This is possibly the biggest single column yet from Hillary and her sensational cartoonist Mark Cornwall and literally has something for everyone.

In Friday’s “Crikey Subscribers’ Stop Press” sealed section Hillary confused Victorian Deputy Liberal Leader Louise Asher with Victorian Liberal Party figure Louise Staley. Hillary unreservedly apologises for this error and any incorrect imputations that may have been drawn from it.

Khaki election

The war against the Viking invaders has been won – and the victorious Prime Miniature is marching towards a khaki election.

There has also been a second, less publicised battle for the very survival of our nation, the frigate HMAS Warramunga intercepted an Indonesian boat carrying 237 suspected illegal immigrants and on Friday and transferred them under cover of darkness – presumably so it was hard for international media to get any pictures – to HMAS Manoora, heading to Papua New Guinea with the Tampa refugees. Comments on this from international law experts would be welcome.

Fierce debate is now erupting amongst military historians. Is the Vanquisher of the Vikings, John Rodent Howard, the greatest wartime leader the nation has seen since Curtin? So far only one fact can be agreed on – that the Prime Miniature is the shortest wartime leader since Billy Hughes.

Hail to the Chief

Before the Rodent can go to the polls, the conquering hero must stride the world stage – so it’s off to Washington to grovel to Dubya. Hillary hears that the little fella is keen to know if Star Wars Mk II can be adapted to destroy incoming illegal immigrants.

After Dubya, it’s back home for CHOGM and an unmissible chance to grovel to Our Gracious Sovereign Lady the Queen. The Sphere Of Influence, Laurie Oakes, was sounding off on the Today show last week that the Prime Miniature was about to dash to polls. If that happened, Her Maj would have to stay away. The Dragon Lady would divorce the little fella if he denied her the opportunity to do some extra special grovelling of her own.

As Hillary has observed before, CHOGM consists of Tony Blair and his terrifying grin, Hulun Cluck from the Peoples’ Republic of New Zealand, a Canadian called Cretin, a few African dictators and the King of the Cannibal Islands. Even the Rodent looks good in a crowd like that.

It’s a date

With any luck, the PM will cop a lot of flak over the Tampa scandal from the more PC – or hypocritical – CHOGM attendees.

This will help his re-election strategy even more – after all, we don’t let nasty foreigners tell us what to do. The shock-jocks will be in a frenzy – these people, they come over here, go on the dole, rape our women-folk then try and tell us how we should run the place. Yes, it’s Rodentism redux out there.

The Treas will be granted a cameo in all this, as he is wheeled to proclaim the historic news that interest rates are at their lowest level for a full two years.

So, with the rednecks rampant and the economy off life support, when’s the big day? It’s either November 17 or 24. Government MPs have been told to be ready to go by Friday this week.

Just one nagging doubt remains – if the Rodent has Fart Boy Slim’s measure, why has he had to rig the Parliamentary sitting schedule to deny Labor a week of Question Times?

Wild and Woolly tales

So, Health Minister Michael Wooldridge is retiring to spent more time with his wine collection, 05 er, with his family.

Hillary can reassure readers that there is no truth in the rumour that Woolly went because new limits on carry-on baggage meant he could no longer put two cases of the good stuff in the overhead luggage lockers on the weekly flight to Canberra.

It will be ungenerous in the extreme if Keryn Phelps refuses to acknowledge his extensive efforts to demonstrate the health-giving properties of wine.

So, who’s going to get his seat of Casey. It isn’t all that safe. Labor is polling well in Victoria and it has a margin of only 4.8 per cent.

With an election so close, there won’t be time for a full preselection. Instead, the party’s executive will chose the candidate – and with long time Canberra hand Brian Loughnane now installed as state director, 104 will have a less parochial view than it may have had under Pog.

Being a mad punter, Hillary has put together a form guide for the forthcoming Casey Cup.

The Casey Cup has hotted up as an unanticipated but important race in the lead up to the Spring Carnival. Our man on the ground says that the track is quite dry, but that the Victorian Stewards have tried to put some water onto the track in the last few months. Most of the water has drained off, but has left a few muddy patches where untrained horses could easily break a leg.

Local track officials were quite upset about the late admission of Wooldridge to the 1998 Casey Cup, and it is believed that they are keen to see a local horse take the Cup in 2001.

However, Victorian Racing Stewards are said to want to move the Cup to the much shorter Exhibition Street track. Local Casey track officials believe that the Cup’s venue may be moved because the Victorian Stewards like their horses to run on much muddier tracks. The Stewards deny that this is the reason, citing the fact that the Casey Cup has been called too close to the Spring Racing Carnival.

