The Queensland Quagmire

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Thursday, 30 August 2012 16:14 by Acerbic Conehead
If a week is a long time in politics, then the last week must have felt even longer than eternity in the Fires of Hell for Tony Abbott and the rest of the lost souls of the Federal Opposition.

So, in an attempt to cheer them up, Peta Credlin and her hubby, Brian Loughnane, have decided to throw a fancy dress party. It will have a biblical/religious theme and, of course, Tones is coming along as his hero, Jesus. Brian and Peta, respectively, are dressing up as that nasty biblical plutocratic duet, Herod and Herodias.

So, at the venue, Joe Hockey and Christopher Pyne are acting as bouncers. Dutifully, they are guarding the door, awaiting the guests. Joe is dressed in a cassock and Pyney has a dog-collar on.

Peta: Erm...thanks guys for coming along and helping out with security...Hopefully, we’ll all have a spiffing evening which will help us forget about the Purgatory we had to endure last week...

[Joe and Pyney are no mugs. They know that by volunteering to be on the door, they can get into the keg early, so are both well-oiled even at this early stage of the proceedings.]

Peta: Oh, and great costumes, guys...very thematic...

Joe: Yeah...kitted out in my cassock, Peta, it’s obvious who I am, isn’t it?

[Peta ventures, “Friar Tuck”, and Joe beams, pleased as the punch he’s been drinking, Peta got it in one.]

Peta: Erm, Pyney...so, with your dog-collar, I presume you’re some sort of a priest?

Joe: Nah, he’s come along as the dog in the manger – haven’t you seen him wrecking Question Time every week...haw...haw...

Brian: Yeah, and talking about mangers, I bet Julie Bishop rocks up with an upturned crib on her head...bwahahahahaha...

Peta: Yeah, she’s an expert at copying other people’s stuff...haw...haw...

[Suddenly, interrupting the raucous party spirit that is already under way at the venue door, a stretched limo pulls up and a coterie of characters that looks like it has stepped off a Cecil B deMille set, alights.

Firstly, and most appropriately, out steps Tony Abbott, with a long wig and false beard, but dressed only in his trademark budgie smugglers. Accompanying him is Sophie Mirabella, dressed as Salome; Phil Ruddock is Methuselah; Alan Jones is a penitential monk kitted out in a nice chaff-bag sackcloth-and-ashes number; Warren Truss, making a snoring sound, presumably is acting out the role of one of the disciples who fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane; Barnaby Joyce has come along as Moses, with a stone tablet under both arms, each with six Commandments on it; and Bill Heffernan is carrying a pitchfork.]

Peta: Erm...Tones...I know you said you were coming along as Jesus, but I didn’t know they could afford budgie smugglers in those days...

Tones: Of course they could afford them in those days, Peta – there was no carbon tax then to clean out their wallets...heh...heh...

Brian: Tones, I’m very disappointed, I must say, that you’ve turned up in a limo – I thought you would arrive on a donkey...hee...hee...

Tones: Oh very droll, Brian...But, speaking of dumb-asses, Peter Dutton sends his apologies – he’s got a bit of a runny nose and he says he is going to make use of the circumstances to build up some hands-on experience for his future Health portfolio gig...heh...hee...

[So, amidst much mutual back-slapping and boisterous bonhomie, the Federal Opposition party animals, except for Joe and Pyney, who are still dutifully manning the door, enter the venue.

Once inside, however, Tones views the decor and is singularly unimpressed. There is no stage for him to mount later, so that he can give his Sermon on the Mount to the assembled faithful. He complains to Peta, who in turn clicks her fingers, summoning Brian over, like a little lap-dog.

“Sheesh”, sighs Tones to himself. “Why do we do it? Why do we allow ourselves to be demeaned like this? I reckon those gay marriage guys must have rocks in their heads...”

Peta orders Brian to get himself toot sweet over to the Builder’s yard across the street and pinch some planks of wood to build a stage for Jesus’ sermon. Knowing what side his unleavened bread is buttered on, Brian scoots across and is back within two shakes of the Lost Lamb’s tail. He gets down to work so diligently, he makes St Joseph the Carpenter, at the time of the Sanhedrin Stimpac, look like the Big Man Himself after he had made the world in six days and was having his sabbath RDO.

But, another thing Tones wasn’t happy with was the band. Again, he complained to Peta, for which she rebuked him, telling him to lighten.]

Peta [peeved]: I only remembered at the last minute, mate, about organising some music, so they are all I could get...

Tones: Well, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band is better than nothing, I suppose – what do they call themselves, anyway?

Peta: The Swann-E Street Band, I think...and as a bonus, they told me they are going to do a version of the Whyalla Wipeout later on!

Tones: Huh! Couldn’t be any worse than Emo’s pathetic rendition...haw...haw...

Peta: Oh, and the reason we couldn’t afford to hire a venue with a stage was that we splashed most of our dough on the band’s fee...

