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Australia’s best political commentator, Hillary Bray, delivers a truckload of amazing political insights yet again.

The Days of Tribulation begin and the Reign of Ah Satan is upon us – but what will it all mean?

To begin with, a few Democrat Senators may well be raptured up – or leave the party, at any rate. Andrew Murray’s initial reaction was polite – but he is scarcely a fan of Ah Satan’s – and John Woodley has remained silent.

Ah Satan’s reign will probably all end in tears. What goes around comes around. The new deputy Aden Ridgeway has all the talents attributed to Ah Satan (other than pert breasts, of course) and comes with an extra ingredient that boosts his PC cred – Aboriginality. He will be breathing down the back of her neck ready to take over when she has her nervous breakdown in six or eight weeks.

At the same time, Ah Satan does not control her state branch. Recruiting has long been below such an A-list figure. Ozzie and Sandra Kanck, the cardie clad crazies who control the South Australian Democrats, let alone Mystic Meg, will be able to play some preselection trick on our young heroine yet.

There are already claims that in a parting gesture to Ah Satan the vanquished Meg will resign and create a vacancy for her trusted adviser and One Nation favourite John Schumann to fill.

Schumann sees himself as leadership material – he was a lead singer for Red Gum, after all – and would be a constant thorn in Ah Satan’s side in the Senate. He has policies beyond being photographed, and believes he can work the Gallery as effectively as our princess.

Ah Satan herself may soon be experiencing trials and tribulations of a very different kind.

Loyalty rewarded

Incredible e-mails reached Hillary during the Dem leadership spat – one offering the suggestion that John Schumann only had a sore back last week because of the strain of swapping the tyres from his Government supplied car to his old banger before jumping on the plane to Canberra Sunday night. Hillary didn’t think Democrats had a sense of humour.

More interesting is the tale of the staff meeting the failed folkie called on Wednesday.

In an remarkable sign of confidence representatives from DOFA – the gross incompetents who are supposed to look after Parliamentary staff – were supposedly summoned to Mystic Meg’s office to tell the crew what would happen if they were made redundant.

After the form fillers left Schumann kept the group there for another meeting, where he reassured them their jobs would be safe once the Mystic One won.

However, two individuals were asked to leave beforehand – Geoff Rutledge, a member of the Dems national executive and known Satanist and Bradley Smith, a higher education specialist seconded to Ah Satan. Presumably they were guilty by association and ripe for purging.

Thank God Crikey is there to keep the bastards honest.

Senator, interrupted

Last weekend Hillary boldly predicted John Herron would resign any day. On Wednesday Hillary confidently told the world that the Prime Miniature had insisted that he stay – despite the fact that he was already packed. On Thursday Hillary donned overalls, a wig and a false beard and knocked on the door of Herron’s office and asked to read the meter – just to see what the situation was.

There were a few books left on a shelf, nothing on the pinboards, about five pictures propped up against the wall and a number of bones that had been pointed at Herron as a gesture of goodwill during his visits to remote communities sitting on the coffee table in reception.

And the verdict? Herron looks like someone whose plans have been interrupted.

Federal intervention

The Liberal Party federal executive met on Thursday to decide just what to do with the rapidly stiffening corpse once known as the Queensland division.

Young Liberal federal president Gerald Painter – a banana bender and Santo acolyte – got very excitable and kept trying to talk over the top of everyone – until the Prime Miniature suddenly turned to him and barked “Shut up!”.

PS The PM also used a naughty word – damn – in an interview in Saturday’s SMH. The strain is clearly getting to him.

Herron for headaches?

The fed exec seems set to intervene in the Queensland division by installing Herron as president of the ramshackle division. Resisting the inevitable, incumbent Con Galtos has mounted a one man media campaign describing himself as the victim of faceless shadowy backroom men and factionalism. Others would have more described it as his own incompetence.

Galtos won himself no friends in either the Tucker or Carroll groups, attacking both the warlords – and while he is trying to criticise the pair, they are falling over one another to publicly profess their love and explain they really have been working together for the past three months. Canberra types have been particularly miffed with Galtos’ outburst on Tucker – after all he will be a candidate at the next election.

