It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to provide the slavering masses with a preview of the Budget (2011 here and 2012 here), so to further embed the stickability of my voter base, here are five initiatives that will fall victim to the entrenched myopia of the mainstream media:
1. The Profanity Innovation Fund
$14.2 million over four years, to fund some long overdue profanity innovation. For too long have I had to put up with Chris Pyne using terms like ‘poopy skittle dick’. For the coming decades we need forward thinking linguists to provide Australia with universally offensive phrases for bogans to use when they travel overseas.
2. Excessive Sandwich Variance Levy
Some sandwich condiments should never mix and this levy will ensure sandwich shops will toe the line. In recent months I’ve seen abominations like ricotta cheese and BBQ sauce sandwiches, junket and avocado rolls, and a Peck’s Paste and Chicken Twistie wrap. The rights of the individual should never override the wider societal good of removing abuse like this from our streets. $12.6 million projected revenue in the next financial year.
3. Adam Hills Minimisation Charge
As the most over-exposed and overrated TV personality since Delvene Delaney, the Government has felt the need to step in. Any household watching more than one Adam Hills appearance a week will be charged $5.00 per instance, minus $1.00 for each time Adam Hills isn’t funny. This will be a cost-neutral budget measure.
4. Retro Foodstuff Improvement Incentive
Big R&D incentives for:
- Hi-fibre Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs
- Sugar free Sunny Boys
- Tang with fortified vitamins
- Avocado flavoured Pop Rocks
5. YouTube Usage Sensibility Levy
I don’t care if Baby Monkey Riding Backwards On A Pig is so life changing that it deserves 15 views a day from each member of the public. NBN or not, our internet infrastructure is going to fall over if people keep YouTubing all night. We want to see a farmer getting his health check-ups in real-time from a good doctor 1000km away, not unlimited viewing of the coolest drummer ever.
So to sum up: when you’re watching my esteemed friend and colleague Wayne Swan bore the shit out of you on Tuesday night, remember some of the smaller, unsung heroes in the background that will ensure Australia’s ongoing prosperity. You’re welcome.
As a high profile Senator and acclaimed elder of the ALP, I’m used to turbulent times in politics. Even so, the past month has been more feral than a Young ALP branch mainlining West Coast Coolers. Whether it was the predictable News Ltd excoriation of our Western Sydney cavalcade of policies, or Mark Latham emerging from his survivalist stronghold in Campbelltown to lecture on ALP election strategy, it’s not been the best month.
Which is why it was nice to see Tony Abbott emerge from his media hunger strike to allow himself to be beaten to death with a honey-coated red feather boa by Liz Hayes on 60 Minutes. I’ve seen to great image rehabilitation jobs in my time (Tim Fischer actually ending up Deputy PM and Trade Minister is one example), but the effort on 60 Minutes is one of the best, if not doomed efforts I’ve seen.
In case you didn’t know, Tony Abbott is one of the most cynical, ruthless and stark raving mad politicians I’ve seen. He makes Kevin Rudd seem lovelier than Miss Jane from Mr Squiggle, and Mark Latham kinder than a Greg Combet/Jenny Macklin love child. He also happens to be nuttier than Bananaby Joyce and Bob Katter in a macadamia jelly wrestle – and all that’s when he’s on his best behaviour.
With that sort of persona, no number of commercial TV fluff pieces are going to redeem him. That said, one should never doubt the ability of some 60 Minutes viewers to fawn over a good family BBQ scene and Tony’s segment featured nine such scenes although I note that the gas bottle wasn’t connected to the BBQ.
So what’s the point of this nuanced critique? Is it just an overt slagging of the worst Prime Minister Australia is at risk of electing? Pretty much – although it is central to my approach to life that I always identify the good in other people, so it’s along those lines I bring you three good things Tony Abbott has done:
1. In 2004 he gave Alexander Downer a wedgie in one of Parliament’s lifts – the good thing was hearing Downer squeal.
2. He’s mentored and encouraged Cory Bernardi, the biggest ALP vote booster since Federation.
3. The sales of male hair products Australia-wide have declined 425% since his disclosure that he uses product on his threadbare rug. A huge environmental saving that has been more effective than all of the Coalition’s alleged environmental policies combined.
