Sometimes life can deftly imitate art. The political turmoil in which the current Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and her parliamentary colleagues find themselves embroiled shows some uncanny parallels to the demise of a famous historical figure in Ancient Rome, as dramatised by Shakespeare in his classic play.
So, with this in mind, I felt it would be amusing to imagine the staging of this variation of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” as a parliamentary pantomime, with the various Australian politicians (past and present) as the players. The roles were selected for them on the basis of those being most suited to their personalities, idiosyncrasies and political history. In spite of being selected for their various roles on this basis, it should also be emphasised (with the standard disclaimer of course) that any resemblance the characters display to the politicians playing them is, of course, purely coincidental. Also, the action and incidents presented within the play in no way reflect a factual or accurate account of the current political situation, but are merely an approximate figurative representation, with Obamaesque poetic license and liberties taken with the facts to suit the whimsical agenda of the author. It should be noted that it has also been necessary to coalesce or otherwise modify certain characters (and hence the players by extension) to suit the confines of Shakespeare’s original play, which forms the narrative “spine” upon which the action takes place.
In the true pantomime spirit, the humour is intentionally often quite broad and occasionally ribald, with somewhat crude language at times as befits playing to a crowd including such luminaries as Wilson “Ironbar” Tuckey, Bob “Mad as a Hatter” Katter and Mark “Biff” Latham, while hopefully incorporating some of the traditional pantomime elements such as song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick humour, cross-dressing, in-jokes, topical references, audience participation, and mild sexual innuendo. This seems only fitting since these traditions stem right back to the theatre of Ancient Greece and Rome.
PS. In response to helpful criticism, I have decided to include some footnotes at the bottom of the text to explain some of the more obscure (and even some not so obscure) allusions used, for those who may be unfamiliar with Australian politics, political history or some of the personalities involved in the subtext present within the play.
“The Tragedy of Julia Caesar”
Or “A Chronicle of a Political Death Foretold”
Or “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Carbon Tax”
A political tragicomedy of epic proportions with a Latin twist-
by “Winston” (with apologies to William Shakespeare)
Dramatis Personae (Cast of Characters/Players)
Julia Caesar, Emperor of Utopia Viridus (Green Utopia) which, in spite of its name, has become a barren wasteland comprised of deserted streets and crumbling infrastructure. The populace live hand to mouth in deprivation in this socialist nirvana; hungry and cold, bereft of hope and lacking in the basic freedoms that they once took for granted. On the plus side, at least they have the promise that they may one day receive a super fast Broadband service!1
As leader, Julia has made an art form of amorality and Machiavellian scheming to firstly attain, and then to desperately cling to power. Examples of her mendacity abound, including her solemn promise that she would not challenge her predecessor, Maximus Caesar (Rudd),2 when he had fallen out of favour with the Senate, only to be a principal conspirator in his overthrow in a mere bat of an eyelid thereafter. Once she had attained the position of Caesar, she soon announced that there would be no Carbonis tax under her rule, in order to gain broad popular support,3 only to then renege on this unequivocal undertaking to the populace in a heartbeat thereafter.
She then plotted with her staff to whip up racial tensions among indigenous Etruscans against her political adversary, Marcus Antonius4 (Abbott) for cheap political advantage, only to be nearly killed in the ensuing fracas that she and her staff had shamelessly set in train. Fortunately, she only lost her dignity and one of her sandals in the ensuing melee. Similarly, her unequivocal support for Dobellius (Thomson) and Petronius (Slipper) in their respective tawdry scandals5 due to pure political expediency did nothing to improve her image as anything other than an unprincipled and opportunistic leader.
Julia has serially failed to abide by any semblance of the credo “A woman’s word is her bond”, as many on the cross benches6 would no doubt attest, proving to be completely incapable of good faith or trustworthiness during her tenure, whether as a member of the Senate, or ultimately as Caesar.
As a result of this loss of public confidence and trust, her popularity polls continue to scrape the bottom of barrel, just slightly in advance of the bubonic plague and leprosy … Julia Gillard
Calpurnius, or Primus hominis (“First Bloke”), Significant other and ornamental consort/handbag to Caesar. His presence in the play is purely decorative, given that his main role in public life is to hobnob with the rich and famous, to engage in the requisite orgies and gluttonous feasting of his position, to attend gladiatorial events as guest of honour, and to otherwise partake in the spoils of reflected glory that attend his partner’s position as all-powerful Caesar of Rome … Tim Mathieson
Circus Maximus, Statesman and former Caesar, whose most famous attribute is a constant desire to erect statues and monuments to himself, although he is equally renowned for giving prayerful worship and generous tributes at the altar of Narcissus, his deity of choice.
In deference to Utopia’s greatest ever gladiator, his philibusters at the Senate earned him the less than complimentary honorarium, “The Bradmanium of Boredom”.7 Latin is not so much a dead language as comatose in the hands of this redoubtable orator.
Notable political achievements during his troubled reign include throwing large mounds of denarii randomly into the crowd like confetti in a vain attempt to buy popularity in symbolic gestures of largesse,8 then wondering why the treasury coffers were suddenly dwindling so rapidly down to his very last brass uncia as a consequence.
A renowned micromanager and control freak, he managed to alienate not only the general populace though his complete lack of policy acumen, but also his own political faction’s power brokers and apparatchiks through his erratically self-serving and often petulant behaviour. This eventually led to his political demise in a coup d’etat at the hands of the so called “Gang of IV (Four)”- comprising Julia (Gillard), Brutus (Swan), Casca (Shorten) and Cicero (Tanner), in cahoots with a veritable who’s who of schemers, lackeys and back door manipulators who form the engine room of his faction’s political machine.
His ultimate desire would be for a triumphant return to rule, after suitable revenge has been wrought upon those who unceremoniously dumped him, but he lacks either the popular or moral support for this in spite of any deluded beliefs to the contrary. He is determined therefore to disprove Achilles Incognito’s (Keating) famous adage, that “a souffle can never rise twice” … Kevin Rudd
Marcus Antonius, Soldier of fortune and man of action. Famously, he eviscerated an impertinent scribe silently with a withering gaze that would surely have melted plastic.9 His perceived unabashed devotion to the Gods has proven an insurmountable obstacle to his broader popular appeal.10 Similarly, his history of commitment to solid traditional family values, as well as volunteering in such noble pursuits as lifesaving, firefighting, charity fundraising and working pro bono with indigenous Etruscan communities,11 has ironically only served to increase the vitriol and invective directed at him by many sections of the commentariat, not to mention inspiring unprecedented hatred among his political adversaries … Tony Abbott
Octavius, aka Caucus Non Sequitur, Disciple of economic magician and alchemist Ponzius,12 who was known for his ability to make gold from the aether using a mysterious process known as “Fractional Reserve Banking”.13 Octavius had originally courted admission and pre-selection in Julia Caesar’s faction only to be rejected ostensibly due to having been successful in business, which scholars have noted stands in marked contrast to that faction’s over-riding ethos.
Subsequently masquerading as a politician of liberal proclivities, he has persistently continued in his aspiration to the Caesarship, but he has only managed to inspire confidence in a party of one – himself. Since being cast aside as leader of his own faction in favour of Antonius (Abbott), some have been unkind enough to suggest that he is merely running interference for Caesar out of professional jealousy, monetary self-interest and for the benefit of his erstwhile banker mates.14 Perish the thought! … Malcolm Turnbull
Cicero, Skilful orator who reached the pinnacle of his long and distinguished career as a principal member of the infamous Gang of Four who overthrew Maximus Caesar (Rudd). Otherwise, Cicero was a solid and dependable political performer who would eventually attain even greater notoriety in his retirement with his forensic dissection of his former allies, his political foes and the bastardisation of the political process in general as the author of his magnum opus,”Pars Exhibeo: Stolidus Sub Democratam” (“Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy”), available for $XIX.VC ($19.95) online or from all good book stores and retail outlets … Lindsay Tanner
Publius, Senate leader, but in spite of this lofty position he is but a mere bit player, with no dialogue, and virtually invisible in the grand scheme of things. No mean feat in a faction full of faceless men15 … Chris Evans
Popilius Lena, Senator, whose main claim to fame is that she repeatedly suffers from strange seizures, where she becomes temporarily disorientated, believing that SHE is in fact the real, true Caesar. Usually, these seizures seem to fortuitously coincide with the major policy releases by the Senate … Christine Milne
Conspirators in the demise of Julia Caesar
Marcus Brutus Swannius, A man of seemingly innocuous and uninspiring personality, who is nevertheless the ultimate career bureaucrat. He is also the principal holder of Caesar’s purse strings. Pythagorus himself has marvelled at his mathematical prowess, particularly his ability to make a negative sum out of any two positive numbers- a concept now known as “Swannius’ constant”! Author of a triumvirate of political treatises: “The Politics of Envy”, “Economics For Dummies”, and “How To Bite The Hand That Feeds You: An Instructional Guide”16 … Wayne Swan
Cassius, A man of overarching ambition and delusions of grandeur, given his absence of political mandate, and the lack of practical applicability for his grand schemes of social transformation and “world governance”17. A devotee of Ludditus18, he believes that the plebeians should all return to a stone age existence, living hand to mouth in caves. The lean and hungry look indeed! A devout worshipper of the Earth mother Gaia, the principal deity Sol (God of the Sun) and the four Venti (Gods of the four winds), he allows no worship of any other power under his auspices19 … Bob Brown
Casca, Chief co-conspirator in the political coup that brought down Maximus, prior to installing Julia as Caesar in his stead. Son-in-law of the Roman Praetor Quentinia, his political ambition and blatant opportunism is only matched in magnitude by the blandness of his rather beige and uninspiring personality. Famed around the globe for publicly agreeing wholeheartedly with whomever he believes can best serve his purposes, even extending this sycophancy to situations where he doesn’t know what the person in question has actually said! Watch your backs everyone! … Bill Shorten
Trebonius, A man of humble origins who rose from these uninspiring beginnings to become a complete anachronism once he reached his political zenith. His practical background in a useful trade, and his extensive experience across a range of policy areas made him conspicuously overqualified to advance to holding high public office within his faction’s political apparatus … Martin Ferguson
Decimus Brutus, Former leader, whose similar name to his co-conspirator (Marcus Brutus), general charisma deficiency and complete lack of killer instinct eventually consigned him to being a mere bystander in the rich pageant of political life … Simon Crean
Metallus Cimber, Former lyre musician, unexpectedly elevated in the ranks due to the public profile this talent had given him, only to then be scapegoated, gutted and cast aside by Maximus Caesar in the twinkling of an eye.20 Prior to this ignominious fall from grace, he was responsible for overseeing a string of policy failures in various portfolios, suggesting a singular talent for neatly sidestepping success in order to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Renowned for his strange performances of epileptiform gyrations in his previous incarnation as a musician, a skill which no doubt came in handy in his later role as his government’s chief whipping boy and javelin catcher! … Peter Garrett
Cinna, Recipient of the Order of Prius, for being the only member of the government to actually drive one. Like the aforementioned chariot, she lacks style, is slow off the mark, shudders under braking, handles poorly and tends to lurch sharply to the left without warning, but for the most part one can at least get good mileage out of her. Whatever you do, however, don’t under any circumstances ride the clutch excessively as she is frequently prone to stalling! When she eventually leaves politics, she can justifiably advertise her services under the tag line: “One lady owner, low kilometres” … Penny Wong
Flavius, Unabashed supporter of Caesar, in spite of any pretense to objectivity when acting as an arbiter in senatorial debates. He fails to hide his ideological biases and true beliefs during political discourses, much to the chagrin of Julia Caesar’s adversaries … Tony Jones
Marcellus, aka Sanctimonius, Chief apologist for Caesar and her cronies, this gentleman has a long history of running interference for her faction’s failures and entrenched corruption. He uses his position to not only attack her opposition regardless of the merit of their actions, but then, on the head of a pin, he turns into a compliant lap dog whenever his pals have courted controversy, been caught with fingers in the till, or have otherwise fallen foul of their lack of policy acumen ... Kerry O’Brien
Artemidorus, a Sophist of Cnidos, Propagandist for Caesar, notable for his ability to create communal possibilities through persuasive speech.21 With a background in psychology, he has first hand knowledge of the full cornucopia of pseudoscientific techniques, and can use any of these “skills” at his disposal to his advantage in diverting the gullible and suggestible to his own personal agenda … Stephan Lewandowsky
Three Soothsayers, Readers of Entrails and holders of the secret knowledge of Portents, controllers of the Cosmos – their motto being “Scienta certus est” (“The science is settled”)22 … Tim Flannery,Will Steffen, Ross Garnaut
Marcus Favonius, A poet, espouser of the Cynic23 philosophy, chief literary thorn in the side of Caesar, and defender of skepticism ... Andrew Bolt
Lazarus, A much admired former leader in Utopia in the old pre-Imperial Republic through his sound economic management, but who only gained his peak popularity after his bypass.24 His famous rallying cry and call to arms became legendary: “Filiorum in Mare” (Children Overboard!)25 … John Howard
Pompey, Former Utopian leader, who frequently lived up to his name by bombastically erupting at various unexpected moments in public and political life. His prodigious political longevity was believed in part to be due to his revolutionary patented pickling process,26 and being fed an unusual diet consisting largely of blanched nuts!27 … Bob Hawke
Achilles Incognito28 – or Ad nauseam to his friends, or Ad hominem to his adversaries. Former Utopian leader, who is notorious for having the prickliest personality in the history of the Republic. His imperious arrogance is the stuff of legend and unmatched in all antiquity, but he would do well to temper this hubris by marking well the very personally relevant quote of his political hero, Churchillius- “A pig looks a man straight in the eye and recognizes his equal”.
