The last two Mondays have produced record 1000-plus downloands for Hillary and we expect the same this week with another great column full of gossip on everyone from Natasha, the Queensland Libs, Mal Fraser and even Buffy Olsen.

Before you rush off to phone Stan Zemanek and demand we launch the F1-11s, take a deep breath and remember that it was the Australian maritime safety authorities that requested the Tampa to pick the refugees up in the first place. That’s right. We asked the ship to pick them up – but the Rodent wouldn’t take responsibility for them. And that’s when we saw the start of a wonderful demonstration of just what the region thinks of our international man of stature.

A few weeks ago the runt was off in Indonesia, where he and Megawati Soekarnoputri released a joint communique51. Have a look at section 13. It’s a great laugh: “The two leaders emphasised the significance of continued cooperation to deal with irregular people movement and transnational crime, including drug trafficking and organised people smuggling. They agreed to exchange information and to intensify bilateral and international cooperation to address these problems.” Presumably Mrs Soekarnoputri was in the garden last week and didn’t hear the phone ring.

All the gos Thursday said that the Rodent would be making a major announcement about a possible solution that afternoon. And what was it? He was calling in the United Nations – presumably no relation to the United Nations he has spent most of his term saying has no role intruding into Australian affairs. How desperate can you get?

He didn’t mention one, small, nagging detail, either. The UN is not a country. It can only process refugees if they are first landed.

So what did he do? He managed, after days of trying, to finally fob them off. Hillary has no time for Helen Clarke and her Bulgarian economics, but at least she has shown some humanity.

Flogging the bulk of the refugees off to Nauru – plus three million in aid – is the ultimate insult. Nauru is basically a rock covered in bird shit. It has a population of 11,000. Compare and contrast with Australia.

Yet in can take refugees – for processing, again, not necessarily for good – and the Rodent’s Australia can’t.

It seems only proper that One Nation senator Len Harris appeared on God-knows how many international news broadcasts this week as the voice of our nation.

World Exclusive – Slim speaks to Crikey readers

Fart Boy Slim Kim Beazley covered himself in glory last week, too. At least he finally started showing a little bit of guts and decency when he blocked the Dwarf’s attempt to railroad retrospective legislation through on Wednesday night. Funny. John Howard used to oppose retrospective legislation – but presumably he thinks tax cheats are more likely to vote Liberal than the refugee lobby.

A Crikey reader e-mailed Fat Boy Slim to protest his stance on the Tampa scandal – and received this clear and unambiguous response:

From: Beazley, Kim (MP) [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Thursday, 30 August 2001 2:37 PM

To: (name deleted)

Subject: RE:

Dear (name deleted)

Kim C Beazley

Leader of the OppositionMbr> Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

This e-mail was sent in response to your e-mail to [email protected] If you no longer wish to receive e-mail from this address, please send us an e-mail advising us of your preferences.

Glad that that’s all settled now.

The wisdom of the Founding Fathers

Jeff’s babblings on Macedonia a few years ago – also known as a desperate chase for the Greek vote – showed how wise it was of the founding fathers not to give responsibility for external affairs to the states.

In Adelaide during the week the Buff got tough on another federal matter, immigration.

Buffy went on radio and said that while he didn’t support capital punishment, the way in which people smugglers work had made him reconsider his stance.

What an intelligent contribution to the debate – and what a political genie for a Premier to let out of the bottle just before an election.

You oughta buy yourself a lottery ticket

While we’re thinking of the plight of the people on the Tampa and the uselessness of our leaders, we should also spare a thought for Ian Macfarlane – luckiest man in Canberra.

Macfarlane changed his story about the Queensland Libs GST antics at least three times last week – and yet he still lives to stuff up another day.

Wedding bells

Michael Photios is about to tie the knot again. The Love Rat and his optimistic belle plan a romantic wedding in Bali for next month. Hillary is unaware if the Daily Telegraph has been asked to do the photography.

Toppling the King?

Malcolm Tunrbull was the public face of the republican movement, but talk suggests he has a different kind of King in his sights.

The rumours that Turnbull plans to stage a coup against candidate Peter King in the seat of Wentworth just won’t go away.

Revisionists

Evatt was mad. He used to live in a tree, pen sonnets to Stalin, had an invisible friend called Lionel he talked to in Caucus meetings and often turned up to Question Time in his jamies. Well, maybe not all of that – but do you ever hear the Labor Party bag him or former leaders?

History is a strength of source for the Labor Party. For the Libs, it’s something to be trashed or avoided. There’s Ming, of course, but that’s about it. Right wingers would be much to scared to embrace Deakin and the originals Liberals – and the Prime Miniature has done much to define himself by pissing all over Malcolm Fraser.

It’s no surprise, then, that Fraser stayed away from the launch of the book Liberalism and Australian Federation.

Still, Hillary was amused by a quote by Fraser’s official biographer on his economic achievements that turned up in The Age during the week. It said they “are in evidence until 1981 and then crumble in 1982-83”.

Gee. Doesn’t that remind you of another Liberal Prime Minister?

Do you want Mayo on that?

Hillary’s tip that one-time student pol and Satan groupie Haroon Hussan may stand for Lex Loser’s seat of Mayo has sparked a flurry of e-mail. It’s been claimed during the week that he may be challenged by one-time student pol and former Satan staffer Tammy Franks. Aren’t the Dems diverse.

