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...

Julia Gillard's Light on the Hill

Will commentators ever be satisfied that the Labor Party and its leadership have established an ‘overarching narrative’ that portrays what the Party and its ministers ‘stand for’? I doubt it. The quest for this Holy Grail has been going on ever since Labor came to office, and indeed John Howard was accused of lacking one in his latter days. Do these commentators know what they are looking for? Would they recognize it if they saw it? Most who castigate politicians and political parties for lacking it, never suggest what the narrative might look like, nor have they ever had to create one. But there is one who has created a narrative for the Labor Party – Paul Keating.

In a recent conversation with Paul Kelly reported in The Weekend Australian on October 22, Keating lamented Labor’s lack of ‘a compelling overarching story’, and went on to say that Labor needs to emphasize more the transitions the nation is traversing, and should marshall its creativity to manage them and to spell them out for the public to understand. He cited the arts and music as crucial ingredients in reaching this goal.

On many occasions commentators have made reference to Ben Chifley’s 1949 “Light on the Hill” address. It has been cited as a glowing example of a rousing address that inspired the party during tough times. The phrase ‘light on the hill’ has resonated down the years as epitomising the Labor philosophy. Made in the late forties when the Great Depression of the thirties was still a vivid and frightening memory, Chifley made reference to the fear of another depression. He said: “If the movement can make someone more comfortable, give to some father or mother a greater feeling of security for their children, a feeling that if a depression comes there will be work, that the government is striving its hardest to do its best, then the Labour movement will be completely justified.”

The speech was not a long one – just 484 words, yet its impact was profound, and if one can believe the critics, still is.

I have wondered what a latter day ‘light on the hill’ address might look like. We can have a glimpse by reading Julia Gillard’s speech at the Chifley Research Centre on September 16.  Also take a look at Making a Difference on the ALP website.  Check too at the attached PDF file to read the detail of Labor’s plans and achievements.  

Here’s how Making a Difference began – harking back to the ‘light on the hill’:

“The Australian Labor Party is Australia’s oldest political party. Labor’s history and the history of Australia’s democracy are inextricably intertwined.

“We have a great objective — the light on the hill.

“For 120 years, the enduring values of fairness, opportunity and the betterment of humankind have motivated members of the Labor Party and the wider Labour Movement, and they motivate us still.

The government I am privileged to lead continues in that proud tradition.”

Since Paul Keating has urged Labor to focus on the transitions that are extant in Australia and use creativity and art to explain it to the people, I have attempted to put together a statement that might be termed ‘Julia Gillard’s Light on the Hill’, but I have titled it:


Although it is over sixty years since Ben Chifley spoke of the ‘light on the hill’, it remains a shining beacon to which Labor continues to be attracted and which it seeks to arrive at by “working for the betterment of mankind”.

Then, Labor sought to bring “something better to the people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people.”

So is it now. The light on the hill burns brightly still.

Then, Labor’s aim was to “make someone more comfortable, give to some father or mother a greater feeling of security for their children, a feeling that if a depression comes there will be work, that the government is striving its hardest to do its best.”

So is it now.

Labor still has its eyes on the great objective – the light on the hill. For 120 years, the enduring values of fairness, opportunity and the betterment of humankind have motivated members of the Labor Party and the wider Labour Movement.

So is it now.

In Chifley’s days the world was changing. The fear of recession persisted.

So is it now.

Then Labor sought to “bring better conditions to the people.”

So is it now.

As Chifley said: “If it were not for that, the Labor movement would not be worth fighting for.”

So is it now. The light on the hill burns brightly still.

Change has always been a part of life in Australia. Yet every decade has brought better conditions to the people. As it prepares for its next phase – transformation of its economy and integration into the Asian region – this country looks to an exciting future, one that will bring great benefits to all the people.



Change is often feared, yet it should be seen as an exciting opportunity to be creative, to do better, to achieve more, to improve life for all our citizens. If we avoid change, we decline.

Let’s look at these transitions, which draw us to a better life. There are many.

Transition from a heavily polluting society to one where coal is gradually replaced by natural gas and renewable energy, so as to slow carbon pollution and the progress of global warming, and thereby secure our planet for future generations.

Transition of our economy from the manufacturing and agriculture of the past, to an open economy based on renewable energy, the minerals boom and the resourceful use of water, with all the jobs these transitions create.

As in the past, where horse and buggy gave way to rail and then to air transport, so we must now modernize out economy and transform it into one for the twenty-first century with new jobs, new industries, high speed broadband and efficient infrastructure that give this nation a global reach.

We need to accelerate the transition of international trading from that based on traditional markets in Europe and the US, to trading more and more within the Asian region.

Education is in transition with more transparency via the MySchool website and the National Curriculum for literacy and numeracy, 430,000 new computers in schools, fast broadband, increased university places, skills training, more funding, and renewed school buildings through the Building Education Revolution.

This Government believes every child should have the opportunity for a great education, which is the rock on which a strong modern Australian economy is founded. The Government’s focus is on creating jobs, more jobs and new jobs; education and training are the pathway to job creation.

There is transition in our health system from hospital to community care with more Federal funding and more local control. Super fast broadband will bring heath care to remote communities. Mental health initiatives will provide support for young and old, and aged care will be a priority as our population ages. The My Hospitals website now gives better information about our hospitals. We have introduced a national disability insurance scheme. Plain packaging of cigarettes will reduce the scourge of smoking.

We are in transition in the way we use water, especially within the Murray-Darling River system, so that both agriculture and the environment can stay alive.

Your Government is managing these transitions creatively and resolutely. Here’s what we have done:

We moved quickly to shield the economy from the effects of the global financial crisis and kept the nation out of recession. Our economy is in better shape than it is in any other developed nation.

We stimulated the economy with cash payments to individuals, by home insulation and school building programs, and then with infrastructure works.

We kept unemployment down to the lowest level in the developed world, and it continues to fall. We believe in the dignity of work. We created three quarters of a million new jobs, and are providing training for those still unemployed.

