Julia Gillard's Vision for the Asian Century

The search for the Gillard ‘narrative’ goes on. It seems that journalists, almost as a matter of course, need to include in their pieces some reference to the ‘narrative’, or the lack of it, or feel they must ask yet again: ‘What does she stand for?’ After all the statements that PM Gillard has made in the last few weeks that would enable even the least gifted journalist to discern the answer, the habitual quest persists.

The last piece I wrote was titled: Julia Gillard’s Light on the Hill. Many responded positively, some even felt moved. Yet others felt that a more forward-looking statement, rather than one that reiterated past achievements, might give a more stirring picture of where Julia Gillard and her Government are headed, what their vision might be.

So here is an attempt to do just that. This piece is dedicated to you NormanK.

I have drawn inspiration and some of the content from speeches given by PM Julia Gillard and President Barack Obama during his visit to Australia this month. This is what our PM might say about her vision for the Asian Century.


I have a vision for this country as we move into the Asian Century. A vision that can become reality if we seize our opportunities, make the most of our resources, strengthen our relationships, and make the transitions we must.

We are a nation in transition - transition on many fronts. We are in the midst of change - exciting yet challenging change. Yet there are some things that never change - values that are close to our heart, values Labor is committed to preserve for always.

Above all else we value freedom - freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, freedom from fear and insecurity, freedom to choose our leaders.

We value opportunity - opportunity to have a great education, an education that will equip all our citizens to attain their highest aspirations, to make the most of their talents, to enjoy work that is satisfying and rewarding.

We value fairness - fairness in our society that enables those with the least to gain as much as those with the most, those who have missed out to realize their full potential, those less well endowed to live with dignity, and all to share the prosperity this country offers.

We value equality - an equitable society where no one is left behind. We encourage multiculturalism and harmony in our richly varied society drawn from many parts of the world.

We value justice - a society free from corruption, free from unfair practices, where every citizen can depend on receiving justice when wronged.

With these fundamental values of freedom, opportunity, fairness, equality and justice to support our society, we can look with confidence at the decades, ahead, at the century ahead.

My vision is of an Australia that takes its place confidently within our region, the Asian region. While traditional allegiances to the economies in Europe, the US and Japan will be maintained and advanced, the newer alliances with our Asian neighbors and trading partners will be strengthened in the time ahead.

I have a vision of rapid development in the world's most populous nations, China and India. Already their economies are burgeoning. Already our trade with them is increasing by the year. Already China is the largest importer of our mineral resources. India too needs our resources and will soon be an importer of our uranium.

These developments will enable these nations to lift their citizens out of the poverty and deprivation too many still endure, and enable them to enjoy the benefits of prosperity that we have enjoyed for so long.

I have a vision of similar rapid development with similar benefits among our nearer neighbors, in the teeming millions in the ASEAN countries, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and their close neighbours.

With the addition of China, Japan and Korea in 1999, ASEAN extended it influence and reach, and this was expanded into an associated forum, the East Asia Summit with the inclusion of Australia, New Zealand and India in 2005, and then this year, the US and Russia.

The Summit has become a forum for discussing trade, the removal of tariff barriers, economic development, energy, the environment, climate change, disaster relief, and nation building. Meeting at the time of ASEAN meetings, I envision it will become a powerhouse for regional development. This is the fastest growing region in the world. History will be written here during this century, the Asian Century, as it drives growth around the world. Trade promotes growth, which in turn creates jobs.  We have very favourable terms of trade; we must make the most of this advantageous situation.

I have a vision of a strong Trans Pacific Partnership among the nine Pacific Rim countries that have a combined GDP of around 17 trillion US dollars. At the recent APEC meeting in Honolulu leaders agreed on the broad outlines of the TPP, a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement that eliminates tariffs and other barriers to trade and investment, which will open up countless opportunities for trade and increase economic growth.

I’m very proud of this ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. It is the most comprehensive trade deal ASEAN has negotiated – a gold standard for trade deals. By opening up our markets to each other, we will create a trading group with a combined population of 620 million people involving some of the fastest growing economies on earth. The Trans Pacific Partnership stands to become a free trade zone bigger than the European Union.

This nation is already contributing strongly to international dialogue through the G20 Forum, APEC and CHOGM, and now through the Trans Pacific Partnership.

President Obama reminded us: “History teaches us the greatest force the world has ever known for creating wealth and opportunity is free markets. So we seek economies that are open and transparent. We seek trade that is free and fair. And we seek an open international economic system, where rules are clear and every nation plays by them. In Australia and America, we understand these principles. We're among the most open economies on earth. History is on the side of the free - free societies, free governments, free economies, free people. And the future belongs to those who stand firm for these ideals, in this region and around the world.”

The Asian region is the fastest growing, and is home to more than half the global economy. It is my intention to ensure that this nation derives benefit from being part of the region’s expanding economy through trade, export of our resources, and generating jobs for our people. At the same time we seek to increase the prosperity and well being of all the people in our region.

How can we, as a peaceful and prosperous nation, contribute to our region and benefit from our association with it?

First, we must ensure that there are jobs for all who can work. Unemployment is a curse that deprives those without a job the dignity, the satisfaction and the rewards of work. Unemployment affects all those who depend on the worker. It demeans. Chronic unemployment often demeans whole generations where no one in a family has employment. We are committed to creating economic conditions that create jobs, jobs and opportunity all around the nation as well as in the turbocharged resources sector.

We are committed to a strong economy, an economy that grows without growing carbon pollution, without damaging our environment. We recognize the potency of free markets to create wealth in economies with a robust financial system, with sensibly regulated financial institutions and an independent central bank – we have our Reserve Bank. We value free enterprise and seek to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

We foster investment in the technologies of the future – green renewable energy to give us a clean energy future, up-to-the-minute telecommunications, fast broadband, and the latest infrastructure to support industry, commerce, agriculture, the resources sector, the service and education economy, and tourism. We have legislated to place a price on carbon and a tax on minerals to support infrastructure, boost superannuation, assist small businesses and companies, and simplify tax returns.

We will bring our budget into surplus in 2012/13 in the belief that this is what is needed now so that we can avoid the burden of indebtedness that is crippling economies in Europe. Our national debt is the lowest in the developed world, but we need to repay what was borrowed to support our economy and to avoid recession during the Global Financial Crisis.