Galtos is a dead man walking, with the management committee having passed a no-confidence motion in him last Monday, the Feds walking away from him and the Western faction not enamoured with him either. Don’t be surprised if he chucks it all in before the party convention in June.

The fun and games continue

First Ryan, now Moncrieff. The preselection fun never stops in sunny Queensland. Nominations closed on Friday for what is certain to be a hard fight for this blue ribbon Liberal Gold Coast seat with six hopefuls. The preselection is to held on May 19th, two weeks after the Surfers Paradise by-election.

Leading the pack are two superannuants – baby faced pensioner Bill O’Chee and former Gold Coast mayor Ray Stephens. Then there are the representatives of the younger generation – fundraising whiz Ian Solomon and federal staffer Steven Ciobo, who has been threatened with a writ from retiring MP Kathy Sullivan for suggesting that she helped dump Neville Bonner to an unwinnable spot on the ticket back in her Senate days.

The final two candidates are the real dark horses in the race – John Mason, a candidate for preselection in McPherson and key Tucker ally and Jim MacAnally, the McPherson electoral committee chair and local rep for the Carroll camp.

O’Chee is counting on luck, a good speech and some support from the big boys in Canberra to win the day. Maybe he should spend May 19th at Jupiters. Some wits claim he hopes to win over the former supporters of the local Lib turned Nat, Michael Yarwood. Others point out how all the retirees along the Gold Coast will love to have one of their own as their Parliamentary representative.

Ian Solomon has a solid block of numbers coming from the Southport branch and would be hoping to swing some support from the Carroll faction, of which he is a member – but Jim MacAnally and Steve Ciobo will also both be looking for the Carroll numbers to top up their own local support. Insiders suggest that MacAnally – an unexpected late entry – may have been able to swing this block away from Ciobo.

Ray Stephens in proving a bit of a mystery. No-one is quite sure of the level of his support. Finally, there’s John Mason – a property developer in his late fifties looking to do a Bob Tucker. Mason will have Kathy Sullivan’s support – but after he flopped in McPherson he will need more than that to get him across the line.

Stay tuned for the brawling.

Who wants the bill

Another day, another debt. How much exactly do the Queensland Libs owe? The figures have been exaggerated – but the final amount probably comes in somewhere near $200,000. Funnily enough, the locals are blaming the Feds for much of this.

There’s been much finger pointing in the direction of deputy federal director John Burston – along with the claim that he ran up 75 grand of bills in the last days of the Ryan campaign but forgot to tell anyone.

Bob will be back

Despite the efforts of a few lonely loons, it appears virtually certain that Bob Tucker will contest Ryan come the general election.

An increasingly wide range of factional players support the idea, and a decision on the matter was deferred last Friday night at the State Executive to allow his old mate Bob Carroll a chance to work on a few entrenched opponents to secure the 75 per cent support needed for an executive preselection.

Forward defence

Peter Wreath went on the warpath last week, beating the defence drum – and ending up with egg all over his face.

Despite everything, though, Wreathie seems determined to make defence THE sexy portfolio. Hillary was interested to get this e-mail from a subscriber to the online departmental media service:

“I don’t know if you get this – I subscribed because I had a mate in E.Timor and it provided the best internet coverage on what was happening there. Anyway, since Reith has taken over the portfolio from Moore, the amount of politicking that has been sent out in this service has risen ten-fold… I assume that it is a difference in style, but it is a pretty average use of gvt resources.”

Average, but creative – hey?

Flying high

Yes, there was an incident with a VIP jet carrying Peter Costello, Wreathie, Count Yorgu, Richard Milhous and Michael Wooldridge last week but, no, the Monk was not seen at Melbourne Airport in greasy coveralls holding a wrench – and Fran Bailey and Phil Baressi didn’t start packing their bags for the Min Wing.

No manners

Hillary was bemused when the editor received an e-mail on Wednesday from Andrew Lumsden, Hindenburg Hockey’s chief of staff, asking where he could send an invitation to Easter Drinks to this columnist. Hillary expects to get these sorts of things from the Minister!