Interest rates fell during the global financial crisis, have remained low, and are falling again as inflation is kept low.

We have reduced taxes, increased pensions and family payments and introduced a Paid Parental Leave scheme.

We are committed to getting the budget back into surplus in 2012/13.

We have passed legislation to place a price on carbon to motivate polluters to reduce pollution. This will be environmentally effective, is economically responsible, will drive investment and innovation in clean energy, and will create jobs. And it is socially fair – the revenue raised will compensate families and businesses for increased costs, will increase pensions and welfare payments, and will reduce individual taxes.

This reform will encourage innovation, increase productivity, create new industries, lift economic output, and transform our economy.

We are legislating to place a tax on minerals so that all Australians can share in the bounty that our rich resources provide – a tax that will fund better superannuation, lower company tax, benefit small business, develop needed infrastructure, and simplify taxation for millions.

We have plans to improve water use in the Murray-Darling river system to sustain food production, maintain regional communities and improve environmental flows.

We have given great emphasis to regional development through our Regional Infrastructure Fund, increased funding for schools, hospitals and health care, including 22 regional cancer centres, and we have arranged for regional communities to have the early benefits of the NBN.

To prosper, this nation needs a strong economy that is competitive globally, and that requires a strong and productive workforce, one that needs boosting by immigrants. This is why we have a controlled immigration program to bring in skilled workers to do the jobs that we cannot fill.

We have invested more in infrastructure than any other government – road, rail and ports. Our nation-building efforts are overseen by Infrastructure Australia.

In pursuit of fairness in the workplace, we legislated to replace WorkChoices with Fair Work Australia that provides a balanced approach to industrial relations. Already it has worked well in stopping the Qantas dispute after its lockout of workers.

We have increased Australia’s involvement in world forums. We are now members of the G20 forum, the East Asia Summit, APEC and CHOGM. Our country is giving strong leadership on the international scene. Our economic performance is universally admired and our advice sought. We seek to be good global citizens in combating climate change.

We place heavy emphasis on defence and our commitment in Afghanistan. We are reviewing our strategic relationships in tune with the changed geopolitical situation. We aim to keep our borders secure, and are determined to deter people smugglers from taking asylum seekers on dangerous boat journeys. We do need immigrants, but we want them to arrive in an orderly and safe way. And when they are accepted, we wish them to be integrated in a socially inclusive way into our community. We value the multiculturalism this brings to our society.

Australia is a large country. To flourish we need large ideas, bold ideas, daring ideas. We need the courage to undertake brave reforms. While it might be easier to take a conservative approach and leave things the way they are, we know that will lead to decline – in our prosperity, in our way of life, in our international standing.

This is why this Government has undertaken difficult reforms:
- tackling climate change,
- introducing a tax on mineral mining,
- structural separation of Telstra and initiation of nation-wide fast broadband,
- reform of industrial relations and removal of WorkChoices,
- review of the tax system and social security,
- reform of the health system towards community, aged and mental health care,
- crucial changes in the education system,
- a water plan to repair the Murray-Darling river system, and
- moves to create a regional response to irregular migration.

Although we have achieved much, there is still legislation in progress and still more reforms underway. We do not have a perfect record, but we are determined to complete our reform agenda.

None of these reforms are easy. Change is resisted. Obstacles are raised. As Chifley said in his ‘Light on the Hill’ address: “No Labour Minister or leader ever has an easy job. The urgency that rests behind the Labour movement, pushing it on to do things, to create new conditions, to reorganize the economy of the country, always means that the people who work within the Labour movement, people who lead, can never have an easy job.”

Past reforms have not been easy. The reforms of the Hawke-Keating era: enterprise bargaining, tariff reduction, floating the dollar, the prices and incomes accord, superannuation reform, deregulation of the financial system, and the privatization of public utilities, were not easy. John Howard’s GST reform and his IR reforms were not easy.

So is it now. But the light on the hill burns brightly still, and drives us on.

In the past, predictions of calamity have accompanied each reform. Yet, far from calamity, most of the reforms have brought enormous benefits to our nation.

Still today the doomsayers predict disaster, instill fear and insecurity, and threaten to reverse the reforms we are undertaking. Time will show how wrong they are.

What the modern Australia needs is both an open economy that is competitive on the world stage yet engages with our Asian neighbours, and a culture that embraces social inclusion and multiculturalism. We can have both.

Your Government sees these objectives as the ‘light on the hill’, which we are determined to reach, despite the obstacles, despite the criticisms, despite the opposition.

We seek to make this great country greater still – more prosperous, more comfortable for its people, more welcoming to new arrivals. We seek to become an integral part of our region, while maintaining old allegiances.

The light on the hill burns brightly still.

We invite you all to join us as we seize the opportunities, make the transitions, and transform our country into an advanced nation that can take its place confidently in the global community that makes up the twenty-first century world.

Your Government is up to the challenge. We need you too.

This has not been an easy ‘speech’ to write. It has proved to be the most difficult, the most time consuming task I have undertaken writing for The Political Sword. I suspect the critics – those who yearn for a narrative, indeed insist upon one, might have the same difficulty should they try, which they will not discover until they do.

Although it is over three times longer than Chifley’s ‘Light on the Hill’ address (and would take around 15 minutes to deliver), it still seems insufficient, - still needing more appeal, still needing to be more inspirational. It may be too long, to all-inclusive. It is deliberatively repetitive in places, to underscore important points. Quite apart from the need to choose the right words, there is an imperative to include the most important matters, yet not overload the text with superfluities. It may be better broken into two or three parts.

Does it depict to you ‘a nation in transition’ as the overarching theme?

Would this, Julia Gillard’s Light on the Hill address, appeal to you?

Your constructive critique will be welcome.

Tell me what you think.

Prefabricated predictions

Tony Abbott is feeling a great need to get away from it all, so he has gone over to Europe to compete in the autumnal leg of the Tour de France cycle-race.

He has brought along the young Queensland LNP MP, Wyatt Roy, a fluent French speaker, for translating purposes.

