Chewin' the Gristle


Hello Gristlers! and welcome to Chewin’ the Gristle, the week’s political bits that we found hard to swallow.

The Gristle is reeling over the tragic news that Mark ‘The Poo’ Phillipousis, the great multicultural hope of Australian tennis, has once again been laid low by injury. Just when he was about to finally live up to his potential (again). The Poo has now headed back to Melbourne to plan his next comeback though the harsher critics believe his career is already history much like Multiculturalism itself.


While Parliaments around the country have shut down for the Silly Season, it’s good to see that Idiocy has adopted the spirit of WorkChoices and worked right through the holidays. Kicking off the New Year in style was Darwin Lord Mayor Peter Adamson who has recently been facing allegations that he received a fridge by deception. Not afraid to take the piss out of himself, he attended a New Year’s Eve party dressed as the aforementioned fridge. No harm done. But he did seem somewhat confused, delivering a gem of a quote, when he explained that he was ‘quite comfortable with taking the thing lightly, while I still take it seriously.’ A future in Federal politics beckons this sort of genius!

Also working through Christmas was Julia ‘Better Sort Than Bronwyn’ Bishop, who released the details of the Federal Government’s $90 million National Chaplaincy Program for schools. The good news is that a strict code of conduct will apply so that chaplains will lay off the religious stuff and avoid any language that ‘assumes people have the same beliefs’ you know, like referring to God. It could be fun for the kids, though, to watch the torment on the faces of men of the cloth who aren’t allowed to mention God.

This really does beg the big question: What do you call a chaplain who can’t refer to God? If you answered ‘Counsellor,’ then you should give yourself an uppercut chaplains don’t have to have those sort of qualifications! We did wonder what the policy’s authors had in mind when they specifically brought in a clause saying that chaplains must avoid physical contact with students unless ‘absolutely necessary.’

In NSW, Peter ‘Whitey’ Debnam and Morris ‘Yemina’ Iemma are on the hustings gearing up for the State election on March 24. For the first time in living memory, the State Labor leader has agreed to a televised debate. Now this might seem like a fairly straightforward thing, but not in NSW. You see, Yemina is happy to have the debate but only if he is allowed to sit down. Whitey has been ‘demanding a proper stand-up debate at lecterns’. This raging ‘posture debate’ bounced around in the media for a few days and ended in Whitey conceding, with the line ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ you said it Pete, not us.

Thanks to Alan Moir

The Libs were also dirty because they wanted three debates instead of just one. We are not sure if the debate about whether to stand or sit counts as the first debate, but if there were three debates, they could have one standing, one sitting and one where they debated each other in a shared Queen size bed snuggled up under the doona. This way, the six inches of height Yemina gives up to Whitey would be absorbed under the ‘we are all the same height horizontally’ theory. (NB: The Gristle would like it noted just how much restraint we have shown in avoiding any jokes about ‘mass debates’ as part of this piece).

It was a big Christmas for David Hicks, with Australia’s Director of Military Prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, referring to his five-year incarceration at Guantánamo Bay as ‘abominable’ and running that classic Lefty line that he was ‘entitled to a trial and a fair one’. It wasn’t long before Liberal turncoat Malcolm Fraser chimed in, whingeing that the Government had ‘totally deserted’ Hicks. Pretty typical of the bleeding heart stuff we’ve come to expect from the hippies in the military and pinko ex-Prime Ministers.

But wait, who are the pair coming off the high-diving board performing a synchronised back-flip with triple pike. Yep it’s John ‘U-Turn’ Howard and his faithful sidekick Phil ‘The Cadaver’ Ruddock. The Cadaver started by stating that the Brigadier’s comments ‘reflected the Government’s position,’ we can only imagine he was referring to reflections being reverse images, because up to this point the Government’s position seems to have been that Hicks was a terrorist who should be grateful for any kangaroo court offered to him.

Not to be outdone, we then got this quote from Honest John:

I am not happy about how long it has taken [to try Hicks]and we will be putting increasing pressure on the Americans to stick to the timetable they have given us. The acceptability of him being kept in custody diminishes by the day.

Apparently five years is an acceptable timeframe for incarceration without charge for Australians citizens, but much longer than that and we start to get a little bit antsy.

Now that ‘U-Turn’ has become a champion of both climate change and human rights for David Hicks, The Gristle figures it can only be a matter of time before he resigns from the Prime Ministership to take up an editorial role at Green Left Weekly.

You can catch The Gristle on Radio 2SER 107.3 in Sydney or on the web at every Friday evening from 6:00 to 6:30.

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.