While a strong economy is essential for full employment, an education and training system that prepares young people for work is similarly essential. Labor always places great emphasis on education and training. We believe every child is entitled to a great education, and that every apprentice, every person out of work, is entitled to training to fit them for satisfying work. Much of our budget is dedicated to providing those opportunities to all who can benefit.

We know too that good health enables workers to gain the most from their employment. So we continue to develop a health system that caters for all, workers and their families, the young, the aged, the chronically ill and the disabled.

We are giving special emphasis to mental health, especially among the young afflicted with depression and substance abuse as well as to older folk suffering from dementia, and to those with chronic disability. We support medical research and fund scientists seeking breakthroughs in heath care.

Our health system, one of the finest in the world, is in transition to one more strongly supported by Federal funds and with more local control. Reduction of waiting lists, and more focus on community care to take some of the burden from our hospitals, is our objective.

Whatever our internal state of affairs, we seek safety from external threat. Peace and security is the desire of all people. This is why we continue our commitment in Afghanistan. As President Obama pointed out, because most of the world's nuclear powers and around half of humanity are in Asia, this region will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation.

This is why he has made a deliberate and strategic decision that “…as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future, by upholding core principles and in close partnership with allies and friends.” Australia is central to this decision. As the wars of today draw towards a conclusion, the United States intends to redeploy its resources to the Asia region. Australia will be one of the beneficiaries.

I have a vision of even stronger ties with the United States of America following the visit of President Barack Obama and our joint intent to host American military personnel in the Northern Territory for training purposes. This will strengthen the alliance with our long-time partner, and achieve greater security for our nation and our region.

This is what President Obama had to say in our parliament: “…we seek security, which is the foundation of peace and prosperity. We stand for an international order in which the rights and responsibilities of all nations and people are upheld. Where international law and norms are enforced. Where commerce and freedom of navigation are not impeded. Where emerging powers contribute to regional security, and where disagreements are resolved peacefully.” He has also expressed the hope that market forces be allowed to regulate the money market, and that large developing countries float their currencies.

Australia concurs. We know we must strike a sensible balance between facilitating trade within the region and ensuring security for all by containing threats and promoting harmony.

President Obama concluded: “This is the story of the alliance we celebrate today. This is the essence of America's new leadership; it is the essence of our partnership. And this is the work we will carry on together, for the security, the prosperity, and the dignity of all people.”

We concur. We have the same vision. Our alliance with America is rooted in the values and freedoms we share. The solidarity that began with the ANZUS treaty 60 years ago continues stronger than ever. Australia shares his vision of America’s ‘new leadership’ in the Asia region.

Australia must seize the opportunity to transition our economy from that of past years to the economies of the future, the green economy we need to reverse the dire effects of global warming, the economies that create new industries, that manage non-renewable resources better, that use water more efficiently and equitably, that ensures food security, that lifts every child, every family out of poverty and despair wherever it exists.

This is my vision for our nation in the Asian Century – a vision brimming with excitement, bright prospects and challenge as we transition from the ways of the past to the opportunities of the future. This is my 'Light on the Hill' for the Asian Century.

We need your encouragement, your support and your collaboration.

So there it is, a ‘speech’ that would take a little over 15 minutes to deliver.

Is it sufficiently forward-looking? Does it better address journalists’ seemingly unquenchable thirst for a Gillard narrative, one they seem quite unable to discern on their own initiative? I’m not all that hopeful it will. One can only but try!

What do you think?

A Soldier of Ill-Fortune

The art of bomb disposal has come a long way since the days of “Dad’s Army”.

Indeed, it’s all high-tech now, which is unfortunate for Tony Abbott, as he has admitted he is “no tech-head”.

So, Tones went to the Australian Army base at Tarim Kowt in Afghanistan to see how the experts do it and, as an added bonus, get in a few good photo opportunities as the all-action guy who would make General Patton look like Dr Smith from “Lost in Space”.

However, as all the senior journalists are back in Australia, getting ready to cover the visit by the President of the USA, the editors have sent a few cub reporters to cover Tones’ Afghanistan bludge.

So, at Tarim Kowt, Tones is being helped into an IED (“Improvised Explosive Device”) Demolition Suit by a few diggers. The blokey banter is in full swing.

Tones: Hey, guys...does my arse look big in this...haw...haw...

Digger 1: Huh....that’s the least of your worries, Tones...with this suit on, you certainly won’t be able to sell your arse and pay off your big fat mortgage ...hee...hee...

Tones: Jeeze...I don’t know about global warming, but it’s really hot inside this thing – my nuts feel like two marshmallows on a stick at a scouts’ bonfire...haw...haw...

Digger 2: Oh...they’ve recovered after your mid-winter swim in Port Phillip Bay, have they Tones ...heh...heh...

Tones: Yeah...it feels like this suit is insulated with Gillard’s pink batts and they have self-ignited as usual ...hee...hee...

Digger 3: But don’t you worry, Tones...an H-Bomb could go off and you would still be safe in one of these...

Tones: Huh...an H-Bomb, mate? The real test is if I’m standing in Whyalla’s main street and I’m still in one piece when fat-arse’s Carbon Tax kicks in ...bwahahahahaha...

Digger 4: Jeeze, Tones...you’re a great joker...it’s fantastic you’re here to raise our morale...

Tones: Well, mate...as I always say, “if old po-faced Gillard can’t stop the jokes, she certainly can’t stop the boats”...heh...heh...

Digger 5: So, Tones...how does the suit feel – comfortable enough?

Tones: Errr...I’m not sure...it feels a bit heavy...which makes me think, mate, it isn’t made of carbon, cos if it was, the f***ing thing wouldn’t weigh a ton, like it does...hee...hee...

Digger 6: Anything else, Tones?

Tones: Well, I’m not sure about the glass visor...When I’m talking, people won’t be able to hear me...can’t I have a retractable visor like the one Sir Bedevere has in Monty Python?

Digger 7: Nah...you won’t need one, mate...there’s a microphone inside the helmet which enables you to communicate with us on the outside...

[However, Tones insists on his helmet being renovated to look more like Sir Bedevere’s. Somewhat peeved at Tones’ ungrateful stance and waste of their valuable time, they concur, but not without a change in the atmospherics. Whilst the changes are being made to Tones’ helmet, the air is a bit restrained between him and the once-friendly diggers.]

Digger 8: Heh, mate...I just worked it out...I know now who you remind me of in this suit – bloody Buzz Lightyear...