So, the race has started, but, unfortunately, Tones can’t speed away with everyone else, as he has to stay at the same speed as Wyatt.

Tones (angrily): FFS, Wyatt!! Will you hurry the f***up...everybody else will be in friggin’ Paris by now, getting pissed on cheap French plonk and looking up the skirts of the dancing girls at the Moulin Rouge...

Wyatt: Keep your hair on, Tones – what little you’ve got left on your tonsure, that is...heh...heh...And you know I can’t go very fast...

Tones: And I can see why, mate – I can’t believe you’ve still got your training wheels on...I thought I told you they were to come off straight after the practice race...

[Tones and Wyatt continue to bicker and aren’t getting very far at all in the race. In fact, they are losing so much time, it is starting to get dark.

However, in the distance, they see the headlights of a car approaching. As it draws near, Tones recognises it as one belonging to the Australian Ambassador to France. And who is comfortably ensconced in the back seat, but Julia Gillard and Tim Mathieson! With a shit-eating grin that could only belong to someone who has been invited over to Europe to advise them on how to turn a basket-case into a show-case, Jooles nonchalantly rolls down the window.]

Jooles: G’day Tones...you two look like you’ve fallen a bit by the wayside...and a trifle overheated with all your exertions...poor petals...heh...heh...

Tones: Nah, Jooles...we’re not hot at all...actually, it was a lot warmer in Jesus’ day, don’t you know!

[Jooles, from experience, knows there is no point in challenging Tones on his idiosyncratic and antediluvian grasp of climate science and history, so she just ignores his blathering. She nods towards Wyatt.]

Jooles: Erm...Tones, I think it’s well past Wyatt’s bed-time, so my advice is to cycle up the road a couple of clicks and, on the left, is an old, dilapidated house that you could sleep in for the night – you being the tough all-action guy who revels in that sort of blokey stuff n’all...Oh, and by the way, I noticed a few seagulls that have obviously migrated from Nauru, building a nest in the chimney, so look out if you try to light a fire...

[Jooles’ car speeds off, but Tones can’t help noticing that they are having a great belly-laugh at something.

Anyway, Tones and Wyatt reach the old house just before it gets really dark. They notice that someone has written in chalk on the front wall: “The great seer, Nostradamus, once slept here”. Wyatt translates it for Tones.]

Tones: Wow, Wyatt!!! Now, isn’t that a coincidence!!! Ever since I started making my famous predictions, everybody has been calling me "The New Nostradamus"...

Wyatt (muttering): Huh...during that time you were negotiating unsuccessfully with the Indos, I heard they were calling you Nostra-can’t-sell-his damn-arse...heh...heh...

Tones: Erm...what was that, mate...didn’t quite hear?

Wyatt: Nah, don’t worry about it, Tones...But, now that you mention Nostradamus, it’s the title of one of my favourite tracks by Judas Priest...

[Wyatt cranks up his iPod and gives Tones one of his ear-phones. They both listen to the classic heavy metal track.]

Tones: Nah, mate...not my style...I prefer the Beach Boys...

Wyatt: Never heard of them, Tones...must have been before my time...Oh, and out of interest, are they anything like Pyney’s favourite band, The Back Alley Bitch Boys...hee...hee...

[That one goes straight over Tones’ tonsure, so he starts to head up the pot-holed driveway, to the old abandoned house. It’s starting to rain, so he quickly removes a few wooden slats that had been nailed over a window and shoves Wyatt through the opening, ordering him to open the door for him from the inside.

Once in, Tones pulls out his torch, shining it around what obviously used to be a grand living room, but is now covered in grime and spider-webs.]

Tones: Crikey, Wyatt...this place looks so bad, it must have had Gillard’s Carbon Tax through it like a dose of salts...haw...haw...Now, Wyatt, as Gillard said, there’s a blockage in the chimney...so, before we can light a fire, you’ll have to scramble up and unblock it...

Wyatt: But...but...but...Tones, why me?

Tones: Cos you’re smaller than me...And anyway, if I went up, my ears would get wedged, and I wouldn’t be able to get down again...

[So, after much cajoling, Tones lends Wyatt his torch and pushes him up the chimney. After a few moments of quiet, Tones hollers up.]

Tones: Wyatt!! What’s happening? Have you found any of the guano crap that’s blocking the joint up?

Wyatt: Erm...not yet, Tones...cos I’ve been a bit distracted by something else I’ve found...

Tones: What is it, Wyatt – Gillard’s long-lost handbag...haw...haw...

Wyatt: Actually, Tones...I’ve found, in a crevice, two chaff bags...a small one and a ginormous one...The small one has three little pieces of paper, each with a little four-line verse written on it...Just give me a mo and I’ll quickly translate one from the French for you...

“Earth-shaking fire from the centre of the Earth.
Will cause the towers around the New City to shake,
Two great rocks for a long time will make war,
And then Arethusa will colour a new river red”

[Tones, now that he is the doyen of predictors of the Neo-Nostradamus School, recognises it immediately.]

Tones: OMG, Wyatt!!! What you’ve got in your hot little hands there is one of Nostradamus’ quatrains – the four-line verses in which he wrote his famous predictions of calamities that would befall unfortunates in the future!!! In fact, the one you quoted is Quatrain 87, where he foretold the attack on the Twin Towers in New York!!

Wyatt: Jeeze, that’s fascinating Tones...So, as I was saying, in the small chaff bag there are two more pieces of paper...shall I translate them for you?

Tones: Go for your life, mate...maybe there’ll be a few predictions about me kicking old fat-arse out of The Lodge and me moving in...hee...hee...

Wyatt: Righto, Tones...here’s another:

“ In the 13th year of century 21
The witch from Wales will be done like a dinner
And he who is garbed in budgie-feathered trunks, bright as the Sun
Will be carried aloft as the glorious winner”

Tones: Wyatt!! Fantastic!!! I can’t quote you chapter and verse on that one, but it’s obvious old Nosters is predicting my inevitable victory...what else is there in the chaff bag?