Ironically perhaps, Achilles is believed to have been the very first politician to have literally made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.29 This recalcitrant30 joker31 eventually retired from his political life, and bought himself a loyal cocker spaniel, which he affectionately called “Old Jellyback”.32 He is now living a happy, if somewhat reclusive life with his beloved collection of antique cuckoo clocks. His economic accomplishments are detailed in his political treatise, “The 17% Solution”,33 while his autobiography was the aptly entitled- “The Prisoner of Zegna”34 … Paul Keating
The Medusa, Creature of Utopian mythology. To look into it’s eyes is to be immediately turned to stone at the sight of it’s frightening form! While this rarely glimpsed creature fails to appear in the play proper, he is seen lurking in the background as the embodiment of the hate-filled spirit of his political faction.35 None dare question the horrifying and merciless fate that awaits at the hands of this creature, for any who dare break ranks or stray from the official party line … Greg Combet
Dobellius, Brother of Metallus (Garrett), rising from the plebeian classes to join the senatorial ranks, only to disgrace himself in a web of corruption due to his apparently insatiable appetite for those more voluptuous denizens of the demi-monde36 … Craig Thomson
Slipperio Petronius, or “Slippery Pete” to his mates, rose from an erstwhile uninspiring career as a backwaters senator of dubious repute and undisciplined spending habits.37 He became renowned as the gay deceiver who was plucked from obscurity within the ranks of Antonius’ (Abbott) faction to shore up support for Julia Caesar, when she unexpectedly offered him the prime role of Speaker of the House.38 This act, for which he was subsequently awarded the Order of Benedictus by his new found allies, caused his former friends and colleagues to hope most fervently that the award should be given to him posthumously! … Peter Slipper
Act I, Scene I:
Outside Rome, the Via Appia.*
(*Under construction, with completion delayed due to excessive industrial action from militant unions, cost over-runs due to poor budgetary planning, as well as the unnecessarily complex and often conflicting laws and regulations from the various tiers of government, and additionally the pernicious influence of a multitude of useless statutory bodies and obstructive NGOs, GONGOs and QUANGOs)
The weather is overcast, with storm clouds brewing ominously overhead.**
(**Unheard of, surely, I hear you say. Surely, this must be the harbinger of that dreaded “catastrophic” Climate ChangeTM we’ve heard so much about!)
A messenger is seen approaching with some urgency, moving swiftly toward a group of three cloaked and hooded men- the eminent Soothsayers of Julia Caesar.
Messenger: (excitedly) Ave, I bring news from Brittania, my lords! It has been decreed by the noble scholars in that far off isle, that dark portents are being noted by all and sundry at Universitas Anglia Ortus (the University of East Anglia).39 The sky itself weighs heavily upon us, they contend, due to the prevalence of Carbonis in the very air we breathe. Their report to the Intergubernatio Propogare Civis Conscillium (the I.P.C.C)40 states that something must be done immediately to avert disaster for Caesar and Imperial Rome, otherwise a grave catastrophe is at hand!
Soothsayer I (Flannery): It’s worse than we thought!41 We must inform Caesar at once. Get thee hence, messenger! Spread the word to all the surrounding villages. They must prepare for great austerity and sacrifice in response to this dire threat to our safety and security.
Messenger: Yes, milord. (Exits)
Soothsayer II (Steffen): Don’t you think that we should first consult the entrails? I firmly believe we should at least seek independent corroboration to confirm this troubling theory. After all, it is well accepted by 97% of Soothsayers42 that correlation is proof of causation43 in such matters.
An unfortunate lamb is caught and subsequently despatched post haste, then placed upon a makeshift altar. An incision along the length of its abdomen exposing the entrails within, and Soothsayer I (Flannery) examines the loops of bowel feverishly.
Soothsayer I (Flannery): Do you see these black specks scattered among the bowel loops? There, the telltale signs of Carbonis! They are tiny, but they’re definitely there for all with the knowledge and skill to see it. This does not bode well for the Empire, I fear!
Soothsayer II (Steffen): Definitely, I see what you mean (lying, not wanting to appear ignorant to his colleague). What do you think? (turning to Number 3)
Soothsayer III (Garnaut): (Hesitates) Yes, indeed! It is readily apparent for those with the eye of faith to see. Your wisdom is most assuredly well demonstrated, my learned colleague. Let it be known hereafter to one and all that our gravest fears have been thus confirmed.
Soothsayer II (Steffen): Should we perhaps examine the entrails of another lamb, just to replicate the observation, thus confirming our findings following the traditional guidelines of scientific methodology?
Soothsayer I (Flannery): (reluctantly) Very well, I suppose we should at least observe those basic principles of science.
Another lamb is eviscerated and placed on the altar. The Soothsayers all examine the loops of bowel in turn, where on this occasion the black flecks are remarkable by their absence.
Soothsayer I (Flannery): Clearly this particular lamb is an outlier and doesn’t correlate with the results of the overall sample. Therefore, I would confidently suggest that we should discard this result, given that it fails to support well-known and well accepted facts showing that Carbonis is a real and present threat to the viability of Utopian civilization as we know it!44
Soothsayer III (Garnaut): So, we are agreed then? We shall hide the decline in Carbonis content present in this single lamb entrail proxy, discarding this clearly unrepresentative result in favour of our previous, more robust sample.
Soothsayer I (Flannery): So we have a consensus?
All (in unison): Consensus!!45 (the three men clasp hands and dance around the eviscerated carcasses, singing, exclaiming and rejoicing in their new discovery that spells doom for one and all. Hoorah!!)
Soothsayer III (Garnaut): (stops) We must alert Caesar immediately!! The Gods are clearly displeased with our society’s profligate waste and flagrant excesses. To avert disaster for our beloved Empire, social reorganisation among the plebeians is required, since they are clearly responsible for this unholy wrath of the Gods. Revolting creatures! An offense to the eye, the ear and especially the nose!
Soothsayer II (Steffen): Let’s make haste, with not a moment to lose! Perhaps we need to engage the help of Artemidorus, the Sophist (Lewandowsky). After all, he is wise and noble beyond measure. More importantly, he could sell sand to the Egyptians such are his powers of persuasion, not to mention the circuitousness of his logic!
Soothsayer I (Flannery): I am certain that Caesar shall amply reward us for providing this dire warning. Our most estimable advice will no doubt avert a calamity for Caesar and her Empire, thus ensuring that we shall reap the rewards of our collective wisdom. There’s a little lakeside villa I have had my eye on for some little while now, so it is very timely indeed.46 Hurry! We must delay no longer, lest we are all doomed! (Exeunt all)
Narrator: Secretly, Soothsayer II (Steffen) and Soothsayer III (Garnaut) worried that this latest revelation may meet the same fate as Soothsayer I (Flannery)’s previous forays into the realms of scientific discovery, the most embarrassing of which came with his failed attempt to become the father of modern Paleontology, prematurely announcing his discovery of the “Missing Link” proving that Mankind evolved from a common ancestor with the humble donkey- the so called “Asinine Man” incident. It was eventually proven that the pre-historic man in question and his faithful donkey had both died after becoming stuck in the same bog, eventually perishing. Over the millennia, some of the remnant bones had become strangely intermingled, leading to the Soothsayer’s confusion. So it was not be the first time that Soothsayer I (Flannery) had made a complete ass of himself, and certainly it wouldn’t be the last!47 The others were now hoping fervently that this latest discovery would be the exception that would prove the rule.
Act I, Scene II:
Villa Boganii,48 residence of Caesar. A mere discus throw from the main Senate building, the Theatrum Absurdum.
Fanfare announces arrival of the Soothsayers (Flannery, Steffen, Garnaut), accompanied by Artemidorus (Lewandowsky).
All: Ave, Caesar.
Soothsayer I (Flannery): We bring you grave news, Caesar. We have received word from Brittania, which has since been confirmed by our own rigorous and robust investigation of lamb entrail proxies, warning that our skies are contaminated with a noxious spirit called Carbonis, my liege. So vile and insidious is this invisible spirit looming about us, that a series of calamities are certain to befall us lest we take immediate and drastic action!
Caesar (Gillard): (stunned) How could this be so, Soothsayer? We are a noble and just Empire. We routinely make the requisite sacrifices to the Gods! Why, only last week I had several Vestal Virgins sacrificed to honour the Gods. Surely this should have appeased them mightily.
Soothsayer I (Flannery): Alas, clearly not enough Caesar, for the Gods are angry at the excessively wasteful lifestyle of the plebeians and their undue wealth. I hear some even eat more than once a week, while others are enjoying the daily warmth of the hearth during our cold winters. Such luxury is clearly unsustainable, Caesar. No wonder the Gods are displeased.
Caesar (Gillard): (eating grapes, ensconced on a divan) Well, I know that if my consort and I must endure such privations as these meager surroundings (waves her hand wanly to indicate the paved portico, the fountain and pond in the centre, with assorted hand maidens and eunuchs surrounding her with fans and attending to her every whim), then so too should the peasantry! What sort of calamities do you refer to, noble advisor?
Soothsayer II (Steffen): The sky above us, Caesar, will become so overheated through the insidious actions of this black devil known as Carbonis, causing terrifying tempests that shall cause untold destruction to our homes and villages. The extreme heat shall then lead to a great pestilence with plagues of locusts and rats. A famine will then almost certainly ensue by the killing of our livestock and the failure of our crops. Finally, the seas will rise violently to swamp the Tiber and inundate Rome itself. Not much, other than the complete destruction of your Empire and all you hold dear, O’ Caesar!*
*Please note that the standard disclaimer applies to these “projections”, which hereafter remain the sole property of Flim-flam Soothsayer IncTM. Any resemblance of these projections to actual predictions is purely coincidental, as these projections should not be expected to show any accuracy or validity for future events, either immediately or distantly. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of this advice, we accept no liability whatsoever for the accuracy of or inferences from this projection, or any action as a result of any person’s or group’s interpretation, deduction, conclusion or actions in relying on said projection.49
Caesar (Gillard): (aghast) What then is your suggestion then for appeasing the Gods, Soothsayers?
Soothsayer III (Garnaut): It’s clear from the signs that we have seen with our own eyes, and then demonstrated scientifically to all, that the Gods are displeased with our modern lifestyle. The plebeians have a newfound wealth and luxury that is an affront to the very dignity of every noble person in our Empire.
I can only suggest measures of the harshest and most draconian nature to redress this imbalance, Caesar. I suggest a Carbonis tax on the plebeians, which should suffice to redress this most egregious threat to civil order. Starting at a small level, so as not to arouse panic or dissent among the masses, the tax then can rise yearly, slowly throttling the little bourgeois aspirants in their tracks. Sweeten the pot a little in the beginning, Caesar, and they won’t know what hit them!
At first, they will believe they are being compensated for the impost being thrust upon them. Then, by surreptitiously withdrawing these inducements as time goes by, we will expose them to the full brunt of this marvelous tax’s power, one which will slowly strangle the very life-blood out of these upstarts. Hoorah!! The Gods are then appeased, the Empire will be saved and the insidious spirit infecting our air will no longer assail us, my liege.
Artemidorus (Lewandowsky): If I may be so bold, Caesar, I suggest we must embark first and foremost on a concerted campaign to win the hearts and minds of these naive, yet ever so troublesome plebeians. We shall ask our friends, the Tribunes Flavius (Tony Jones) and Marcellus (Kerry O’Brien), to disseminate as much disinformation as possible through persuasive debates with like-minded patriots,50 in order to disarm the populace. Persuade them of the certainty of the science of the Soothsayers, frighten the masses with exaggerated tales of the catastrophes about to befall us, vilify this Carbonis in it’s every form no matter how innocuous it may really be!
If any are so bold as to contradict our assertions, vilify and attack them without mercy, for they are traitors to the Empire and must be quickly silenced. Perhaps tattooing them51 with their vile conceit will suffice, to mark forever their treachery for all to see. Those who are employed must be marginalized in their place of work. Depriving them of their professional reputations52 and their livelihoods will cut them down to size more swiftly than any sword, Caesar.
Simultaneously, we must spread this creed through all the places of learning, persuading those teachers of a similar mind to present these facts to their students without question, discouraging wherever we can any abominations such as “analytical thought” or “inquiring minds”. Such thoughts and expressions of liberty are dangerous in the hands of these denizens of the underclasses! Without these measures, sire, we cannot succeed in appeasing the wrath of the Gods. As I always say: Exitus acta probat (The end justifies the means)!
Caesar (Gillard): Then, Soothsayers, let it be done, and quickly!
