One hundred days in office is a traditional milestone for a Prime Minister and government, but One-term Tony has already undone more in his first 70 days (or “Round 1”) than most achieve in all three years of the political triathlon. Australia is now enjoying the fruits of One-term’s extensive training regime of marathons and triathlons in marginal electorates, and of course his pugilistic past. One-term has already landed a number of telling Right hooks to the body politic both domestically and internationally, and the country is reeling punch-drunk on the ropes. Here’s a brief summary of Round 1.
Gender Equality: Frequently reviled in opposition, One-term Tony has finally set the record straight, first by campaigning in the almost constant company of two women who weren’t actually running for office, then, having won, by appointing one woman and eighteen men to cabinet. There were heated accusations of positive discrimination when it was revealed the ratio of women in the whole ministry was much higher at 15%, but One-term brushed these aside saying that 15% was roughly the same as the proportion of women in the population, and that he should know as he’s now also responsible for women’s issues. “This isn’t a, … er, … um, women’s issue”, he said succinctly, with his trademark syncopated delivery. He also dealt quickly and effectively with people who use and understand statistics:
Science: For the first time since 1931 Australia lacks a Minister for Science. One-term Tony clearly understands that scientists have caused many of Australia’s and particularly the government’s problems, and in addition to abolishing the ministry he has also effectively cut 25% of CSIRO, a bunch of trouble makers who invent things like over-the-horizon radar, wi-fi, gene shears, polymer banknotes, and other nonsense of no value to Australia. “Just because Science, ah, worked in the, um 1930s doesn’t mean that it, um, works, er, now; that’s only, er, common sense”, he was reported to say. “There’s clearly a, um, climate for change, and by that, er, I obviously mean there’s, um, no climate change”.
Climate Change: Having eliminated scientists, One-term turned to internationally respected sources such as Wikipedia and Christopher Monckton for climate policy, and freed up valuable funding for important portfolios like Immigration and Education by immediately abolishing the obviously unnecessary Climate Commission and Clean Energy Finance Commission. He also made good on his promise to immediately and urgently abolish the Carbon Tax by renewing his promise to immediately and urgently abolish the Carbon Tax, and promising to keep urgently renewing his promise until immediately in July next year or until some totally unexpected good reason urgently stopped him from immediately renewing it before or after then. Another immediate and urgent election promise that has been punched out of the ring is the economy:
The Economy: As we all know, according to One-term Tony and Treasurer Honest Joe the economy was close to death just before the election, requiring immediate and urgent attention. A critical task was to reduce the deficit as quickly as possible. Honest Joe achieved this overnight using ringcraft and deft footwork belying his weight by doubling the debt ceiling to half a trillion dollars. A beaming One-term explained “A country is just like a, er, household. Really. You can’t spend more than you, um, earn, but you can usually get, ahhhh, another credit card. Honest Joe just increased our, er, credit limit by 250 billion dollars, but, um, don’t worry, only I have, er, the PIN. The economic crisis is, er, all over.” Also all over is Gonski.
Education: The Gonski report was the culmination of over two years concentrated effort by an expert team of independent educational specialists led by respected and impartial businessman David Gonski. Over 7000 submissions and 71 education groups were consulted. One-term Tony and Education Minister Incredible Pyne were initially opposed to the results of this massive effort, for reasons that, in contrast, were not based on two year’s concentrated research by anyone. However two days before the Federal election One-term and Incredible Pyne announced a complete reversal of their position, and repeatedly described themselves as being in total agreement with the Labor Party’s Gonski proposals. Following the election, however, they reversed their position again. “My position on this is, er, clear”, One-term clarified. “Changing my mind, um, twice is the same as not, er, changing it at all, so I haven’t in fact, er changed my, um, mind or lied to the electorate at all.” “Also, I’d like to, er, remind you about, um, non-core truths, and answers to, er, questions I haven’t practised the, ah, answers to. We inherited a shambles here that took, ah, a team of experts two years of, um, painstaking, careful work to create, and if we, um, had read it, I’m sure we’d have found it’s a shambles. Shorten’s shambles, ha ha ha. Luckily, we don’t, um need to read it now.” Incredible Pyne was not available for comment, but was happy to produce a smug self-satisfied smirk. He also provided a press release announcing that he would conduct future negotiations with his State counterparts by press releases accompanied by a smug self-satisfied smirk.
The most impressive carnage in Round 1, however, is not the crippling blows to equality, science, environment, economy and education at home, but the complete demolition of Australia’s international reputation within the Commonwealth, United Nations, and relationships with our most important Asian trading partners. Impressive work for 70 days, it already raises questions whether One-term can sustain this pace for three years, or, more importantly, whether Australia can.