Wyatt: Okay, Tones...here’s the other one:

“After the abbott’s lean years of living sober
He shall feast on strong spirits and get blotto
Then his pecuniary worries will be over
When he wins ye olde Midweek Lotto”

Tones (ecstatically): Wyatt!! You beaudy!!! Again, I can’t recall off-hand the reference for that one, but my old mate Nostradamus has predicted I’m going to be rich and won’t have to worry about my great big fat mortgage any more!! Yippee!! Now...read me a few from the large chaff bag, Wyatt – I’ll have lots to pass on to Shanners so he can do his usual spin-job at The Oz...heh...heh...

[As commanded, Wyatt takes out one of the hundreds of pieces of paper from the large chaff bag and reads it over quietly to himself.]

Wyatt: Erm...Tones...I don’t think you want to hear this prediction...Jeeze, old Nosters must have had a bad hangover when he wrote this one...

[Wyatt pulls out verse after verse, but they are all of a similar theme. Meanwhile, Tones is getting agitated and orders Wyatt to read one so that he can make up his own mind as to whether they are useful or not.]

Wyatt: Righto, Tones...but don’t say I didn’t warn you:

“In the dark era when the black rocks are levied
They say the place Whyalla will disappear off the map
But, to the words of he-who-says-no pay no heed
As, per usual, what he’s spouting is pure unadulterated crap”

Tones: Erm...thanks for nothing, Wyatt...I think we’ll give that one to Barnaby to use as toilet paper after he’s gone through all the Productivity Commission Reports...

Wyatt: Oh, here’s another one, Tones...however, it’s just as crappy as the others:

“The meat of the sea will be in grave danger
But not due to the loathsome levy
Rather by the contagious death-kiss of the budgied stranger
Upon his conscience the blame will lie heavy.”

Tones: Erm...Wyatt...aren’t there any positive ones at all in the big chaff bag?

[There is a long pause, as Wyatt thumbs through as many of the quatrains as he can.]

Wyatt: Nope...actually, those two I read were probably the best ones...you should see the ones that allude to what Malcolm Turnbull is going to do to you when he gets the leadership back – they make your blood pledge inflicted by a blunt hatchet look like a paper-cut...heh...heh...

Tones: Righto, Wyatt...you can come down now...and just leave those bags of crap where they are – I never liked scripted remarks anyway...hee...hee...

[By this stage, the Sun is coming up, so Tones orders Wyatt to mount up and off they go, attempting to narrow the gap between themselves and the stragglers at the back of the Tour de France.

Meanwhile, Jooles and Tim are up early and enjoying a nice breakfast at their hotel. In fluent French, Tim has ordered the local speciality of freshly-baked croissants, and Jooles some cereal.]

Tim: Well, darl...what sort of a day do you “predict” we will have...hee...hee...

Jooles: Yeah...I wonder how Tones is getting on with the “predictions” we concocted and deposited in the chimney...Maybe he’ll hand them over to WikiLeaks for publication...heh...heh...

Tim: By the way, darl...you not having croissants?

Jooles: Nah...it’s Weet-Bix for me – in spite of Tones’ scare campaign, I “predict” good sales for them and a rosy future under my government...Bon appétit, Timbo...

The Devil is in the Detail in the Dictionary

Happy Halloween from Feral Skeleton

Fellow Swordians,
I know I'm a bit late in hopping on the Halloween bus, but having the flu can make you run late for your bus (and anyway I fell in love with the graphic & decided I wanted to keep it). Nevertheless as this last week has seen Halloween come and go, and in the spirit of Multiculturalism, which in Australia sees all national festivals from around the world celebrated, as opposed to seeking to contribute to the fomenting of distaste of Halloween as a potent symbol of American Cultural Imperialism, I have decided to present something light-hearted, fun, and just a little bit spooky to you. Spooky, that is, when you realise how old but how apt are some of the political observations that I am going to put before you today.

What I'm referring to is the fact that I am going to bring to you a few of my favourite quotes from the OTHER socio-political guide book, that isn't Machiavelli's 'The Prince', or Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War', but is Ambrose Bierce's 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

This is in acknowledgement of the 100 year Anniversary of the release of 'The Devil's Dictionary', and in the spirit of Progressivism, which is all for being Early Adopters of the new – I mean, Machiavelli and Sun Tzu are so last year ( they've even been adopted by the Conservatives!) – I am going to acquaint you with a list of my favourite definitions from the book, with a few added comments, here and there, that have a more contemporary flavour, about our own little devil in Australian politics, Tony Abbott.

Enjoy! And have fun drawing a few conclusions of your own from the words of Ambrose Bierce.

ABASEMENT, n. A decent and customary mental attitude in the presence of wealth or power. Peculiarly appropriate in an employee when addressing an employer.

Hmm, now where have I seen that before? Oh, that's right, it was Tony's Abbott's obsequious posture when he was filmed in the presence of Gina Reinhardt at the Minerals Council Dinner in WA. Or Tony Abbott around Cardinal Pell. OrTony Abbott around the Clubs' heavyweights. You get the picture.

ABILITY, n. The natural equipment to accomplish some small part of the meaner ambitions distinguishing able men from dead ones. In the last analysis ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity. Perhaps, however, this impressive quality is rightly appraised; it is no easy task to be solemn.

Which is why the electorate appears to believe that Tony Abbott has ability.

ABRIDGE, v.t. To shorten.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to abridge their king, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

—Oliver Cromwell

Now that the Queen has departed our shores, might I offer a word of advice to Australian Republicans: Take heed of what Oliver Cromwell said, and, next time, lay out your case for an Australian Republic and an Australian Head of State, plus how they will be elected, BEFORE the Referendum is called, and then proceed to go about the country getting the electorate onside with your firm position.

ABSURDITY, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.

Which just about sums up every position on any issue which Tony Abbott takes a position on. They differ with which way the wind is blowing on any particular day, but may be different the next day, if the wind direction has changed. Such is the style of politics we are getting used to seeing from 'The Political Weathervane'. The deeply principled founder of the Liberal Party, 'Ming' Menzies, would be rolling in his grave today at the deeply unprincipled antics of the latter-day leader of the Liberal Party.

ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.

Tony Abbott concentrated on Boxing at Oxford.

ACADEMY, n. [from ACADEME] A modern school where football is taught.

I think he thought Oxford was the English Academy of Sport.

ACCOUNTABILITY, n. The mother of caution.

"My accountability, bear in mind,"

Said the Grand Vizier: "Yes, yes,"

Said the Shah: "I do — 'tis the only kind

Of ability you possess."

—Joram Tate

That which Julia Gillard bears in mind and which Tony Abbott doesn't know the meaning of.

ACCUSE, v.t. To affirm another's guilt or unworth; most commonly as a justification of ourselves for having wronged him.

Tony Abbott does a lot of this.

ACEPHALOUS, adj. In the surprising condition of the Crusader who absently pulled at his forelock some hours after a Saracen scimitar had, unconsciously to him, passed through his neck, as related by de Joinville.

This happens to our own Christian Crusader a lot.

ACHIEVEMENT, n. The death of endeavour and the birth of disgust.

Tony Abbott may be a Rhodes Scholar but his biggest achievement is as above.

ACTUALLY, adv. Perhaps; possibly.

A good one to keep in mind when listening to politicians. Especially these days.

ADMINISTRATION, n. An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. A man of straw, proof against bad-egging and dead-catting.

Julia Gillard knows this only too well.

ADMONITION, n. Gentle reproof, as with a meat-axe. Friendly warning.

Consigned by way of admonition,

His soul forever to perdition.


Tony Abbott admonishes the PM all too frequently.

ADVICE, n. The smallest current coin.

"The man was in such deep distress,"

Said Tom, "that I could do no less

Than give him good advice." Said Jim:

"If less could have been done for him

I know you well enough, my son,

To know that's what you would have done."

—Jebel Jocordy

Is this where the saying, 'A wealth of good advice' comes from? Tony Abbott likes to give advice to all and sundry; that I do know.


This thing Allegiance, as I suppose,

Is a ring fitted in the subject's nose,

Whereby that organ is kept rightly pointed

To smell the sweetness of the Lord's anointed.


How Tony Abbott views the allegiance of his party to their leader.

AMBIDEXTROUS, adj. Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.

Otherwise a definition of Tony Abbott's 'walk both sides of the street' economic policies, wherein he advocates, with a straight face and on behalf of a Conservative Party, economic policies of Centralised Big Government, such as his 'Direct Action' scheme to reduce Greenhouse Gases, combined seamlessly with Libertarian Absence of Government Interference policies which increase the Economic Elites' ability to make more profit from their businesses and to make a profit from previously Public Services, such as Health and Education.

AMBITION, n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.

'I predict' this in Tony Abbott's political future.

ANTIPATHY, n. The sentiment inspired by one's friend's friend.

Tony Abbott inspires more of this among his circle of friends every day it seems.

APHORISM, n. Predigested wisdom.

The flabby wine-skin of his brain

Yields to some pathologic strain,

And voids from its unstored abysm

The driblet of an aphorism.

—"The Mad Philosopher," 1697

This is what inspires the antipathy and the slow anti-Abbott burn which is occurring in the community.

APOLOGIZE, v.i. To lay the foundation for a future offence.

The Tony Abbott modus operandi.

APOSTATE, n. A leech who, having penetrated the shell of a turtle only to find that the creature has long been dead, deems it expedient to form a new attachment to a fresh turtle.

APPLAUSE, n. The echo of a platitude.

Tony Abbott hears lots of applause for his words.

ARENA, n. In politics, an imaginary rat-pit in which the statesman wrestles with his record.

In Canberra it's not so imaginary, it's called the Press Gallery.

ARISTOCRACY, n. Government by the best men. (In this sense the word is obsolete; so is that kind of government.) Fellows that wear downy hats and clean shirts — guilty of education and suspected of bank accounts. To which I would add: Fellows who wear bicycle helmets, and clean, white shirts ironed by women.

ASPERSE, v.t. Maliciously to ascribe to another vicious actions which one has not had the temptation and opportunity to commit.

And which are usually the subject of Prime Minister Censure Motions by the Leader of the Opposition.

BACK, n. That part of your friend which it is your privilege to contemplate in your adversity.

That part of the anatomy every politician knows the location of.

BACKBITE, v.t. To speak of a man as you find him when he can't find you.

The reason for there being so many corridors in Parliament House.

BAIT, n. A preparation that renders the hook more palatable. The best kind is beauty.

Tony Abbott's wife and daughters in other words.

BATTLE, n. A method of untying with the teeth of a political knot that would not yield to the tongue.

QANTAS' IR policy.

BEFRIEND, v.t. To make an ingrate.

Tony Abbott would like you to think he has lots of friends. They people his photo ops every day. He befriends a new lot of friends every day, and then he is gone. I wonder what some of the befriended think of him after he has gone.

BEHAVIOR, n. Conduct, as determined, not by principle, but by breeding.

We see it every day, in every way, from the Leader of the Opposition, and the Prime Minister too. By their behaviour, so shall ye know them.

BLACKGUARD, n. A man whose qualities, prepared for display like a box of berries in a market — the fine ones on top — have been opened on the wrong side. An inverted gentleman.

A favourite word of Tony Abbott's, however, in this instance, aptly describing Tony Abbott.

BONDSMAN, n. A fool who, having property of his own, undertakes to become responsible for that entrusted to another to a third. Philippe of Orleans wishing to appoint one of his favorites, a dissolute nobleman, to a high office, asked him what security he would be able to give. "I need no bondsmen," he replied, "for I can give you my word of honor." "And pray what may be the value of that?" inquired the amused Regent. "Monsieur, it is worth its weight in gold."

Tony Abbott gives his 'word of honour' on a regular basis. He wants us to believe it is worth its weight in gold too.

BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.

No comment.

BOUNDARY, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other.

For example, Australia and Indonesia.

CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbour. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

A Tony Abbott Christian by definition.

