...

Shanners: Jeeze, Chris, I’m packing it and I’m way up here out of harm’s way! What must the PM players be feeling at the moment...heh...heh...

Chris: But...but...but...there seems to be a surprising innovation introduced by the Leader of the Opposition team at this juncture...Yes, Tony Abbott has just pulled down his budgie smugglers and is brown-eying the other tream! But, what’s that on his bum...hmmmm...it looks like a tattoo of sorts...

Carlo: Yes, I’m looking at it through the binos, Chris...it says, “arse for sale – big mortgage owed”...

[As the President of Tony Abbott’s fan-club, Chris quickly decides to change the subject. However, before doing so, he hands out clip-on mics to the main players, so that Shanners’ and Carlo’s commentary during the game can be spiced up a bit.

The game starts, but, unfortunately at the first maul, Bronny Bishop comes a cropper and has to be carted off.]

Shanners: Oh, that’s a bad stroke of luck for the Opposition XV, Chris...can you throw any light on what happened?

Chris: Well, Shans...the PM’s people say that one of their players mistook Bronny’s beehive for the ball, and nearly wrenched her scone off her shoulders...but I don’t think it was done accidentally at all...the bastards...grrrrrr...

Carlo: Hey, Chris – does that mean Bronny’s off for an early kero bath...heh...heh...

[The Opposition side bring on a sub but, within a short while, it’s the PM’s side which has to make a change of its own.]

Shanners: Chris, it looks like Mark Arbib got dragged by the coach – I didn’t think he was playing that badly...what’s your take on the issue?

Chris: Yeah, he wasn’t playing that badly at all, Shanners...However, he was playing the wrong code, the silly bugger...He thought he was a quarterback in American Football and kept getting pinged for chucking the ball up the field!

Shanners: Erm, sorry to interrupt you there, Chris, but the Opposition team have scored a try, and it was by their speedy right-winger, Scott “Ban the Boats” Morrison...But...but...but...what is he doing now? My-oh-my, he’s doing a most unusual post-try celebration...he’s down on all fours, sniffing the guano line, Robbie Fowler-style...Jeeze, doesn’t he just love that guano stuff!


[Play re-starts and the Opposition’s rough-house tactics are very evident. One of the PM team’s players catches a “stray” fist in the nuts, but, heroically, keeps on running.]

Shanners: Ouch! That must have hurt!

Carlo: Nah, he’ll be alright – he’s got his Doug on...

Shanners: Erm...what’s a “Doug” when you’re writing home, mate?

Carlo: Why, his jock-strap – his Doug Cameron!

[Shanners notices a bit of sledging going on off the ball between Penny Wong and Andrew Robb. He switches on their clip-on mics to get a first-hand delivery of what’s being said. It seems that Penny had just been charging up and down the field and is totally knackered.]

Penny: Phew! Wheeze!

Andrew: Huh...you sound like you’re practicing the breathing instructions you’re gonna give your partner whenever she’s trying to pop her sprog...heh..heh...

Shanners (interrupting): And it’s another try for the Opposition XV! And this time it’s scored by Glenn Milne...He went on one of his trademark weaving runs and crashed over the line...

Carlo: Yeah, he seems to have re-discovered his old Walkley Awards form...heh...heh...

[After the re-start, the Opposition’s onslaught continues apace. They have obviously been working on their rolling maul in training, as they are carrying the ball forward like it was a lump of weightless coal.

Then, Tones is given a pass just in front of the other team’s posts and he clinically slots over one of his specialities – a “guided democracy” drop-goal.

But, every time Jooles touches the ball, the Revolting People in the Forgotten Families enclosure boo her roundly and wave their chaff bags at her. The half-time whistle can’t come quick enough for the dejected PM’s XV, and, in the safety of the change-rooms, Jooles decides on a radical strategy – she’ll bring off the bench three of the Indo substitutes, hoping they’ll spark a reaction that’ll bring her team back into the game.

The second half starts and, almost immediately, the introduction of “Kaboom” Katter, “Towering” Oakeshott, and “Whippet” Windsor appears to be working.

