Options for the Weary


It has come to our fervid attention that there may be some recalcitrants in the so-called Labor Party who are a tad unhappy with their Lot: to wit, being the Natural Party of Opposition.

My usual proclivity, as you know, is to the Tory worldview – everything in its place, noblesse oblige, and a jolly good thrashing every now and then to keep the servants on their toes. I have therefore refrained from sharing my wisdom with the Merry Pranksters and Jolly Japesters of the ALP – pearls before boofheads, as the Bard would say – until now.

Thanks to Fiona Katauskas

Thanks to Fiona Katauskas

I feel safe in putting forward my Modest Proposals today, however, because we are reliably informed that the only person in the ALP who can actually read has recently left (in a bit of a Tizz, apparently) and so my words will register not at all in their dull and turpid world.

What, then, are the Options for the ALP after almost ten years of Glorious Rule by our picayune but perfectly formed PM?

Surprisingly, there is a blooming Profusion of choice. Allow me to enumerate:

1. The ALP could continue doing what it’s done brilliantly for so long: viz, elect a Dud Leader, refuse to entertain any new Ideas whatsoever, hide in the Corner, hold its Breath, and hope that no one notices. As a way of getting into office, this genial strategy relies on Electors being so Bored that, eventually, there is a statistical probability that enough of them will inadvertently tick the wrong boxes on the correct slip of paper, and ‘Hey Presto!’ a shiny new ALP Government.

We in Apollo Bay call this the ‘Million Monkeys Donkey Vote Strategy,’ and bookmakers around here rate it Beazley’s best chance of victory – by a long chalk.

2. The majority of the ALP Caucus, however, are clearly resigned to their fate and are watching the eggtimer as it approaches the rapturous moment when they can cash in their super. These Heroes should be allowed to continue to do what they do best: jovially get down on all fours and take it from the Coalition (repeatedly) for decades to come. Let’s face it, the brutes love it Rough, and if it makes them happy …

3. A few in the Labor ranks might have accidentally developed a Cerebral Cortex or a social conscience since last they were scanned. These unfortunates will no doubt harbour ambitions to change the world, or even ‘make a difference’. Ah, Quixotes all! It’s best that these naifs and Innocents be rescued immediately, and be encouraged to join Her Majesty’s Real and Effective Opposition – either Petro (‘Zorba’) Georgiou’s fine posse of partisans up in the cordilleras of Kooyong; or those boisterous, athletic Nationals: Ron (‘Bloomer’) Boswell, Barnaby (‘Rubble’) Joyce and the McGaurins (Major and Minor).

Who wouldn’t salivate at the prospect of sharing changing sheds with these Paragons of Parliament?

4. A fourth option is quietly interring the Flaccid and Putrescent carcass of the ALP and joining the Democrats … No, seriously … Stop laughing … Oh, alright. It’s just that, unless something quite drastic is done, future generations will never know the pleasure of taking tea and Tim Tams with the Democrats on a sunny afternoon. And what a tragic day that will be.

Remember Meg Lees? Cheryl Kernot? John Coulter? John Cherry? Andrew Murray? What a party! What stellar mastery of the fine arts of political jousting and persuasion! What legs!

Will we ever see their like again?

5. Privatisation of the ALP is always a possibility. If, sweet Readers, you believe it unlikely that Australians would be so stupid as to invest in such a franchise, pray consider that 49 per cent of Telstra is owned by each of you, that the other 51 per cent is owned by all of you, and that you all bought it from yourselves.

Snake oil anyone?

6. I’m assured by the ragamuffin youths who wander the streets of Apollo Bay, merrily chyacking and blogging and smashing streetlights, that the ALP could go ‘virtual’. Imagine, for a moment, the following teleseries: ‘Survivor “ the ALP’ (in which no one survives); ‘ALP, the Musical’ (move over, Cats and Les Mis); ‘Lost: the ALP Years’ ( more Inferno than Purgatorio); or, my favourite, ‘Big Brother “ the ALP Machine’ (the twist here is that no one is ever expelled, they all just stay inside The House in their underwear, making endless rounds of toast and welsh rarebit, plotting, kneecapping, crying and rotating the Party presidency – meanwhile, we quietly turn off all the cameras and microphones one by one, and slowly, silently, walk away…).

7. An unlikely option might be termed ‘Finding a Leader’. Some of the less generous scallywags at the Apollo Bay RSL have been unkind enough to suggest that if Kim (‘Blancmange’) Beazley had been PM during the last conflagration, we would all be speaking Japanese. This is a Scurvy libel! We know full well that the Japanese never imposed their language on occupied territories, and anyway, they fervently believed Australians too stupid to ever learn it.

Despite such wanton Slanders, Kimberley Beazley is clearly the best man for the job and at the zenith of his powers. His salient skill-set includes: He knows many words. He always looks impressively serious. He has been known to speak under water. His use of verbiage is manifold … He uses many words … Have I mentioned that he knows many words? … Oh, yes and he’s been Leader of the Opposition for what now seems like years.

But even if the unthinkable were to happen and the ALP, one day, were to entertain the notion of replacing Le Blancmange de l’Occident, fear not! There are a veritable plethora of alternative leaders available. Close your eyes and let them parade before your mind’s eye (in whatever state of deshabille your fancy chooses): Wayne Swan, Kevin Rudd, Craig Emerson, Jenny Macklin, Lindsay Tanner, Simon Crean, Bob McMullan, … the list goes on!

Be still my quivering loins.

And we know that beyond this Olympian front line, there stands an army of Titans who could also easily fill the breech – sons and nephews and ex-staffers and union hacks, all – talented, committed, idealistic, members of Mensa, who regularly and effortlessly gain pre-selection for safe Labor seats, as if by magic.

Oh, quake ye Liberals, for thy Oblivion is nigh!


8. By far the least likely option for the ALP is saucily known south of the Otways as ‘Getting Your Act Together’. This involves picking local candidates with talent, tenacity and ideas. Then choosing a leader from among them who can inspire, communicate and plan. Afterwards, attacking the incumbent government when it threatens the liberty and long-term prosperity of the people. And finally, driving up to Parliament House with a number of omnibuses, loading the current members of the ALP into said omnibuses, and taking them away. A long, long way away.

I hear the PM is thoughtfully building some nice accommodation on Christmas Island.

Should work a treat.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.