[All the diggers guffaw at Tones’ expense.]

[Tones is far from impressed with this comparison. He gives Digger 8 a dirty look.]

Digger 9: Yeah...I know now why you want one of our suits – you’re threatened by homosexuality...heh...heh...[following photo-shopped picture pinched from George at Poll Bludger.]


[Again, Tones looks daggers at this insolent, fatigues-clad, upstart.]

Digger 10: Huh...you call yourself an IED Demolition Man...I reckon Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign against the NBN makes him the real Demolition Man...hee...hee...

[The mention of the name of his arch-rival, Malcolm, is a bridge too far for Tones. He locks Digger 10’s eyes into one of his notorious Mark Rileyesque nodding death-stares. After a few moments, Digger 10 can’t take any more, and collapses, completely stunned, to the ground.]

Tones (menacingly): Okay, punks...who’s next...

[All the Diggers, put completely on the back foot at this manifestation of Tones’ awesome stunning power, back off. Tones, with a self-satisfied, shit-eating grin, then ambles off as best he can in the cumbersome suit towards his digs at the Army base, which is only 100 metres away. However, he finds it so difficult to manoeuvre in the dalek-like integument, it takes him about an hour to cover the relatively short distance.

Once inside his room, he is so knackered, he flops down on the bed, totally unable to summon up the strength to get out of the infernal suit. Within a millisecond, he is in a deep sleep, wracked however, by nightmares about a large rat, with a face like Peter Slipper’s, gobbling up his favourite rodent, Johnny Howard.

Meanwhile, two of the cub reporters, Annabel Crabb and Melissa Clarke, spot Tones staggering into his digs. He was so tired, he didn’t even have the energy to close the door. They have a sticky-beak inside and notice he is lying flat out on the bed, out to the world, still clad in his IED Demolition Suit.]

Annabel: Wow...doesn’t Tones look so sexy lying there...he really is such a spunk, isn’t he...

Melissa: Oh, yeah!! I reckon he’s even spunkier than Justin Bieber!!

Annabel: I know!! Let’s go inside and get a souvenir while he’s asleep...

[The besotted and star-struck Annabel and Melissa creep quietly inside and tip-toe up to the bed. Annabel opens Tones’ Sir Bevedere retractable visor, plunges her hand down the inside of Tones’ suit, confirming their suspicion that he is only wearing his red budgie smugglers. Annabel whispers to Melissa.]

Annabel: Psssttt!! Pass me the scissors from your bag – the ones you use to cut out any good news items about Gillard from your reports...heh...heh...

[Annabel proceeds to slice down the side of Tones’ budgie smugglers. He is so dead to the world, they are able to roll him over without waking him up, thus removing the skimpy garment. Tittering with laughter, they stuff it in Melissa’s handbag, planning to sew it up again later and display their trophy at the girls’ table, the next time they are at morning tea in the ABC staff canteen.

Meanwhile, Tones snores away contentedly. Exhausted by his efforts in trying to walk in his IED Demolition Suit, he is deep in the land of nod for another three hours at least. Suddenly, he wakes up with a jolt.]

Tones (to himself): W...w...w...where am I? What time is it? Shit! The cub reporters will be outside in a jiff, ready to fire questions at me at the press conference! But, if any of the little bastards try to be smart-arses and ask me any tricky policy questions, I’ll just jump out of this friggin’ suit, clad in my budgies, smile for the cameras, and shoot through as usual...heh...heh...suckers...

[Just then, Tones can hear, outside, the brouhaha of the cub reporters all talking over each other, just like it was an episode of “Seinfeld” with all the gang congregated in Jerry’s front-room. He looks out the window. “Jeeze” says Tones to himself, “they look so bloody young – they make Wyatt Roy look older than Rip Van Friggin’ Winkle...”

He staggers out onto the patio, noticing, strangely, that his Sir Bedevere retractable visor is open. So, the first question is fired and it is from Annabel.]

Annabel (gushingly): Hi, Mr Prime Minister...erm...Mr Abbott...[giggle]...Do you think the people of Whyalla should start running for the hills now, or wait until the Carbon Tax has actually been brought in?

Tones: Well...good question, Annabel...ummm....ahhhhh...urgghhh...actually, if any of them are wearing one of these bloody suits, they should have started running about six months ago...bwahahahahaha...

Melissa: Erm...Tones...will it look bad for us...I mean the Liberal Party...if old duck-arse continues to improve in the polls?

Tones: Thank you for your well-framed question, Melissa, but, as you know, the polls won’t get any better from now on in for DEL – Dangly Ear-Lobes, that is – Shanners assures me of that...heh...heh...Next question...

[A wet-behind-the-ears cub reporter raises his hand.]

Reporter: Erm...Mr Abbott...are you not being a hypocrite by mixing in the company of notorious climate-change sceptics such as Andrew Bolt and Lord Monckton and, at the same time, saying your Direct Action Plan is greener than Bob Brown’s veggie garden?

[Tones is totally flummoxed. “Doesn’t this little prick know who I am”, he fumes to himself. Then, another cub raises her hand.]

Reporter 2: Erm...Mr Abbott...again, aren’t you being a hypocrite by wanting to stop the boats and, at the same time, opposing the Government’s “Malaysian” attempt at doing just that?

Tones realises it’s time to rip up stumps. He is just about to exit the suit, so that he is no longer encumbered as he legs it into the sunset, clad in his trademark budgie smugglers.

However, aghast, he looks down and realises he is totally bollock-naked!! “There’s nothing else for it”, he admits to himself, “I’ll have to make a ‘run’ for it in this confounded suit”.

So, closing his Sir Bedevere visor, off Tones trots. However, he is making so little headway, he looks like a slow-motion trailer for a car-crash movie. The cubs smell blood and fire their curly questions at Tones, knowing he can’t run that easily from this particular press conference.

He cops an NBN bazooka shell!!! Kappow!!!

Then a plain-packaging pipe-bomb!!! Bullsye!!!

Luckily, Tones is wearing the IED Demolition Suit, otherwise he would have been as dead, buried and cremated as WorkChoices was supposed to be.

However, he no sooner staggers to his feet, when he is again thrown skywards by the deafening blast of a hurled, over-generous, Paid Paternal Leave limpet-mine!!!

Then he cops a double-whammy with an MRRT missile and a Mandatory Pre-Commitment Molotov cocktail!!