Firstly, at an Opposition put-in scrum, just before their scrum-half, Greg Hunt, delivers the ball in, Jooles, on the other side of the scrum, pulls a Jesters’ pie out of her pocket and chucks it in. Joe Hockey, the Opposition hooker, drops his bind and dives on it immediately, just before the ball enters. Wayne Swann, the PM team’s hooker, takes advantage of Joe’s lack of discipline and wins one against the head, and feeds the ball back to his No. 8, “Towering” Oakeshott, who peels off the rear of the scrum, and delivers the ball to his backs who expertly engineer a well-worked try.]

Carlo: Nice one! Well played, the PM’s team! Yes listeners, that was a great CO2-induced move – the Opposition didn’t even get to within a sniff of it...heh...heh...

[Then, shortly afterwards, the grief being suddenly being felt by the Opposition side only exacerbates. George Brandis (SCum) has to retire hurt, after blaming Robert McClelland for embracing his Brandy Balls in a sly squirrel-grip in a scrum.

And next a poodle runs on to the ground. Shanners turns on Christopher Pyne’s mic, so that the audience can listen in.]

Chris: Hey, Jooles...here’s your identical twin coming – another back-alley bitch...heh...heh...

[However, the poodle by-passes Jooles and climbs on Pyney instead, vigorously humping his leg.]

Carlo: Heh...heh...it looks like it takes one to know one...

[And things are not going too well for the Opposition in the line-out either. The ball is thrown into the channel by Swannie and Penny Wong springs up like a cat, expertly catching it and delivering it to her scrum-half. Meanwhile, dejectedly, the Opposition lock, David Bushby, can only meekly retort a pitiful “miow” in response.

Shortly afterwards, in another ruck in front of his posts, John Alexander pulls Jooles by the ear-lobes, causing the ruck to collapse. The ref, Harry Jenkins, blows immediately for a penalty. Gleefully, Carlo switches on John’s mic.]

John: Shit! When we get into power, we’ll bring in a rule change and outlaw these bloody penalty rates! Sheesh!

[Subsequently, for the PM’s team, it’s a bit of a cake-walk. They turn on the style, scoring try after try. Whilst their delirious supporters mockingly chant “ole”, they expertly carry out, with military precision, all their training-ground-rehearsed party tricks, including the NBN (“Nice Ball-handling Numbers”), and the BER (“Barnstorming Explosive Runs”), and the PPL (“Perfect Pinch at the Lineout”), and MRRT (“Marvellous Rip-Roaring Tries”), and finally the mighty HIS (“Heaving Impetus at the Scrum”).

The final whistle goes and the Opposition team dejectedly mills around the centre, hoping that the post-game presentations will be as short as possible.

As the winning captain, Jooles is presented with a nice bouquet of flowers, whilst Tones is chucked a wreath, which he promptly drops on the ground, storming off petulantly to the change-rooms.]

Jooles: Oh, poor petal...heh...heh...

[No sooner has Tones entered the change-rooms, than an almighty racket can be heard, making a bull in a china-shop sound like a meditating Zen Buddhist monk.]

Jooles: Huh...sounds like he’s wrecking the place...Oh, well, it looks like paying his big mortgage won’t be the only financial outgoing he’ll have to wear...heh...heh...

[Meanwhile, up in the commentary-box, Shanners is ready to do a runner.]

Carlo: Leaving already, Shanners? I thought you and Chris would be hanging round for a few slices of humble pie...heh...heh...

Shanners: Erm...can’t really stay, old boy...Must get back to the office toot sweet...I’ve got a few previous editorials to shred before the witch can start that bloody media inquiry...Ciao!

Mr Abbott and the Five Concerned Liberals

The Leader of the Opposition graciously granted an audience to some life-long Liberal voters: three gentlemen and two ladies. They asked to see him because they felt concerned about some of his policies and needed clarification; they also wanted reassurance about some of his actions and a better understanding of his strategy for the next election.