CIRCUS, n. A place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and children acting the fool.

Or Federal Parliament.

COMMENDATION, n. The tribute that we pay to achievements that resembles, but do not equal, our own.

Tony Abbott's lifeblood.

COMMONWEALTH, n. An administrative entity operated by an incalculable multitude of political parasites, logically active but fortuitously efficient.

An Ode to Federal Parliament, Canberra:

This commonwealth's capitol's corridors view.

So thronged with a hungry and indolent crew

Of clerks, pages, porters and all attaches

Whom rascals appoint and the populace pays.

That a cat cannot slip through the thicket of shins.

Nor hear its own shriek for the noise of their chins.

On clerks and on pages, and porters, and all,

Misfortune attend and disaster befall!

May life be to them a succession of hurts;

May fleas by the bushel inhabit their shirts;

May aches and diseases encamp in their bones,

Their lungs full of tubercles, bladders of stones;

May microbes, bacilli, their tissues infest,

And tapeworms securely their bowels digest;

May corn-cobs be snared without hope in their hair,

And frequent impalement their pleasure impair.

Disturbed be their dreams by the awful discourse

Of audible sofas sepulchrally hoarse,

By chairs acrobatic and wavering floors —

The mattress that kicks and the pillow that snores!

Sons of cupidity, cradled in sin!

Your criminal ranks may the death angel thin,

Avenging the friend whom I couldn't work in.


CONFIDANT, CONFIDANTE, n. One entrusted by A with the secrets of B, confided by him to C.

Or the definition of a parliamentary Press Gallery.

CONGRATULATION, n. The civility of envy.

CONGRESS, n. A body of men who meet to repeal laws.

Equally becoming the leit-motif of the Tony Abbott-led Coalition. Funny how things haven't changed at all with respect to the Conservative parties, both here and in America.

CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

CONSULT, v.i. To seek another's approval of a course already decided on.

How Tony Abbott 'consults' his party. He really should rename it, 'The One Man Band Party'.

CONTROVERSY, n. A battle in which spittle or ink replaces the injurious cannon-ball and the inconsiderate bayonet.

A News Ltd. Speciality.

CONVERSATION, n. A fair to the display of the minor mental commodities, each exhibitor being too intent upon the arrangement of his own wares to observe those of his neighbour.

CORPORATION, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

CORSAIR, n. A politician of the seas.

Tony Abbott in 'Boatphone' mode.

COWARD, n. One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.

Tony Abbott when Press Conferences get too hot to handle.

CUI BONO? [Latin] What good would that do me?

The Abbott family motto.


A savage beast which, when it sleeps,

Man girds at and despises,

But takes himself away by leaps

And bounds when it arises.

—Ambat Delaso

Tony Abbott leaving Press Conferences precipitously shows he doesn't like to court it.

DARING, n. One of the most conspicuous qualities of a man in security.

Tony Abbott showed a lot of it when in 'relaxed and comfortable' mode, leading the polls.

DEBAUCHEE, n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it.

I would only add that I believe Tony Abbott has debauched the position of Leader of the Opposition.

DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver.

As, pent in an aquarium, the troutlet

Swims round and round his tank to find an outlet,
Pressing his nose against the glass that holds him,
Nor ever sees the prison that enfolds him;
So the poor debtor, seeing naught around him,

Yet feels the narrow limits that impound him,

Grieves at his debt and studies to evade it

And finds at last he might as well have paid it.

—Barlow S. Vode

Still used a s a virtual whip by the Corporate Capitalists (is that an oxymoron?), and by the Opposition to scare small children and Widows.

DECIDE, v.i. To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.

A leaf was riven from a tree,

"I mean to fall to earth," said he.

The west wind, rising, made him veer.

"Eastward," said he, "I now shall steer.


The east wind rose with greater force.

Said he: "'Twere wise to change my course.


With equal power they contend.

He said: "My judgment I suspend


Down died the winds; the leaf, elate,

Cried: "I've decided to fall straight."

"First thoughts are best?" That's not the moral;

Just choose your own and we'll not quarrel.

Howe'er your choice may chance to fall,

You'll have no hand in it at all.


The thought processes that inform Tony Abbott's decisions from one day to the next must look a lot like this.

DEFAME, v.t. To lie about another. To tell the truth about another.

So that's how to get away with walking both sides of the street?

DEFENCELESS, adj. Unable to attack.

Mr Abbott's fallback position.

DEGRADATION, n. One of the stages of moral and social progress from private station to political preferment.

DEINOTHERIUM, n. An extinct pachyderm that flourished when the Pterodactyl was in fashion. The latter was a native of Ireland, its name being pronounced Terry Dactyl or Peter O'Dactyl, as the man pronouncing it may chance to have heard it spoken or seen it printed.

Not entirely a position confined to the Irish, just ask any modern day Creationist, Like Tony Abbott.

DELIBERATION, n. The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.

Or, Tony Abbott's breakfast prayer: 'Give us our daily bread, Peta and Brian.'

DELUSION, n. The father of a most respectable family, comprising Enthusiasm, Affection, Self-denial, Faith, Hope, Charity and many other goodly sons and daughters.

DESTINY, n. A tyrant's authority for crime and fool's excuse for failure.

DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one's country.

DISCUSSION, n. A method of confirming others in their errors.

DISOBEDIENCE, n. The silver lining to the cloud of servitude.

Go the 99% ers!

DISSEMBLE, v.i. To put a clean shirt upon the character.

Have you noticed how clean and white are the shirts Tony Abbott wears?

DISTANCE, n. The only thing that the rich are willing for the poor to call theirs, and keep.

DOG, n. A kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world's worship. This Divine Being in some of his smaller and silkier incarnations takes, in the affection of Woman, the place to which there is no human male aspirant. The Dog is a survival — an anachronism. He toils not, neither does he spin, yet Solomon in all his glory never lay upon a door-mat all day long, sun-soaked and fly-fed and fat, while his master worked for the means wherewith to purchase the idle wag of the Solomonic tail, seasoned with a look of tolerant recognition.