Before I sign off, most of you will have noticed the title of this post – I can confirm that following on from the most successful election diary in the history of civilisation, I will be sharing my 2013 election campaign trail with you each day*. This year’s trail may be a particularly rocky one, but at the end of every rocky road is a full stomach and potentially some nausea – I intend on delivering that in full.
* The election hasn’t started yet so don’t be expecting too much too soon.
Last Sunday saw our Cleaner Energy Future package really hit its stride now the new financial year has rolled around. At dawn on Sunday morning I got up to check the world hadn’t ended. Not because of our package but due to the Government receiving a briefing that there was a chance the Queen was going to finally launch her nukes now the Jubilee is over.
It sounds barmy but was rated as a more credible threat than reports of Clive Palmer flying a replica of the Hindenburg over Parliament House and impaling it on the flag pole. We have confiscated Palmer’s four airships to be safe but there’s not a lot we can do about the Queen, except to reassure her that Paul Keating remains under house arrest.
Back to our cleaner energy future, it’s becoming obvious every passing day that Abbott’s scare campaign has been shown to have no more substance than Joe Hockey’s library full of Dean Koontz books. To emphasise some actual facts, here’s five things you may not know about our Cleaner Energy Future package:
1. Any individual that plants 4 hectares of forest on their land will be provided four prisoners, nursing home residents or unemployed Social Workers to assist with planting and maintenance.
2. To reduce the carbon footprint of our National Capital, whilst also being a role model for the rest of the country to follow:
- Parliament will sit for 7 less days per year: a large sacrifice for a much greater good
- Cars will only be driven on alternate days, determined by ballot, with a 20% increase in ACTION buses to encourage use of public transport or walking / cycling – for national security reasons Parliament will not sit on no-car days
- Lake Burley Griffin will be populated with 2500 paddle-wheel boats to create the world’s first lake-centred hydroelectric facility
3. All Drag Racing will be limited to Datsun 180Bs converted to run on electricity
4. Kim Carr has signed an undertaking to reduce his methane emissions by 100% by 2050
5. The Big Brother TV show, Reece Mastin, hipsters, chicken popcorn, Halloween and Craig Emerson’s singing career will all be banned permanently. Not because of the environmental benefits but because sometimes you just have to act for the benefit of everyone.
As always let me know about how you admire our Government’s trail-blazing efforts to keep Australia as a world leader in saving the earth.
Photo courtesy of SILLBEER
Last year I gave you a wide-reaching view of the Budget process.
This year I wanted to flag some of our Budget initiatives that get overlooked in the hubbub around the headline items that the media like to froth over:
$4 million Haemorrhoid Support Garment Purchase Scheme, starting 2016
$42 million over 12 years for Esky Restoration Allowance
$850.00 over 3 years for Pseudo Echo Museum in Geelong
$4.8 million over 12 mths for a Kingswood Country Travelling Film Education Initiative: to ensure this iconic aussie TV masterpiece is shown in every school
$13.6 million over 3 years for a Bogan Tramp Stamp Removal Scheme
$2.8 million and a bain marie warehouse constructed in Brisbane as part of a new Chiko Roll Preservation Taskforce
$182 million over 2 years for the Sex Worker Financial Support Scheme, to assist a key industry suffering from reduced union investment
$4500.00 over 8 years on a 100% tax subsidy for any Australian investing in local manufacturing industry
$1.2 million to help Scouts, via Woggle Innovation Initiative
Lycra Bike Shorts Abolition Scheme – $1.7 million to swap out with terry-towelling shorts
Appreciate your thoughts on any areas you feel we could have covered.
In with anger, out with hate.
It’s a meditation I use most days, but this week has just about seen me wear it out. It’s not the day-to-day burdens of power. They are something you become used to – a daily grind as certain as the smell in a toilet in the four hours after Joe Hockey has been in there (eight hours if it’s any of the Greens).
It’s the constant media speculation on leadership, the terrible display from the Opposition in Question Time this week and the unreasonable criticism of Julia personally have combined put me close to the edge.
It really throws into the most extreme focus the issue of loyalty and how little of it seems to be moving around the current Parliament.