This is what they said to each other on a recent cold, but sunny Canberra day:

Concerned Liberal 1: We’d like to thank you Mr Abbott for making your valuable time available to us. You know, we’ve always voted Liberal and were great fans of Mr Howard; in fact we wish he were still PM. We know you were close to him, and so I imagine you feel the same. We know too how much he depended on you when he needed to rough up a Labor shadow minister – you were very good at savaging anyone who disagreed with Mr Howard. And we see you haven’t lost any of your bite since you took over as Leader.

We hope that there’ll soon be an election to get rid of that awful Julia Gillard and her incompetent bunch of ministers. Really, they can’t get anything right. There are a lot of Liberal voters in our electorates that want to arm themselves, so that whenever the election is held, they will have all the answers. They intend to organize meetings to urge a vote for the Coalition.

Mr Abbott: It’s very good you’re organizing some meetings, but have you ever thought of a rally? We’ve had some beauties with lots of placards and angry people; you know – genuine honest-to-God Aussies – protesting against Ju-liar - what a great label Jonesy thought up.

Concerned Liberal 2: Well, we really had in mind something less rowdy; you know most of us come from electorates in the eastern suburbs of Sydney – I’m from Mr Turnbull’s – and we feel something dignified would be more suitable.

Mr Abbott: OK… but remember rallies get on the TV. The journos are hungry for that sort of news – lots of colour, movement, and hopping mad voters baying for blood – terrific on the 6 o’clock news.

Concerned Liberal 3: I realize that rallies give you a great boost, and you find them exhilarating, but we feel the folks in our electorates would prefer a quieter discussion that will help them understand your policies better. You know they’re a thoughtful lot, not easily lead by the nose.

Mr Abbott: OK, if you want a debate, that’s your choice, but I prefer not to get into too much detail. It just confuses people. I like simple slogans like the ones we used last time – you remember them? Just three words that everyone learnt by heart.

Concerned Liberal 1: I know that’s your preference Mr Abbott, but our folk ask questions and don’t find slogans helpful in answering them. We can’t front them with just a few short slogans. They ask questions that we can’t answer; that’s why we wanted to see you to get the good oil, so to speak.

Mr Abbott: OK, have it your way, but you know I’m not a policy wonk, so I might not have all the answers at my fingertips. Shoot!

Concerned Liberal 1: As the carbon tax debate has started in Parliament, can we start there? There seems to be a lot of confusion about your Direct Action Plan.

Mr Abbott: I don’t know what’s confusing; it’s all laid out, fully costed - $3.2 billion over the forward estimates, and capped!

Concerned Liberal 2: Yes, we heard you saying that, but can we go back to the basics. As we understand it, you have the same mitigation target as Labor – 5% by 2020 – but you plan to reach it by planting lots of trees and burying carbon in the soil. We know trees are carbon sinks so that’s a good move, but we wondered how you plan to plant enough of them to do the job.

According to Tony Windsor it would require something like 28 million hectares of trees to be planted to soak up the five per cent that you have as a target, and we have only 26 million hectares of food-producing arable land.

Mr Abbott: But, but, but…

Concerned Liberal 2: May I finish please. According to the Australia Institute, to reach your 5% target it would be necessary to reduce emissions by 160 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020, which would require planting trees over an area of 265,600 square kilometres, which is more than the size of Victoria if that was your only action, but even the 15 million tonnes reduction you plan from planting trees would require an area of 25,000 square kilometres and over 9,000 gigalitres of water every year, two and a half times the amount of water proposed to be bought back by the Murray Darling Basin Plan. How would you achieve that?

Mr Abbott: Well you seem to be a full bottle. As I said, I’m not a policy wonk; I’m sure Greg Hunt can answer your questions. It’s all been worked out. And by the way, don’t believe everything Tony Windsor says – remember he’s a renegade.

Concerned Liberal 2: Does that mean you can’t explain how you will find enough suitable land to plant the trees and enough water to grow them?

Mr Abbott: Well, well, I can’t tell you that off the top of my head, but it’s all been worked out. You’ll have to speak with Greg.

Concerned Liberal 3: We had hoped you would be able to fill us in, but can you tell us who will plant the trees – it’s an awful lot of trees, and where will you find land to plant them that’s not in use for growing food?

Mr Abbott: My Green Army will do that – 15,000 workers.