By this stage, Melissa realises that, even if the suit has saved Tones’ life thus far, it can’t hold together for much longer.

She holds her hand up to the cubs, indicating to them that a temporary cease-fire has been called.

Melissa runs over to the stunned, totally-shell-shocked Tones, lifts up his Sir Bedevere visor, and shoves in his now-rent budgies. Tones grabs them gratefully, wrapping them as best he can around his demilitarised-zone and holds them on tight with one hand. Summoning up the last reserves of his energy, he leaps out of the suit and sprints as fast as he can away form this infernal press conference. Within minutes, he is well over the horizon and half way to Kabul, where he hopes that he can arrange a rescue mission by dint of that great aviator friend of his, Alan Joyce, of “Leprechaun Extremely-Low Altitude Flyers Inc.”

Meanwhile, back at the seriously disrupted press conference, two of the cub reporters are dusting off their hands, as if symbolising a job well done.]

Cub 1: Huh...he was very fortunate in the past to have got such an easy time from our more experienced colleagues...Obviously not Prime Ministerial material after all...

Cub 2: Yeah...very fortunate indeed...And, after that performance, it looks like he’s more of a washed-out, has-been soldier of fortune...

You Can Never Keep A Devil Down - Part 2 of 'The Devil's Dictionary' by Ambrose Bierce - E-M

Now that we have moved on, in the Multicultural calendar from Halloween to Thanksgiving, (and don't you just love the family photo of the Skeleton family celebrating Thanksgiving?), and in the warm after glow of this week's past visit by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, I thought that I might start off this second installment of my guide to 'The Devil's Dictionary', by reinforcing the idea that we have our own political turkey in Australia, Tony Abbott, that we can give thanks for.

We must see that, in the spirit of turkeys everywhere, he is not as stupid as he looks and behaves. In fact, he is willing to go where no political turkey has gone before. As we have seen this week. There is no political convention that he is unwilling to rip to shreds with his sharp claws, such as this week's effort to keep his name in the news by abandoning bipartisan protocol relating to the speeches given by Opposition Leaders to visiting Heads of State. Just so that he may remain the story, and not the government. As he appears to go by the Post Truth Politics political dictum that, 'No publicity is bad publicity.'

Anyway, let us continue to give thanks to Tony Abbott, Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal, Always Opposition:

ECCENTRICITY, n. A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.

I've heard it said that Tony Abbott is a very eccentric character. EDITOR, n. A person who combines the judicial functions of Minos, Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, but is placable with an obolus; a severely virtuous censor, but so charitable withal that he tolerates the virtues of others and the vices of himself; who flings about him the splintering lightning and sturdy thunders of admonition till he resembles a bunch of firecrackers petulantly uttering his mind at the tail of a dog; then straightway murmurs a mild, melodious lay, soft as the cooing of a donkey intoning its prayer to the evening star. Master of mysteries and lord of law, high-pinnacled upon the throne of thought, his face suffused with the dim splendors of the Transfiguration, his legs intertwisted and his tongue a-cheek, the editor spills his will along the paper and cuts it off in lengths to suit. And at intervals from behind the veil of the temple is heard the voice of the foreman demanding three inches of wit and six lines of religious meditation, or bidding him turn off the wisdom and whack up some pathos.

O, the Lord of Law on the Throne of Thought,

A gilded impostor is he.

Of shreds and patches his robes are wrought,

His crown is brass,
Himself an ass,

And his power is fiddle-dee-dee.

Prankily, crankily prating of naught,

Silly old quilly old Monarch of Thought.

Public opinion's camp-follower he,

Thundering, blundering, plundering free.





Respected contemporaree!
—J.H. Bumbleshook

An hilarious Ode to News Ltd Editors Everywhere, I thought.

EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

A fact which is exemplified by the knowledge that, despite his stellar education, Mr Abbott just doesn't seem to understand much.

EGOTIST, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.

Megaceph, chosen to serve the State

In the halls of legislative debate,

One day with all his credentials came

To the capitol's door and announced his name.

The doorkeeper looked, with a comical twist

Of the face, at the eminent egotist,

And said: "Go away, for we settle here

All manner of questions, knotty and queer,

And we cannot have, when the speaker demands

To be told how every member stands,

A man who to all things under the sky

Assents by eternally voting 'I'."

ELECTOR, n. One who enjoys the sacred privilege of voting for the man of another man's choice.

ELOQUENCE, n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the colour that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any colour appear white.

Which proof is in the pudding of Tony Abbott's creation.

ENCOMIAST, n. A special (but not particular) kind of liar.

Politics in Australia has never before seen the like of Tony Abbott, a self-confessed liar that the category 'Post Truth Politics' seems to have been created for.

ENVY, n. Emulation adapted to the meanest capacity.

ERUDITION, n. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.

So wide his erudition's mighty span,

He knew Creation's origin and plan

And only came by accident to grief —

He thought, poor man, 'twas right to be a thief.

—Romach Pute

EULOGY, n. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead.

We see him here, we hear him over there, we see and hear Tony Abbott giving eulogies to the wealthy and powerful everywhere.

FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

FASHION, n. A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.

A king there was who lost an eye

In some excess of passion;

And straight his courtiers all did try

To follow the new fashion.

Each dropped one eyelid when before

The throne he ventured, thinking

Twould please the king. That monarch swore

He'd slay them all for winking.

What should they do? They were not hot

To hazard such disaster;

They dared not close an eye — dared not

See better than their master.

Seeing them lacrymose and glum,

A leech consoled the weepers:

He spread small rags with liquid gum

And covered half their peepers.

The court all wore the stuff, the flame

Of royal anger dying.

That's how court-plaster got its name

Unless I'm greatly lying.

—Naramy Oof

I am a Republican for this reason. I can no more tug the forelock than jump off a cliff because someone tells me to.

FIB, n. A lie that has not cut its teeth. An habitual liar's nearest approach to truth: the perigee of his eccentric orbit.

When David said: "All men are liars,"
Himself a liar, fibbed like any thief.

Perhaps he thought to weaken disbelief

By proof that even himself was not a slave

To Truth; though I suspect the aged knave

Had been of all her servitors the chief

Had he but known a fig's reluctant leaf

Is more than e'er she wore on land or wave.

No, David served not Naked Truth when he

Struck that sledge-hammer blow at all his race;

Nor did he hit the nail upon the head:

For reason shows that it could never be,

And the facts contradict him to his face.