So yet again, here’s some objective information on the shenanigans of recent days and how showing loyalty may have led to things coming out a little differently. Actually, that’ about as likely to happen as our popularity rating moving above 30% by Christmas, but you get my drift.
It’s a well known fact that the majority of the Canberra Press Gallery will only truly come alive if one of four prospects are on the cards:
1. An election announcement
2. Barnaby Joyce singing karaoke
3, There’s someone within a 4500km radius of Canberra willing to engage in leadership speculation
4. Laurie Oakes reciting the poetry of Philip Larkin
That’s why it only took one ALP parliamentarian present at Barnaby’s last gig (his rendition of Katy Perry’s Firework was actually not bad) to make an off-the-cuff remark to a News Ltd journalist, and the whole shitfight started up again. Now we’re back at the stage of Kevin allegedly counting the numbers (he’s not – Therese is doing it) and Julia allegedly feeling even more pressured on polling and leadership (ok she is).
More loyalty could have occurred at three junctures here. First, the ALP parliamentarian should know that any silly comments will be misconstrued by any journalist, let alone a News Ltd one. Therefore, he should have kept his mouth shut. Second, the News Ltd journalist should have been more loyal to his own common sense by believing anything Kevin says. Third, both Kevin and the journalist should have shown more loyalty to the confidentiality of the karaoke sessions. Next we’ll be getting news reports direct from the Nationals’ quarterly swingers parties or the Greens’ Bicycle Geocaching, Porn and Prawn nights.
Opposition Performance in Question Time
Question Time receives plenty of criticism at the best of times, mainly for its inanity and immaturity. This past week, thanks to the Opposition, we’ve seen things hit a new low. Whether it’s the hypocritical questions from the Libs on offshore processing, or their hypocritical rejoinders on the Government’s hypocrisy in accusing the Opposition of being hypocritical on the asylum-seeker issue, the whole process just got mired in negativity.
A standout for me was Joe Hockey’s sneering dismissal of Wayne Swan’s award as the worldwide Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine. Aside from the overt racism of his remarks in belittling previous recipients from Nigeria, Slovakia etc, it was the lack of loyalty Joe showed to his own history as a Finance Minister that appalled me. Back then I remember him going around every Parliamentary office selling Euromoney subscriptions in order to increase Costello’s chance of getting the gong. Now suddenly it’s a trashy magazine, and not just because it isn’t published by News Ltd. It’s petty, pointless point-scoring from a bitter Opposition.
Personal Criticisms of the Prime Minister
Four words: At Home With Julia. I have as good a sense of humour as the next power-wielder, but I fail to see how pap like that show is showing respect to an incumbent Prime Minister. Satire is fine, but not when it demeans the subject, and that’s what At Home With Julia is doing. It’s also worth noting the plethora of factual inaccuracies in the show that could have been avoided, whilst maintaining the alleged humour. Here’s just a small list of them:
1. The Lodge does not employ a janitor type called Jesus. He’s actually a 61 year old man called Jim, who loves orienteering.
2. Tim is not a stupid, bumbling idiot who everyone sees as a burden or irrelevancy. I for one would say Tim is far from stupid – semi-intelligently gullible is a better descriptor.
3. The sex under the Australian flag scene is just plain wrong. They used a bunch of Parliamentary tea-towels once, but the flag is bloody well grafted to the wall.
4. Bob Katter is not allowed to enter The Lodge after his nude mechanical bull-riding stunt during John Howard’s tenure.
5, Paul Keating is not a boring old windbag at key ALP functions. He’s an entertaining and bitchy orator in reality. He also makes the best Lemon, Lime and Bitters I’ve ever tasted.
So where does loyalty come in? The ABC should show more loyalty to the people who sign its cheques. They’ve theoretically done that with their endless beatification of my efforts as the actual hand that signs the cheque, but that’s a cop-out.
Julia deserves more respect than she’s getting, and if it doesn’t start happening soon you’ll be seeing a shitload more episodes of Sylvania Waters repeated on a Wednesday night.
