WHAT’S IN A HARMLESS JULIE BISHOP CLOWN FACE MASK? PLENTY OF FARCE!

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Australian Federal Police have raided the parliament house gift shop. The raid followed a call to 2UE’s whisper line by an anonymous tipster citing inside knowledge and details of a plan by a group of “face-covered Moslems” to disrupt parliament. The call was heard by Channel 9, whose film crew promptly notified the AFP, then made a beeline for Capital Hill. Sound familiar? Deja vu?

Shop manager Flossie Fairweather politely informed the heavily armed anti-terrorist squad that she had sold out of the offending face coverings. “I sold the last 60 to that charming group of young people barely 30 minutes ago. They said they were Moslem but they did not look like terrorists to me. I think they were heading for the public gallery in that big green room.”

The squad then stormed the House of Representatives gallery with the order, “Remove all face coverings immediately.”

Childish laughter erupted as the group of primary school children removed their Julie Bishop clown face masks. A spokeschild piped up, “We just wanted to have a bit of fun at your expense. We didn’t think you would have learnt any lessons from the Burqa ban debacle last October. You idiots. And by the way, we are not Moslem, not that it should matter one iota. And yes, it was me who phoned 2UE. It has been a pleasure to make a laughing stock of the AFP, the media and parliament. Kids rule! We are the future and don’t you forget it.”

Tony Abbott reacted angrily to the incident, “There will be no more benefit of the doubt for children seeking to harm Australia. We are a free and fair nation, but that doesn’t mean we should let bad children play us for mugs. Let me be quite clear about this. All children, I repeat, all children will now be treated as terror suspects.”

According to Flossie Fairweather, “Sales of the Julie Bishop clown face masks have soared. For fun-loving visitors to parliament house, to not wear a mask in the public galleries is as un-Australian as banning the burqa.”

Rumour has it that an outraged Julie Bishop approached Ms Fairweather, demanding that she withdraw all masks from sale. “Why don’t you wear one of these love. It will be a much better look for you.” came Flossie’s response. A gun-shy, red-faced and highly nervous AFP has kowtowed to Bishop’s demand that the incriminating CCTV footage be seized, archived and marked “Never to be released.”

Malcolm Turnbull

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Hello my dear Liberal Party switchboard operator. Please put me through to NBN Co – that’s the National Broadband Network Company – if my carrier pigeon didn’t arrive there 30 minutes ago.

No need to get smart with me! I know broadband hasn’t been invented yet. I’m trying to get back to the future.

I hate being yesterday’s man. I’m a social progressive. I’m a republican. I believe in gay marriage. I’m social media savvy. And you should see the way I dress. But here I am stuck in the past, in this party that makes time go backwards – ever since I lost control, that is.

Did you say, “Of my senses?”

Back in 2009, I will be opposition leader, then I’ll get dumped for supporting an emissions trading scheme to save the planet from climate change, which won’t be recognised until 1989 when a British Prime Minister called Margaret Thatcher addresses the United Nations on this catastrophic threat to the planet.

I will have argued that the world is moving in the direction of carbon pricing. But Tony Abbott – the bloke who steals my job – will say, “As I’ve always said, the world is moving away from carbon taxes and emission trading schemes, not towards it.”

Time will prove me right – the world will move forwards in my direction and not backwards in Tony’s. But Tony has stolen my job by one vote. That one lousy vote in that party room where time stood still and the world of progressive thinking swivelled on its axis and began rotating in the opposite direction – backwards – Tony’s way.

Operator, you do realise I’m Malcolm Turnbull and I will be Minister for Communications in the Abbott Coalition Government in 2014.

Did I hear you say this is 2014? Hallehulya! At last I’ve found someone around here who doesn’t think it’s the 1960’s. Someone who understands me. Someone who likes me. You do understand and like me, don’t you?

Seeing you and me are now buddies, and we are both in the communications business, I bet you would love to hear my story:

In 2009, as Opposition Leader I secretly believed in the Labor’s NBN plan to roll out high-speed optic fibre cable to 93% of homes, schools and business across Australia by 2021, with satellite and fixed wireless networks to service the remaining seven per cent. Fantastic concept I thought.

I could never afford to be seen to agree with anything Labor did or was going to do, even if I did agree. But I didn’t go out of my way to criticise the NBN.

Anyway, Tony knew I was pro-NBN. So after he stole my job, he announced he wanted to destroy it. Then, to make my life a complete misery he made me Shadow Minister for Communications. That man has a sick sense of humour.

I had to lie through my teeth with my legendary, persuasive silver tongue, and say the “$43 billion white elephant was a colossal destruction of taxpayer’s money”.