Hillary pointed this out – in no uncertain terms – then got another message, this time from the Hindenburg’s press sec, Matthew Abbott, that stated “as media adviser I represent the Minister”. He sounds just like Al Haig after Reagan had been shot.

To make matters worse, Hillary – like everyone else – had already had an invite faxed through, a rather fetching job decorated with a picture of a bunny rabbit. Hillary went along and got rather lost among all the journos – but is pleased to be able to report that the night went by without the Hindenburg wrestling any journos, pinching cameras, wandering round with a lampshade on his head or anything similar. How very dull.

Secrets

What skeletons are rattling round in the cupboards of the friendless fanatics of the Australian Liberal Students Federation?

Hillary hears that the head honchos have already met to work out a spin on a few little problems they expect to turn up here any time soon.

So their work isn’t in vain, the editor could probably be prevailed upon to give out a few free subs in exchange for information. Hillary’s e-mail address is at the bottom of the page.

Act in haste

Many Crikey readers were astounded at the news that Tele columnist Miranda Devine is leaving for the somnolent SMH – including one who treasures this e-mail from the Devine one:

miranda devine on 10/05/2000 11:08:14 AM

To: (censored)

cc:

Subject: Re:

Why do people as boring and pompous as you even bother reading our paper? Stick to the Herald.

Great thinkers

Last week’s glossary of Hillary names got creative Crikey readers thinking, and Hillary is delighted to be able to introduce new titles for three members of the Cabinet.

First, we have our very own concentration camp commandant, Phillip Ruddock. In acknowledgement of his healthy glow and clear complexion, he has been named “The Cadaver”. Then there’s the insider traders friend, Health Minister Michael Wooldridge, or “The PIMP” – short for the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Main Pusher. Finally, we have the Environment Minister, “Ol’ One Tree”. One Tree Hill. Geddit?

Now, what Hillary really needs is a good name for the Treasurer

Long to reign over us

Our overlords continue to take a keen interest in Australia’s potential as foot-and-mouth free grazing lands, if this e-mail from the dotty dodderers at the Monarchist League is anything to go by:

“Australia Post is issuing a special Stamp to celebrate Her Majesty’s 75th birthday.

“Four million stamps will be produced with a side panel on which details of the Birthday will be highlighted and will be available for sale commencing the 12th April 2001. Posters and storyboards advertising the Stamp will be sent to all Posts Offices throughout the Country.

“Monarchists throughout Australia are urged to order these stamps from their local Post Offices.

“The Governor General and most State Governors will hold or attend functions in honour of Her Majesty’s 75th birthday.

“We have been advised that the Australian Defence Forces will hold a 21 Gun Royal Salute on the lawn of Parliament House, Canberra in honour of Her Majesty’s birthday.

“The Australian Monarchist League has organized for bells to ring throughout the land and for Prayers to be incorporated into Services.

“In Sydney a Special Service of Morning Prayer will be held on Sunday the 22nd April 2001 at 10.30 a.m. at St Andrew’s Cathedral which Her Excellency The Governor and Sir Nicholas Shehadie will attend.

“In the evening of Saturday the 21st April 2001, the Australian Monarchist League will hold a Reception at the residence of its National Chairman Philip Benwell MBE at 28 Darling Point Road Darling Point to celebrate the 75th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen.

“Distinguished guests will include Monarchist League Patrons The Earl and Countess of Dunmore and Lady Fairfax AM OBE.”

Hillary is still to determine what arrangements have been made for the servants – but will let you all know how much starch we need to put in our pinafores that day.

Family ties

Labor MPs are more inbred than Members of the House of Lords, the Mad Monk told Parliament on Thursday night.

“On my reckoning … there are nine hereditary peers of people who’ve followed their fathers into parliament, there are four noble families where siblings are in parliament and there’s six royal couples where husbands and wives are in parliament,” he claimed.

Hillary has no idea how David and Rod Kemp or Lex Loser, Larry Anthony and Mad Bob Katter – let alone serial pensioner Jocelyn Newman and Alby Schultz and his state MP missus – reacted to the speech.