Not all trainers have decided what horses they will run yet, but the field to date looks something like this:

Michael Wooldridge

– Winner of the 1998 Casey Cup

– Previous winner of the Chisholm Stakes

– Has decided to spend more time with his trough

Jeff Kennett

– Five starts: two wins, three losses

– Previously untested on the Casey track

– Believed to have gained weight since last season

– Thought to have been put out to stud, but co-trainer “Flick” said that he is now a gelding and ineligible for the race

– Late news: Unconfirmed reports that he is an early scratching

Tony Smith – Spotted stallion with unusual markings

– No starts to date. Was an early scratching in the 1998 Casey Cup.

– Casey is Smith’s training track, so home-ground experience thought to suit him well

– Has also been in regular training sessions at the competitive Capital Hill Racecourse, so understood to be in good form

– Dry track thought to suit Smith.

– Special training sessions planned with crack trainers from the Higgins and possibly even the Bennelong coursers planned in case the race is held at Exhibition Street

Louise Staley

– One 1 previous start on the Casey track, came well down the field.

– No places in numerous other previous starts as a filly, but trainers say that she has finally found form as a mare

– Track stewards are a bit nervous about two previous doping incidents where she was found under the influence of alcohol on the track. Also some controversy about the previous chief-steward Poggioli trying to expunge records of doping incidents.

– Named but no proven involvement in previous race-fixing controversies in Bulleen, Menzies and several other tracks.

– Staley’s stable denies association with rogue trainer Conrad Xanthos, but she has been seen out in the field with several of Conrad’s horses.

– No chance on the Casey Racetrack, but could show form on the much shorter Exhibition Street Racetrack, especially if all the other horses are nobbled.

Karl Blake

– Considered by some to be the dark horse of the race

– From the same stable as Tony Smith, but very different running styles

– Considered to be a good chance if the race is held at Casey Racetrack, but not too have much hope if the race is moved to Exhibition Street.

Stuffed by socialism? Absolutely

What’s plunged Ansett into crisis and put 15,000 jobs and a whole range of air services at risk? Easy. The discredited, old left policies of the kind that created stagflation in the seventies and are at the heart of Hulun Cluck and her government’s plan to ensure the Peoples’ Republic of Nez Zealand loses it’s first world status.

Air New Zealand started the stuff up, when it blocked News Limited selling its stake in Ansett to the cashed up Singapore Airlines. This could have provided a source of funds to upgrade Ansett’s fleet and cemented links with of the world’s most successful aviation companies.

Instead, the Kiwis took control of the lot – despite doubt over their abilities to raise the readies needed to keep Ansett afloat – and look where the airline is today.

Air New Zealand have pushed a plan to let Singapore expand its holding to 49 per cent – but, just like Hansonists here, the progressive Peoples’ Republic across the Tasman doesn’t like seeing nasty foreigners owning significant shares of things.

The obvious solution is for Cluck and Co to recognise the reality of the globalised economy and let Singapore Airlines in. The Kiwi freedom fighters in the Alliance of Consumers and Taxpayers, the ACT, have asked the entirely reasonable question if New Zealanders, already suffering under higher tax rates, are going to see their money handed over to Australia.

A few of our pols should take a reality check, too. The Prime Miniature, thank God, has said he is not “attracted” to making any direct equity investment in Ansett – although those are fairly loose words. His deputy, the Cowardly Lion, earlier refused to rule out a rescue package.

Slim and his shadow, Mar’n Fer’s’n, have been equally confused, with the Fart Boy saying he’d support the Government if it went for a direct bale out.

What a wonderfully up to date approach from all our leaders. Aren’t you looking forward to seeing good money – your money – tipped in after bad.

Still, an election is but weeks away. We can expect the crassest and most parochial business welfare to be on the agenda – but if the Rodent stoops so low, he will have lost absolutely every shred of economic credibility.

War stories

Wear a helmet and a flack jacket if you’re venturing into Vaucluse, Double Bay, Bellevue Hill or Darling Point – because a revolution is underway.

Such is the chaos that only a few scratchy rumours are seeping out from the war zone – but they are well worth repeating.

It appears that forces loyal to rebel leader Malcolm Turnbull are still seeking to overthrow Wentworth Liberal candidate Peter King. Turnbull has some high placed supporters in the outside world. It has been claimed that heavyweight Hindenburg Hockey has been making calls on his behalf. Deserters from the war, shattered by shellshock, babble that even Hitman Heffernan and Sharon Stone have been secretly sending aid to the rebels.

Claims that nerve gas was used at Watsons Bay have been disproved, but humanitarian groups have alleged that there is evidence of push-polling. Victims claimed that they were phoned by mysterious strangers telling them of the good deeds done in the region by Commandante Turnbull, who then ask if they would support him as a candidate.