Men are not liars all, for some are dead.

—Bartle Quinker

FLESH, n. The Second Person of the secular Trinity.

FLOP, v. Suddenly to change one's opinions and go over to another party. The most notable flop on record was that of Saul of Tarsus, who has been severely criticised as a turn-coat by some of our partisan journals.

The brother of Flip. Might I also observe that politicians these days don't even bother to change parties or resign when they obviously flip-flop.

FOLLY, n. That "gift and faculty divine" whose creative and controlling energy inspires Man's mind, guides his actions and adorns his life.

Folly! although Erasmus praised thee once

In a thick volume, and all authors known,

If not thy glory yet thy power have shown,

Deign to take homage from thy son who hunts

Through all thy maze his brothers, fool and dunce,

To mend their lives and to sustain his own,

However feebly be his arrows thrown.

Someone needs to write a book called: 'The Folly of Tony Abbott'.

FOOL, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscience, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught the nations war — founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting — such as creation's dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existence headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand was warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man's evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilisation.

FORGETFULNESS, n. A gift of God bestowed upon doctors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.

It is also the same gift Tony Abbott thinks God bestowed upon him too.

FREEDOM, n. Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's infinite multitude of methods. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly. Liberty. The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.

FRIENDSHIP, n. A ship big enough to carry two in fair weather, but only one in foul.

GENEROUS, adj. Originally this word meant noble by birth and was rightly applied to a great multitude of persons. It now means noble by nature and is taking a bit of a rest.

GEOLOGY, n. The science of the earth's crust — to which, doubtless, will be added that of its interior whenever a man shall come up garrulous out of a well. The geological formations of the globe already noted are catalogued thus: The Primary, or lower one, consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners' tools, antique statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors. The Secondary is largely made up of red worms and moles. The Tertiary comprises railway tracks, patent pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated citizens, garbage, anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.

GRAMMAR, n. A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet for the self-made man, along the path by which he advances to distinction.

Included for the Grammar Nazis. :)


Hail noble fruit! — by Homer sung,

Anacreon and Khayyam;

Thy praise is ever on the tongue

Of better men than I am.

The lyre in my hand has never swept,

The song I cannot offer:

My humbler service pray accept —

I'll help to kill the scoffer.

The water-drinkers and the cranks

 Who load their skins with liquor —

I'll gladly bear their belly-tanks

And tap them with my sticker.

Fill up, fill up, for wisdom cools

When e'er we let the wine rest.

Here's death to Prohibition's fools,

And every kind of vine-pest!

—Jamrach Holobom

For those who like a drop of fermented grape juice, to sing next time they are 'in wine'.

GRAVE, n. A place in which the dead are laid to await the coming of the medical student.

Included for Ad Astra. :)

HABIT, n. A shackle for the free.

HAND, n. A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into somebody's pocket.

HAPPINESS, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.

I guess that's why we see Tony Abbott smile so much.

HARANGUE, n. A speech by an opponent, who is known as an harangue-outang.

Too often occurring via Tony Abbott Censure Motions in federal parliament.

HATRED, n. A sentiment appropriate to the occasion of another's superiority.

See above. In fact, you just have to tune in to the Opposition any day of the week to see this on open display.

HEAVEN, n. A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.

HISTORIAN, n. A broad-gauge gossip.

HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.

Remember John Howard's 'History Wars'?

HONORABLE, adj. Afflicted with an impediment in one's reach. In legislative bodies it is customary to mention all members as honourable; as, "the honourable gentleman is a scurvy cur."

HOPE, n. Desire and expectation rolled into one.

Delicious Hope! when naught to man it left —

Of fortune destitute, of friends bereft;

When even his dog deserts him, and his goat

With tranquil disaffection chews his coat

While yet it hangs upon his back; then thou,

The star far-flaming on thine angel brow,

Descendest, radiant, from the skies to hint

The promise of a clerkship in the Mint.

—Fogarty Weffing

HOUSE, n. A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat, mouse, beetle, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus and microbe.

HYPOCRITE, n. One who, professing virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he despises.

IDIOT, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot's activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but "pervades and regulates the whole." He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line.

IDLENESS, n. A model farm where the devil experiments with seeds of new sins and promotes the growth of staple vices.

Now, back to work and stop reading this!

IGNORAMUS, n. A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about.

ILLUSTRIOUS, adj. Suitably placed for the shafts of malice, envy and detraction.

Is this why they put the illustrious on a pedestal?

IMAGINATION, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.

IMMODEST, adj. Having a strong sense of one's own merit, coupled with a feeble conception of worth in others.

Sigh. Tony Abbott.

IMPARTIAL, adj. Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy or adopting either of two conflicting opinions.

IMPOSTOR, n. A rival aspirant to public honours.

The biggest imposter in Australian politics is Tony Abbott. I guess I didn't really need to say that, it was self-evident.


His tale he told with a solemn face

And a tender, melancholy grace.

Improbable 'twas, no doubt,

When you came to think it out,

But the fascinated crowd

Their deep surprise avowed

And all with a single voice averred

'Twas the most amazing thing they'd heard —

All save one who spake never a word,

But sat as mum
As if deaf and dumb,

Serene, indifferent and unstirred.

Then all the others turned to him

And scrutinized him limb from limb —

Scanned him alive;

But he seemed to thrive

And tranquiler grow each minute,

As if there were nothing in it.

"What! what!" cried one, "are you not amazed

At what our friend has told?"
He raised
Soberly then his eyes and gazed

In a natural way

And proceeded to say,

As he crossed his feet on the mantel-shelf:

"O no — not at all; I'm a liar myself."

IMPUNITY, n. Wealth.

INCOME, n. The natural and rational gauge and measure of respectability, the commonly accepted standards being artificial, arbitrary and fallacious; for, as "Sir Sycophas Chrysolater" in the play has justly remarked, "the true use and function of property (in whatsoever it consisteth — coins, or land, or houses, or merchant-stuff, or anything which may be named as holden of right to one's own subservience) as also of honours, titles, preferments and place, and all favor and acquaintance of persons of quality or ableness, are but to get money. Hence it followeth that all things are truly to be rated as of worth in measure of their serviceableness to that end; and their possessors should take rank in agreement thereto, neither the lord of an unproducing manor, howsoever broad and ancient, nor he who bears an unremunerate dignity, nor yet the pauper favorite of a king, being esteemed of level excellency with him whose riches are of daily accretion; and hardly should they whose wealth is barren claim and rightly take more honour than the poor and unworthy."

