Last Wednesday night the phone rang. It was Nick Xzennophone, and before I could say anything he shouted: “Spill!”

“I know,” I replied. “There’s Milo everywhere and Susan’s furious with me.”

“No, there’s a spill on for the Labor leadership!” Nick said. “I’ve been making some phone calls and I reckon you’ve got the numbers to have a crack.”

“Really?” I asked.


I was gobsmacked. How far a simple boy from Resevoir had come; from engineer to accountant to prime minister of Australia. It was the proudest moment of my life and I was determined not to let the chance slip away.

“What should I do?” I asked Xzennophone.

“Leave the campaigning to me,” he said. “You just worry about the vote tomorrow. Make sure you’re there shaking hands and networking. Wear something striking.”

“Okay,” I said. “Where’s the vote?”

So on Thursday morning I arrived bright and early at Templestowe Primary School, ready to greet MPs on their way to the ballot box. I wandered around for ages but I couldn’t see any voting booths, sausage sizzles or anything. I couldn’t even see any adults, although they had to be somewhere because there were kids everywhere.

Eventually, a man came up to me and said that if I didn’t get out of the school immediately he’d call the police. I asked if he was a Labor MP and offered him my hand. “Steve Fielding,” I introduced myself. “Next prime minister of Australia.”

“I’m the principal,” he growled. “And you’re trespassing on my property so get out.”

Deflated, I turned for the main gate. “Oi!” shouted the principal as I walked away. “Is that supposed to be a bottle?”

In the end, the vote didn’t go my way and we now have our first female prime minister in Julie Gillard which is certainly historic but is bound to cause problems and is unlikely to be sustainable. I mean, she’ll inevitably have to look after her kids when they’re sick or ferry them back and forth to choir practise — the role of prime minister is a busy one, kids get hungry, and dinner doesn’t just cook itself.

Plus, she’s an athi athee not God believer which points to an underdeveloped intellect. I mean, Julie, do you seriously think the earth just built itself hundreds of thousands of years ago? Did the pyramids and Ayers Rock and the Statue of Liberty just materialise out of thin air? And you claim to have the capabacity to lead this country.

So anyway, given that Julie will quickly be seen by the electorate as too silly to lead it, I’ve still got a shot at becoming Australia’s first family prime minister. To this ends I’ve signed a 12-point contract with Austria’s voters, building on and improving the contract points signed by opposite leader Tony Abbott. My full contract, with detail, will be released soon, but in the meantime here are the highlights:

Point one: Restore the budget to surplus within one year and clear all debt. This is two years faster than Tony or Julie and will be achieved through the printing of more money — a measure so simple it beggars belief that the others haven’t thought of it first.

Point two: Restore cabinet government. I promise to consult widely with Susan on all matters of policy.

Point three: Reject the Great Big New Tax on Mining. In fact, all taxes will be abolished in favour of a flat, egalitarian tax. Probably about 2%.

Point five: Enforce our borders. Boat seekers will be sent to the back of the queue and there will be no more free Apple Macs.

Point seven: Take direct action on water and the environment. I support both, and will implement simple, practical measure such as: ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down’.

Point nine: Help stay-at-home mums with unlimited paid parental leave at twice the minimum wage. Prostitutes and prisoners need not apply.

My contract with the people is the gospel truth and I invited the media to come and watch me sign it so that everyone could be confident that I was serious. But nobody showed up which is probably lucky because my crayon was a bit blunt and my signature looked a bit like a drawing of a yellow river.

Until next time.

*First published on political blog Group Think

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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