Wentworth is normally a fertile area for the Liberal Party. Indeed, it provides much needed resources for electorates around the state, but because of the war nothing is trickling out. With an election only weeks away, this is a real blow.

So far, the Red Cross and the United Nations have been unable to verify if the combatants have violated the terms of the Geneva convention. However, the rebel activity goes against absolutely everything in the New South Wales Liberal Party constitution – making it all absolutely pointless.

Headless chook

Chikka’s been doing a lot of running around over recent days – but how much has her position really recovered?

The Libs only received a swing of just over two per cent on primaries in Saturday’s Auburn by-election, and state director Scott Morrison was wheeled out the following day to back up Chikka.

The polls show an improvement – but the New South Wales Libs are nowhere near being a real threat to Labor.

Meet Laura

Twelve months ago, as the Olympic loomed, all of Sydney was talking about Sarah Moaney. Now, all they can go on about is Laura – Laura Norder.

Premier Bob Carr, the Malthus of Maroubra, has long been terrified of over-population. When the Hindenburg spoke of his well meant but poorly worded wish to see a bustling Sydney of six million people, Malthus warned that the Harbour would have to be filled in and concreted over for parking.

Now, as the Laura Norder debate sweeps the state, he may have found a new way of preventing population implosion – stringing up malefactors. It’s about the only crime prevention measure the state hasn’t adopted over the past few weeks.

Labor’s great previous crime prevention initiative – bringing in a police chief from overseas, paying him an obscene amount of money and completely politicising his position – has failed for some strange reason. All Malthus and his ministers can do is turn up to photo ops screaming “lock ’em up and throw away the key”.

The Telegraph and shock jocks are ranting about the subject everyday and pandering to the crassest racial stereotypes.

In response, the various ethnic communities have reached such heights of political correctness that they might as well stop holding press conference and just wander the streets handing out One Nation membership forms.

The major parties are in a bidding war over who can make Laura Norder tougher and nastier and, as fear develops between communities, they are retreating back into their own groups, only exacerbating the problem.

The voting patters in Auburn were a fascinating – but sad – reflection of this unhelpful trend. The largely Chinese-based Unity Party picked up around 10 per cent of the primary vote, up from three per cent last time, and independent Mohamed Saddick scored some six per cent.

All in all, it’s a depressing trend.

Look-alike

A prescient reader writes: “Has anyone noticed the remarkable similarity between the Rodent John Howard and another rodent, Penfold the hamster, the faithful (if easily scared) companion of cartoon cult hero Danger Mouse. Perhaps they are related.”

Indeed. Hillary is impressed. There must be some connection.

Have a look at these three pictures – first of Penfold, then of our Rodent and one of Danger Mouse with Penfold adopting a stance very similar to one the Prime Miniature has taken when confronted with a number of policy issues this year. Amazing!

News from the north

Crikey began receiving e-mails about Queensland Liberal Party heavy Neville Stewart long before he won a starring role in the Groom FEC GST scam – but declined to print them as we are not a job creation scheme for the legal profession.

Now, however, the Courier Mail has picked up on the story and reported that Stewart is “facing an investigation over more than $25,000 in expenses he claimed as chairman of the Toowoomba Turf Club”.

It goes on to say:

“The police investigation was launched after the racing industry’s governing body, the Queensland Principal Club, found irregularities during an audit of the Toowoomba club’s books.

“The matters under investigation involve expensive dinners, accommodation, telephone and fuel charges around Australia over a five-year period to last June, 05 “Mr Stewart last night denied any wrongdoing over his expenses saying the Principal Club had cleared the Toowoomba Club’s books and assured him that he had ‘nothing to worry about’.

“Mr Stewart said the allegations against him were a malicious and on-going attempt by Liberal factional and racing industry enemies to damage his reputation, 05

“In 1996, Mr Stewart successfully blocked a Criminal Justice Commission investigation into the Toowoomba Turf Club after the Supreme Court ruled the CJC had no jurisdiction. The CJC probe was examining allegations that committee minutes concerning contracts worth more than $1.5 million were falsified.”

Hillary would be fascinated to hear who these dark forces undermining such a loyal servant of the Liberal Party might be – and any other detail.

Sympathy for the devil

Pool old Ah Satan. There she was in Saturday’s Oz, complaining how she works 70 hours a week.

It might be news to her, but with the exception of a few soaks and bludgers, virtually all of the other Members, Senators and a hell of a lot of staff do exactly the same. Still, of course, Satan’s strong hands-on commitment to reconciliation at a personal level must also take up much of her time.

Satan is given to the odd dummy spit, but she has every reason to smile at the moment after the Sphere gave her such an incredibly easy run on the Sunday program.