I don’t think you need me to tell you how precious family and friends are. They are the reason we do what we do and it’s no different for anyone, punter or power-broker. The last thing you want is the people you love exposed to the trials of public life unless you can’t avoid it. One of those occasions occurred this week with the announcement of an imminent arrival. I don’t mean GFC 2 or a positive Opposition Leader (which isn’t imminent anyway). I mean something more productive than either: a baby.
A pregnancy is not the sort of thing that regularly makes the news, but in a country where more than half the population consider taking your socks off to procreate is kinky, then any ‘non-mainstream’ pregnancy story is going to get lots of attention. To minimise this, I took the tack of preempting speculation with an announcement, rather than some sewerage-imbibing tabloid journalist driving the story.
That’s all you’ll be hearing from me on the topic, but I wanted to use the opportunity to discuss the impact of public service on private lives. It’s the largest toll the job takes and clarifying some boundaries for both punters and media alike, will give some people pause before wrecking yet another day for someone trying to move the country forward.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Private Lives and Politicians
Do: ask a politician what they like to do when they’re not working.
Don’t: be surprised if they answer Scrabble and American Civil War history. Do you think they are going to answer “Ball gag connoisseur with a penchant for snuff films”?
Do: approach a politician in a public place if they’re formally dressed and have at least one staffer with them.
Don’t: expect a smiling welcome if we’re wearing jeggings and a Stevie Nicks t-shirt whilst looking for plastic storage containers in Bunnings. Jenny Macklin still talks about this incident six years after it occurred.
Do: expect your local member to buy a raffle ticket off you when they visit your school or nursing home on official business.
Don’t: be offended if you get a knock-back for your ‘Send little Lisa to the 2012 World Child Tart Championships in Idaho USA’ guessing competition outside the newsagent on a Saturday morning. It’s not just because you’re a bogan – MP’s just don’t carry money. That’s what staffers are for and all our leisure activities are pre-paid and pre-organised.
Do: compliment an MP on their attractive suit / skirt / dress / kilt.
Don’t: get upset if the AFP taser you after asking a MP if they are wearing any underwear. Bob Katter, Barnaby Joyce and Stephen Conroy are exceptions: they’ve gone commando for years and will happily discuss it in as much depth as you’d like.
Do: feel free to have a chat with any MP at Party events.
Don’t: expect more than 12 seconds of their time if you’re from the wrong faction, are wearing a Gough t-shirt or have written more than one letter to the Labor Herald / eHerald.
Do: ask hard questions at a press conference.
Don’t: get all precious if afterwards we share photos with your colleagues of your shenanigans with a hairbrush and three bottles of vodka the previous weekend.
Do: send get-well / condolence / congratulations cards to your MP if you feel the need.
Don’t: turn up to family funerals with a camera / petition / placard calling for reconsideration of your Centrelink determination. Did I mention tasers already?
Do: feel free to buy a drink for an MP if they do a pub whistlestop.
Don’t: expect them to drink it. Unless there are cameras in which case the AFP will get you to drink a small amount first -in another glass obviously. The last person who truly shared a drink with a punter was Bronwyn Bishop and look what happened to her.
What a week it’s been: the past seven days have shown me how bone ignorant most punters are on stuff that actually matters. Point in case is the collective noun. Most people know it’s a school of fish or herd of cattle, but beyond that their slack jaws loosen that little bit more.
Therefore, it’s time for some more widespread altruism with the publication of the Australian Politics Collective Noun Glossary below. It’s for any decent member of the public who doesn’t understand this stuff – and News Limited journalists if they ask permission first.
Part 1: The Electorate
A waft of activists
A prim of senior citizens
A burnout of bogans
A seek of business people
Part 2: Party Politics
A gag of Liberals (anything left of Joe Hockey)
A scum of Liberals (anything right of Joe Hockey)
A superlative of the ALP Left
A sussex of the ALP Right
An excrement of Greens
A dim of Nationals
A punch-line of Family First supporters
Part 3: The Parliament
A whine of staffers
An apathy of school kids
A swill of Senators (if they’re Liberals)
A flop of Members
Part 4: The Media
A coven of News Limited journalists
A flatulence of tabloid journalists
A commune of ABC journalists
There you go – feel free to add any others I’ve missed.