INCUMBENT, n. A person of the liveliest interest to the outcumbents.

INDIGESTION, n. A disease which the patient and his friends frequently mistake for deep religious conviction and concern for the salvation of mankind. As the simple Red Man of the western wild put it, with, it must be confessed, a certain force: "Plenty well, no pray; big bellyache, heap God."

INEXPEDIENT, adj. Not calculated to advance one's interests.

INFLUENCE, n. In politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a substantial quid.

INNATE, adj. Natural, inherent — as innate ideas, that is to say, ideas that we are born with, having had them previously imparted to us. The doctrine of innate ideas is one of the most admirable faiths of philosophy, being itself an innate idea and therefore inaccessible to disproof, though Locke foolishly supposed himself to have given it "a black eye." Among innate ideas may be mentioned the belief in one's ability to conduct a newspaper, in the greatness of one's country, in the superiority of one's civilization, in the importance of one's personal affairs and in the interesting nature of one's diseases.

It seems that, even 100 years ago, people were wise to the ways of the Newspaper Editor.

INSURANCE, n. An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.

A lot of people in Queensland found this out the hard way this year.

INSURRECTION, n. An unsuccessful revolution. Disaffection's failure to substitute misrule for bad government.

An unsuccessful 'People's Revolution'?

INVENTOR, n. A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.

IRRELIGION, n. The principal one of the great faiths of the world.

ITCH, n. The patriotism of a Scotchman.

Or A West Australian.

JESTER, n. An officer formerly attached to a king's household, whose business it was to amuse the court by ludicrous actions and utterances, the absurdity being attested by his motley costume. The king himself being attired with dignity, it took the world some centuries to discover that his own conduct and decrees were sufficiently ridiculous for the amusement not only of his court but of all mankind. The jester was commonly called a fool, but the poets and romancers have ever delighted to represent him as a singularly wise and witty person. In the circus of to-day the melancholy ghost of the court fool effects the dejection of humbler audiences with the same jests wherewith in life he gloomed the marble hall, panged the patrician sense of humour and tapped the tank of royal tears.

I couldn't have described Tony Abbott better myself.

JUSTICE, n. A commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.

KINDNESS, n. A brief preface to ten volumes of exaction.

Or, the performance Tony Abbott puts on before he bares his teeth, yet again, during one of the interminable number of Censure Motions in federal parliament, which have become just another debased tool in his box of political tricks, wholly without substance or meaning any more.

LANGUAGE, n. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure.

It has been said that Tony Abbott uses language very well.

LAUGHTER, n. An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features and accompanied by inarticulate noises. It is infectious and, though intermittent, incurable.

A better description for the maniacal cackle that Tony Abbott emits I have yet to read.

LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.

LIAR, n. A lawyer with a roving commission.

I'll just add this note to the effect that Tony Abbott studied Law and Economics at Sydney University. His Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, has just finished a Masters of Law. Which does not mean that either of them use the law to the best effect. In fact, they obey the letter of the law with respect to prevarication.

LIBERTY, n. One of Imagination's most precious possessions.

The rising People, hot and out of breath,

Roared around the palace: "Liberty or death!"

"If death will do," the King said, "let me reign;

You'll have, I'm sure, no reason to complain."

—Martha Braymance

LICKSPITTLE, n. A useful functionary, not infrequently found editing a newspaper. In his character of editor he is closely allied to the blackmailer by the tie of occasional identity; for in truth the lickspittle is only the blackmailer under another aspect, although the latter is frequently found as an independent species.

LITIGATION, n. A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

LOGIC, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.

LOGOMACHY, n. A war in which the weapons are words and the wounds punctures in the swim-bladder of self-esteem — a kind of contest in which, the vanquished being unconscious of defeat, the victor is denied the reward of success.

LONGANIMITY, n. The disposition to endure injury with meek forbearance while maturing a plan of revenge.

I think Julia Gillard is adept at this.

MACE, n. A staff of office signifying authority. Its form, that of a heavy club, indicates its original purpose and use in dissuading from dissent.

MACHINATION, n. The method employed by one's opponents in baffling one's open and honourable efforts to do the right thing.

So plain the advantages of machination

It constitutes a moral obligation,

And honest wolves who think upon't with loathing

Feel bound to don the sheep's deceptive clothing.

So prospers still the diplomatic art,

And Satan bows, with hand upon his heart.


Look, I don't even have to make plain who this description applies to, to a 'T'.

MAD, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence; not conforming to standards of thought, speech and action derived by the conformants from study of themselves; at odds with the majority; in short, unusual.

I'll be equal opportunity commenter here and say, draw your own conclusions about who is, and isn't, mad in our parliaments. I'd like to hear your suggestions.

MAGIC, n. An art of converting superstition into coin.

The Climate Change Deniers say it about the Climate Change Believers, and the Climate Change Believers say it about the Climate Change Deniers.

MAGNIFICENT, adj. Having a grandeur or splendour superior to that to which the spectator is accustomed, as the ears of an ass, to a rabbit, or the glory of a glow worm, to a maggot.

MAGPIE, n. A bird whose thievish disposition suggested to someone that it might be taught to talk.

MALEFACTOR, n. The chief factor in the progress of the human race.

MAMMON, n. The god of the world's leading religion.

MAN, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.

Now, this was written 100 years ago, when Americans detested Canadians with a passion. And nothing's changed in 100 years!

MANICHEISM, n. The ancient Persian doctrine of an incessant warfare between Good and Evil. When Good gave up the fight the Persians joined the victorious Opposition.

Our Opposition just joined the opposition from the get-go.

MARRIAGE, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

Which makes the case for Same Sex Marriage very simply.

ME, pro. The objectionable case of I. The personal pronoun in English has three cases, the dominative, the objectionable and the oppressive. Each is all three.

MEEKNESS, n. Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worthwhile.

MENDACIOUS, adj. Addicted to rhetoric.


MERCHANT, n. One engaged in a commercial pursuit. A commercial pursuit is one in which the thing pursued is a dollar.

I like to refer to the ways of the Oligarchs and Kleptocrats in the 21st Century as, 'The New Mercantilism'.

MERCY, n. An attribute beloved of detected offenders.

MESMERISM, n. Hypnotism before it wore good clothes, kept a carriage and asked Incredulity to dinner.