Concerned Liberal 3: The Green Army sounds impressive, but where will you get the 15,000? We seem to have a shortage of workers at present and with unemployment around 5% won’t it be difficult to find enough to plant those millions of trees?

Mr Abbott: We’ll call for volunteers – you know youngsters that want to get out into the wide-open spaces.

Concerned Liberal 2: But if you can’t get them… And how much will they cost? And how do you disperse them around the country, and house and feed them?

Mr Abbott: Don’t you worry about that – just tell your people it’s all been worked out; it’s all under control. It will work.

Concerned Liberal 4: OK Mr Abbott, we’ll just have to take your word for it. But could you tell us about this soil carbon – we hear that there will need to be lots of processing plants built to produce the char for plowing into the soil. We’ve been told it’s a good idea, but we wondered how many farmers might take it up and how char would be produced in sufficient quantities.

Mr Abbott: Now you’re getting a bit technical; I’m not a tech-head you know. You’d better ask Greg. Anyway tell your people it’s all been worked out. Our full Direct Action Plan will be out well before the election, like all our other policies.

Concerned Liberal 4: We have read it already Mr Abbott, but our people still have a lot of queries; we still don’t understand how you are going to make it work.

Concerned Liberal 2: If I could ask another question Mr Abbott: you say that the cost is $3.2 billion over four years, but my member, Mr Turnbull, wrote on his blog that meeting your 80 per cent cut by 2050 with the Direct Action Plan would place an annual cost of $18 billion on the budget. That’s a lot of money.

Mr Abbott: Well of course Mr Turnbull has his own ideas – after all he wanted to go along with Rudd’s CPRS – so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

Concerned Liberal 2: But he’s my member, and I do go along with his ideas. He’s pretty smart - what if he’s right – won’t you be up for a lot of money? He seems to think your Direct Action Plan was designed so it could easily be abandoned. We know you’ve got your doubts about climate change – it being absolute crap as you said – so is he right?

Mr Abbott: Look, I’m not going to jeopardize industry just to placate those scaremongers who want something done about climate change. Why should we lead the world when we cause so little pollution?

Concerned Liberal 5: But Mr Abbott we are the highest polluters per person in the world – don’t you think we should pull our weight and behave like a good global citizen?

Mr Abbott: Look, we can’t make much difference so I’m not going to upset business and industry by pushing too hard. They don’t want a carbon tax, and as I said in Parliament last week, for Julia Gillard the carbon tax is ‘the longest political suicide note in Australian history’. I’m not going to commit suicide; in fact the carbon tax will win me the next election.

Concerned Liberal 5: But industry and commerce are asking for certainty and although they would prefer not to pay tax, they find uncertainty unsettling.

Mr Abbott: I’ll give them certainty – I’ll rescind the tax when I get in come 2013.

Concerned Liberal 5: Mr Abbott, I read last week that the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network that represents a swag of mining and manufacturing industries, said it agreed with Treasury that your Direct Action Plan of achieving 5 per cent emission reductions without buying permits overseas, which you said you won’t allow, would at least double the cost to them.

Mr Abbott: Well they’re wrong. As I said, we will spend only $3.2 billion over four years and it’s capped, and we won’t allow international permits.

Concerned Liberal 5: They’re businessmen and seem pretty sure of themselves. Don’t you think it would be a pity to get them offside?

Mr Abbott: Look, we’ve done the sums…

Concerned Liberal 5: Because you won’t allow international permits Treasury is saying it will cost every household $1300 a year more for your Direct Action Plan. It was going to be over $700 anyway, but without those permits it will double. People will not be too happy about that. How should we explain that to our folk?

Mr Abbott: I don’t agree with those figures. Look, just tell them it’s all been worked out. Tell them to read the document – it’s all there.

Concerned Liberal 3: Mr Abbott, in your Plan you intend to use taxpayer’s money to pay the polluters to encourage them to reduce their emissions. Why is that, and what if they don’t?

Mr Abbott: We reckon if we offer them enough money they will voluntarily reduce emissions. If they don’t they will lose the money. Businesses love money so they’ll comply.