As they demonstrate, politics has been very much a family affair for the non-Labor parties, too. Just think. If it wasn’t for the National Party Julian McGauran would be the village idiot of some small town in East Gippsland – rather than being the village idiot of the Senate.

Here’s Hillary first cut of a list of family ties. A copy of this has been sent to the Monk – and if readers want to make any additions, Hillary will pass them on too:

Sir Charles Frederick Adermann (MHR 1943-72) and Albert Evan Adermann (MHR 1972-90) – Country/National Party father and son

Robert George Akers (Qld MLA 1974-83) and Rosemary Annette Kyburz (LIB Qld MLA 1974-83) – Liberal husband and wife

Hubert Lawrence Anthony (MHR 1937-57), John Douglas Anthony (MHR 1957-84) and Lawrence James (Larry) Anthony (MHR 1996- ) – three generations of Country/National Party MP

Michael Ehrenfried Baume (MHR 1975-83 & Senator 1985-96) and Peter Erne Baume (Senator 1974-91) – Liberal cousins

Sir Oliver Howard Beale (MHR 1946-58) and Julian Howard Beale (MHR 1984-96) – Liberal father and son

Johannes Bjelke-Petrson (Qld MLA 1947-87) and Florence Isabel Bjelke-Petersen (NP Senator 1981-93) – ’nuff said

Sir John Langdon Bonython (MHR 1901-06) and Ian Bonython Cameron Wilson (MHR 1966-69 & 1972-93) – Protectionist great grandfather and Liberal great grandson, plus Sir Keith Cameron Wilson (MHR 1949-54 & 1955-66), Ian’s father

Eoin Harrop Cameron (MHR 1993-98 ) and Martin Bruce Cameron (Senator 1969) – Liberal cousins – plus Malcolm Duncan Cameron (MHR 1922-34), Eoin’s UAP grandfather

James Alexander Cameron (NSW MLA 1968-84) and Ross Alexander Cameron (MHR 1996- ) – Liberal father and son

Frederick Charles Chaney (MHR 1955-69) and Frederick Michael Chaney (Senator 1974-90 & MHR 1990-93) – Liberal father and son

Edward Bernard Cresset Corser (MHR 1915-28) and Bernard Henry Corser (MHR 1928-54) – Nationalist and Country Party father and son

Sir John William Downer (Senator 1901-03), Sir Alexander Russell Downer (MHR 1949-64) and Alexander John Gosse Downer (MHR 1984- ) – increasingly idiotic scions of the aristocracy

Sir George Fairbairn (MHR 1906-13), James Valentine Fairbairn (MHR 1933-40) and David Eric Fairbairn (MHR 1949-75) – Protectionist, UAP and Liberal uncle, nephew and grandson

Archibald Clyde Wanliss Fisken (MHR 1934-37) and Michael John Clyde Ronaldson (MHR 1990- ) – UAP and Liberal grandfather and grandson

Sir Henry Somer Gullett (MHR 1925-40) and Henry Baynton Somer Gullett (MHR 1946-55) – UAP and Liberal father and son

Sir Eric John Harrison (MHR 1931-56) and Shirley Walters (Senator 1975-93) – Liberal father and daughter

Sir Neville Howse (MHR 1922-29) and John Brooke Howse (MHR 1946-60) – Nationalist/Liberal father and son

Robert Cummin Katter (MHR 1966-90) and Robert Karl Katter (MHR 1993- ) – Country/National Party father and son

David Alistair Kemp (MHR 1990- ) and Charles Roderick (Rod) Kemp (Senator 1990- ) – Liberal brothers (and the IPA was a family firm there for a while)

Joseph Aloysius Lyons (MHR 1929-39) and Dame Enid Muriel Lyons (MHR 1943-51) – Labor rat and UAP/Liberal husband and wife

Julian John McGauran (Senator 1987-90 and 1993- ) and Peter John McGauran (MHR 1983- ) – National Party brothers

George McLeay (Senator 1935-47 & 1950-55) and Sir John McLeay (MHR 1949-66) – Liberal brothers, plus John Elden McLeay (MHR 1966-81), John’s Liberal MP son

