Richard, of the Overflow


New Matilda never publishes poetry. We’ve made an exception for Amalina Wallace’s latest piece.

It should pretty obviously be read to the cadence of Banjo Patterson’s Clancy of the Overflow.

And based on the reactions from some of the more avid Greens’ supporters to past criticisms from NM of ‘Sir Richard’, now would be a good time for those folk to sit down and breathe deeply… over to Amalina.


I had written him an email which

I had, about a female

senator, sent to where I

met him down Canberra, years ago,

He was leaking when I knew him,

so I sent the email to him,

Just ‘on spec’,

addressed as follows, ‘Richard, of The Overflow’.

And no answer came directed which was not so unexpected,

(And I think his brain was smitten

by a female with no heart)

‘Twas his CEO who wrote it, and


I will quote it:

Richard’s gone to Cabinet dealing,

and we don’t know where he are.’


In a laughter full of stitches visions come to me of Richard

Gone a-dealing ‘with the Liberals

where the wreckers seek to go;

As the party’s slowly whingeing,

Richard rides behind them singing,

For the leader’s

life has pleasures that

the members never know.

And the Libs hath friends

to meet him, and their cunning voices greet him

In the murmur of the back doors and the media pack in cars,

And he sees the vision splendid of the power share extended,

And at night the wond’rous

glory of the everlasting bars.


I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy

Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,

And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city

Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all

And in place of rising justice, I

can hear the fiendish blusters

Of the senators and journos making merry down the street,

And the language uninviting of the gutter media fighting,

Comes fitfully and faintly

through the ceaseless stream of tweets.

As obsessively he taunts her, and

his pallid face does haunt her

As he strikes the blade so deep in

with a ruthless kind of haste,

With his eager eyes and greedy, and his ammunition weedy,

For his arrows are misguided, his judgement gone to waste.

And I somehow rather flinch at

any thought that this man Richard

Ever took a turn at leading

where the voters come and go,

While he faced temptations vernal

Of the cash-book and the journal —

He failed to suit the office, Richard, of

‘The Overflow’.

Amalina Wallace has worked with people of diverse backgrounds for over 30 years, including prisoners, refugees and humanitarian entrants to Australia. When working for the Australian government Amalina wrote a successful policy paper on the need for a national Indigenous interpreting service. She then helped produce a DVD in six Indigenous languages for prisoners from remote areas, to let them know about services available to help on release. Amalina is a member of the Sydney Trade Union Choir, and a member of the NSW Folk Federation.