The Scion, the Wheat, and the Cabinet – Chapters VI & VII

Need some relief from the insanity on steroids of the current régime? Let’s return to the kinder, gentler world of John Howard’s Australia, with the next two chapters of Malcolm B Duncan’s historical satire.

(Image Credit: WikiNarnia))

The Chronicles of Nadir
As told from the grave by Tom Lewis

Tale the First

The Scion, the Wheat and the Cabinet

Chapters VI and VII

Alexander had wandered away from the other children in search of the Fruits of Office. He supposed that the most likely way of satisfying what had by now become an almost insatiable craving was to find where the Queen lived. He had a notion that he would find her house in the electorate of Bennelong and had walked and walked and walked.

Eventually, he came to a spacious bungalow which appeared to be the one. There was a real estate agent’s sign out the front: “Khemlani Realty ‘Leased’.” Alexander did not quite understand but he suspected he would not find the Queen in. What he did find was a small Pakistani-looking gentleman kneeling on what appeared to be some sort of a mat. The man leaned forward and touched his forehead to the mat mumbling something which seemed to be directions to Allawah. Alexander knew it required three changes of train.

The man stood.

“I say,” said Alexander, “you don’t happen to know where the White Lady is, do you?”

“I’m only renting,” the man replied. “We’ve just been released from Baxter but Mr Khemlani tells me the owners moved to Kirribilli House years ago.”

It was then that Alexander noticed the yard was full of statues most of which seemed reminiscent of former Liberal frontbenchers so lifelike that it was as if they had been turned to stone just to get them out of the way. There were a few scattered Nationals as well but, really, Stone didn’t do the medium justice.

Meanwhile, or, in the interim, as Mr Hunter was fond of saying at school (Alexander had had to look “interim” up), the Dwarf, the Lady Jadis and the phlegmatic Corder had returned from the Land of Nadir and resumed their normal appearance. Little Johnnie and Jeanette were taking tea on the terrace.

“Now, dear,” said Little Johnnie, “I don’t want you to think that anyone told me anything or that I know anything or that I’d be able to give evidence about it or anything like that but I had a dream last night about a bloke in Bognor. He told me, but only in the dream, you understand – so I don’t really know anything – but he said we had an enormous amount of surplus wheat and there’s this place called Nadir which is an incredibly wealthy magical land which has no wheat at all but is desperate for it – wheat, that is, ruled by a really nice lady, and if we were to make it worth her while, if you know what I mean, which you don’t really because I don’t know anything to mean anything anyway, we could fix the current account and have enough to live like kings and queens in the Land of Nadir.”

“We’ve got quite enough queens in Oxford Street,” Janette replied.

“Yes, but the point is, dear, that we could all be rich.”

“Let me get this straight: you have a dream about some geezer from Bognor,” Janette paused.

“Bugger Bognor,” said Little Johnnie. “It’d be an economic miracle – the Big End of Town would love us. The Party coffers would be full…”

“Then,” interrupted Jeanette, “You bribe some foreign potentate to buy our wheat.”

“Not bribe, dear. There would naturally be shipping and land transport costs, handling fees and the like. We could do it all using f.o.b. contracts through that $2 company in Fyshwick.”

“The one that sells the manacles?” asked Janette.

“That’s the one – very reliable, very discreet people, completely sound,” said Little Johnnie proudly.

“But what about the Wizengamot ban on exports to magical countries?” asked Jeanette.

“No one told me,” said Little Johnnie, “Never heard of it.”

Just then, Alexander appeared around the corner of the terrace, closely shadowed by Corder who had drawn his pistol – he hadn’t been pleased to see him.

“I caught this talking to a terrorist,” said Corder.

“Speak, Boy,” commanded Janette.

“It wasn’t a terrorist. It was a Mr Patel – he’s just been released from Baxter and he and his family have finally got Newstart and a rental allowance and family benefits and they’re living in a lovely house.” Here, Alexander gave an address which for privacy reasons, national security concerns and the fact that this is a children’s story we cannot mention.

