Chewin' the Gristle


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

This week’s Gristle is dedicated to the sartorially splendid Al Grassby who, two years after his death, is to be honoured with a statue in Canberra as the father of multiculturalism. We were disappointed that the statue won’t be in full colour, denying it any chance of reflecting the visual train-wreck that was Grassby’s wardrobe. A couple of weeks ago, The Gristle reported on the official death of multiculturalism  and, after being reminded of Grassby and his wardrobe, we now see a reason why maybe we should get rid of the term. While some may mention allegations of ties to the mafia, The Gristle are happy to convict him on the ties he wore around his neck.

Speaking of ties, it seems that anyone who has ever visited Western Australia has some ties to former WA Premier (or is that CEO), Brian ‘Beelzebub’ Burke. After current Premier Alan ‘Get Me Out of Here’ Carpenter sacked three of his ministers over meetings with Beelzebub and, considering his starring role over at the Crime and Corruption Commission, it was only a matter of time before the new boy Kevin ‘Charlie Brown’ Rudd was somehow linked. The Federal Government had the smear squad working overtime and were soon whooping it up in Parliament over Charlie Brown’s triumvirate of meetings ‘sup[ping]with the devil’ according to Tony ‘The Mad Monk’ Abbott. (And the boy from Opus Dei should know all about that!)

It seemed for a moment that Charlie Brown’s air of invincibility was starting to tarnish. As best as we could tell, the key issue was less that Charlie Brown was hanging with Beelzebub, but more that he might have mentioned his leadership aspirations just a glimmer in his eye in 2005 but more a thorn in the Government’s side in 2007. If the Government could get Charlie Brown to admit that he talked leadership with Beelzebub, then maybe they could go back to happier times when the Opposition benches were full of loonies and tree stumps (‘there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home’).

Howard was well and truly on the front foot, stating that he wasn’t aware of anyone from the Government meeting with Beelzebub but, ‘If that is wrong, I will find out very quickly.’

Very quickly indeed. Minister for Human Services Ian ‘The Virgin’ Campbell confessed that he had, indeed met Burke at a WA Turf Club meeting in June last year. Before you could say ‘hellzapoppin’ The Virgin had gone from Minister for Human Services to Minister as Human Sacrifice. Howard’s long forgotten ‘Ministerial Code of Conduct’ was back and had been re-drafted into one sentence ‘If you get in the way of my re-election you will be sacked.’

For anyone left unsure as to whether The Virgin was sacrificed for the sake of integrity or expediency, you only needed to ask the sacrifice himself. He said:

Now the reason I have resigned is I do not want there to be any distraction away from the public’s focus on Rudd’s concealment of what he has done.

Way to take one for the team, big fella! A cushy foreign posting can’t be too far off.

All of this excitement managed to take a little bit off the focus off that other human sacrifice, David Hicks. After charges of attempted murder and being a terrorist have fallen by the wayside leaving only a single charge of Providing Material Support for Terrorism, a law that didn’t actually exist at the time he is alleged to have broken it our Federal Government is now hinting that a plea-bargain from Hicks would get him straight home and free.

Thanks to Bill Leak

The prosecution is looking more and more like the Black Knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail. OK let’s call it a draw.

Howard, meanwhile, was unequivocal in his general displeasure about the whole delay in getting Hicks to court but, of course, not displeased enough to take any action:  

I am not going to interfere in anything that’s happening in the United States, except to repeat that we are very angry that it’s taken so long.

The Man of Steel in action is an awesome sight indeed!

All of this is enough to make you forget that an election campaign is in full swing in NSW, with Opposition Leader Peter ‘Whitey’ Debnam this week declaring that 10-year-olds should be thrown in jail more often. Whitey has called for the ending of the principle of doli incapax where, for children between 10 and 14, their understanding of their wrongdoing must be proven along with guilt.  

Whitey understands that if you want wayward kids to become responsible adults, the best approach is a stint in the pokey before they finish primary school. We suspect, however, that Whitey just saw the term doli incapax, thought it looked Middle Eastern and decided to get rid of it.

Last word this week is still on Whitey who, having learned nothing from the last Victorian State Election, has pulled out the budgie smugglers as he hits the hustings. This has been picked up by the British Press, who have compared him favourably to Daniel Craig in the new James Bond flick.

Whitey Debnam 007 ‘licensed as dill.’

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.