Act I Scene III:
Narrator: So, it came to pass that Caesar (Gillard), consulting her newfound ally Cassius (Bob Brown) (a man to whom she owed a great debt, due to his support in the Senate allowing her to remain entrenched as Emperor in spite of her declining popularity), and acting upon the advice of the best Soothsayers money could buy, soon embarked upon a great austerity, applying the taxation blowtorch to the peasantry. The plebeians, the ungrateful wretches, expressed resentment and protested at the measures, but their pleas for mercy and sanity fell upon deaf ears. So, the land fell into disrepair, fields were untilled and the mills that relied upon their grain remained still. The marketplaces were silent and deserted, the populace remaining huddled against the cold in their houses, unable to even provide the basic necessities and sustenance that were once plentiful and taken for granted by all. But, at least the Gods would now be appeased, and the evil Carbonis spirit would now be brought under control, thought Caesar. Little did Caesar know, but she was sowing the seeds not only of the economic decimation of her precious Empire, but also of her own political demise. As discontent among the populace had grown exponentially, her colleagues had begun to doubt her leadership qualities in lock-step, and were busily plotting her downfall. It also fed the flame of revenge in the heart of the previous Emperor, Circus Maximus (Kevin Rudd), who was determined to live by the axiom, “Ultionis est cena optimus servo frigus” (Revenge is a dish best served cold)!
Setting: Roman Senate- The Theatrum Absurdum- Temporis Quaero et Refero (Q&A time).
A flourish of trumpets sounds to herald the opening of Senatorial proceedings. One would be forgiven for assuming such pomp and ceremony would be reserved for Caesar (Gillard), as glorious and supreme leader of all Utopia. But those with more experience, not to mention cynicism, realized that such fanfare accompanied the entrance only of the House Speaker, Petronius (Slipper), with handsome Eunuchs preceding him spreading rose petals to mark his path as he made his ponderous, protracted journey to the apex of the chamber.53 Eventually, when most of the Theatrum Absurdum had dozed off to sleep at this display of unbridled vanity and pompous conceit, Caesar (Gillard) arrived to an even more cacophonous fanfare, albeit in a desperate and futile attempt to overshadow her appointed Speaker. Various politicians are seen huddled together in groups, murmuring to one another as her procession enters, no doubt impatient to get proceedings underway after the prolonged duel of political egotism.
Cassius (Brown): (Examining the remnant leaves in his cup of herbal tea) Lena (Milne)! Come hither, I must speak with you before Caesar arrives. I have just consulted our glorious God, Sol, and the Earth mother, Gaia. It is clear that it is imperative to the future viability and harmony of our civilization to vanquish this evil Carbonis that threatens the delicate balance of our very fragile existence. I currently have Caesar over a proverbial barrel, and therefore we must press home our advantage now whilst Julia still needs us to prop up her leadership. If she stands in the way of our plans for Gubernationis Unum (One World Government), we must strike first to eliminate her, taking over control of the Senate for ourselves, rather than ruling merely by proxy. She has become weak and clearly lacks our resolve, having painted herself into a corner with an unending series of lies, blunders and scandals. Caesar is, I fear, only interested in maintaining her power, not in the nobility of our cause to rid Gaia of so-called “modern man”, the most horrendous pestilence to ever infect our fragile and beautiful Earth.
Popilius Lena(Milne): Too right, Cassius (Brown)! That rufus capitis needs to be taught a lesson. That woman never lets me announce the policies we’ve painstakingly formulated together, and I’m starting to get heartily sick of her grandstanding. Who does Julia think she is anyway? Doesn’t she realize that it is we who are the enlightened, illuminated ones who have made Utopia what it is today? Quickly, I’ll sharpen the cutlery and then we’ll finish her off!
Cassius(Brown): Steady, Lena (Milne), patience. We must wait for the time to be right. Soon the planets will align and our time will come. Then we will lead the faithful into a Green and prosperous future, sitting around carbon-neutral campfires, singing songs of subservience, and sleeping under the stars as Gaia intended, in harmony with nature and following life’s great unending gyre.54 (Stares of wanly into the distance, daydreaming of his glorious Utopian idyll)
Meanwhile, in another part of the chamber, another group of the usual suspects gathers……………………
Brutus Swannius(Swan): I regret to say it, lads (glances apologetically to Cinna (Wong) who is miffed by his lack of gender recognition skills), but I think we will have to soon take action to rid ourselves of our glorious and fearless leader! Friends, if Caesar cannot convince the plebeians of my magnificent mathematical skills and my brilliant Carbonis tax plan, then we are surely done for! And we all know what that would mean: that the vile and hated Marcus Antonius (Abbott) will become the new Caesar and then we will be consigned to the dustbin of history quicker than you can say “Mundi Pecunia Articulus”(Global Financial Crisis)! It is clearly all Antonius’ (Abbott) fault that we find ourselves in this quagmire. If only he wouldn’t keep pointing out our deficiencies, the swine! Ooohh, I hate that man so much!
Pompey (Hawke): (tugging his left ear)55 Ahhh, I reckon we should have a word to that useful idiot, Cassius (Brown). He’s definitely the principal powerbroker behind the scenes in this Carbonis scam, so maybe we can garner his support in a coup d’etat, just like Achilles Incognito (Keating) did to me in ’91.56 I’ll just wander over to Julia now and I’ll offer her my full and unequivocal support and faith in her leadership. That’ll be the signal to get those knives out! It’s the guaranteed kiss of death – never fails. (Exuent)
Casca(Shorten): (whispering conspiratorially) Yea, I completely agree with whatever the hell Pompey just said. I think her popularity is at such an all-time low that we will all go down in the ship with her if we don’t act now. Loyalty is all well and good for some people, but she’s had her XV (15) minutes of fame and self-preservation has to be our paramount consideration now. It’s every man for himself (looks askance semi-apologetically at Cinna (Wong), who is again quite miffed), now that Julia is as popular as a camel at a Get Up conference!57 I, for one, put my hand up for the Caesarship. I’m definitely the only man for the job, if I do say so myself.
Metallus Cimber(Garrett): Oh, for god sake, Casca (Shorten)! Everyone knows you just can’t wait to usurp the throne. And you need more than just ruthless ambition and a lack of a moral compass for that lofty position- you need real charisma to appeal to the masses. You can’t be serious if you think that a gormless non-entity like you is even remotely Caesar material, mate. I hate to mention it but, in case you hadn’t noticed, you’re the very definition of a “faceless man”! You are so utterly transparent, and in more ways than one! Even Decimus (Crean) here has a more vibrant, charismatic personality than you, shorty, and he’s as plain as a plank.
Decimus Brutus(Crean): (to nobody in particular) But, guys, I really do have a vibrant and charismatic…………
Casca(Shorten):(speaking over Decimus, barely noticing he was speaking) Look, I tell you I’ve got dibbs on this Caesar job! I claimed it first, and so it’s MY turn (petulantly). And besides, how many friggin’ leaders do I have to get rid of, for chrissake? That bastard Macbeth made it all look so easy when he ascended to the throne through backstabbing and subterfuge. What made him so special? I’ve schmoozed at every opportunity, kissed up to the right people, feigned every emotion, pretended to be compassionate and caring, even went to the trouble of turning up at the odd disaster just for a photo op cameo appearance- what else can a man possibly be expected to do to get ahead in this business? I tell you, it never quite turns out like the storybooks say, does it? Anyway, my mother-in-law Quentinia is the Praetor,58 and she has stated quite often that I’m well and truly overdue for a leadership role. And I wouldn’t argue with her if I were you. Not if you know what’s good for you, that is!
Trebonius(Ferguson): Look, let’s not fight over it now. We’ll worry about who’ll replace Julia later. Besides, nobody on this side of the chamber ever worried about such details up to now, so I think we’ll just wing it as we go along like we always do, and work it all out later. Time is of the essence now, and I agree that Caesar’s (Gillard) time is just about up.
Cinna(Wong): Pipe down everyone! You’ll all give the game away. As much as I hate to say it, this bitch has to die. Simple. First, we have to make sure we all pretend to show her our full support, until the time is at hand. We don’t want to screw this up any more than it already is! When we strike, it must be when she least expects it.
Achilles(Keating) (wandering over to see what the ruckus was all about) You fellas aren’t exactly subtle, are you? I think it’s about time for you spineless imbeciles to stop your chin-wagging and started to act decisively for a change. Instead, all I’m witnessing is the unedifying spectacle of you all fighting amongst yourselves at the top of your lungs like a bunch of feral cats in a hessian sack. Let’s face facts. Our once “glorious” Caesar has worn out her welcome, and she has become just another dead political carcass swinging in the breeze, and it’s about time somebody cut her down from the yardarm and replaced her.59 You lot need to stop acting like stone statues in the cemetery.60 I dare to dream that just one of you pusillanimous wretches might actually show enough guts to rise above your own lily-livered mediocrity and do the deed, just like I did to old Pompey (Hawke) way back in the day. But, if you do then you’d better be prepared to unsheath your swords and have them sharpened to a nicety when the time arrives, because that Julia’s got a thicker hide than a team of elephants! This is where you fellas finally get the opportunity to show whether you’re just a bunch of painted, perfumed gigolos and gutless spivs61, or whether any one of you has got the ticker and the gumption to be the future supreme ruler of the Empire!
Meanwhile, in another corner of the room……………………
Lazarus(Howard): Look at our “noble” Caesar (Gillard), parading in like she owns the place. I wouldn’t get too comfortable if I was her. You know, she’s got the unmitigated gall to take credit for all the good economic groundwork I did in making our Utopian Republic the envy of the world.62 Why, people came across treacherous oceans in leaky boats just for the opportunity to live in Rome, such was the standard of living here under my stewardship. Of course, that was only until I put a stop to them coming, that is!63 Now, she’s making a complete dog’s breakfast out of her “glorious” Empire. Even the fleas and the rodents have thought better of it and are leaving by every means possible. Soon, Rome will be the one sending out boatloads full of Carbonis refugees, heading for any lands that will take them, if this level of shambolic mismanagement keeps up! Green Utopia, indeed; What an oxymoron!
Marcus Antonius(Abbott): Yes, I know what you mean, Lazarus. I certainly share those sentiments. (pauses) Look fellas, I’ve jus t been consulting Gallupus,64 and I firmly believe that we have the majority of popular support behind us right now. You and I both know that this Carbonis tax is a toxic and massively unpopular impost on the common people. It is stifling investment and productivity, just at the time when the Empire is most vulnerable and is be-devilled by the outside world’s economic problems. Not to mention that we have a Caesar who is mired in her own incompetence, with an endless succession of over-priced, jobs-for-the-boys, pie-in-the-sky, pet projects weighing down the public purse! Would you believe that Julia has been desperately suggesting that somehow I’m to blame for her pathetic lack of leadership skills and economic prowess? What am I doing? I’m just standing idly by and watching her rapidly implode. She doesn’t need any help from me, because she’s doing a brilliant impersonation of someone hell-bent on complete self-destruction. But nonetheless, Lazarus, you mark my words. Whatever we do, we most definitely cannot risk going against those deceitful and dangerous Soothsayers, or else we will be branded as heretics! Before we knew what hit us, we would be headlining with the lions at the Coliseum quicker than you could say “Caro repens” (Fresh meat)!
Lazarus(Howard): Just keep up the pressure on her, and she’ll soon crack. Either that, or her mates over there (gestures toward Swannius and co.) will get in first. Her goose is well and truly cooked. The longer that lot stay in power, the more they shoot themselves in the foot with yet another ham-fisted policy decision or ill-conceived, thought bubble knee jerk reaction. She has one foot in the grave and the other on a bar of soap, so it is only a matter of time before she comes a-gutser.
Octavius(Turnbull): I don’t know, Lazarus (Howard), but I must admit that I was rather taken with Julia’s proposal for this Carbonis Tax (adjusting his money belt under his toga). My banker mates65 and I thought it was actually a pretty good idea, just the ticket to stimulate our moribund economy. A license to print money, so to speak. After all, the plebeians don’t really need that money themselves, do they? I mean really, what good could they possibly do with it? Spend it all on bread and circuses, or some such frivolity or trivia no doubt. Better to keep that money well and truly “in the bank”, as the saying goes. This Carbonis Tax certainly seems like very sound and robust fiscal policy from my point of view!
Marcus Antonius (Abbott): Look, Octavius (Turnbull), whose side do you think you’re on? If you like Julia’s leadership so much, you’re welcome to switch to the other side any time you like. No skin off my nose! I always thought you were more suited to their side of the political divide anyway. They certainly don’t call you “Caucus non sequitur” for nothing! You’ll do anything to shamelessly push through your own personal agenda, and that includes undermining your leader and even your own political party! The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence with you. Octavius (Turnbull), old man, I have much more important things to worry about than your ongoing flirtation with our opponents’ policies. I particularly have to be very conscious of not appearing too negative and having those Tribunes paint me as some sort of spoiler. In a funny way, I actually wish Julia would get something right just once, so then I could say something positive for a change! I’m reminded of that story of King Midas, except that instead of gold, every thing Julia touches turns to shit!66 Actually, I must find a way of working that politely into an interview, it will make great copy for the scribes in the press gallery.
Lazarus(Howard): A wise man once said , Antonius (Abbott), “Never be seen to murder someone who is happily committing suicide”!(Laughs) All we have to do is bide our time and keep our cards close to the chest, and she’ll do the rest herself. Speak of the devil, Caesar (Gillard) looks like she’s making a speech, so lets see what our “fearless leader” has to say for herself this time.