Julie Bishop should just change her nickname to 'Mesmer', as she follows her leaders so slavishly.

METROPOLIS, n. A stronghold of provincialism.

MILLENNIUM, n. The period of a thousand years when the lid is to be screwed down, with all reformers on the under side.

MIND, n. A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavour to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with.

MINE, adj. Belonging to me if I can hold or seize it.

MINISTER, n. An agent of a higher power with a lower responsibility. In diplomacy and officer sent into a foreign country as the visible embodiment of his sovereign's hostility. His principal qualification is a degree of plausible inveracity next below that of an ambassador.

As of today I'm going to start using the term, 'plausible inveracity' instead of 'plausible deniability'. It's much more apt under the circumstances we find ourselves in in politics at this point in time, with the Leader of the Opposition that we have.

MINOR, adj. Less objectionable.

Is that what people mean when they talk about 'Minor Miners'? As I would not say that Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest is less objectionable than the Major Minors, I think he is more so.

MORAL, adj. Conforming to a local and mutable standard of right. Having the quality of general expediency.

MOUTH, n. In man, the gateway to the soul; in woman, the outlet of the heart.

MUGWUMP, n. In politics one afflicted with self-respect and addicted to the vice of independence. A term of contempt.

MULTITUDE, n. A crowd; the source of political wisdom and virtue. In a republic, the object of the statesman's adoration. "In a multitude of counsellors there is wisdom," sayeth the proverb. If many men of equal individual wisdom are wiser than any one of them, it must be that they acquire the excess of wisdom by the mere act of getting together. Whence comes it? Obviously from nowhere — as well say that a range of mountains is higher than the single mountains composing it. A multitude is as wise as its wisest member if it obey him; if not, it is no wiser than its most foolish.

'Convoy of No Consequence', or the 'Occupy' protests? I guess it depends who you ask.

MYTHOLOGY, n. The body of a primitive people's beliefs concerning its origin, early history, heroes, deities and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it invents later.

Well, that's enough for now. Half of the alphabet and plenty to chew on. I'll pore over the other half of the alphabet for next week. I'm pretty sure it will provide just as much amusement and edification.

What do you think?

Supping from the Drinking Gourd

Barack Obama, the President of the USA, has just completed his trip Down Under and is intrigued by the nature of Industrial Relations here.

Having returned to the States, he gets wind of a couple of Aussie outfits that have acquired large cotton plantations and ranches in the Deep South in Louisiana. And one in particular, as a marketing ploy, under the shrewd management of its CEO, Tony “Simon Legree” Abbott, has named their headquarters on the plantation, “Uncle Tones’ Cabin”, hoping to piggy-back on a name similar to the title of the famous novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Anyway, Barack has decided to visit two of the newly acquired Aussie businesses. The first planned visit is to Uncle Tones’ Cabin. Obama has been warned, however, that the quality of the cotton there isn’t the best, due to infections of the boll weevil but, nevertheless, it’s the IR system, in particular, that he wants to run his eye over.

So, Barack has got up early and is being driven, just before dawn, in his armoured limo, to Tones’ place.

As he glances out the window at the dark cloudless sky, Barack notices the Big Dipper constellation. He turns to his driver, an African-American.

Barack: There she is...the Big Dipper...

Driver: Yes, Mr President...the Drinking Gourd, as us descendants of slaves call it...

Barack: Wow...that’s interesting...why does it have that name?

Driver: Well, Sir...in the old slave days, my people would look for the Big Dipper – the slaves reckoned it was the shape of a gourd in the night sky – knowing that two of its stars point to the North Star...and that was the direction of freedom...But as a matter of fact, Sir, I have a song about it on a CD...would you like to hear it?

Just as the song finishes, Barack’s armoured limo drives through the gates of Tones’ property. However, in the glare of the headlights, he can’t help noticing a slogan of some sort on the archway: “WorkChoices will set you free!”

“Hmmm...” says Barack to himself, “that sounds familiar...I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere before...”

So, with the first glimmer of sunlight rising in the east, Barack’s car pulls up outside Uncle Tones’ Cabin, where Tones himself, and a strange-looking character wearing a balaclava, and holding tightly onto the leashes of a pack of fierce guard dogs, stand in wait. Barack alights and Tones moves forward to shake his hand.

Tones: Ummm...ahhhh...errrr...g’day, mate...Tony “Simon Legree” Abbott at your service, ready to give you a tour of the old hacienda here...

Barack: Yes...that would be good, Tones...I’m very keen to see how an overseas model of Industrial Relations works here in the USA...You never know – but we might replicate some of your best practices right across our great nation...

Tones (muttering): Huh...I wish the bloody Indos in Australia would see the benefits of our “best practices”...sheesh!

Barack: Oh, and who’s your friend here...he must be feeling the cold with his balaclava on...

Tones: Yeah, I always said old Pete here was a bit of a cold fish...hee...hee...But seriously, Mr President, this is our Head of Security, Peter Reith...and don’t worry about the dogs – they’ve been fed this morning already...heh...heh...

[Then, a squad of very weary-looking labourers troops past and heads off towards what looks like an old barracks or, in the dim light, could even be a crypt. Barack, moreover, can’t help notice how pale the workers are, even death-like.]

Barack: Hmmmm...Tones, the cotton business must be booming, if you need to operate a night-shift as well...

Tones: To be honest, that lot have no choice but to work at night...and, if there’s one crop they can’t harvest, it’s garlic...if you get my drift...heh...heh...

[Barack hasn’t got a clue at what Tones is intimating. Tones realises this and turns to Reithy.]

Tones: Righto, Reithy...tuck them into their coffins...erm...bunks...and I’ll be along in a jiff...gotta renew my blood pledge somehow...heh...heh...

[Just as Tones is leading Barack past the Cabin, they come across, seated in their rocking-chairs on the veranda, Grandpappies John Howard and Rupert Murdoch.]

Johnny: Hey, stranger...don’t I knows you from somewhere...you look mighty familiar...

[Tones ignores the old codger and walks Barack down towards the nearest cotton field for an inspection. By this time, the sun is well and truly up and the extent of the plantation is clearly visible.

However, despite its size, the quality of its crop doesn’t look, to Barack, the best, confirming his earlier advice that it is infected with boll weevil.

