For some time now, I’ve been having this ridiculous dialogue play in my head:
Interviewer – Congratulations on your Walkley Award, Mr Brisbane.
Rossleigh – Thanks, and please call me, Sir. I want to get used to it.
Interviewer – We understand that with the election of the Labor Government, you’re giving up doing investigative journalism. Why is this?
Rossleigh – Well, I guess it’s time for a little confession. You know how I rose to prominence with all those fabulous scoops?
Interviewer – Of course, everyone was wondering who your sources were. They must have been very high up in the Abbott Government.
Rossleigh – Actually, I had no sources. I was just writing satire. Early on, I used to have the problem that some people actually thought it was real, so I started to exaggerate and write things that were so far-fetched that they couldn’t possibly be true. That was how I was the first to discover the Abbott’s plan to sink the boats because the cost of taking asylum seeker back to Sri Lanka or the Middle East was blowing out the Budget.
And so, this week I’ve had a wealth of material. I started to write this in response to Abbott’s “unsettled” comments.
Mr Abbott said that he wishes to apologise for saying that Australia was “unsettled” before British investment. “It was an unfortunate word to use. I actually meant to say ‘uncivilised’ but sometimes you just have a slip of the tongue.”
But again, I was concerned that it was too close to what he actually said, and that it would be picked up on social media and many people would believe that Tony Abbott actually had said it.
Besides, the media has already concentrated on that part of his speech. I found myself getting more and more annoyed that in the controversy over the fact that our Minister for Aboriginal Affairs seems so unaware that people were living here before the British, that his comments on foreign investment have been largely ignored. As has the fact that he seems to think that dumping unwanted people in another country is “foreign investment!” (Um that last sentence refers to our convict history, not Manus or Nauru.)
So I decided to move on to issue of asylum seekers where DFAT officials told the Senate that they were simply following orders and Scott Morrison’s press conference where he confirmed once again that it’s his job to tell us nothing. As for the statement from a spokesman for the Minister that “all voluntary returns are voluntary”, well, that’s really hard to argue with. However, I suspect it was the non-voluntary ones that were concerning people.
How could I make this more extreme, more ridiculous and clearly satire? After all, the idea that the Abbott Government may send people back to a place where “in difficult circumstances difficult things happen” without actually assessing their claims for asylum seems like the sort of thing that just twelve months ago would have been dismissed as too far fetched to believe.
So how long before we see something like this?
PROTESTERS DON’T RETURN TO FOREST
The expected protest against logging didn’t eventuate today when nobody turned up, and those who’d been camping there for the past three weeks suddenly packed up and left in the middle of the night. When we attempted to contact the Organiser of the Protest, Bruce Banner, he only said “Hello” before his phone went dead.
The Minister in Charge of Deforestation, I.C. Nutting issued a statement saying that he was pleased that all of the protesters had decided to go home. When it was pointed out that none of them seemed to have arrived home, Mr Nutting said it was not policy to comment on anything that wasn’t directly related to cutting down trees and he wouldn’t be commenting on this because of a commercial-in-confidence contract with the company cutting down the trees, whose name was also being kept confidential under the terms of the contract.
When asked how we’d be able to judge whether the taxpayers were getting value for money, the Minister replied: “Trust us. Remember that we were elected by the Australian people and any criticism of us is a criticism of the Australian people. And if you’re critical of the Australian people, you should be like the protesters and just go back where you came from.”
One reporter suggested that some of the protesters were Australian.
“Not any more,” replied the Minister…
Yeah, too ridiculous to believe. But then, if Labor had suggested in the election campaign that there’d be a Medicare co-payment, that people on disability pensions would be accused of not being prepared to work, or that people under 30 wouldn’t be able to receive any government assistance for six months, wouldn’t that have been dismissed as scaremongering?
Oh well, at least it’s satire!