Caesar(Gillard): (in a didactic, preschool teacher admonishing the naughty little school children voice) My loyal subjects. (squints at the audience, brandishing a sheepish, yet plainly insincere grin) As you know, it has been necessary for me to introduce a Carbonis Tax, based on the best Soothsayer science available to us, to appease the Gods and to negate the dreadful waste of our modern lifestyles. I plan to compensate all of you plebeians well for this great new tax, so that 90% of households will not be disadvantaged in any way. In fact with this tax, by my calculations (and we know how incredibly accurate they have been up till now), we should raise pecunia maximus (a truckload of cash) for dolor minimis (minimal pain) to you, the people. I am reliably informed, with the best treasury consultants that your taxpayers’ money could buy, that it will also create untold thousands of “Green” eco-friendly jobs out of the aether to compensate for those few, insignificant little teensy-weensy jobs that will sadly be lost in the transition to our brave new Carbonis–free economy.
My subjects, I feel your pain, I really do, but the Gods must be appeased and this evil, black Carbonis must be completely and utterly eradicated! Those who oppose the tax are merely whingers, traitors and parasites, trying to cause disruption to our plans for social re-organization and renewal. Only by redistributing this money, to make everyone equally poor, can we then arise like a Phoenix and truly prosper from the wealth of our Empire. It’s fundamental economics really.
Also, my fellow Utopians, I give you a word of caution. Don’t listen to the lying words of agitators like Marcus Favonius (Andrew Bolt), who are responsible for spreading scurrilous scare campaigns about this tax and my leadership. Their apparent accuracy is merely a deceitful trick designed to confuse the people with facts and observations. Plainly, the failings of my government are purely Marcus Antonius’ (Abbott) fault, yet these miscreants fail to report this most obvious fact. People such as these are therefore clearly not to be trusted. And so, with this in mind, I shall shortly prevent these media bastions of so called “free speech” from expressing any opinions contrary to those expressly vetted by your noble Caesar and her glorious Utopian government! Won’t that be just splendid! This will be achieved through a wide-ranging media witch-hunt, errr… inquiry,67 with hand selected like-minded experts as statutory regulators and sole arbiters of decency and truth. Thus, there will be a further entrenching of the veracity of our manifesto as the one and only true way for our Empire to keep moving forward to a Clean Energy future. This will be achieved by stifling any and all dissent by labeling it as offensive, vexatious and against the public interest. No more tiresome explanations or uncomfortable questioning to have to evade, stall, stonewall, obfuscate, prevaricate, ignore, withhold, conceal, or even outright lie. What a blessing that will be! The old-world freedom of speech meme is so “yesterday”, no longer “with it” and therefore can no longer be deemed acceptable when compared to what we like to refer to as our new, improved, post-modern version: “Mainstream Media Message FacilitationTM”*!
*Speech in the brave new post-modern world will of course be completely “free”, on the proviso that it passes forensic inspection by independent panels of government experts in each of the fields of political science, behavioural science, psychology, ethnic and indigenous studies, representatives of the Amalgamated Utopian Workers Union and finally members of the Socialist Women’s Knitting Collective.
To clarify at least one media distortion of this so called “poet” and his fellow propagandists, I especially want to make one thing perfectly clear; I NEVER said “Illic mos nunquam exsisto carbonis miseratio sub habenae ego protelo” (“There will never be a Carbonis tax under a government I lead”). That’s merely a lie being spread by these troublemakers and my political opponents. They never heard me actually say it, because I NEVER said it. Perhaps someone in my office MAY have said it, but I had no knowledge of it, and anyway I’m pretty sure that those responsible have since resigned, or died…… or something! And even if I DID say it, I was totally misquoted and taken completely out of context, and I probably never actually MEANT to say it anyway, and I am absolutely certain that I never meant anyone to actually HEAR it!
Finally, I can reassure you all, we are moving forward with “action” on this Carbonis reduction plan for the good of the economy and the Empire. I’m sure that the plebeians will eventually be thrilled that I am taxing them so gratuitously in this way, because they will grow to understand that only good can come from moving forward on this issue, with the additional bonus of giving generously to allow my government to rid us of this unseen, evil Carbonis that threatens the safety of Rome. I promise I will wear out my sandals marching from one end of the Empire to the other to sell this tax to the people. I will climb every mountain and ford every stream.68 I will fight them on the beaches, I shall fight them in the fields and in the streets, I shall fight them in the hills; I will never surrender (getting progressively more excited and strident), until a large part of this Empire is subjugated and until, in God’s good time, the New World Order, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old!69
All: All Hail Caesar! (with feigned enthusiasm)
Act II Scene I:
Pre-dawn. A back road in the far flung reaches of the Empire. A crowd of plebeians gathering, voices are raised, several arms gesturing, some wildly. A hooded man approaches the group, his face shrouded in darkness, yet vaguely familiar. Perhaps he bears a striking resemblance to a number of statues erected all over the Empire, vestiges of a former leader who was overly fixated on his public profile, and in enshrining himself for future generations who would ultimately come to rebuke him.
Stranger (Rudd): It is clear, good people, that our “beloved” Caesar (Gillard) has betrayed us. Our homes no longer are warmed by the hearth and filled with the laughter of children. Our fields lie empty and our markets are desolate. Many of us are lacking even the basic sustenance to survive. Our businesses struggle to succeed against the burden of this crippling new tax; a tax that will increase relentlessly year upon year, while empires beyond our shores compete against us by bringing in cheaper grain and goods. Surely, the main and only real function of a government is to secure the safety, health and the welfare of its people. A government that cannot provide the means for good, hard working people to live with basic food, shelter and warmth through the long hard winters has failed in its prime purpose and no longer worthy of its position of trust and power.
Plebeian I: Well said, sir! We prepare to march upon the capital and express our desire for the restoration of the Republic, and an end to these vandals who would ruin us!
Plebeian II: We must send word to every corner of the Empire. Gather up your carts and wagons, your teams of horses, your oxen, your mules, your goats! Everyone we can spare should be marching to the capital.70 As the saying goes, “Totus via protelo ut Rome” (All roads lead to Rome)!
Plebeian III: Gather together all the slaves from the galleys, and then commandeer ships to sail up the Tiber to meet us. This will be bigger than Ben Hur!!
Plebeian I: What’s your name anyway, stranger? You remind me of someone, can’t quite put my finger on it.
Stranger (Rudd): (hesitates)…..Errr, Spartacus. That’s it, Spartacus. (Changing the subject) When will you good people be arriving in Rome, anyway?
Plebeian I: By the XVth (15th), friend.
Plebeian II: It’s settled then. We meet in Rome for the Ides of March! This will be the day that Caesar’s grip on the leadership is finally loosened, and the people will return us to the principles of the old Republic, so dear to our hearts. Come patriots, hasten we must! Our democracy and freedom is at stake.
Stranger (Rudd): (Aside) I love it when a plan comes together! Soon the rumblings of discontent will become deafening, and I will finally have my revenge on that upstart Julia (Gillard) for the coup that robbed me of the glorious leadership of Utopia. Then, I will regain my rightful place as the one, true Caesar. But first I must arrange a little meeting on the sly with Favonius (Andrew Bolt) to put in place the final phase of undermining Julia’s authority. On the Ides of March, all the fates will conspire to finally tear down the rotting edifice of this usurper’s Empire, and cast out once and for all her motley crew of thieves and traitors. (Exeunt)
Act II Scene II:
Narrator: The man known variously as Circus Maximus (Rudd), “Spartacus” and even “Kevinius O’-VII” (the latter for reasons which are elusive), was about to assume another pseudonym to add to his armamentorium…………. “Profundus Per” (Deep Throat). Meeting with Marcus Favonius (Andrew Bolt) in an underground chariot bay, Maximus (Rudd) continues to sow the seeds of Julia Caesar’s (Gillard) destruction by passing on vital information regarding the inner workings of the Roman Senate. A certain Senator, Dobellius (Thomson), had been raiding the treasury for funds to buy concubines for himself and his friends, while representing it as business expenses.71 Now, normally this would have led a Caesar to instantly dismiss him from public office in disgrace, but such was Julia’s looming unpopularity that times were desperate and she needed every supporter on deck to remain in power, even apparently corrupt ones. It was even rumoured that two of her other Senatorial supporters had actually been dead for 2 or 3 weeks, but were dressed, made up and propped up in the back of the chamber72 to maintain the pretense of ongoing numbers of support for her Caesarship. As rigor mortis set in, the stench became increasingly intense in the Theatrum Absurdum, which aptly became a deadly accurate metaphor for the government they represented.
Maximus (Rudd) had given details of Dobellius’ (Thomson) indiscretions and fraudulent corruption to Favonius (Bolt) in the chariot bay on that fateful day. The young poet then used this, as well as Caesar’s (Gillard) subsequent attempt to pressure her cohorts to cover-up by delaying appropriate investigations, to further undermine Julia’s reign by spreading details of the affair among the populace, and to the senators who were waiting, knives at the ready, for their chance to strike. And so the circle was nearly complete, thought Maximus, who expected he would then be welcomed back as leader by the adoring public he was sure existed. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men…………………
Outside the Roman Senate, the Ides of March. A crowd of plebeians gathered, carrying torches and pitchforks, with oxen-drawn carts and wagons blocking the Via Appia and surrounding the building, angry voices are raised against Caesar. The Tribunes, Flavius (Tony Jones) and Marcellus (Kerry O’Brien), look on.
Flavius (Jones): It’s a lovely day, isn’t it Marcellus (O’Brien)!
Marcellus (O’Brien): Yes, it is Flavius (Jones), but it’s very crowded in the city today; the traffic is just getting worse. I suggest we need to severely restrict all the riff raff from gaining access the Senate precinct to make it easier for important people, like tribunes and senators, to enter the centre of Rome. We can’t be delayed by the trivial concerns of the underclasses.
Flavius (Jones): Well, the plebeians certainly seem to be holding signs and remonstrating at the moment. Do you think they may have some kind of grievance against Caesar? Perhaps the peasants are revolting, Marcellus (O’Brien)!
Marcellus (O’Brien): They most certainly are! But I see nothing here of any interest to we noble Tribunes, just the usual rabble bleating about any and everything. They presume we are interested in their suffering or their perceived injustices. Ha!!! (scoffs) Nothing to see here, Flavius (Jones), except a mere congregation of no consequence.73 If we fail to mention their grievances, or even their presence in our dispatches, then the populace will be blissfully unaware of their protest here today. Thus, this apparent popular uprising will amount to practically nought, such is the power we Tribunes hold over the flow of information to the public at large.
Flavius (Jones): And a good thing we do, Marcellus. Imagine if we allowed the common people to know what actually went on behind the Senate doors! It would be an unmitigated disaster. Our influence would be most egregiously and intolerably diminished. How could we tell them what to think, or control which version of the truth we want them to believe! It would be anarchy and chaos, Marcellus (O’Brien). Not to mention that our political masters would cut off our funds quicker than you can bat an eyelid. It’s the thin end of the wedge. We must preserve the integrity of the position of Tribune at all costs, by resisting the dreaded curse of “impartiality” tooth and nail. It really is as simple as ABC!74
Marcellus (O’Brien): I agree wholeheartedly, noble Flavius (Jones)! Now come, let us return to the chamber to more important matters. I hear there is a special on the pig’s trotters in the staff cafeteria today. By the way, I believe it’s Cassius’ (Brown) treat, with all the Tribunes being given a free lunch in honour of our contribution to the formation of our grand Carbonis-free Empire. Better be quick, there are lots of mouths to feed, and only so many places at the trough! Come, Flavius (Jones), let us repair to the dining area before Caesar is due to give her oration. (Exeunt)
Act III Scene I:75
Narrator: And so the stage is set, thought Maximus (Rudd), for the long awaited fruition of his plan to return to his rightful place as Caesar, while dispensing a little rough justice to the woman who had so recently usurped his authority. Having sown the seeds of doubt among Julia’s supporters, he knew that a combination of ambition, fear and self-preservation would cause them to turn on her, as indeed they once did on him. He relied on the inherent nature of those Senators for hatred and envy, and their talent for scheming and subterfuge, knowing that their lack of moral fibre would surely see them act sooner rather than later against their once esteemed leader.
Theatrum Absurdum, the Ides of March. All the various senators are in attendance, awaiting Caesar to appear for her scheduled speech. A murmur of voices is heard throughout the chamber as many whisper under their breath at the scandal that has enveloped Dobellius (Thomson), notwithstanding his lame and futile attempts to deflect blame onto everyone but himself in his impassioned plea to the Senate, an action which largely provoked stunned disbelief and rebuke rather than the sympathy he might have hoped for. This blatant corruption, and the foolhardy and transparent attempt to cover up the misdeed, along with the general discontent brewing among the plebeians, has loosened Caesar’s once vice-like grip on power.
Caesar enters and approaches a crowd of her followers, including Brutus (Swan) and Cassius (Brown), unaware that plans are afoot to replace her. Dobellius (Thomson) is brought before Caesar in disgrace, no longer able to accept Caesar’s protection, due to the efforts of Favonius (Bolt) in spreading the truth of his corruption, as well as ultimately from the weight of public opinion.
Dobellius (Thomson): (Humiliated, crawling) Most high, most mighty, and most puissant Caesar! Dobellius throws before thy seat an humble heart! (Kneeling)
(Translation- Dear Leader, I’m begging you not to throw me to the lions. I’m really sorry and am prepared to grovel at your feet for mercy. I actually thought I could rely on the incestuous “old boys network” to help me out of this jam like they always have in the past, so I apologise if I’ve embarrassed you by my behaviour)
Julia Caesar (Gillard): I must prevent thee, Dobellius, from these couchings with these lowly courtesans.
(Translation- For god sake, I have to do something pretty drastic in order to teach you to keep your trousers zipped, and to leave those hookers alone!)
