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Why I don’t make predictions … and why I never will

In the Fortune Teller’s Tent

Madame Claire: Good afternoon, if you cross my palm with silver, I’ll tell you your future.

Unnamed Politician: No thanks, I’m … ah … keeping my money till I find out whether you’re the real thing.

Madame Claire: But didn’t your good friend Peter send you after my accurate reading of him?

Politician: Ah … yes, but I … ah … don’t trust Peter – this could be some sort of trick.

Madame Claire: Very well, how about if I give you this initial reading and after that, if you need my services, you’ll just pay me twice as much the way you intend to do with outsourcing and the public service.

Politician: Ah … You’ll have to do better than that, you could have predicted that from looking at what the State Liberals do.

Madame Claire: The first thing you want to know is who will win the election.

Politician: Obviously. So … ah, do I?

Madame Claire: That depends on what you mean by “win”.

Politician: Look, it’s ah … a perfectly simply thing.

Madame Claire: Well, who won the last election?

Politician: Er … We did, but Labor stayed in power because they bribed the independents with trinkets and promises of faster internet.

Madame Claire: Well, I see very few winners out of the next election.

Politician: I … ah, don’t follow.

Madame Claire: I see a man with a big hat who is smiling. Or is it sneering.

Politician: That’d be Katter.

Madame Claire: The media want to know where he’ll be directing his votes.

Politician: His vote.

Madame Claire: No, his votes. And he is saying that he’ll be meeting with a big man named Clive in the next few days.

Politician: Clive Palmer?

Madame Claire: I don’t know. I only have glimpses. The future is a mist. Nothing is certain. It can all be re-written differently.

Politician: Ah … sort of like News Limited does for us.

Madame Claire: Not exactly. It’s more like your Real Solutions document. A trained eye can see something, but only through a veil … And certain words and phrases keep blocking me from seeing the whole picture.

Politician: What are they?

Madame Claire: “Labor’s fault”, “bigger than we thought”, “aspiration, not a promise”. And the letters N D I and S keep confusing things. Do these letters mean anything to you?

Politician: Not a thing.

Madame Claire: Ah I’m getting something else Gone … Gone … Ski?

Politician: Gone skiing?

Madame Claire: No, Gonski, that’s it. A man named Gonski is threatening you.

Politician: No, we’ve dealt with that. We’ve told everyone that the system is just fine. Apart from the private schools not getting enough federal money. But you haven’t answered the important question – do we win?

Madame Claire: Who’s “we”? And what does it mean to “win”?

Politician: Do I become Prime Minister?

Madame Claire: I’m sorry, but you’ll have wait until after the election when I can charge consultancy rates.

SHE BEGINS TO EXIT.

Politician: Wait, I need to know. Those votes Katter was talking about … were they the Lower House or the Senate?

Madame Claire: Why should I tell you, when you refused to cross my palm with silver?

Politician: I don’t have any. Labor cornered the market on silver when they offered Peter Slipper the Speaker’s Chair, but perhaps I could offer you a job somewhere.

Madame Claire: Such as?

Politician: What do you want? Media Watch Presenter? Tim Flannery’s job? Head of the FUTURE fund?

Madame Claire: Aren’t you overlooking something?

Politician: What?

Madame Claire: You aren’t Prime Minister yet …

 

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