At first it was easy. Bernardi, Joyce and Pyne have always been a satirist’s dream. You just have to repeat what they’re saying and most people laugh and tell you that you have a marvellous control of irony. And since his election, Abbott has made himself look even more ridiculous than that trio – which, I think you’ll agree – is an impressive achievement.
Going from “elect us for a strong economy” to “what do job losses have to do with us” in the space of a few months ranks with George W. telling us that the French didn’t have a word for “entrepreneur”. But then, we had Scott Morrison’s “Well, what do you expect when people leave the safety of the compound?” changing to “Sorry he didn’t leave the compound, but we’ll have a full inquiry into this and no, I’m not answering questions, I never answer questions because that just helps people smugglers. And look, Steven offended the General so let’s talk about that, because a man’s death pales into insignificance when compared to a general being offended by accusations that he’s helping us cover things up.”
But I must confess, lately I’ve lost my spark. Every time, I start to write something that I hope will rival Swift’s “A Moderate Proposal”# and Abbott comes out with something even more “moderate”.
Today, I started to read something and I thought, “Yeah, that’s the sort of satire I wish I could write”, but then I realised that it quoting an actual news item, and that Abbott really did say: “When I look out tonight at an audience of people who work with timber, who work in forests, I don’t see people who are environmental vandals; I see people who are the ultimate conservationists” just a few minutes after saying, “Why should we lock up as some sort of World Heritage sanctuary country that has been logged, degraded or planted for timber?”
But I suppose that we don’t want forests locked up? It sounds like the thing you do to unionists and protesters. “Free the forests” has a catchy ring to it. Rather like “liberating” workers from their boring factory jobs. And in some cases they’ll be liberated from their mortgages too. I can see a similar campaign for people in nursing homes.
But still at least we know that he’s a “feminist” because of his daughters. He said so on International Women’s Day when he announced that all the glass ceilings had been broken. Governor-General, Prime Minister and now we had his chief of staff running the entire country. So, there’s no problem any more. Feminists have won, so why are they still complaining.
#A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general.
In English writing, the phrase “a modest proposal” is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire.
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