They might fire the blood of ordinary men,
(Translation: I know you might feel a bit randy at times)
and turn pre-ordinance and first decree against the law of Utopia Viridus.
(Translation: but did you really have to illegally raid the government coffers to pay for your dalliances and thereby breaking the law and causing such a scandal?)
Be not fond, to think that Caesar bears such rebel blood that will be thaw’d from the true quality with that which melteth fools!
(Translation: Don’t think I’m gonna let you get away with this deceitful nonsense, because nothing you can say now can possibly save your sorry arse!)
I mean, sweet words, low-crooked courtsies and base spaniel-fawning!
(Translation: Don’t crawl to me! I’m not interested in hearing your weasel words, your lame excuses or your sucking up.)
You, brother, by decree are banished, to labor no more. If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for Caesar, I will spurn thee, like Kerr’s cur,76 out of my way.
(Translation: You are gone! Don’t let the door hit you on the backside on the way out! You’ve been caught with your trousers down, just like that infamous former Caesar (Malcolm Fraser) was at that seedy dive in Memphis,77 and I’m not prepared to stump up for you any longer. You’ve cost us an absolute fortune in legal fees trying to keep you afloat, and I’m putting a stop to the gravy train right now.)
Know this, Caesar doth not wrong, nor without cause will she be satisfied!
(Translation: I am utterly blameless for this mess you’ve gotten us into, and you have really pissed me right off, giving me no alternative but to send you packing)
Metellus Cimber (Garrett) (pleading) Is there no voice more worthy than my own to sound more sweetly in great Caesar’s ear, for the repealing of my banish’d brother, Dobellius?
(Translation: Is there anything I can say to get my mate off the hook, because I certainly know how he feels, especially being a sacrificial lamb and perennial screw up just like him!)
Brutus (Swan): (fawning and obsequious) I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar, desiring thee that Dobellius may have an immediate freedom of repeal.
(Translation: Perhaps I can beseech you to find some way to get the lad off with some excuse the public might buy, after all the plebeians are pretty gullible and believe whatever we tell them. Alternatively, we could just stall the investigations longer so that they take so long, in the fullness of time as it were, that everyone just forgets about the whole affair.)
Julia Caesar (Gillard): (affronted) What, Brutus!
(Translation: You must be kidding, goose!)
Cassius (Brown): (fearing Caesar’s actions would loosen his vicarious grip on power) Pardon, Caesar. As low as to thy foot doth Cassius (Brown) fall (prostrating himself), to beg enfranchisement for Dobellius (Thomson).
(Translation: I would bow to your greater wisdom of course, Caesar, but perhaps we could overlook this little infraction, just this once.)
Julia Caesar (Gillard): I could be well moved, if I were as you.
(Translation: Tell someone who cares. You are easily persuaded if you buy that crap, you annoying little worm!)
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me. But I am constant as the northern star,
(Translation: I am as totally immune to pleas for mercy as I am to logic and rational argument. I’m as stubborn as a mule and I won’t change for anyone.)
of whose true-fix’d and resting quality there is no fellow in the firmament.
(Translation: Nobody in the entire world is half as pigheaded and intransigent as I am, so just watch me sit here imperiously, and with masterly disinterest at your plight.)
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks, they are all fire and every one doth shine, but there’s but one in all doth hold his place.*
(Translation: Other people might be flexible, but not I! If global warming plunges the world into an era of unprecedented sweltering heat, crippling droughts, melted ice caps or even to a blazing inferno, you won’t see any change of heart from me!)
*I would like to think that Shakespeare, enlightened man of letters that he no doubt was, is perhaps obliquely alluding here to solar electromagnetic effects as a factor contributing to natural climate variation, four centuries before the CERN cloud experiments!78
So in the world; ’tis furnish’d well with men, and men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive.
(Translation: All you men are such gutless wonders, and a woman such as I is more than a match for any and all of you testosterone-deficient wimps!)
Yet in the number I do know but one woman that unassailable holds on her rank, unshaked of motion: and that I am she! Let me a little show it, even in this. That I was constant; Dobellius should be banish’d, and constant do remain to keep him so.
(Translation: He’s stuffed and he’s gone. I’ve stalled the appropriate investigations long enough, pulled strings to keep him from going bankrupt, and diverted too many of the tribunes’ and opposition Senators’ questions for what seems like a lifetime, so I’m changing my mind now for no one!)
Cinna (Wong): (pleading) O Caesar!
Julia Caesar (Gillard): Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?
(Translation: “Get lost! You are just pushing shit uphill! These pathetic pleas for clemency don’t cut the mustard with me”)
Decimus Brutus (Crean): (fawning) Great Caesar.
Julia Caesar (Gillard): Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?
(Translation: How come you are not kneeling obsequiously before me, your lord and master, Brutus (Swan)?)
Casca (Shorten): Speak, hands for me!
(Translation: Talk is cheap, and action speaks louder than words- take that!)
(Casca (Shorten) first, then the other Conspirators (Brown, Ferguson, Garrett, Crean, Wong) and, finally, Brutus (Swan) stab Caesar (Gillard))
Julia Caesar (Gillard): Et tu, Brute?
(Translation: What the……Swannie!)
Then fall, Caesar! (Caesar dies)
Circus Maximus: (Emerging from shadows) Quid pro quo, Caesar!
(Translation: What goes around comes around, bitch!)
Narrator: Maximus (Rudd) knelt over Julia Caesar’s lifeless, bloodied corpse. Lifting her body and carrying it to the lectern, he placed it beside him on the stage as he delivered what he was hoping would be the oration to re-assert his claim to leadership in Utopia.
Circus Maximus: Friends, Bogans,79 Countrymen! Lend me your ears.
I come to bury Caesar (Gillard), not to praise her.
(Translation: Hey everyone! Listen up. Witness my handiwork, one and all. She’s reaped what she sowed and it’s time for the planting! And good riddance to so much bad rubbish!)
The evil that men and women do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar (Gillard).
(Translation: Julia sadly underestimated the level of my narcissistic rage at being double crossed by her and her co-conspirators in their coup to replace me, and now she has been justifiably hoisted on her own petard. She has now been deservedly consigned to the rubbish bin of history.)
The noble Brutus (Swan) hath told you that Caesar (Gillard) was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault. And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
(Translation: Caesar was guilty of hubris of the highest order, and sadly underestimated the skills and diplomacy required for the position, having been elevated far beyond her capabilities. If even her staunchest ally in Brutus (Swan) had lost confidence in her, then what does that tell you about her fitness for leadership?)
Here, under leave of Brutus (Swan) and the rest– For Brutus (Swan) is an honourable man! So are they all, all honourable men and women. Come I to speak in Caesar’s (Gillard’s) funeral.
(Translation: I wouldn’t be too harsh on the conspirators who’ve just stabbed her in the back, even though they appear to have committed a most heinous regicide. Fortuitously, as a result of their actions, I can now dance a pleasurable gig on her grave! Also, I must confess that there is the small matter of still needing their unequivocal support if I am going to return to my pre-eminent authority as all-powerful Caesar once again.)
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. You all did love her once, not without cause. What cause withholds you then, to mourn for her?
(Translation: She bit off a lot more than she can chew when she stabbed me in the back. She may have had some good qualities, but she was a completely hopeless Caesar. And, if she had just had a bit of spine and supported me in the beginning, none of this would have happened. Still, you are welcome to wax lyrical about her now she’s gone.)
O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason. Bear with me………. My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must pause till it come back to me.
(Translation: Give me a second. Let me savour the moment, as I stand here having exacted my revenge. Victory is oh so sweet! Better her than me, I can tell you. I wouldn’t be dead for quids!)
Narrator: When Maximus (Rudd) had finished his speech, he expected thunderous applause and a “Hail, the conquering hero” type response. But instead an almost deathly pall befell the chamber, as the prospect of a return to his autocratic and self-reverential rule was met with the stunned silence and revulsion it surely deserved.
Act III Scene II:
Narrator: Marcus Antonius (Abbott) now seized the opportunity, having remained silent, biding his time for some years in the face of a most corrupt and incompetent government. Having watched this once great Empire dwindling into insignificance with every passing day, he was now charged with the responsibility of repairing the damage wrought at the hands of these vandals. The time was now ripe for change and the moment of truth was now at hand…………………………….
Have patience, gentle friends! It is not important that you know how Caesar (Gillard) loved you. You are not wood, you are not stones, but real men and women. And, being the common people of this great land, bearing the will of Caesar (Gillard).
(Translation: Please remain calm, citizens, for your long-awaited moment for a return to good governance is at hand. Caesar (Gillard) may have pretended to care for the welfare of the man in the street, but you plebeians have clearly been suffering as a result of her draconian tax policies and from her complete indifference to the plight of every-day working families.)
It will inflame you, it will make you mad! ’Tis good you know not that you are her heirs. For, if you should, O, what would come of it!
(Translation: You are really going to pop your corks when you find out the size of the national debt that both Maximus and Julia have left you as a legacy of their incompetence. We will all be paying it off for generations to come!)
But yesterday the word of Caesar (Gillard) might have stood against the world; now lies she there. And none so poor to do her reverence.
(Translation: Julia may have ruled the roost for a while, and probably sought one day to swan her way into a cushy UN position after her reign as Caesar was over, but her colleagues have done her in before she could get there. No one could possibly be so blind as to miss her ultimate ambition, which was to destroy the sovereign independence of Utopia in preparation for the establishment of a UN-mediated, One World Government.)
O masters, if I were disposed to stir your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, I should do Brutus (Swan) wrong, and Cassius (Brown) wrong. They who, you all know, are “honourable” men: I will not do them wrong.
(Translation: I won’t punish the conspirators, there’s no need for me to do so. I’ll leave that up to you, the people!)
But here’s a parchment with the seal of Caesar (Gillard); I found it in her closet, ’tis her will! Let but the commons hear this testament.
(Translation: I have in my hand Julia’s much beloved Fabian socialist manifesto80– it’s a real eye opener! The chapter on Eugenics is an absolute ripper.81)
Yea, they would beg a lock of her red hair for memory, and, dying, mention it within their own wills, bequeathing it as a rich legacy to their issue.
(Translation: In future, the conspirators will try to eulogize Julia’s leadership, spinning a tale of misfortune and misrepresenting the true facts, to weasel their way back to future power and to pretend their legacy is anything other than an utter shambolic disaster and embarrassment)
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. Look, in this place ran Cassius’ (Brown’s) dagger through. See what a rent the envious Casca (Shorten) made! Through this the well-beloved Brutus (Swan) stabb’d; And as he pluck’d his cursed steel away, mark how the blood of Caesar (Gillard) follow’d it.
(Translation: Look at this, the conspirators really gave Julia a complete skewering, didn’t they? No mercy in politics in the face of expediency and self-preservation. No such thing either as loyalty or honour amongst thieves and vandals. Sadder still, her lifeless corpse lying here before us is a metaphor for the state of our Utopian economy.)
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved if Brutus (Swan) so unkindly knock’d, or no; For Brutus (Swan), as you know, was Caesar’s (Gillard’s) guardian angel. Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar (Gillard) relied upon him! This was the most unkindest cut of all; For when the noble Caesar (Gillard) saw him stab, ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms, quite vanquish’d her: then burst her mighty heart. Even at the base of Pompey’s (Hawke’s) statue, which all the while ran blood, where “great” Caesar (Gillard) fell.
(Translation: Julia must have felt intensely betrayed in her death, because those who brought her down were those she thought were her friends, and some were even one time partners-in-crime in the overthrow of Maximus (Rudd). However, she is certainly in good company in her faction’s political pantheon, given their history of branch stacking, corruption and betrayal. It is somewhat ironic that she died at the base of the statue dedicated to a former leader in Pompey (Hawke), who suffered a similar political betrayal at the hands of Achilles Incognito (Keating) back in ’91.)
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! Then I, and you, and all of us fell down, whilst bloody treason flourish’d over us. O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel the dint of pity, for these are gracious drops.
(Translation: Julia would like to think of herself as a tragic figure in the mold of an Eva Peron. “Don’t cry for me, Argentina” could certainly be her theme song, if you bought her deluded version of events, a woman wronged by fate and the vagaries of power struggles among the elite. But we all know better; that this is merely a convenient lie told to justify her back-stabbing and disloyal ways. The reality is one of naked ambition and utter disdain for the interests of her own people, whom she was honour-bound to serve graciously, and with compassion and kindness. So, I don’t think the plebeians need waste too many tears for her demise, with Julia having brought all of this largely upon herself.)
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up to such a sudden flood of mutiny. They that have done this deed are “honourable”? What private grievances they have, alas, I know not, that made them do it. And they will, no doubt, with reasons answer you all.
(Translation: It’s not up to me to exact revenge upon Julia’s murderers. These conspirators will seek to justify their mutiny, but really it all comes down to political expediency in vainly trying to save their own political necks. But, don’t get angry with them or resort to aggression or abuse, just get even………… at the ballot box!)
I am no orator, but a plain blunt man, that love my friends; and that they know full well that gave me public leave to speak of them.
(Translation: When you hear my speech, don’t judge a book by its cover. I may not have the slickest public persona, or the gift of the gab, or have the smoothest delivery with public speaking, but my party has faith in me and I am basically an honest and pragmatic man who will strive harder than most to do what is best for the community, and ultimately for the nation.)