Immigration: straight out of his corner after the first gong, Immigration Minister Scott Free revealed his plans for refusing to reveal anything. “We said we would turn back the REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS, and now I ask you, do you hear about any REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS anymore? No!”. He added “Now it’s operational, this policy is called ‘REDACTEDs? What REDACTEDs?’ ”. The Australian press agreed. “We’re getting away with this – Scott Free” read one News Limited headline. When asked about using human lives as political footballs in a game of high seas brinksmanship with Indonesia, Scott Free retorted “REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS”. He added “You don’t read about any of this in the Australian press! It’s not called News Limited for nothing”. Scott Free then reinforced the government’s compassionate credentials by cancelling the bridging visas of all current REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS. “We’ve done this for compassionate reasons, and also because we REDACTED well can”, he said. When asked about United Nations’ condemnation of Australia’s position, Scott Free replied tersely “REDACTED off!”. When further questioned about the government’s policy of consistently calling refugees “illegal” Scott Free explained “No, it’s not illegal to flee a violent repressive regime like REDACTED Lanka, and it’s not illegal to pay your life savings and risk your and your family’s lives to board a dangerous leaky REDACTED to seek refuge in another state. It’s illegal to do that and enter Australia without filling in one of those little beige cards they give you on the plane and forgetting to complete both sides. In some cases water stains or blood have made them illegible. That’s why they’re illegal”. He added “We know Qantas is in trouble, so forcing all REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS to fly to Australia instead solves two problems at once. We can’t turn back the planes, that would be tantamount to murder”.
Sri Lanka: Determined to put Australia into the international spotlight, One-term quickly showed that he’s not afraid to disagree with, well, pretty much everybody. Canada, India and Mauritius all boycotted the CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka in protest at Sri Lankan human rights violations and the treatment of Tamil refugees. The U.K. Prime Minister, while attending, called for a United Nations war crimes tribunal following a number of well documented instances of ethnic Tamils being slaughtered by the Sri Lankan army. One-term Tony registered his disapproval by giving their navy two gunboats. Announcing the gift, One-term explained “It’s, ahh, only common sense. You don’t need to be a, er, scientist to see that the navy isn’t the same as, um, the army. They have different names, for a start. Furthermore, if we can stop all of the, um, REDACTED FOR, er, OPERATIONAL, um, REASONS leaving Sri Lanka in the first place, we won’t have to REDACTED with Indonesia, or separate REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS orphans from guardians. This sinks the problem at the source.” One-term added “Sometimes in difficult times you have to, er, do difficult things”. Some commentators interpreted this to be condoning torture by Sri Lanka. However in a joint statement, One-term, Token Bishop, Honest Joe, Incredible Pyne and Scott Free announced “The Prime Minister’s remark has been widely misinterpreted in the context of Sri Lankan war crimes. This is totally fallacious. One-term Tony was referring to the difficult necessity of our lying to the electorate in order to get elected, and in running a campaign demonising refugees fleeing for their lives and appealing to the worst nature of the electorate. We hope this sets the record straight”. Afterwards, One-term joked off the record with the Press “Actually, the lying wasn’t all that difficult, we trained very hard”.
Indonesia: In only seventy days One-term Tony has landed the diplomatic equivalent of a one-two punch to our relationship with Indonesia. Ignoring Indonesia’s clear signals about the pre-election “Turn back the REDACTEDs” strategy, once in office One-term and Scott Free immediately set up a series of confrontations with Indonesian naval authorities by trying to force REDACTED full of REDACTED back into Indonesian territorial waters. Details of these encounters are sketchy in the Australian press, however international coverage has given the contest to Indonesia in the first round on a TKO. Not content with a single unnecessary, doomed and predictably inflammatory gesture, One-term pressed home his advantage by refusing to provide any apology or appeasement for the “alleged” spying on a large number of prominent Indonesian officials, causing a rapid escalation in tensions, the suspension of most bi-lateral co-operation, and threats to trade. Very impressive, given that in almost identical circumstances even President Obama couldn’t achieve any of these outcomes with Germany. However almost destroying our relationship with Indonesia was only one part of One-term’s Round 1 international plan.
China: Although One-term apparently couldn’t avoid having one woman in the Cabinet, he cleverly gave her a job that keeps her out of the House, in fact out of the country, most of the time. Overseas, Foreign Minister Token Bishop has taken One-term’s fight to the four corners of the globe. Her most impressive achievement so far, and clearly a part of One-term’s international strategy, is to anger our largest trading partner, the most powerful nation in the region, and potentially the only nation to challenge the U.S.A’s hegemony in future. Token Bishop’s remarks have been called “irresponsible” by China, diplomatic code for “Take that back or I’ll ask you to step outside”, and have been followed up with Chinese threats of damage to existing agreements and future relations, or diplomatic code for “You call that a knife? Now THIS is a knife”. Clearly delighted with One-term’s and Token Bishop’s international achievements and their ramifications for the economy, Honest Joe has added his voice, saying “ […] Token Bishop is doing exactly the right thing!”. With thirty days still to go before the end of Round 1, there’s little doubt that One-term will be able to deliver a knockout blow, possibly even bringing up the difficult right, right, right combination and irreparably damaging our relationship with the U.S.A. as well.
So for a man who has taken his fair share of both real and political blows to the head, One-term is still bobbing and weaving and back-pedalling skilfully, and has clearly demonstrated he’s still capable of inflicting serious and possibly permanent damage to the country. Equality, Science, the Environment, Education, Economy, Immigration and relations with our largest trading partners have all been hammered to the canvas in only seventy days. Health, Welfare, Employment and Agriculture are obvious targets for Round 2.
(Apologies to Messrs D. Runyon and J. Clarke. All characters fictional, nobody but an idiot would believe that real politicians would behave like this)