Last Wednesday night, still feeling a little bit sick from that VB my staffer dared me to drink on the long airplane flight, I was watching Daryl, Plucka and the gang. And finally, after an hour of the standard out-of-control craziness that makes Hey Hey such a brilliantly funny show, on came my favourite segment: Red Faces. Oh, how I booed that rotter Red Simon!
He is very mean to those brave people who go on the TV give it their best shot, so I make sure I always give him an extra-loud boo. My son asked Susan to tell me to keep it down because he couldn’t hear the TV. I turned from my position sitting on the carpet in front of the television so I could see him over there on the lounge.
“I’m right here, you know,” I said.
“Tell dad I know he’s right there,” he said to Susan.
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And here was Tony Abbott getting to go on my favourite show in the world and I wasn’t. I’m an opposition leader, too! There are a lot of things in life that aren’t fair and this is probably right at the top of the list. I started to boo at the TV really loud, giving Abbott both of my thumbs down, and throwing in a hiss every now and again for good measure. I bet he’s never been overseas on an airplane. Susan turned the television off the with the remote.
“Right, that’s bedtime Steve,” she said.
“But …” I started, looking at my son still sitting on the lounge. “He’s …”
“You’ve got three minutes to brush your teeth or it’ll be another cross against your name on the whiteboard.”
The next day I called Channel Nine to find out if I could go on Hey Hey next week.
“Sorry, dear, but Hey Hey is finished for the season,” said the nice lady on the switchboard.
“Finished?” I asked incredibulously, “but it only just started again!”
“You might be able to try again next year, dear,” she said. “Keep an eye on your TV guide.”
I was furious. My big chance to go on my favourite show in the world during a crucial election campaign was ruined. I went back home and started drafting a Bill: the Truth In Television Program Titling Bill (2010). Never again will I miss three-quarters of a season of a TV program because of an inaccurate or misleading title. I called up Nick Xzennophone to run the draft of the Bill past him and show him that even though Parliament is on holiday and an election campaign is on, policy development at Family First never stops.
“It’s OK, I guess, Steve,” he said. “But it’s not really a show-stopping, election-winning policy. Have you got anything else?”
“Um, well … I … Wind turbulines are dangerous.”
“You mean you’ve got no policies to take to the election?”
“I’ve been to Afpakistan,” I told him confidently.
I started to make a hissing noise and held the phone away from my face.
“Sorry, Nick!” I shouted. “I’m going through a tunnel so I’ll have to call you back!”
“You’re on a landline, dipsh-t,” he said, just before I hung up.
I went into my electorate office to see what our election policies were. I must admit that I started to panic a bit when the office manager told me she was not aware of any election policies.
“Anyway, isn’t that sort of your job?” she asked.
“I suppose so. But maybe you could remind me how you write election policies.”
She looked at me over the top of her glasses for a while then heaved a massive sigh.
“OK,” she said, getting out a large sheet of butcher’s paper and a thick permanent marker. “Let’s blue-sky this.”
“But it’s cloudy,” I said, looking out the window.
Later that evening, after an exhausting two-hour policy session in which I decided to ban wind, I called Xzennophone back.
“I’m out of the tunnel now, Nick.”
“Whatever,” he said.
“I think you were asking me about my election policies,” I reminded him.
“Was I? OK.”
I paused, waiting. The line was silent.
“So …” I prompted him.
“So, what?” he asked.
“Ask me about my election policies.”
“This is insane,” he mumbled before sighing and clearing his throat. “Steven, I was wondering if you could tell me about your election policies.”
“No,” I said. “I wouldn’t want to give you a chance to trump me on them,” and I hung up.
Until next time.
Follow Fake Senator Steve Fielding on Twitter @fakefielding.