In this particular section, moreover, they come across a sight, which for Barack, is very alarming. A cowed and subservient group of labourers is frantically trying to pick as much cotton as is physically possible, whilst a crazed overseer is barking orders and cracking a bull-whip over their heads.]

Tones (loudly): That’s it, Jonesie – give the lazy bastards heaps...make sure they maintain their daily quotas and more besides...heh...heh...

Jonesie: Right, you lazy buggers...fill up all these chaff bags I’ve brought along...and if you don’t, it’ll be your mangy carcases that will be stuffed inside and chucked into the lake...haw...haw...

[Barack is appalled by what he is witnessing.]

Barack: Jeanie Mac! He’s far from being the ideal supervisor, I reckon!

Tones: Well, a bad boss is better than no boss, I always say...hee...hee...

[Further on into the tour of the plantation, Tones invites Barack to view the assault course, which is designed to make the field-hands fitter, so that they can work longer hours in the cotton fields. There is a commando-like Bottom Field, with water obstacles, rope climbs, a huge wall and a climbing-net for good measure. The overseer, Paul Kelly, with copious amounts of gravitas, is busily putting an exhausted group through their paces.]

Barack: Good lordy, Tones...this is a bit rough, isn’t it?

Tones: Nah... it’s good for them..Actually, Paul designed it for the Gillard management team bonding exercise – he reckoned they needed to face regular tests...

[And speaking of Paul, he spots Tones and Barack out of the corner of his eye.]

Paul: G’day Tones...Isn’t it about time you took the test...when will we fit you in for an appointment...heh...heh...

[Tones gives Paul the Mark Riley “stare and nod” treatment. This puts him back in his box, and he turns his attention back on the hapless victims on the assault course. Meanwhile, Tones makes a mental note to tell the plantation Matron, Bronnie Bishop, to wash Paul’s mouth out with kero at the earliest opportunity.

The next place on the plantation property they come to is the company airfield. Barack reckons, however, that it hasn’t got much going for it. All he can see is a couple of old, dilapidated crop-dusters, which appear to be in such bad nick, Joe Hockey has a better chance than them of getting airborne. Moreover, they are enclosed by a 3-metre-high electrified fence, which is preventing a few protesting hands, dressed in pilots’ uniforms, from getting access to the planes. And, inside the fence, is a little bloke with glasses, making faces at the protesters, and sticking his tongue out at them.]

Barack: Wow...this is surreal, Tones...what’s going on with your planes and who are these guys?

Tones: Oh, the little guy behind the fence is our pilots’ overseer, Alan “James” Joyce – a vicious operator – flies like a Ulysses butterfly, but stings like a right old b....heh...heh...

Joycey: Tones! Top o’ the mornin’ to ye! Don’t worry, I’ll beat these bastards yet...I’ll have their wages down to New Zealand levels in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, so I will...so help me god...to be sure...to be sure...They’ll all soon be fit to be tied, and red ones at that, so they will...hee...hee...

Tones (muttering): Heh...he’ll not be so chirpy when we pay him his $2 million pay rise in Confederate dollars...heh...heh...

Barack: Hmmm...Tones, I heard your cotton crop was infested with boll weevil, and now I see why – you allowed that clown to ground your crop-dusting planes!

[Tones ignores what Barack has just said and walks away, press-conference-style. Barack has no option but to follow, so, after another short walk, they come across a group of labourers who are digging guano from a pit. The overseer, wielding the lash over them, is Scott Morrison.]

Barack: Hmmm...Tones...I hope you’re paying these guys a heap of money – this work is so arduous and smelly...Oh, and by the way, I didn’t realise we had deposits of guano in this part of Louisiana...

Tones: Nah...we didn’t until recently...not until the crony government of Nauru chucked it in and we decided to move the whole place over here...Now we’ve got all those pesky Mexican boat-people coming up here via the Mississippi shovelling it into chaff bags for us...heh...heh...

Barack (incredulously): So...you’re saying that Nauru doesn’t exist anymore? You’ve carted it all over here, so that you can exploit it more easily for your own selfish commercial gain? What about the Nauruans, for crissakes?

Tones (superciliously): Oh them! I wouldn’t worry about them, mate – we offered their best rugby players to the Wallabies, but, as for the rest...well, shit happens...

[Tones then takes Barack past the oldie employees’ paddock and the supervisor, Sophie Mirabella, is gleefully working them to death. And, as they later pass by the children’s cotton field, a youngster escapes the clutches of the slave-driver, John Alexander, and begs to Tones, “please, sir...can I have some more – they’ve taken away my penalty rates...”

Anyhow, Tones and Barack have done the full circle of the plantation. Barack can’t hold in his contempt any longer. He turns in disgust to Tones.]

Barack: Look, buddy...your outfit here resembles something from the pre-Civil War era...It looks like you and your “WorkChoices’ Way” couldn’t give a hill of beans about freedom...

Tones: But...but...but...we do! However, we only support freedom in a particular social context...heh...heh...

Then, back at Uncle Tones’ Cabin, they witness the jolting sight of Grandpappy Rupert being led away by the FBI. But, still in the other rocking chair on the veranda, is Grandpappy John Howard. Upon seeing Barack again, he suddenly sits bolt upright.]

Johnny: I remember now! I know who this turkey is! He’s that bloody Al Qaeda guy! Quick, Tones, fetch me my shotgun...

[Barack realises that discretion is the better part of valour, so he immediately shoots through, before this mad old coot shoots through him. He jumps into his armoured limo and the driver takes off like a bat out of hell. Later, a few dozen clicks down the bitumen, Barack begins to relax a bit. He has been at Uncle Tones’ Cabin all day, and by now darkness has well and truly set in. He addresses his driver.]

Barack: Phewww! That was close! What a shower of losers that lot are...Before the marines get posted to Darwin, remind me to send them to that place and close it down...with its “WorkChoices’ Way”, it’s an abomination and an industrial relations nightmare...

Driver: Erm...can I remind you, Sir, that your next appointment is to view another Australian-owned business – the “Fair Work Ranch”...However, they are expecting us for supper, but, because we spent so much time at that other joint, I don’t think we will make it in time...

Barack: You know, I haven’t asked you your name...excuse my bad manners...

Driver: It’s Tom, sir...everybody just calls me Tom...

Barack: Well, Tom...as for making it to the other Aussie place in time, YES WE CAN, Tom! So, step on it, and have no fear...The Fair Work place is due north – just follow the Drinking Gourd...