I knew most Australians wanted the highest possible broadband speed, and Tony’s threat to dismantle it was political suicide.  I had to save my own arse, and to do that I had to save his by convincing him go to the 2013 election not still promising to dismantle the NBN.

After Tony became prime minister and I became communications minister, I saved it with my fibre-to-the-node compromise by incorporating Telstra’s old copper network . I brought it back to the future, in a backward, short-sighted sort of way. Now he makes out he invented my idea: “We believe in a national broadband network and we will deliver a better one”, he said.

It was not going to be a better one, it was worse, but it was better than what he wanted which was yesterday’s model, which he personifies, as opposed to tomorrow’s model, which I personify.

Yes, I’m tomorrow’s man. Get a load of this speech I’ve written in anticipation:

Firstly, I wish to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Abbott who tragically hanged himself with copper wire, a suicide which I personally oversaw. In this the year of 2021, as President Malcolm Turnbull, I proudly announce the completion of the NBN – my fantastic concept of rolling out high-speed optic fibre cable to 93 per cent of homes, schools and business across Australia, with satellite and fixed wireless networks servicing the remaining seven per cent. I now officially proclaim the Constitution of the Republic of Australia with its revolutionary provisions. Particularly noteworthy are the legalisation of gay marriage and the introduction of a market-based carbon emissions trading scheme. Furthermore, I have authorised that all clocks across this nation resume revolving in a clockwise direction and that progressive thinking be re-instated to its former glory, according to the holy scriptures of  Saint Malcolm of Wentworth, who was recently canonised at the Royal Vaucluse Yacht Club. 

Operator, it’s been so nice talking to you. Operator! Operator! Operator!

Don’t tell me you’ve put me on hold. You have! I asked you not to tell me that! That’s a funny line from Get Smart – a new TV series where a secret agent called Maxwell Smart has a mobile phone in his shoe. Imagine that! – a mobile phone with no cords or operators.

I don’t think you understand me or like me after all, putting me on hold like that. Suppose you lied about it being 2014, you neo-Luddite Liberal.

While I have you, book a wake-up call for yesterday morning at 5 am. I have an early appointment with my mirror. I need time for reflection on my future.

Murdoch’s media monopoly miasma

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Links to related articles:

The Aim Network 30 July 2014:

Media mogul Murdoch is buying a Conservative alternate universe

The Abbott Government is leading Australia down America’s path on a range of social and economic issues, and holding the reigns is Rupert Murdoch.

On Line Opinion 11 June 2014:

Democracy and diversity: media ownership in Australia

…… Rupert Murdoch, the founder and CEO of News Corp, used the media to sway” voters with headlines such as: “Australia needs Tony” and “Kick this Mob [Labor] Out”.

Julia Gillard – trial by gender. Verdict – exile!

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1000 times more scrutinising of women.

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1,000 times more scrutinising of women — indeed, less critical of men. If Julia Gillard had bat ears, it is unlikely she would have made it to the prime ministership in the first place.

A word of caution: If you happen to be a highly intelligent woman with deep philosophical convictions and passion for the future of Australia, and have aspirations to become prime minister, go for it. But only if you do not have any physical imperfections that make you lesser in appearance to Elle McPherson. But then again, if you are blond, the media will destroy you anyway.

As if looking back on the demise of Julia Gillard, Marilyn Lake wrote a piece for The Age, just one day before Australia’s first female prime minister was ousted by the Labor caucus, in favour of a … you guessed it … a male … who will, odds on, not be sexualised by Australia’s media and wider culture. By Bruce Keogh

An excerpt from Marilyn Lake’s article 25 June 2013:

How could we have foreseen what would befall her? The relentless persecution by senior male journalists, the vilification, the sexist mockery, the personal abuse and the contempt with which she would be treated. Between 2010 and 2013, the full force of Australia’s masculinist political culture would be brought to bear on this path-breaking woman.

It is now a truism that history will prove more sympathetic to Gillard’s prime ministership – and the policies she introduced – than contemporary commentators have been.

What will mostly attract historians’ attention, however, will be how she was treated, the rabid misogyny, the hysteria of men who could not abide the spectacle of a woman in power, who labelled her a bitch, a witch, a liar, a usurper, an illegitimate claimant who refused to bow down before her male rivals.

She has been sexualised in a way no previous prime minister has been sexualised.

In the past three years, obscenity has become a favourite mode of prime ministerial denigration.

Full column by Marilyn Lake who is Professor in History at the University of Melbourne researching the international history of Australian democracy.