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech, to stir men’s blood. I only speak right on.
(Translation: I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, or inspire men to action with charm and persuasion, but I’m a damn sight better leader than the alternatives. I won’t try to tell you that black is white, or otherwise subvert or manipulate the political process to hide the truth, as my opponents habitually have done and continue to do.)
I tell you that which you yourselves do know– Showing you Caesar’s (Gillard’s) wounds, and that there were an Antony (Abbott) who would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue in every wound of Caesar (Gillard), that should move the stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
(Translation: I hope my words have the ring of truth and encourage you all to vote this rabble out of office. I ask therefore that you give me the opportunity to correct the travesty that our beloved Empire, and our economy, has become as a result of Julia’s mismanagement)
Narrator: A tumultuous applause greeted Marcus Antonius’ (Abbott’s) speech. Most of the fellow senators (at least the ones still living) and the citizens in attendance were grateful for the opportunity to reclaim their once proud Empire from the clutches of these unscrupulous and unworthy pretenders. After Caesar’s (Gillard) assassination, an election was finally called and Antonius (Abbott) was swept into power with an overwhelming majority, returning to the Republic model of government once more in the newly created position of Primitus Rector (Prime Minister).
Cassius (Brown), however, saw his dreams of a return to a Stone Age Nirvana crushed with the death of Caesar (Gillard), and he was consigned to exile on a far off isle, where he could never again seek to influence the corridors of power with his regressive and nonsensical philosophy. He wandered through the wilderness aimlessly for many years, talking to the trees and rocks that were his only companions. Finally, he was discovered washed up in the shallow waters of a newly constructed dam which had recently been commissioned by Marcus Antonius (Abbott): the Franklinium Aqua Grandis.82 Cassius (Brown) had vigorously opposed this dam’s construction in the past, but it now ironically provides sufficient power and water to permanently sustain all of Utopia, and thereby it actually rendered the entire Republic completely “Carbonis-neutral”!
Popilius Lena (Milne) went mad at the sight of Marcus Antonius (Abbott) becoming the newly democratically elected Caesar, and was confined to an asylum for the remainder of her life, medicated with a regular infusion of Green Kool Aid. She was occasionally to be found sitting in the asylum’s watermelon patch, staring vacantly off into space with a bemused smile on her face. Some have speculated that she identified somehow with the fruit growing there, but no one has ever been able to come up with a satisfactory explanation to support this contentious observation.
Brutus (Swan) was banished to the far north of Brittania for his economic mismanagement and complicity in Caesar’s assassination. He was often seen standing by the roadside, bearded and unkempt, dressed only in bear skin pelts but still carrying his trusty abacus. One day, he actually learned how to use it correctly, or so it appeared. After years of barely subsisting on a government pension, he finally came into gainful employment in the Northern Brittania Health Service as an actuary, and then as budget supervisor for their national health funding. Within 18 months, he was single-handedly credited with the demise of their entire public hospital system, proving that “Swannius’ constant” is one of the truly immutable laws of accountancy!
Circus Maximus (Rudd) was a shattered and hollow shell of a man. The rejection of the people was too much to bear and he lived for a period in exile on Manus Island, where he excelled in the trade of snake oil to the natives. Once he had recovered from the massive blow to his ego caused by his rejection in Utopia, he then embarked on his next promising venture, a diplomatic mission to the land of the recently enthroned Mandarin Emperor, Yuan of the Han Dynasty. Alas, as Confucius I’m certain would readily attest, leopards rarely if ever change their spots, and so it was that Maximus managed in short order to wear out his welcome with the Emperor, due to his incessant and relentless self-aggrandisement. With his tail firmly implanted between his legs, all that was left for him now was to descend to his true level of competence: as valet and manservant to a lowly government official.
Maximus would never again aspire to the giddy heights of power that he scaled politically in Utopia. However, in his new role he was often heard to complain bitterly of the complexities of mastering the Mandarin language, even to shouting a torrent of expletives at inopportune moments, actions that would have normally offended the sensibilities of the most patient employer. Fortunately, his masters tolerated these outbursts as a sign of an amusing eccentricity in his character, or perhaps they thought it to was merely a cultural misunderstanding on their part. As a consequence, however, he garnered the nickname among the native Chinese – “Fucking Hopeless”.83 They didn’t know what it actually meant, but it brought peals of laughter whenever he exclaimed it, because he said it repeatedly with such annoyance and frustration. So, the nickname stuck as a consequence, and little did they realize how thoroughly appropriate their name for him really was!
As for the Soothsayers (Flannery, Steffen and Garnaut), and their accomplice-in-crime Artemidorus (Lewandowsky): their pseudo-religious cult of personality faded rapidly into oblivion, having caused severe but thankfully temporary damage to the disciplines of Science and Education. The creed of fear-mongering, with wildly exaggerated predictions of disaster resulting from the allegedly evil Carbonis failing to materialize, soon began to grate upon the ear of every thinking man and woman in the New Republic. Eventually, change was demanded with such persistent force that the zealots were cast out and their ill-gotten gains were duly confiscated. All those who had been silent in their acquiescence to the pseudo-science of these alarmists were roundly chastised for the role in perpetuating such a distortion and deception, and were exhorted henceforth to return to principles of scientific objectivity and proper methodology that had once been the rule rather than the exception. Teachers were similarly advised to clearly delineate between facts and speculation, and to present these issues to their students in a more rational and even-handed fashion, with a minimum of propaganda and advocacy. Instead, they began promoting thoughtful inquiry, reasoning skills, healthy skepticism and analytic thinking in their students with the aim of restoring scientific integrity and fostering ingenuity among future generations of scholars, engineers and scientists.
Meanwhile, the plebeians and the general populace at large embarked on the long, hard road to economic recovery. The tough task ahead, though fraught with danger due to a troubled international situation, was at last based on some semblance of sensible governance, insofar as any Utopian government is capable of such a concept. The populace were relieved to finally avoid the pitfalls of overarching ego-driven political ambition, and hoped to see an end to stupidly onerous taxes that place an unreasonable burden on the livelihood of ordinary citizens. No longer would Utopians be at a disadvantage compared with their trading partners, and they were now free to sensibly utilize and manage the natural resources of the Empire for the common good, without having to negotiate an endless array of regulatory obstacles. They dared to hope that the aspirations and desires of the common people would no longer be viewed with such disdain by those privileged to serve as their political representatives, and that never again would their interests be so grievously compromised.
1 National Broadband Network “fibre to home” scheme, one of the prime pillars of reform of the Gillard Government, has been rolled out at a snail’s pace, with delays and cost over-runs which may eventually lead to the scheme costing double or treble the original 40 Billion dollar price tag. While theoretically potentially a reasonable concept on the surface, it would appear to be a mammoth investment in infrastructure which may well be rendered redundant, superfluous &/or outdated by the time it is eventually finished. It was hurried through the legislative processes without any cost:benefit analysis in typical Labor “back of a beer coaster” fashion. Oh well, when it eventually arrives at least the punters will now be able to download their pornography at lightning speed!
2 Julia Gillard in interviews just prior to the coup against Rudd was quoted as saying that leadership speculation about Rudd’s leadership were a media beat up and without foundation. And yet, she maintains her innocence of any foreknowledge:
“I made a decision to run for prime minister on the day I walked into Kevin Rudd’s office and asked him for a ballot,” she said.
Contradicted somewhat by a subsequent embarrassing exchange with Four Corners reporter Andrew Fowler.
Fowler: “Did you know that people in your office, two weeks before Kevin Rudd was removed as prime minister, were preparing a (victory) speech that you subsequently delivered?”
Gillard: “Uh well, I did not ask for a speech to be prepared.”
Fowler: “My question was simply whether or not you knew.”
Gillard: “I heard your question and I’ve answered it.”
Didn’t know about the plans being afoot to replace Rudd with her as the next P.M? If you believe that I’ve got a Harbour Bridge to sell you.
3 Julia Gillard made a statement on national television during the week prior to the 2010 General election stating categorically “There will be no Carbon tax under a government I lead“. This was reiterated the morning before the election by her Treasurer Wayne Swan, who ruled the Carbon tax out categorically and suggested it was a lie perpetrated by the coalition to scare voters in the context of the election.
Swan stated -“No, it’s not possible that we’re bringing in a carbon tax. That is a hysterically inaccurate claim being made by the Coalition.” Hysterically accurate, more like it!! Abbott was quoted during the election campaign on several occasions that “as sure as night follows day, if the Gillard government is re-elected, there will be a carbon tax“. I guess that history will be left to determine who was actually correct in their assertions, and who was perhaps less than forthcoming with the truth.
4 Tony Hodges, a staffer from Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s own office, passes on “information” to a 2nd party, who then used this distortion by Hodges to vilify the opposition leader erroneously as having made “racist” comments. This incited a predictably violent response by angry protesters against Tony Abbott, eventually directly resulting in the disgraceful Australia Day race riot involving both Gillard and Abbott. For his troubles, Hodges has been sent packing to the UK to cool his heels, with an apparent gag order to avoid further press scrutiny.
5 The Craig Thomson Affair and the Peter Slipper Saga are just two of the scandals to have enveloped the current government. For those unaware, Thomson is accused of having misappropriated Health Services Union funds, including such nefarious undertakings as to pay for escort services and prostitutes, prior to his pre-selection for Federal Labor for the seat of Dobell. In spite of the alleged fraudulent misuse of funds, an ongoing FWA and Police investigation, and conduct which normally would be unworthy of holding office in government, Labor has protected Thomson, even paying his legal fees ($200,000 and climbing) to avoid him being bankrupted in what can only be described as a disgraceful turn of events, in order to preserve their slim parliamentary majority. Peter Slipper is accused of sexually harassing a male staffer, James Ashby, and of rorting travel allowances for fraudulent and excessive taxicab charges. Again the government acted poorly as it sought to vilify the victim of the harassment, completely contrary to legislation (ironically drafted by Gillard herself) which was designed to give the presumption of innocence to the victim in harassment cases. One rule for some, another rule for others…………………….
6 Gillard has reneged on many a promise since her ascent to power, cross bench Independent Member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie’s poker machine reform legislation being but one example.
7 Sir Donald Bradman, iconic Australian cricketer and one of the greatest sportsmen in world history, is the benchmark to whom many in Australia are compared when discussing the pinnacle of achievers. Malcolm Turnbull, in describing Rudd as “the Bradman of boredom” for his long and tedious speeches that were designed to ramble on inexorably, can therefore be seen to be both highly accurate and justifiably derisive in his commentary.
8 In response to the first GFC in 2008, Rudd was initially slow to react fiscally, for which he was criticized. He then proceeded to embark on an unprecedented spending orgy, including $900 dollar cheques being sent to every taxpayer to encourage random spending and “stimulate” the economy to avoid a technical recession. This was a moot requirement at best, especially in view of having inherited a $40 billion government surplus and being in the midst of a mining boom. A more targeted response of this type, rather than a machine gun spray of money into the crowd, would have almost certainly been more appropriate. However, these actions did wonders indirectly for the Chinese and Korean economies, and plastered Australia coast to coast with big flat-screen TVs.
9 Abbott confronted Channel 7 reporter, Mark Riley, with a 24 second “death stare” in justifiable contemptuous response to the gutter journalism tactics of taking Tony Abbott’s private conversation with a soldier completely out of context to paint an adverse picture of Abbott’s concern for Australia’s Afghanistan troops being subject to the misfortunes and vagaries of war. “Shit” does indeed happen, as Abbott stated, and often!
10 Tony Abbott attended Jesuit schools, St Aloysius’ College and St Ignatius’ College, in both primary and secondary school. He aspired to the priesthood and joined St Patrick’s Seminary at Manly for a year, before leaving to work in journalism and eventually entering politics. Many of the left find this religious affiliation a reason for hatred and derision, rather than a commendable sign of devotion to his chosen faith.
11 Tony Abbott spent weeks teaching in remote Aboriginal settlements in Cape York in 2008 and 2009, organized through prominent indigenous leader Noel Pearson. He taught remedial reading to Aboriginal children; worked with an income management group, helping families manage their welfare payments; and visited children who had not been attending school—with an ultimate goal “to familiarize himself with indigenous issues”. A prime example of practical, and incredibly generous assistance to those most marginalized by society, which Abbott deliberately did not publicize, nor did he seek any kudos from the media or the public at large.
12 Charles Ponzi, was an Italian businessman and con artist in the U.S. and Canada. Born in Italy, he became known in the early 1920s as a swindler in North America for his money making scheme. Charles Ponzi promised clients a 50% profit within 45 days, or 100% profit within 90 days, by buying discounted postal reply coupons in other countries and redeeming them at face value in the United States as a form of arbitrage. In reality, Ponzi was paying early investors using the investments of later investors. This type of scheme is now known as a “Ponzi scheme”.
13 According to ancient and medieval science, aether is the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere. It literally means “pure, fresh air” or “clear sky”, and was imagined in Greek mythology to be the pure essence where the gods lived and that which they breathed.
14 Malcolm Turnbull was chair and managing director of Goldman Sachs Australia (1997–2001) and a partner with Goldman Sachs and Co (1998–2001). Need we say more? G-S have a well-deserved reputation of being the piranha in the kids wading pool of global finance.