Concerned Liberal 3: But if they don’t reduce pollution, because they reckon it’s not worth their while, how will you meet your targets?

Mr Abbott: Don’t you worry about that – they will come on board.

Concerned Liberal 3: Mr Abbott, I thought you were a free marketeer who believes the market always knows best – wouldn’t a market based scheme that sets a price on carbon work better – just about every economist thinks so, and almost none favour your Direct Action Plan.

Mr Abbott: I don’t think much of economists; they’re a pretty unreliable bunch. Anyway, we not going with a market based scheme – Gillard and the Greens are, so we won’t, and Malcolm Turnbull wanted that and the party chucked him out of office for it.

Concerned Liberal 5: Mr Abbott, can I ask you one more thing: you said if the Gillard Government passed the carbon bills, you will rescind them in Government. How will you do that? The Government says that the money it raises with its carbon tax will be paid to pensioners and nine out of ten households to cover the increased cost of electricity and household items that result from the carbon tax – how will you claw back what’s already being paid out, and paid for over a year? We reckon Liberal voters will be angry at having money taken off them, and pensioners will scream blue murder.

Mr Abbott: Well if there’s no tax on them, they don’t need the compensation…

Concerned Liberal 5: But Mr Abbott they are never going to pay the tax, the polluters are. It’s the ordinary folk who will be getting a cash benefit and won’t want to have it taken from them.

Mr Abbott: Well, we’ll just have to explain that to them – no tax, no compensation…

Concerned Liberal 5: That might sound logical Mr Abbott, but I wouldn’t like the job of selling it, I wouldn’t like to tell pensioners that their pension will be going down…

Mr Abbott: You’ll have to leave that to me – don’t you worry about that…

Concerned Liberal 3: Mr Abbott, I don’t think we’re going to get any further on this subject – I’m not sure I understand any better how I’m going to persuade my people that your Direct Action Plan is the goods – I’ve read the policy document from beginning to end – I guess I’ll have to read it again, and get in touch with Greg Hunt to fill in the gaps.

And by the way, the people I talk to are worried about global warming and want serious action taken now; quite a lot are ‘doctors’ wives’ you know – I’m not sure that I’ll be able to reassure them that you feel the same. I had hoped you might have reassured me. Never mind.

Concerned Liberal 1: Mr Abbott, before we leave the carbon tax, you say that you will rescind it in government, but with the Greens having the balance of power in the Senate, how will you get them to vote to rescind it? They are the ones so strongly in favour of the tax; in fact I reckon they would have liked a higher price on carbon.

Mr Abbott: Look, there are ways and means. When they see the people have voted us in, and I’ll make sure the election is a referendum on this toxic tax, how could they obstruct us doing what the people want – which is to get rid of the tax?

Concerned Liberal 1: Well I wonder can you rely on that! The Greens are convinced that global warming is a serious threat and that the tax and the ETS are vital to counteract it. So why would they let you rescind it?

Mr Abbott: Well if they get obstreperous, I’ll threaten them with a double dissolution that will wipe them out.

Concerned Liberal 1: I reckon they might call your bluff.

Mr Abbott: We’ll see…

Concerned Liberal 1: Anyway, all this will take ages and by then don’t you think the voters might have realized that the carbon tax is not killing them like you said? And if the tax hasn’t upset them much, and they’re happily living with it, they might not be too enthusiastic for another election, and it might not go your way. Don’t you think that’s a risk?

Mr Abbott: No. We’re going to win this one. The tax must go and I’ll make sure it does while there is still energy left in my body.

Now is there anything else?

Concerned Liberal 3: Sorry Mr Abbott, we’ve taken a lot of your time and we haven’t got beyond the carbon tax. Can we spend what time we’ve got left talking about your asylum seeker policy?

Mr Abbott: Sure, we’ve got that taped – we’ll just go back to processing on Nauru, temporary protection visas and towing back boats when it’s safe.

Concerned Liberal 3: That sounds pretty simple, but I’ve got a few questions.

First, I thought that towing boats back was out of order – where would you tow them to now that Indonesia says it won’t take them back. And if there was another tragedy, that wouldn’t look good.

