The Year That Was, And The Year That Will Be


It is amazing how quickly a year goes, and how things change within that all-too-brief 12 months. For example, this time last year I was a well-rested father of one who had never even heard of Julie Goodwin, and now I have three children and am constantly waking up in a cold sweat from nightmares where I am suffocated by a monstrous cleavage as punishment for sweating into my sorbet.

And I’m not the only one. A year ago Malcolm Turnbull was a strutting, confident would-be statesman, ready to take on the world with dreams of leading his country. Yet now he is a broken, sunken-eyed shell with dreams of sticking bayonets in Nick Minchin’s eyes. A year ago Tony Abbott was a purposeless drifter trying to balance his loyalty to his party with the increasingly strident voices in his head, while today he is a popular and charismatic political celebrity with the ability to electrify large crowds of fundamentalist Christians and twitchy eyed Murdoch journalists.

We’ve come so far as people, and as a society. Can it be only 12 months ago that we thought of The Chaser as an entertaining and intelligent television show, rather than as a vicious attempt to destroy innocent lives? Only 12 months since we thought of Kristina Keneally as a person we’d never heard of, rather than a person we had? Only 12 months since we thought of Michael Jackson as a beloved entertainer, rather than a corpse?

I’m sure we’d all love time to stand still so we could live forever in this wonderful year, constantly reliving the thrill of the Obama inauguration, the glamour of the Edelsten wedding, the adrenalin rush of the Rudd stimulus package, the heartwarming survival of Trishna and Krishna, and the communal joy of the Edelsten helicopter crash.

But alas, time moves on. Hair grows grey, backs grow bent, and Janus once more shuts his eyes upon one year and casts an unblinking gaze upon the next. What will it bring? Only the most arrogant and utterly self-unaware of faux-journalistic amateur hack futurists would dare make predictions of what we shall confront in 2010. So here are mine.

First of all, in federal politics, the 2010 election will be a bitter and acrimonious affair, with mud slung liberally and often by both sides, the moral high ground worn down to a molehill by the desperate scrabbling to climb atop it. Most notable will be Kevin Rudd’s skilful portrayal in the public consciousness of Tony Abbott as a dangerous fanatic intent on making abortions punishable by death and premarital sex punishable by abortion, which will be deftly countered by the Liberal ad campaign showing Kevin Rudd making passionate love to Kim Jong-Il. Halfway through the official campaign, Barnaby Joyce will stop taking his mood stabilisers and try to take a bite out of Julia Gillard, leading to a National Party clean sweep of Queensland electorates. The Coalition will win narrowly after John Alexander takes back Bennelong from Maxine McKew, whose chances will be cruelled by her maverick insistence on speaking in public.

Rudd will resign in disgrace, to be unexpectedly replaced as leader by Stephen Conroy, running on the slogan "Vote For The Man Who Assumes You’re A Paedophile".

In state politics, NSW Governor Marie Bashir will attempt to dismiss the NSW Government, leading to a bloody shoot-out in Macquarie Street during which Keneally will die in Eddie Obeid’s arms and Fred Nile will unexpectedly become premier as last man standing. Meanwhile, in Victoria, the Herald Sun will demand answers as to why John Brumby continues to refuse to make bushfires less hot, in response to which the government will replace the "Stay and defend or leave early" policy with the new "Just get out you goddamn moron" policy.

In South Australia, Mike Rann’s fate will be sealed by the discovery of custom-built airbags in his desktop, and Isobel Redmond will become premier, celebrating election night by connecting her nipples to a car battery. Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh will make one last bid for a political legacy by selling the entire state to Google. Tasmania and Western Australia will continue to exist, although Tasmania will secede from the mainland as David Bartlett makes a bid for the world record for sailing an entire state solo around the world.

In entertainment, 2010 will see the return of Hey Hey It’s Saturday, on Wednesday nights, which will lead to voluntary euthanasia being legalised by a unanimous parliamentary vote. Following Daryl Somers’s signing of a five-year contract, the Bill will be amended to refer to "compulsory euthanasia". Meanwhile, Australian Idol will go from strength to strength, with the 2010 winner’s debut album lasting almost 10 days with a RRP in double figures; although the real talking point of the show will be the return of Kyle Sandilands and a new twist whereby the five worst performers at each audition have to have sex with him.

Meanwhile, the Australian film industry will have a real banner year, with an exciting slate of films about drug addiction, indigenous disadvantage and ordinary families struggling with internalised emotional issues against sweeping outback scenery bursting vibrantly onto several dozen screens around the country. In December the Federal Government will shut down the local film industry, mandating that to save money, they will fund the whiny know-it-all articles directly.

In sport, the Australian cricket team will have an average year full of moderate highs and acceptable lows, leading ex-players to call for Ricky Ponting to resign immediately and his career to be expunged from official records. Chief among these will be Rodney Hogg, who will achieve a notable milestone when his number of public calls for a captain’s sacking will exceed the number of Test wickets he took.

In rugby league, the NRL will institute a new "life-skills" course for all players to undergo, consisting mainly of a map showing the locations of all toilets around Australia, while also instituting a similar course for girlfriends of players, consisting mainly of lessons on how to fall onto something soft.

In tennis, Serena Williams will win the Australian Open after strangling three opponents and four chair umpires with her necklace, while Lleyton Hewitt will declare himself back to grand slam-winning form several hours before being humiliated by a man twice his size and half his age.

Meanwhile, the Australian World Cup bid will gather irresistible momentum, prompting a public statement from AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou to the effect that "soccer is for gays". The bid succeeds anyway, and street violence skyrockets as roaming gangs of soccer fans patrol capital cities assaulting anyone using the word "soccer".

Of course, the most pressing issue of our time, climate change, will also be very much on the agenda in 2010, which will be the year that Andrew Bolt finally finds a graph which proves conclusively the earth is actually 15 degrees cooler than it was in 1994, and that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide cures leukaemia. Repentant, Kevin Rudd will then make a tearful public apology to the fossil fuel industry on the lawn of Parliament House, before extending the terms of the Northern Territory Intervention to specify that all Aboriginal homelands are now the property of Rio Tinto, which will on-sell them to China.

The economy saved, Prime Minister Abbott will then pay off the Rudd government’s debt by renting out asylum seekers to Jim’s Gardening Franchises, and finish the year by gaining control of both houses in a double dissolution election triggered by the repeated failure of the Senate to pass legislation mandating that teen mothers may be used as a renewable energy source.

Thus, in 2010 we can look forward to a lot of excitement, but most of all, a warm, contented feeling as we revel in the knowledge that everything’s going to be okay after all. Of course it’s possible that I am wrong about the details, although I have never been before. But I can absolutely guarantee this: it will be a year of wonders, a year of joy, and most of all a year of dramatically lowered expectations which somehow will still fail to be met. I look forward to traversing its mind-numbing terrain with you all once more.

Merry Christmas.

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