Much of the e-mail about Haroon has dealt with his antics in the pants department and affiliated areas. Some of it raises some serious questions. Hillary does not want to offend the sensibilities of Crikey readers – let alone defo lawyers – but it will be interesting to see what else may drift out. Funnily enough, Hillary has also received a pants e-mail about Tammy, too.

The South Australian Democrats are clearly obsessed by sex. Yet another e-mail says that Sandra Kanck – the loopy Legislative Councillor who put “pert breasts” on the agenda and whose hubby runs the local division – has gone on the rampage at the idea.

The Kanck clan are no fan’s of Satan – and find one of her in Parliament enough.

PS Lex might just get lucky. Hillary hears that the Dems are thinking they may have more luck in the metropolitan Adelaide seat of Boothby, held by the little known Andrew Southcott. The only established fact about him is that he spends most of summer in his office with the door shut watching the cricket on TV (What, he’s a Col Allan clone – Ed).

Full body cavity search

Satan got very stroppy at this column last week, let alone the account of her days as a political naif at Adelaide Uni. Fingers are now being pointed at a certain staff member as the possible source of the leaks.

Hillary can reassure Satan that the individual concerned is innocent – but would she like to comment on the rumours that yet another senior Democrat figure, national campaign manager Matthew Baird, is about to resign?

They send it in, really

Hillary is accused of a Satan obsession – but people keep on sending great material in and our observant media let her get away with so much. This message deserves a special mention:

“Has Hillary ever had a look at where the servers for all those Satanic web sites are actually situated ? When I was flipping through the Satan web glamour pics early this year – inspired by a scathing Mark Latham demolition of the sites and Satan’s old fashioned attitudes – I noticed that many of them seem to be located on university servers, particularly in Vic and Qld. The ‘ultimate Natasha’ seemed to be set up by a student on university space (this was the site Satan said was not authorised by her while direct comments and quotes on the site indicated her whole hearted support). There were also web sites for Dem state election candidates similarly located on uni servers by students and staff.

“Now who pays for all this ? Maybe we could cut costs and HECS fees (in line with Satan policy) if we rationalised the university rorts of freebies like this?”

This inspired Hillary to have a look at the “Ultimate Natasha” site. It’s nothing but sick-making hagiography from a sadly obsessed male anorak – but there is one thing worth looking at. If you want a laugh, check the pictures section here. There, right in the middle, is a lovely shot of Satan – all smiles with Mystic Meg.

Bloody Queenslanders

As predicted by Hillary, Matt Boland withdrew from the Ryan preselection, threw his numbers behind the newly eligible Michael Johnston and rolled Bob Tucker on Saturday.

One has to worry about the reasoning of Queensland Libs. The federal secretariat – the locals are broke – spend half a million dollars pushing Tucker at the by-election. All of this has been wasted. Leone Short seems set for a much longer career than anyone ever imagined.

PS Johnston just couldn’t control his recruiting mania. Even in the final days of the competition members were being approved via the loophole in genius George Washington Brandis’ rort free and conflict solving Queensland Liberal constitution that Hillary has already drawn attention to. It contains a clause of genius that lets branches vote to approve potential members who would normally not be permitted to sign up.

Human tragedy in Victoria

While the focus of the nation – naturally – has been on the plight of the Tampa, the dealings of foul traders in human flesh in the Victorian Liberal Party cannot go unmentioned.

These people smugglers, or “stackers”, as they are known, persuade poor individuals to join up to branches of the Liberal Party by offering the hope of a brighter future.

Now that they have found themselves control of the division, they do not know what to do. They once followed a leader known only as Jeff, but he has been forced into exile – and even the established figures feel that some of their young followers will cause trouble in the future.

The old followers of Jeff who in the Spring Street temple view Conrad Xanthos and David Davis as too dangerous to trust, and too hot to deal with. No seat is safe from their traffic in humanity. A number of their former patrons are now desperately trawling for material that will deliver a brutal stab to young Conrad’s aspirations.

Patrician wit

A reader has pointed out how the wit of Ming is still celebrated by Liberals. This correspondent points to the occasion when an interjector asked “Wotcha gonna do about ‘ousing?” and he replied “Put an ‘h’ in front of it.”

However, as the message point outs, Menzies had nothing on the talents in the Rodent’s Ministry, as these quotes suggest:

Interjector: Wotcha gonna do about reconciliation?”

John Howard: “Put a ‘w’ in front of it.”

Interjector: “Wotcha gonna do about immigration?”

Philip Ruddock (smiling): “You mean Denigration.”

Interjector: “Wotcha gonna do about aged care?”

Bronwyn Bishop: “Put a ‘c’ in front of it.”

Interjector: “Wotcha gonna do about public education?”

David Kemp: “That’s private!”

Interjector: “Wotcha gonna do about unemployment?”

Abbott: “Bludger! Dickhead! Loser!”

Interjector: “Wotcha gonna do about the ABC?”

Richard Alston: “Put an incompetent arsehole in front of it.”

Interjector: “Wotcha gonna do about foreign affairs?”

Alexander Downer: “Oh, put a stocking in it!”

Poetry corner

Time for a competition. Complete two more verses and a chorus for this much loved sea-shanty and you could win a subscription to Crikey:

It was on the good ship Tampa

By God it put a damp’ner

On Rodent hopes

Of winning votes

And coming in a-canter.

Entries will close on Saturday 15 September and will be announced in the following column. Your judge, once again, will be that man of culture and discernment, Dan McNutt (he’s on the Entertainment Committee of the Revesby Workers Club).

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

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Peter Fray

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