Kevin Eugene Newman (MHR 1975-84) and Jocelyn Margaret Newman (Senate 1986- ) – Liberal husband and wife

Herbert Edward Pratten (Senator 1917-21 & MHR 1921-28) and Frederick Graham Pratten (MHR 1928-29) – Nationalist uncle and nephew

Michael John Clyde Ronaldson (MHR 1990- ) and Archibald Clyde Wanliss Fisken (MHR 1934-37) – UAP grandfather and Liberal grandson

Maxwell Stanley Ruddock (NSW MLA 1962-76) and Philip Maxwell Ruddock (MHR 1973- ) – Liberal father and son

Sir Percy Claude Spender (MHR 1947-51) and John Michael Spender (MHR 1980-90) – Liberal father and son

Eric Sydney Spooner (MHR 1940-43) and William Henry Spooner (Senator 1950-65) – UAP/Liberal brothers

Geoffrey Austin Street (MHR 1934-40) and Anthony Austin Street (MHR 1966-84) – UAP and Liberal father and son

Joseph Vardon (Senator 1907 & 1908-13) and Edward Charles Vardon (Senator 1921-22) – Liberal and Nationalist father and son

Andrea West’s father, William Kaus, was MLA in Queensland from 1966-86, firstly for the Liberal Party then for the Nats

F*cking furore

Wilson Fuckey’s use of THAT word in Parliament – sorry, alleged use of THAT word – has sparked off a fierce debate amongst readers.

This is what Hillary has to say about the subject on Wednesday:

“Parliamentary standards,” according to the po-faced Dennis Shanahan in today’s Oz, “hit a new low yesterday as Wilson Tuckey dropped the f-word although it will not appear in Hansard and there was some dispute about the way it was used.”

A new low? Really?

Poor old Dennis seems to forget that a much more senior Minister – Garrulous Gareth Evans – used the f-word in the Senate way back in 1990 while Foreign Minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate – and got it into Hansard.

Gareth spat it out in a debate over Cambodia as he got increasingly irritated over a speech by Robert Hill. Hansard heard the interjection and Hill, the speaker, responded – and under Hansard reporting tradition, if the person who has the floor responds to an interjection, the interjection goes down on the official record

Since then, the e-mails have been flooding in, with alleged uses of the f-word and it’s derivatives in Parliament. Hillary is only prepared to acknowledge one of them as accurate – a late night Estimates exchange from 12 November 1997 where Peter Cook wittily suggested to Assistant Treasurer Rod “Elmer Fudd” Kemp “why don’t you get fucked”.

However, this message has really got Hillary interested:

“I think you will find that the low point for Australian parliamentary language was reached in the late-60s when Gough Whitlam called Paul Hasluck (I think it was Hasluck but it may have been Billy McMahon) “a truculent c*nt”, though it was recorded in Hansard as “truculent runt”.

It comes from a reader at Peterhouse College in Cambridge (dead posh), so it must be right – but does anyone know more about when it appeared – online Hansards don’t go back that far. Information please!

PS The Sydney Yawning Herald’s exciting new Spike column – presumably it has that name as the material it contains would be spiked in any other newspaper – found Hillary’s explanation of how interjections get into Hansard very useful. It ran a virtually identical version on Friday.

Star bores

Is The Phantom Menace the worst film ever? Hillary thinks a strong case can be made – but still found this e-mail from a Star Wars tragic amusing:

“As some of you may know there is a census coming around on August the 7th. For those who don’t know, a census is where the government collates general information about it’s residents (number of people living in your house, religion, etc). If there are enough people in Australia, who put down a religion that isn’t mentioned on the census form it becomes a fully recognised and legal religion. It usually takes about 10,000 people to nominate the same religion. It is for this reason that it has been suggested that anyone who does not have a dominant religion to put ‘Jedi’ as their religion.”

Hillary doesn’t have a clue whether it’s true or not – but likes the idea. However, Crikey readers are an upmarket lot, so sod the Jedi. Let’s all say we’re Zoroastrians.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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