Yesterday we asked readers to guess what John Howard carries in his briefcase when he goes overseas on official business — here are some of the best responses:

Doug Melville writes: Code of Ministerial Responsibility (recently dusted off), running sheet showing rehearsal times for exiting C130 Hercules aircraft (slightly used), “Missing You” card — for Mark Latham (never sent), last-minute scare campaign plan (under glass and marked, ‘to be opened only in the event of emergency’ — may contain the words, terror, refugees, muslims, and un-Australian), undated letter of resignation from the head of the ADF (Tampa II mustn’t be derailed), a reference letter from George W Bush (‘waal.. my little shrub’), Qantas first class tickets in the name of David Hicks (third last resort..), employment offer from Halliburton (second last resort) and… a control order for Kevin Rudd (last resort).

Mitchell Giles writes: A container of mud, at the ready for some flinging. A voodoo doll of Kevin Rudd. A pair of thick-rimmed back-up glasses to remind him of the good old days. His trusty Akubra, at the ready for a quick visit to the bush. The master plan — a list of everything to be achieved while he has control of the Senate. A photograph with George W Bush on the ranch in Texas — Good times, good times. A bit of fan mail, you know, from those teenage girls who swoon over him. Emergency can of Red Bull — something’s gotta keep the old man going — he’s no spring chicken anymore! A retirement plan — consists of a blank piece of paper with a question mark beside Peter Costello’s name. The signed resignation of each of his ministers for emergency sacking when their sordid pasts seem to pop up. And did I mention he scored this case off of Mary Poppins, so there’s plenty of room for other stuff too.

Michael Thornton writes: What’s in the briefcase? Share listings held by the Costello and Turnbull family trusts.

Ella James writes: Pecks spread sandwiches on white bread wrapped in greaseproof paper, courtesy of Janette and a banana, ditto. No modern communications technology (No pda, no mobile phone, no iPod). There’s no need for all that technology, besides, if the PM travels outside the capital cities (requiring a pressed uniform of Moleskins, chambray shirt and Squatters Akubra…Thanks Janette) he won’t have any reception anyway!!! A Sony Walkman and some cassettes of Richard Clayderman, Kamahl and Julie Anthony. Reading material ( The Da Vinci Code perhaps? Janette told him it was a gripping read). Nasal hair trimmer, spectacle cleaner and cloth and a black satin sleep mask with “Off with the Fairies” embroidered in pink. Travel Scrabble, tracksuit, Dunlop volleys, a spare Bonds singlet, some paisley boxer shorts and a thesaurus.

Kathy Hyde writes: John has obviously sneakily stuffed some airline food in there, hence the reason he is carrying the case himself. Not a sharer.

John Cook writes: An apple, a clean hanky, walking shorts and Nikes, 1948 Wisden (Bradman’s last season), Afternoon Light (Menzies’ memoirs), duty free shopping list (from Janette), resignation letter from Santo Santoro and a Year 12 certificate — Canterbury High School.

Justin Parker writes: New architectural plans that Janette has helped produce for a 3rd grand staircase and additional renovations at her home. Sorry, their home. Sorry, The Lodge.

Jeff Marsh writes: The PM’s briefcase has a clean hanky, Sao biscuits with Vegemite for little lunch, a ham and salad bread roll, a drink bottle with orange cordial, an apple, a Ginger Meggs comic, collector cards of the 1948 Ashes cricket side (with spares to swap at big lunch), a George W Bush Action figure, and a photo in a silver frame of Mrs Howard and the kiddies.

Paul Willett writes: My guess is that it was empty — a prop pure and simple as your piece suggests.

Alex Farrar writes: He doesn’t know — Janette packed it for him.

Brian Townley writes: I would be suggesting that Howard is carrying the written resignation letters from all his ministers just waiting for him to produce at the right time.

Andrew Bomm writes: Tricks.

Rob Keniger writes:  What’s in John Howard’s briefcase? A Mini John of course! From the Austin Powers movie:

Pete: “Look, I was wondering if we could work all this out? You are, after all, my boss.”

John: “Peter, you had your chance, okay? I’ve already had someone created in my image. He’s evil, he wants to take over the world, and he fits easily into most overhead storage bins.”

Ed Day writes:

  • 1 pair blue-striped drawstring flannelette pyjamas (faded)
  • 1 hot-water bottle, ribbed
  • 1 framed & autographed photo of George W Bush
  • 1 Pelaco business shirt (drip-dry), white
  • 2 pair, BVD Y-front underpants, white
  • 1 Chesty Bond singlet, off-white
  • 1 Fletcher Jones wool-mix v-neck jumper, burgundy
  • 1 set walking gear including over-sized green & gold spray jacket
  • 1 copy Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac, 2006
  • 1 copy The Prince by Niccolo Macchiavelli
  • 1 container Nature’s Way charcoal tablets
  • 1 jar Horlicks Malted Milk powder
  • 1 stick Old Spice deodorant
  • 1 container Johnson’s baby powder

Alister Air writes: Philip Ruddock’s soul, Alexander Downer’s brain, Peter Costello’s courage and Tony Abbott’s heart.

David Dawes writes: Various cheeses.

Keep sending your list of contents to [email protected] . We’ll publish more of the best guesses and present one lucky respondent with a superb Samsonite 900 series vanquish leather laptop briefcase. We’ll name a winner in Friday’s edition.

Peter Fray

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