15 The term “faceless men” has become a permanent part of Australia’s political lexicon, nearly always used in a sense hostile to the Labor Party. It was revived in 2010 when a group of Labor factional leaders, including Bill Shorten, David Feeney, Mark Arbib and Don Farrell, with the support of the union leader Paul Howes, arranged for the Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to be removed as party leader and replaced by his Deputy Julia Gillard.
16 Wayne Swan has consistently attacked the so-called “wealthy” (ie. any family earning $80,000 p.a or more), business leaders in general and mining magnates in particular (but only Australian ones, funnily enough!), in a transparent attempt to hide his economic shortcomings as treasurer, thereby invoking a class warfare mentality amongst the voting public. His stance has served to undermine business and investment confidence that should underpin our future economic prosperity.
17 At the Global Greens Conference in Dakar, Senegal Africa, 1 April 2012, Bob Brown advocated that there be established a “global parliament” where “every citizen should have an equal say”. Nice sentiment, except therefore Australians would have no say in their own sovereignty, being only 20 million people in a world of 6 billion. Terrific idea- not! In a speech to the National Press Club he referred to the need for “world government err… governance”, a Freudian slip if there ever was one.
18 “Luddite” is a term describing those opposed to industrialization, automation, computerization or new technologies in general.
19 Bob Brown and the Greens oppose hydroelectricity from dams, as well as any form of nuclear power, in spite of both being carbon neutral. Instead our economy is supposedly to be underpinned in the very near future by impractical, intermittent, and inefficient power from Quixotic wind turbines and solar panels, neither of which is suitable for base-load power for the foreseeable future.
20 Kevin Rudd was warned for months by then Minister Peter Garrett of the potential for lives to be lost as a result of shonky home insulation installers, who were capitalizing on a poorly regulated government subsidy scheme. Garrett’s advice was ignored, but when it all ended in tears, Garrett took the fall and the blame in the futile defense of his then P.M., who effectively hung his minister out to dry.
21 Sophistry is the art of making a specious argument to use for deception. It might be crafted to appear logical while actually representing a falsehood, or use obscure words and complicated sentence constructions in order to intimidate the opponent into agreement out of fear of feeling foolish. Other techniques include manipulating the opponent’s prejudices and emotions to overcome their logical faculties. Professor Susan Jarratt, in her book “Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured” is responsible for the quote about sophists creating “communal possibilities through persuasive speech”, which certainly reflects the current trend of such practitioners of sophistry as Professor Lewandowsky who attempt to fashion a narrative within society that conforms completely with their preferred ideology, without regard to inconvenient contrary facts. I think the phrase “An Opium for the masses” springs readily to my mind when describing what such people as the good professor are attempting to do in manipulating public opinion in such a fashion, and suggests that for such people polemic and propaganda trumps reason and dispassionate observation.
22 “The science is settled”, was originally attributed to Al Gore, a non-scientist, in defense of climate science alarmism of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. The statement is anathema to centuries of tradition in the principles of empiricism and scientific methodology. Post-modernism and post-normal science clearly suggests that advocacy should replace evidence, computer modeling supplant observations and hypotheses become laws of nature on the flimsiest of unsupported correlations.
23 Cynic philosophy- Cynics believe that society belongs equally to all, and that suffering was caused by false judgments of what is valuable, and by worthless customs and conventions. The ideal Cynic will evangelize as the watchdog of humanity, their job being to hound people about the error of their ways. The Cynic would dig up and expose the pretensions that lie at the root of everyday conventions, often using biting satire. Cynics would live in the full glare of the public’s gaze and be quite indifferent in the face of any insults that might result.
24 Paul Keating once labeled John Howard as “Lazarus with a triple bypass”, to reflect the innumerable comebacks “from the dead” Howard had endured in his political career. Against all the odds, John Howard assumed a place in Australia’s political pantheon not far behind his hero, Sir Robert Menzies.
25 The “Children Overboard” affair was an Australian political controversy involving public allegations by Howard government ministers in October 2001, in the lead-up to a federal election, that sea-faring asylum seekers had thrown children overboard in a presumed ploy to secure rescue and passage to Australia.
26 Hawke had a long standing battle through his political career with alcohol dependence, and also achieved notoriety by setting a new world speed record for beer drinking: he downed 2 1/2 pints – equivalent to a yard of ale – from a sconce pot in eleven seconds as part of a college penalty. In his memoirs, Hawke suggested that this single feat might have contributed to his political success more than any other, by endearing him to a voting population with a strong beer culture!
27 Bob Hawke’s “relationship” with his biographer and mistress, Blanche D’Alpuget, was an open secret within political circles, even while he was Prime Minister. His wife Hazel subsequently divorced her adulterous husband after he left politics, and Hawke married d’Alpuget shortly thereafter.
28, 29 Paul Keating was the silent partner with a certain Achilles Constantinidis in a NSW piggery, hence the rather cheeky “Achilles incognito” reference. The question arises as a result of this apparent scandal- Was the sale of former Prime Minister Keating’s share in a piggery to his partner, Achilles Constantinidis, who then on-sold it to Indonesian interests at the same time as Prime Minister Keating was negotiating a treaty with Indonesian dictator, President Suharto, a scheme to avoid taxation or merely a conflict of interest? Or was this former Federal Treasurer and Prime Minister merely financially naive in selling his share at a “third rate price” to his partner, who then immediately sold it at a higher price? And was the CBA, controlled by the then Treasurer and P.M at the time, complicit in failing to extract financial surety from Mr Keating with a piggery accumulating debt which eventually led to a substantial loss to the bank and it’s shareholders? The answers to these and more questions are likely to be lost in the sands of time. Certainly, the fireside chat with ABC journalist Kerry O’Brien, which masqueraded as penetrating journalism, was unlikely to shed much light upon the true nature of these highly dubious proceedings.
30 “Recalcitrant” was the term Keating applied to Malaysian Prime Minister Muhammad Mahatir in 1993 for not attending the APEC summit, thereby damaging relations with Malaysia, ironically at a time when Keating was encouraging closer ties and economic cooperation with neighbouring Asian nations. Keating’s description was probably merely a linguistic gaffe, and “intransigent” was the word he was seeking as a descriptor.
31 In referring to the question of validating gay marriage, Paul Keating’s trenchant observation was that – “Two jokers and a cocker spaniel do not a family make”.
32 “Old Jellyback” was a reference Keating made toward Bob Hawke, his then Prime Minister, and his tendencies to be populist and vacillate on difficult issues, which frustrated Keating’s sense of his own infallibility.
33 17% – the RBA interest rate reached under Keating’s Government, giving rise to his erstwhile nickname of “Mr. 17%”.
34 The former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating was criticized for consistently wearing his favourite Zegna double-breasted suits, contrary to tradition. Ermenegildo Zegna is a leading Italian fashion house, and Keating considered himself the height of fashion in his signature garb.
35 Australian Labor Party has traditionally been undermined throughout its history by endless displays of betrayal and entrenched factionalism, especially when under pressure from external events. Once on the outer, the invective and hatred is extreme and unrelenting, and hound many to the grave (Sir John Kerr dying of cancer being but one example). The tendency to “eat their own young” is at the heart of why Labor struggle to maintain effective government for more than brief periods without imploding.
36 Demi-monde refers to a group of people who live hedonistic lifestyles, usually in a flagrant and conspicuous manner. Such behaviors often included drinking or drug use, gambling, high spending and sexual promiscuity. The term demimondaine became a euphemism for a prostitute.
37,38 Peter Slipper had been mired in controversy for months over alleged travel entitlement rorting and other misdemeanors, which led to moves by the Liberal Party to disendorse him as a candidate for the upcoming general election. Realizing his career was effectively finished, he was conveniently “poached” by Labor P.M. Gillard to improve her majority in the House of Representatives by effectively neutralizing one opposition vote, freeing her to renege on her deal with Andrew Wilkie. Thus, in November 2011 Speaker of the House Harry Jenkins, a member of the Australian Labor Party, unexpectedly and reluctantly resigned from the position, and Slipper was nominated unopposed and installed in this august role. Slipper then resigned from the Liberal National Party on taking the Speaker’s seat and continues in parliament as an Independent.
39 UEA (University of East Anglia) is the home of the (in)famous Climate Research Unit, under Professor Phil Jones. “Climategate” emails, released by an unknown whistleblower, suggest Prof Jones helped to cover up flaws in temperature data from China that underpinned his research on the strength of recent global warming, among various issues which cast doubt upon the objectivity and scientific rigor applied to this nascent field of science. Avoidance of FOIA requests in releasing raw data to allow greater scrutiny of the work of this unit has only served to increase suspicion of its validity.
40 IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body. The role of the IPCC was supposedly to “assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.” From its very mission statement, which in the mid-1980’s actually preceded any particularly concerning “warming” even if one was convinced of the “settled science” of climatology, it is obvious that the IPCC was set up specifically to find science that would reinforce a dogmatic belief in Man-made Global Warming, rather than consider openly whether, for example, any or all the observed warming could be from natural rather than anthropogenic causes, whether there was any direct evidence of any high climate sensitivity to CO2 (and hence any need to “adapt” or “mitigate”), or even whether the global temperature records showing warming were of a sufficiently high standard to merit any assertions based upon it.
41 “It’s worse than we thought”- the breathless catch-cry of “Chicken Little” alarmists everywhere, who see overwhelming evidence of ever greater catastrophe, while simultaneously their predictions are shown consistently to be orders of magnitude above and beyond the observed data. Confirmation bias anyone?
42 The small number of climate scientists actually supporting the Al Gore/IPCC claims of catastrophic global warming and the actual AGW “predictions” has always been a major embarrassment. As a result, the “progressives” have been forced to fabricate bogus support.
First, it was the claim that 2,500 IPCC-related scientists agreed with the 2007 IPCC report. Soon after it was discovered that only 25 scientists actually agreed with the report contents. Secondly, in view of this embarrassing fact, a couple of University of Illinois researchers produced a 2-minute online anonymous survey. They solicited 10,257 earth scientists and only 77 self-selected scientists chose to answer the online survey. 75 of those “climate scientists” agreed with the survey’s two questions! Hey presto, the widely publicized “97%” of climate scientists (75 out of 77) who thought man was the cause of global warming!
The survey actually asked whether these scientists believe that mean global temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and whether human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures. Even an avowed skeptic would answer these questions in the affirmative, since they are suitably vague in their framing, unquantified as to extent, and do not specifically refer to CO2, Greenhouse gases nor their effect on global temperature. The Little Ice Age is a well known naturally caused climate cycle which ended in the late 1800’s, while “Human activity” also includes such things as deforestation and particulate aerosols which most would agree have at least some “significant” effect on climate, so it is difficult to see how 2 of those surveyed answered in the negative!
As a side note, in order to assure a favourable survey percentage, the researchers did not ask major segments of the scientific world to participate. Those specifically excluded were those well known to be critical of the AGW theory, including: solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers.
43 Correlation does not equal causation unless you are a CO2 catastrophist. This is a logical fallacy which scientific method is meant to invalidate or confirm through scientific method and testing of hypotheses. Many unrelated phenomenon are correlated or inversely correlated, and this of itself does not designate proof of a cause and effect relationship.
44 Discarding results that fail to confirm, or invalidate, a hypothesis is an utterly indefensible breach of scientific principles.
45 Consensus means nothing in science, and so it should! Historically, if we had accepted the consensus argument as the ultimate authority, then humanity would still believe in the Ptolemaic solar system, Lamarckian evolution, the atomic theories of Democritus, the Earth being flat, etc, etc. Einstein, Newton, Darwin, Copernicus, Tesla, Rutherford- all would have been burned at the stake as heretics and witches with the ongoing worship at the temple of consensus. This false doctrine revolves around the concept that Mankind, in its current ignorance, has reached complete understanding of the physical world- an idea so far from the truth as to be utterly preposterous in its hubris and rampant stupidity. Rant over.
46, 47 Tim Flannery, the controversial environmentalist, purchased a large, low-lying waterfront home on the estuarine Hawkesbury River in 2003, a remote getaway that only has water access. This was ironically in contrast to his alleged belief in his personal predictions of sea-level rise of 8 storeys caused by CAGW. Hypocrisy, thy name is Flannery. His other predictions, including that the dams would run dry, it would never rain again, ad nauseam have been notable for their inaccuracy. If he was a punter, he’d be dead broke.
48 Villa Boganii, refers to “Boganville” – Kevin Rudd’s petulant assessment of the Lodge (P.M’s residence in Canberra) now under the influence of his rival, Gillard and her partner Tim. Sour grapes admittedly, but witty just the same!
49 The actual disclaimer from the Dept of Climate Change website bears striking similarity to my fanciful alternate version. It’s hard to have faith in the prognostications of these government appointed “experts”, when they seemingly have such little faith in their “science” that they fail to warrant any form of responsibility for any actions derived from their advice whatsoever.
50 Stilted and phony debates with stacked audiences, pre-planned questions and prepared answers of experts, and ostracizing or attacking those with skeptical beliefs are the stock in trade of the Climate Science propaganda bandwagon. Like a Scientology conference, the faithful align themselves to confirm their belief system, and no correspondence entered into!
51 ABC presenter, Richard Glover, a confirmed alarmist sympathizer, suggested “helpfully” that “climate deniers” should be tattooed to shame them for eternity, so their grandchildren would know what unconscionable and disgusting wretches they were in not believing the “evil mankind destroying the planet” mantra. Clearly, the debate had awakened the inner Nazi in Mr. Glover. No doubt he considers himself a paragon of virtue and tolerance- none so blind!