PS The smile might get wiped off Satan’s face if her groupies Haroon Hassan or Tammy Franks get anywhere near a winnable preselection. One close observer writes about the “Now this may be an anthropological experiment, but if these two get any higher up the Dem food chain, I reckon it has the potential to wreck the Dems internally in SA!”

PPS A judgement on the long running legal case over who actually holds the right to call themselves the “Australian Democrats” that damaged the party for so long has finally been handed down in the WA Supreme Court. Legal junkies and students of Democratic minutiae can read it all at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/wa/WASCA/2001/267.html

Spotters guide

After Hillary revealed the news last week of Love Rat Michael Photios’ wedding plans, a reader kindly send through a guest list. If you ever wanted a spotters guide to New South Wales wets, you couldn’t start with anything better”:

Andrew Constance – failed president of the NSW Young Liberal

Sen Marise Payne – Senator for NSW dropped to an unwinnable position

Shayne Mallard – member of the mega-PC South Sydney Council

Trent Zimmerman – semi-employed former advisor to Robert Hill

Sam Witheridge – failed candidate

Don Harwin – little known member of the NSW Upper House

Joe Hockey – legend in his own lunchtime, creator and sole member of the new “progressives” faction of the Liberal Party

Gladys Berejilklian – former Young Liberal President

Tony Chappel – former Young Liberal President

Community safety

Over recent weeks, it has emerged that certain sections of the Victorian Police are as open to a little bit of fiscal facilitation as their neighbours across the Murray in the Rum Corp.

Of course, there are always a few bad apples that spoil the barrel. The Victorian Police are a fine force dedicated to preserving community safety – often under the most dangerous circumstance. In case you missed the following item last week, read on – you’ll soon be saluting:

“Vic: Man found not guilty for farting in police station

“A man who broke wind in the foyer of a Melbourne police station has had his conviction for offensive behaviour overturned.

“David Paul Grixti had been fined $200 by the Werribee Magistrates’ Court in June for breaking wind in the station after being arrested for drinking offences.

“Werribee Legal Service appealed the decision to the Victorian County Court, which has found him not guilty.

“The service’s manager, Sally Smith, says the prosecution couldn’t establish that flatulence was a voluntary act.

“She criticised police for taking action against Mr Grixti, saying it was absurd that a natural bodily function was criminalised.

“Police have refused to comment.”

Anyway, Hillary always thought you called in the State Emergency Service, not the flat-foots, when excessive winds caused damage.

Poetry corner

Last week Hillary asked readers to complete this much loved sea-shanty for a chance to 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.

We have a winner – boy do we have a winner. Judge and prominent yartz community figure Dan McNutt and Hillary were blown away by the winning entry:

T’was on a talkback station

Redneck manifestation

The shock jocks screeched

While Howard preached

His own justification

(chorus) Beating up the refos

Beating up the refos

Beating up the refos

The great Australian sport

With talkback callers fickle

(Dills bigger than a pickle)

Inflamed by Laws

To Phil’s applause

Old Howard’s pinkly tickled

Some folks they said, “Just sink it”

While others could not think it

John sniffed the breeze

Outflanked the Beaze

And said let’em all eat birdshit

These rag-heads are atrocious

They chose to cheat the process

Off to Nauru

That birdie poo

Will give them asbestosis

In Mega’s Indonesia

They’d think we had amnesia

The phone line’s crook

Or off the hook

And Johnnie can’t appease ‘er

My God, what was he thinking?

That tough guys do no blinking?

Or is his bluff

That soon enough

Poor Nauru will be sinking?

Beating up the refos

Beating up the refos

Beating up the refos

The great Australian sport

Two other entries deserve special mentions, too – and if you think they don’t scan, me hearties, try singing them after a few good tots of rum. It makes it easier.

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.

The captor of this lugger

He was a shifty bugger

“The Iron Fist”

On two cans got pissed

On Sat’dy at the Rugger

On the phone to Megawati

From his parliamentary potty

The double strain

it caused no pain

As hope flowed from his botty

And:

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.

Chorus:

We’re a nation of racists

Pauline Hanson is the greatest

We’re a nation of racists

Send the queue jumpers to Nauru!

The PM’s name was Howard

And being quite a coward

He took a stand

“That ship won’t land!”

To make him seem empowered

The Opposition Leader named Kim

On the issue he seemed equally dim

Despite the weight immense

He sat on the fence

Until it gave way under him

Understandable slip

This week’s Sun-Herald reproduced an editorial from the Los Angles Times criticising the Rodent’s behaviour over the Tampa scandal. There was just one little problem – the paper kept on referring to him as “John Hunt”.

Still, it’s a very understandable slip – “Hunt” sounds remarkably like, 05

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

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Peter Fray

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