Little Johnny could not have picked a more sensitive area for Crikey than his offer of a $12,500 tax rebate to Mrs Crikey over the next five years – provided she doesn’t do something dastardly and unmotherly as re-enter the workforce.

First, I finally got around to opening a letter from Senator Nick Bolkus’s lawyer and it confirmed that the Labor’s would-be Environment Minister is intending to sue for defamation.

As we’ve said before, we accept that Nick Bolkus is an honest, devoted, tea-totalling family man who would never run off the rails or the road and we humbly apologise for the ill-founded suggestion that he was once involved in a car accident when under the influence. This is not true, we accept it is false and we humbly apologise to the good senator whose drink-driving record is absolutely pristine.

Apologies aside, it does raise the question of whether you can vote for a party whose frontbencher is planning to sue you for defamation.

The second development was John Howard’s “Stay home and bonk” policy which couldn’t not have targeted Mr and Mrs Crikey in a more sensitive spot.

Here we are with a 3-month old baby Laura at home wrestling with Paula’s big tax bills of the last two years after I lost $20,000 of her cash on the stockmarket last year and we overspent on our honeymoon and wedding.

Lo and behold, Johnny announces that he’ll give Paula $12,500 back over the next five years. The cut off point is babies born after July 1 this year and little Laura came into the world on August 4.

The only catch is that Paula is not allowed to work if she wants to get the full amount. I suggested she kiss her career as a barrister away and we should just get on with increasing the family to 4 or even 5 over the term of the policy.

We all know that Janette loves to do the washing to relax and the Howards don’t believe in wives working and this little policy is aimed at keeping former working mothers at home with the kids. The policy does not appear to apply to working dads who stay at home and Paula is likely to make more than me over the next few years so unless Crikey really takes off, we might have to pass up on this great offer.

Anyway, enough from me, dedicated Labor supporter Kevin Summers has also contributed his thoughts on the bonking policy last night:

Johnny’s got my vote after 5 minutes
By Kevin Summers

I apologise. For years I thought John Howard was no more than a career politician, a man whose purpose in life was to attain the Prime Ministership of this nation and then to do all – yet no more – than was necessary to hold on to that office. How wrong I was and how chastened I am. Sunday’s policy speech did the trick.

Having branded Howard a political opportunist I now have to admit that he is made of sterner stuff. I fact, he is THE MAN. Sorry Anthony Mundine, but this bristling performance has stamped John Winston as the toughest dude on the block; his eyes displayed the necessary glint of steel, his jaw as rigid as Duke Wayne in The Green Berets, his fists as clenched as Dick Alston’s buttocks. Stirring stuff.

Had he been recieving instruction from the gifted tutors of Bush the Younger? More likely he had taken inspiration from his visit to the National Institute of Performing Arts some days ago. He would have been told that to flail his arms and shout his words would pass for truth and meaning, that acting big was a winner. For a man of diminutive stature, this advice would have been most welcome.

On Sunday John Howard was one hard man. He was tough on drugs. He was tough on lawbreakers of any kind. In these difficult, dangerous, unsafe, frightening – consult a Thesaurus for the other adjectives – times, he was the gunslinger with “the steady hand.” Be still, my racing heart.

He was, thank God (the Christian one, of course) especially tough on those pesky boat people. “We’ll decide who comes to this country!” The massed faithful rose as one to the great man’s delivery. When the camera panned to the Prime Ministerial son I’m certain I gleaned from the boy’s expression the desire to head off to our northern waters and personally confront the darkies who dared invoke all those United Nation treaties.

At that moment my spouse intoned: “He’s so unyielding, so harsh. He has nothing to offer me.”

I could but recoil from her assessment. “John Howard may be tough – and I worship him for that – but there is another side to the man.”

She appraised me with the eye of a long deceased cod. “What rot are you on about?”

“He’s giving lots of money to couples who are prepared to bonk. It’s a bonking for Australia’ project. A Coalition regime will pay big bucks if we breed.’


She had me on that one. I mumbled weakly about the sacred nature of the family unit and how lots of little Aussie kids would be needed to keep the Asian hordes at bay in the near future. She again regarded me uncertainly.

“How much is he giving?”


“You’ve got five minutes, no more. Come on,” she said as she headed for the bedroom.

I have no idea why the lynchpin of John Howard’s election platform is a handout to couples to multiply. It completely escapes me. But after my five minutes on Sunday night it’s his sensual side, rather than his macho side, that guarantees my vote on the tenth of November.

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