I just wanted to include this one for all the doggy people out there.

DRAGOON, n. A soldier who combines dash and steadiness in so equal measure that he makes his advances on foot and his retreats on horseback.

Coalition Tactics 101.

DULLARD, n. A member of the reigning dynasty in letters and life. The Dullards came in with Adam, and being both numerous and sturdy have overrun the habitable world. The secret of their power is their insensibility to blows; tickle them with a bludgeon and they laugh with a platitude. The Dullards came originally from Boeotia, whence they were driven by stress of starvation, their dullness having blighted the crops. For some centuries they infested Philistia, and many of them are called Philistines to this day. In the turbulent times of the Crusades they withdrew thence and gradually overspread all Europe, occupying most of the high places in politics, art, literature, science and theology.

DUTY, n. That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.

Doesn't Tony Abbott say that it's his duty to hold the government to account?

Well, that's enough for now - part 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?

A Prior Engagement

Channel Nine aren’t too sure if their once-popular entertainment show, “This is Your Life”, has a viable future.

Eddie Maguire himself is ambivalent, but is willing to experiment to see if its fortunes can be resuscitated.

So, Eddie has decided that he will be the compere. He has also realised that a big name guest is needed to bring up the ratings. And, who bigger than ANDREW BOLT!

However, Eddie doesn’t realise the connection (or, more accurately, ex-connection) between Andrew and the “This is Your Life” producer, Suzanne Walshe.

But, you may ask, who is this Suzanne Walshe chick?

Yes, this Suzanne Walshe:

Eddie: Righto, Walshie...Andrew Bolt is our feature guest this week, so I want you to rustle up a few significant people in Andy’s life, to make him look good, as he is a good mate of mine, you understand...

[Walshie, at the mention of Andrew’s name, feels an inner twinge of discomfort but, being a good actor, shows no outward signs of her inner emotions.]

Walshie: Erm...no worries, Eddie...I’ll get cracking straight away...

[As Eddie exits her office, Walshie can feel heaps of succulent schadenfreude coming on. “Andy Bolt!” she repeats to herself, “well, well, well...this is going to be an interesting show, if I have anything to do with it...heh...heh...”

And so, Walshie begins to put her Machiavellian bastard of a plan into action. Utilising all of her acting and impersonating skills, she puts together a series of tapes that she will play on the show.

Then, on the night in question, Eddie strolls off, Red Book in hand, to track Andy down. As a rouse, one of Walshie’s underlings told Andy there was a Tea Party meeting in the Channel Nine staff canteen and he had dutifully turned up to rally the troops. However, when Andy got there, he was the only one present and was forced to listen to the tea-lady complaining about her lumbago. So when Eddie fronted up with his camera crew, it was a welcome relief to escape from the inane prattling of the old duck.

Soon, Andy is ensconced on the big sofa in the studio. However, unfortunately, he is blissfully unaware that his ex-fiancé is sitting in the producer’s garret above the studio floor.

And Eddie, for his part, hasn’t been informed on what is about to unfold. He has always been quite happy to rock up and simply read the script off the auto-cue.

As she is counting down the seconds to broadcast time, Walshie is having a few delicious thoughts. “Heh...heh...so he doesn’t remember us being engaged, doesn’t he...And I was nothing more than a belly dancer, was I...well, I’ll show him...It’ll be me who’ll have the belly-laugh this time...hee...hee...”.]

Eddie: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls...You saw on the monitor the famous celebrity who I surprised in the staff canteen...and it is my great pleasure to now welcome to the studio...Mr...Andrew...Bolt!!!

[However, a cacophony of boos and hisses rings out from the studio audience. Eddie is totally taken aback, and hasn’t realised that Walshie has done a reverse Rooty Hill with pike and mustered up all the Occupy Wall (and every other fascist) Street protesters she could cram into the studio. Eager to detract from the rudeness of the leftie malingerers in the studio audience, Eddie starts to read from the auto-cue.]

Eddie: Righto...let’s get this show on the road, shall we...And our first video guest tonight will tell us what a great guy Andy is...and he is none other than...erm... Alan...Joyce?

“Joycey”: Top o’ the mornin’ to ye, cousin! And isn’t it great to see ye gettin’ on so well in Oostraylia, to be sure...to be sure...Yes, I remember well the good old days when, as cousins in the great Joyce-Bolt Irish tinker clan in Ballygobackwards, we used to travel around on our horse and cart...mending pots and pans...and laying down some mighty driveways that would make the M1 in England look like the Rocky Road to Dublin...to be sure...to be sure...And, wasn’t it during those great days, cousin, we learned all the tricks of the entrepreneurial trade...Oh, and by the way, Andy, and you too Eddie, as I hear you are a bit of an entrepreneur yourself...heh...heh...would you like to join me in buying up an old airline or two – I’ve got myself involved and turned them so much to shite, they’re goin’ for an absolute song...to be sure...to be sure...Whaddya think, lads...are ye in?

[Eddie and Andy haven’t realised that they have been watching Walshie playing silly buggers. They look at each other as if they’ve both been sucked onto the set of a Twilight Zone episode. Mercifully, however, Walshie moves the auto-cue on.]

Eddie (extemporising): Huh...they say blood’s thicker than water...I reckon that bloke’s even thicker again...Now, viewers...it’s my great pleasure to offer to you someone who will definitely make sense...and...it...is...Hugo...Chavez?

[Walshie runs the tape, and she is such a great impersonator, again no-one even suspects that it is her playing the part.]

“Hugo”: Andy!!! Comrade!!! Companero!!! It’s great to be part of this magnifico opportunity to pay tribute to you, comrade...

[Andy is looking aghast at the monitor. “WTF is this clown on”, he mutters sotto voce to himself. “If he thinks I’m his comrade, he must have just got back from Columbia and ingested his year’s supply in just one friggin’ hit!”.]