Mr Abbott. We’ll work that out at the time, and we’ll tow them only if it’s safe.

Concerned Liberal 3: But what if they set fire to their boats?

Mr Abbott: We’ll work that out at the time; anything else?

Concerned Liberal 2: Are you sure the Nauru plan will work second time around? It seems that there are an awful lot of people out there that want to come here.

Mr Abbott: If it worked for John Howard, it will work for me.

Concerned Liberal 3: I’m glad you’re so confident. But what about the High Court ruling? The constitutional QCs seem to think it knocks out Nauru as much as Malaysia, in fact all offshore processing. So there will need to be a change to the migration laws to allow any offshore processing at all.

Mr Abbott: I disagree; our lawyers, George Brandis and Co, say Nauru will be OK.

Concerned Liberal 3: But if you try Nauru again, don’t you think the refugee lawyers will mount another challenge, like they did for the Malaysia swap?

Mr Abbott: They might try, but Brandis says we’ll be OK.

Concerned Liberal 3: But if Mr Brandis is wrong, you’ll need a change to the migration laws, just like Gillard needs. And if you knock her back now and refuse to back her changes, ones that will give any government the go ahead for offshore processing, will she be likely to back you?

Mr Abbott: Well, I’ll worry about that when the time comes. But I’m determined not to help Gillard get her Malaysia swap deal through – it’s bad policy, and what’s more it will sink her. There will be lots more boats arriving and the detention facilities will collapse under the strain. It’s a winner for me, and another nail in her coffin.

Concerned Liberal 4: But Mr Abbott, if she plays her cards well, might she not blame you for all the new arrivals. Won’t she argue that the boats would have stopped if you had let her Malaysia swap deal through, and that every new boat is your fault? As each one arrives I can hear her saying: ‘Thank you Mr Abbott – now we have another batch to process because you blocked the migration law changes’. It could turn people against you, you know those people who hate these boat people. It would be a pity that in trying to wedge Gillard, she managed to wedge you!

Mr Abbott: But, but, but… well, I’m so high in the polls, I suppose I can afford to lose some skin…anyway I’m not going to help that bitc…

Concerned Liberal 1: I guess you’ll just say No – again!

Mr Abbott, we’ve taken such a lot of your time, and I see you looking at your watch, so I guess we had better let you get on with your busy schedule. You’ve been very generous with your time.

We had quite a lot of other questions our people wanted answered: about whether you’re going to look at WorkChoices again; how you intend to demolish the NBN when its half built and how you will cope with those who miss out; how you’re going to rescind the minerals tax; how you’re going to find the $70 billion of savings you promised to return the budget to a surplus; how you’re going to run your Green Army after you’ve disbanded the climate change department; what you’re intending to do in the health field; and whether you’re going ahead with your own PPL scheme. There were other things too, but we’re out of time.

Mr Abbott: I’m glad you’ve got the answers you were looking for.

Concerned Liberal 2: I guess we’ll need to think about what you’ve told us and distill it for our people. I can see we’ll have to tell them that the things we talked about have all been worked out and that they have to take you at your word that all will be explained well before the election. They were a bit unnerved when you told Kerry O’Brien in that nasty interview on the 7.30 Report that not everything you say is absolutely correct, but we’ll tell them that you were very sure of yourself and that they need to trust you.

If they have more questions, can we come again some time?

Mr Abbott: Sure, sure, do come again!!!

Concerned Liberal 1: Thank you so much Mr Abbott.

Concerned Liberal 1 to the rest outside: Well there it is!!!!! Are you any the wiser? Don’t tell me we’re going to see another round of those mindless three-word slogans. Oh dear! We’d better get our thinking caps on before we front our people.

Concerned Liberal 3: Should we get in touch with Greg Hunt?

Concerned Liberal 4: And get nothing but gobbledygook? Have you ever heard him talk?

Concerned Liberal 5: Gibberish, I’d call it…

Concerned Liberal 2: Why don’t we talk to Malcolm Turnbull; I could arrange a meeting. At least he makes sense! Why did they ever ditch him?