52 Many top climate scientists have at one time held mainstream views in accordance with the IPCC, only to lose faith in the validity of the science and the political and economic actions proposed in response to CAGW. These scientists have been ostracized and serially ridiculed, and often their careers have effectively ended as a consequence of not holding to the group-think, consensus belief system. Richard Lindzen (Atmospheric physicist), Ferenc Miskolczi (Atmospheric physicist), Mitchell Taylor (Biologist-polar bear expert), Nils Axel-Morner (Sea level expert), David Bellamy (Botanist) to name but a few are among those who have suffered the backlash resulting from the sin of holding non-consensus opinions. Such behaviour suggests entrenched bullying is a necessary facet of alarmist behaviour, as they lack solid foundation for their claims and are determined to prevent proper scientific discourse.
53 Peter Slipper, as newly elected speaker, restored the use of full formal ceremonial robes and sceptre, then adopted an ostentatious grand entry process (usually reserved for formal occasions) by entering the chamber from the front door instead of the back, and marching through public areas of the Parliament in a weekly procession, to ensure that more visitors could see his ceremonial parade.
54 Gyre- drawn from W.B.Yeats’s book “A Vision”, which sets out a theory of history and metaphysics that Yeats claimed to have received from spirits. Yeats claimed that a diagram composed of two conical helices (“gyres”), overlapping each other captured contrary motions inherent within the process of history, and that he divided each gyre into different regions that represented particular kinds of historical periods (and could also represent the psychological phases of an individual’s development). Yeats believed that the world was on the threshold of an apocalyptic moment, as history reached the end of the outer gyre and began moving along the inner gyre. A homophone of “Gaia”, I felt this metaphysical allusion and apocalyptic metaphor was apt to Dr Brown’s belief system.
55 Bob Hawke, when Prime Minister was renowned for tugging his ear whenever he was forced to answer an inconvenient question, being a body language “tell” suggesting he was being dishonest, disingenuous or just perhaps a touch “economical” with the truth.
56 Paul Keating overthrew Bob Hawke as Prime Minister in 1991, after Hawke reneged on a secret agreement to relinquish power to Keating after the 1990 election. Weakened by the recession in the late 1980’s and high interest rates, Hawke eventually lost the second of two leadership spills at the hands of Keating, after his party lost faith in his ability to govern effectively.
57 The “kill-a-camel” suggestion (to reduce Methane emissions as “carbon” offsets) was floated in a paper distributed by Australia’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, as part of consultations for reducing the country’s carbon footprint. I kid you not! Get Up! are an environmental activist group, advocating various forms of extreme actions to “stop climate change”, as if such a physical impossibility is somehow a fait accompli.
58 Quentin Bryce, the current Governor General of Australia, is the mother-in-law of current Labor politician and minister, Bill Shorten. No conflict of interest there, I’m sure.
59,60,61 All the aforementioned quotes in Achilles’ dialogue was at one time attributed to former P.M., the Honorable Paul Keating, who used these insults to put down his various Liberal Party adversaries, such as one time opposition leaders Andrew Peacock, John Howard and John Hewson in particular.
62 John Howard, with the notable guidance of treasurer Peter Costello, paid off all government debt returning to a $40 Billion dollar surplus by 2007, just at a time when the GFC was just around the corner, and most other countries around the world were accumulating government debt at alarming rates. This placed Australia in an enviable position, at least prior to the rampant undisciplined spending of the Rudd government.
63 Prime Minister Howard’s asylum seeker policy, while controversial, put an end to people smuggling on the high seas through the effective deterrents of temporary protection visas and offshore processing. The stupidity of unwinding this effective policy by Kevin Rudd and Gillard was amply demonstrated in the sinking of an asylum seeker vessel off Christmas Island in 2010, killing 27 people. In fact there has, over the six years since this policy was deliberately relaxed, over 1000 people (that we know of) have perished at sea in various mishaps and tragedies, over 40,000 new arrivals have made our shores, more than 10,000 remain in detention and all this has been achieved at a cost of over $5 Billion. Policy disasters don’t come any worse than this, yet not one of those responsible has accepted blame for their actions, and the terrible (and completely foreseeable) consequences of their pathetic lack of insight and overwhelming arrogance in failing to take heed of warnings given right at the very outset. The complicit mainstream media has abrogated its responsibility also by running interference and avoiding reporting upon these policy failures and disturbing their preferred narrative, for reasons known only to themselves.
64 Gallup polls are a useful tool to assess political popularity.
65 Goldman–Sachs alumni.
66 Opposition leader Tony Abbott described Julia Gillard famously as “having the Midas touch in reverse”, suggesting that she had a singular talent for consistently choosing precisely the wrong option. This was vindicated right throughout her tenure as Prime Minister.
67 “Media witch-hunt, err…inquiry” refers to the current Finkelstein Media Inquiry, a transparent attempt by an unpopular Labor government to stifle dissent and minimise criticism from conservative analysts. The main protagonist, Ray Finkelstein QC, a left-leaning judge hand-selected by the government to head their agenda-driven inquiry (with submissions largely from leftist interest groups and other like-minded”interested parties”), has bent over backwards in acquiescence to his political masters by targetting Murdoch based media outlets for scrutiny, while failing to cast a similarly jaundiced eye upon the inherent biases of such bastions of virtue as the ABC, The Age and other similarly biased leftist media instruments. Submissions have been largely from journalism “academics” ensconced in ivory towers, all of who are left leaning by nature and inclination, such as Wendy Bacon (Australian Centre for Independent Journalism), Matthew Ricketson (Professor of Journalism at the University of Canberra) and Dr Margaret Simons (Centre of Advanced Journalism). They couldn’t possibly view their own opinions through rose-coloured glasses by defining anyone sharing their worldview as “unbiased”, could they? Media diversity is clearly a problem requiring urgent redress in their Orwellian world, since it strikes at the very heart of the group think mentality, so must be eradicated immediately and with impunity.
68 Hat tip to Rodgers and Hammerstein.
69 “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” – a speech delivered by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 4 June 1940. This was the second of three major speeches given around the period of the Battle of France.
70 “The Convoy of No Confidence”, organized by Mick Pattel, a Just Grounds member, and past president of the NRFA. Truck drivers from around Australia took time away from their jobs to descend on Canberra to protest the government’s Carbon tax legislation.
71 Thomson is accused of having misappropriated Health Services Union funds to pay for prostitutes, as mentioned in No. 5. His impassioned pleas for clemency and the patently false excuses provided to the parliament in expressing his innocence beggars belief. Allegedly, an unknown person or persons had repeatedly stolen his Union credit card, his mobile phone, his driver’s license and his face to impersonate him, only to replace all these items on his person without him noticing, and on the numerous occasions that this crime was perpetrated. His credit card statements showing these transactions failed to arouse even the slightest suspicion in him, even as he ratified payment of them. Oh dear!
72 There is an established precedent for dressing up corpses after decease for political purposes. Take the case of the Cadaver Synod, the name commonly given to the posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Catholic Pope Formosus, held in 897 AD. Formosus was exhumed 9 months(!) after his death by his successor, Pope Stephen (VI) VII, and placed on trial for his “crimes” of perjury and of having acceded to the Papacy illegally. The corpse was disinterred, clad in papal vestments, and seated on a throne to face all the charges. At the end of the trial, Formosus was pronounced guilty, all his measures and acts were annulled and the orders conferred by him were declared invalid. The papal vestments were torn from his body, the three fingers from his right hand that he had used in consecrations were cut off and the corpse was thrown into the Tiber (later to be retrieved by a monk). The Cadaver Synod is remembered as one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the medieval papacy. What I would like to know is- what did Formosus have to say in his own defense? Must have been pretty unconvincing, don’t you think!
73 “The Convoy of No Consequence” was the witty, but incredibly dismissive name given to the convoy mentioned at No. 70 by Labor politician Anthony Albanese, after it had a lesser turnout than was initially expected. This lack of perceived impact was contributed to greatly by a decided lack of media coverage for a protest of that still impressive scope and size, suggesting a degree of collusion by mainstream media outlets to black out the event.
74 The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is Australia’s national public broadcaster. With a total annual budget of A$1.18 billion drawn almost wholly from the humble taxpayer’s purse, the ABC provides television, radio, online and mobile services throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, as well as overseas through the Australia Network and Radio National. It has in recent times, in spite of the explicit requirements of its charter to impartiality and balance, increasingly become the de facto propaganda arm of the Labor party, with an entrenched left- leaning group-think, ethos and agenda. It sees no need to provide a voice to the vast majority of the population who do not share their views, instead preferring to represent the Melbourne Café Intelligentsia set to the exclusion of broader Australian beliefs and values. They have an audience share commensurate with the biased nature of their reportage.
75 This scene’s dialogue is virtually taken verbatim from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar death scene. Interestingly, other than gender changes, very little needed to be altered in light of the current political drama unfolding with Gillard, Thomson and co. Of course, the “translation” takes some liberties with the text.
76 “Kerr’s Cur”- Gough Whitlam’s famous epithet for Malcolm Fraser, at Whitlam’s dismissal, suggesting that Fraser was merely Governor General Sir John Kerr’s lap dog for accepting his commission as interim Prime Minister until a Double Dissolution election was called.
77 On 14 October 1986, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, then the Chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, was found in a seedy Memphis hotel, the Admiral Benbow Inn, wearing nothing but a towel and confused look on his face. The hotel had a reputation as an establishment popular with prostitutes and drug dealers. Though it was rumoured at the time that the former Prime Minister had been with a prostitute, his wife Tammie stated that Fraser had no recollection of the events and that he was the victim of a practical joke by his fellow delegates. Mmmmmm.
78 Noted scientist Henrik Svensmark, the author of the influential non-fiction book “The Chilling Stars”, which discusses the possible galactic effects as a factor in promoting “Climate Change”, invoking an alternate theory of cosmic ray and solar electromagnetic effects on cloud seeding and formation, which in turn has an allegedly marked effect on global climate, including triggering Ice Ages. Aspects of his theories have been confirmed experimentally with the CERN cloud experiments, and his latest paper comes to the following ground breaking conclusions, possibly heralding a paradigm shift in Climate Science, should it be allowed any Oxygen of course!
▪ The long-term diversity of life in the sea depends on the sea level set by plate tectonics and the local supernova rate set by the astrophysics, and on virtually nothing else.
▪ The long-term primary productivity of life in the sea – the net growth of photosynthetic microbes – depends on the supernova rate, and on virtually nothing else.
▪ Exceptionally close supernovae account for short-lived falls in sea level during the past 500 million years, long-known to geophysicists but never convincingly explained.
▪ As the geological and astronomical records converge, the match between climate and supernova rates gets better and better, with high rates bringing icy times (Source:.Wattsupwiththat.com).
79 “Bogans” is a slang Australian term usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for an individual who is recognized to be unsophisticated and uncouth, from a lower class background, or someone whose limited education, speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplifies this.
80 Fabian Manifesto- The Fabian Society are a proto-socialist organization that has pursued an agenda over the last 100 years or more of world domination through “gradualism”, slowly molding the political and social fabric of the world in their image. Prominent politicians such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Julia Gillard and the like have been examples of some of the powerful followers of this political movement who have attained high office in their respective countries. Their coat of arms, rather ominously appropriate one might suggest, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
81 Eugenics- the applied pseudoscience which advocates the use of practices aimed at manipulating human populations. The origins of the concept of Eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance principles, and the theories of August Weissman. Historically, many of the practitioners of Eugenics viewed it as a science, not necessarily restricted to human populations; this embraced the views of Darwinism, and Social Darwinism in particular. The Fabian Society, including such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw, was a vigorous advocate of this approach in its formative years. In the early 1900s, Fabian Society members advocated the ideal of a scientifically planned society and supported Eugenics by way of sterilization. This is credited to the passage of the Half- Caste Act, and it subsequent implementation in Australia, where some children were forcibly removed from their parents, ostensibly so that the government of the day could protect the Aboriginal children from their parents. In an article published in The Guardian on 14 February 2008, Geoffrey Robertson criticized Fabian socialists for providing the intellectual justification for the Eugenics policy that led to the stolen generations scandal. Such views on socialism, inequality and eugenics in early 20th century Fabians was not limited to one individual, but was a widely shared view within the Fabian Society.
82 The Franklin Dam project was a proposed dam on the Gordon River in Tasmania, that was never constructed. The movement that eventually led to the project’s cancellation became one of most significant environmental campaigns in Australian history.
The dam was proposed for the purpose of generating hydroelectricity. The resulting new electricity generation capacity would have been 180 Megawatts. This would have allegedly impacted upon the environmentally sensitive Franklin River, which joins the Gordon nearby. During the campaign against the dam, both areas were World Heritage listed.
83 “Fucking Hopeless”- The leaking of a video showing the then Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, thumping a table and swearing repeatedly, was miraculously and conveniently released to coincide with his recent leadership challenge against Julia Gillard. The video shows an irate Mr Rudd, supposedly a fluent Mandarin speaker, trying to record a New Year’s message for a Chinese community group. Railing against an embassy official who wrote the script, he says: “Mate, this is just impossible … You can tell the dickheads in the embassy to just give me simple sentences … This fucking language, he just complicates it so much … Tell them to cancel this meeting at 6pm, I don’t have the fucking patience to do it … The fucking Chinese interpreter … Just fucking hopeless.”