“Hugo”: Oh, yes, they were the days, comrade, when you and I roamed our beautiful Venezuelan jungles, AK 47’s in hand, waging guerrilla warfare on the capitalist swine and their gringo collaborators...And then, around the campfire, you would read to us from your favourite book, “The Collected Works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and Bob Brown”...Yes, those were the days comrade...

[Andy, looking exceptionally alarmed, turns to Eddie, placing his hand against the side of his mouth, masking his words from the camera.]

Andy: Shit!! I don’t remember any of this!!

[Eddie prays for the auto-cue to move on, and thankfully it does.]

Eddie: Right...now, that was intriguing, wasn’t it...Isn’t Andy such a very broad-minded chap to have such “interesting” friends...And now, our next guest is...Al...Gore?

[Walshie runs the tape of her impersonating the famous environmental educator and ex Vice-President of the USA.]

“Al”: Well, howdy, pardner!!! It’s my great honour to say a few words of praise to you from my eco-ranch here in the good ol’ US of A...And I just want all the good folk there in Australia to know that, if it wasn’t for you, Andy, those poor polar bear critters in my famous documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, would have certainly drowned when their ice floes melted due to global warming...But, just in the nick of time, you and your Greenpeace greenie buddies came along and gave them mouth-to-mouth, Tony Abbott-style...

[At the very mention of Tones’ name, a near-riot breaks out amongst the leftie feral studio audience. Again Andy turns in shock to Eddie.]

Andy: Shit!! I don’t remember anything about this...

[Once more, Eddie is glad to see the auto-cue tick over.]

Eddie: Yes...thank you Mr Gore...now...everyone...we have...this time...a local Australian celebrity...

[“Thank Christ”, Andy mutters to himself.]

Eddie: And, it is none other than...Geoff...Clark?

[Walshie had herself taped doing an impersonation of the ex-Chairman of ATSIC cooking a bush tucker barbeque, somewhere way out west of Woop Woop.]

“Geoff”: Andy!! Bro!!! Jeeze, mate, we really miss ya out these parts...Ever since you were taken away all those years ago by the Chief Protector and his slimy mob, we’ve missed ya, bro...But, even after all these years, we reckon you can still make it back, mate...Just follow the Rabbit Proof Fence – after all, it weren’t a problem for Molly and Daisy...heh...heh...

[Andy can’t believe the extent of the sleights against his impeccable character and, again, looks incredulously at Eddie, mouthing soundlessly that he has no memory whatsoever of being a member of the Stolen Generation.

Meanwhile, upstairs in the producer’s garret, Walshie is wetting herself laughing. She runs the auto-cue to inform Eddie that there will be a musical interlude, with Jim Kerr in the studio singing his famous “Simple Minds” hit, “Don’t you forget about me”.

Eddie: And thank you, Jim Kerr!!!

[The audience would rather carry on with singing, “La...la...la...la...” and do so vociferously, so Eddie just talks over the top of the bolshie wastrels.]

Eddie: And...our next guest will – hopefully – tell us what a really great guy Andy is...So, it’s my great pleasure to introduce to you...erm...Abu...Bakar...friggin’...Bashir?

[Walshie gleefully rolls the tape of her doing her best Abu impersonation, filmed in what looks like the penthouse suite of some correctional institute in Indonesia.]

“Abu”: Salam, Brother Andy!! It is so great to smuggle this tape out to be shown on your TV program!! I am delighted to be able to tell everyone how instrumental you were in helping us set up our network of fundamentalist madrassa schools here...I remember well how you, as a young trainee teacher came over here and, by the sweat of your brow, personally erected madrassa after madrassa, whilst, at the same time, quoting to your eager students chunks from the Koran, which you obviously knew off by heart...What reverence and dedication to our cause!!

[Eddie has heard enough, and so has Andy, who is squirming on the sofa, gesticulating to Eddie that he has no memories whatsoever of any such dodgy extra-curricular activity on his part.

Then, Eddie reads the auto-cue from Walshie, directing him to involve some audience participation. So, Eddie begs members of the audience for some sort of a positive testimony on Andy’s contribution to the welfare of humankind. In the front row of the studio audience mosh-pit, a very eager chap has his hand in the air, shouting, “pick me...pick me...” repeatedly. Walshie instructs the boom-mic operator and the cameras to hone in on this particular individual who, “coincidentally”, is a close friend of hers.]

“Random” guy: Oh, hi Andy – it’s been such a long time, so you probably won’t remember me...but we went to school together and I recall your party trick in Maths class when you wanted to get out of doing your work by pretending to the teacher that you had left your calculator at home...But what the teacher didn’t know was that you had your calculator with you all the time...Everybody else knew you had gone to the dunny and secreted it in a place no-one would dare look...What a hero and legend you were...all your class-mates were in awe of you...So, Andy, I’ve got my calculator with me – will you show us all your party trick here on national TV?
[Andy is packing it big time by this stage. He hasn’t got a clue who this dork is and, whilst he is futilely claiming no memories whatsoever of such a preposterous claim, the studio audience is chanting, “What does he want? Vaseline! When does he want it? Now!”

Eddie is even more mortified at the surreal direction his show has taken. He turns around to commiserate with Andy, but, by this stage, the sofa is as empty as Tony Abbott’s wallet, and Whyalla’s main street, after the Carbon Tax has been brought in. And, looking at the monitor, Eddie notes that the credits are running and the next program is just starting.

Whilst the studio audience files out to see if Betty Windsor is still around to chuck some more rotten tomatoes at, Walshie comes down from the producer’s garret onto the studio floor, where Eddie is still all lathered in sweat.]

Eddie: Jeeze! Never again...never again...Hey, Walshie, I think I’ll hand this job back to Mike Munro – it’s too much like hard work for my liking...However, I really felt sorry for poor old Andy tonight...he was so highly thought of by all those famous people – but it was really strange that he couldn’t remember a single thing about what they were recalling...do you think he’s getting a bit of the old-timers? And why did he shoot through without saying cheerio?

Walshie (sniggering): Nah, more like selective amnesia if you ask me...And, as for his hasty departure, let’s just say he suddenly remembered he had a prior engagement...heh...heh...