Tones: Oh? How much did those clowns sting us?

Peta: Well, put it like this...I don’t think Bruce himself would charge much more – the Springsteen look-a-like front-man told me they charged so much cos “they needed to do something to find the dosh to pay for their budget surplus...”



Tones [conciliatory]: Well, I must say, Peta, the food and drink is second to none...there’s everything here...it would make the original Herod and Herodias nosh-up look like Jesus’ forty days’ fast in the wilderness...

Peta: Yeah...the only thing is, there’s so much to be consumed, we’ll never get the buggers to go home at the end of the evening...But, then again, when you start your Sermon on the Mount, that’ll soon clear the room quicksmart...heh...heh...

Tones: Oh, very drool, Peta...But, I’ve got an even better idea for clearing the room – just get Sophie to do her Salome dance-of-the-seven-veils routine – that’s guaranteed to get even the cockroaches on their bikes...hee...hee...By the way, have you seen Julie this evening...bwahahahahaha...

[Whilst Peta and Tones have been chewing the fatted calf inside, Joe and Pyney have been dutifully announcing the guests as they enter. However, there has been a hiatus for a while and they are bored stiff. They decide to play a joke on Tones.]

Joe [hollering into the festivities hall]: And now, dressed as the Angel of Death is...Ms Leigh Sales!!!!

[The very mention of the name of his most recent red-headed nemesis puts the fear of the Lord into Tones and he scuttles, trembling at the knees, under a table to hide, much to the merriment of the assembled guests and Joe and Pyney especially.

Then, outside, walking along the street, Joe and Pyney notice, heading in their direction, a strange figure, tramp-like, and seemingly attired in goat-skins, with a staff in one hand and a jar containing some insects in some yellowish liquid in the other.]

Tramp [bellowing]: HEAR YE!!! HEAR YE!!! MAKE WAY FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD!!! MAKE A STRAIGHT PATH FOR HIM TO TRAVEL ON HIS BIKE!!!

Joe [very alarmed]: OMG!!! It’s that nutter, “CanDo” Campbell Newman!!! He thinks he’s John the Baptist, fresh from making a desert wasteland of the province of Queensland!!! Quick, lock the door before he gets in and spoils the Federal party as well...

[However, falling back on his macho army training, CanDo is more than a match for Friar Tuck and the Poodle who Pooped in the Manger. He whacks them with his staff, leaving them lying senseless on the pavement outside the venue. Striding inside, he spots Tones, who has just extricated himself from under the table. CanDo immediately genuflects in front of his Messiah.]

CanDo: MY LORD!!! MY LORD!!! I AM NOT FIT TO UNTIE THE STRING ON YOUR BUDGIE SMUGGLERS...

Tones [scandalised]: PETA!!! PETA!!! HELP!!! HELP!!! THIS POOFTER WANTS TO INTERFERE WITH THE STRING ON MY BUDGIES!!! I FEEL THREATENED!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!

[Even Peta is lost for words. “What a potential freakin’ disaster we could have on our hands here”, she whispers to herself. “If this fruit-loop banana-bender convinces the whole country that what he is doing in Queensland is a fore-runner to what we are planning to do federally, we’re stuffed!”

Then, CanDo, hollering something about “if locusts and wild honey are good enough for Queenslanders, then they’re good enough for the rest of you”, smashes, with hammering blows from his staff, all the containers of food and drinks sitting on the tables.

Peta, trying to keep her head, but determined that CanDo is about to lose his, turns to Brian, who, all night, had been axing wooden planks and hammering the stage together. She orders him to chop CanDo’s scone off, which he does expertly with one blow. Then, Peta turns menacingly to Tones.]

Peta: Righto, Jesus...your cousin John the Baptist has let the cat out of the bag, so we’ve no other option but to sacrifice you as well...Brian!!! Bring two of those planks and make a cross!!!

[Understandably, the crucifixion of Tones puts a dampener on the evening’s jollifications, so the venue soon empties, except for the Swann E Street Band, who had kept on playing, and Peta. To make sure she gets her bond back, Peta is tidying up, sweeping the floor around Tones’ cross. However, from the near-dead figure, she hears a whispered, barely-audible, pleading coming from his almost-lifeless lips.]

Tones [hoarsely]: Peta...Peta...

[Peta pulls a stool over to stand on, so she can hear Tones’ dying last words.] Tones: Peta...Peta...

Peta: What is it, Tones? I can’t hear you...you’ll have to speak up...

Tones: Peta...I can see The Lodge from here...

Peta: Well, too bad sucker...you can blame your stupid cousin, CanDo, for your predicament...It’s his fault you’ll never see it’s inside...Now...that reminds me...I better make an appointment to see the pre-selectors for Warringah...there’s going to be a vacancy there pretty soon...heh...heh...

[Then, mockingly, the Swann-E Street Band plays its final number of the evening: “We Take Care Of Our Own”.]