Jeanette exploded. “That idiot Khemlani has rented the House to Pakis.”

“There, there, dear,” soothed Little Johnnie, “I’ll get Ruddock onto it right away.”

“You don’t know anything about Fruits of Office, do you?” asked Alexander greedily.

“I don’t know anything about anything,” said Little Johnnie. “No-one tells me anything at all. There’s this bloke in Bognor.”

“Bugger Bognor,” said Jeanette. “Corder, release the child. I have plans for it. Johnnie, is that Teak Table Keating bought still in the Lodge?” Turning to Alexander, she said, smiling sweetly, “Do you like teak, Boy?”

“I’ve heard about that table,” said Alexander. “It cost a fortune, didn’t it?”

Quickly Little Johnnie jumped in to demonstrate his complete mastery of the economy. “It was so expensive that the Reserve had to increase interest rates to 17% to take the heat out of the economy. But interest rates will always be higher under Labor [sic].”

“We all know that; we voted on it,” said Janette testily. “Now, young man, come with me and I’ll show you the lovely Teak Table.”

As they walked, hand-in-hand, Janette could be heard saying, “And do you know anything about shipping wheat?”

* * * * * * * * *

Nadir being a magical land, strange things were apt to happen on its periphery where it intersected the space-time continuum near the place we know as Canberra, the home of the House on the Hill or, rather, in it.

Almost on the edge of Nadir, in one such place, there was a public toilet block in Goulburn Memorial Park just by the rose garden. Known as the Four Thrones (obviously because of its configuration) it had been the undoing of more than one Bishop of Nadir and was often frequented by local police dressed in fishnet stockings – and there are few things more fearsome to behold than a lesbian in fishnets. (One of those things was Alexander in fishnets. Of course, he only ever dressed up as a joke or possibly because, through some misfortune, he had been born in Adelaide.)

While Jeanette was discussing with Alexander logistic arrangements for the shipping of the wheat surplus to the Land of Nadir completely unbeknownst to Little Johnnie, Little Johnnie, in turn, was consulting with Ruddock over what was to become known as the Khemlani gaffe,

After a brief discussion which neither Little Johnnie nor Ruddock clearly remembered because it was never minuted, Ruddock gathered together a crack team of ASIO agents, Federal Police, and Department of Immigration operatives and made it clear that, whatever happened, Amanda must never be told and the new NO EMAIL protocol developed quickly one afternoon at the Coalface was to be strictly implemented. Anything that was written down was to be swallowed immediately in accordance with the Government’s view that, the way things were going, Australian citizens wou ld swallow anything.

When this group reached the Former Matrimonial Home, Mr Patel was again out the front with his strange mat, an atlas and a compass. “Drop those,” said Ruddock. “You’re under arrest.”

“What precisely are you meaning?” asked a confused Mr Patel.

“Can’t tell you. Grab him, lads,” said Ruddock.

“Why?” uttered a now clearly frightened Mr Patel.

“Can’t tell you. Search him,” Ruddock said to a large ASIO man who was putting on a surgical glove.

“Strip!” ordered the ASIO man.

“But why?” asked Mr Patel. “What am I supposed to be doing to deserving this treatment from your esteemed selves?”

“Can’t tell you. Now, get the gear off, Paki.”

He then unceremoniously de-bagged Mr Patel and shoved his hand … Well, since this is a children’s story let it suffice that the search was very thorough. When Mr Patel regained consciousness, the crack team was bundling him into the boot of an unmarked Volkswagen Beetle.

“What about my prayer mat?” implored the quivering refugee.

“Probably a bomb,” said Ruddock.

“But I want a lawyer,” said Mr Patel.

“Know someone with a security clearance pursuant to s 39 of the National Security Information (Criminal & Civil Proceedings) Act 2004?” enquired Ruddock.

“No,” said Mr Patel.

“Tough. Take him away, lads.”

“But my wife and children …” said Mr Patel pathetically.

“Can’t talk to anyone,” said Ruddock

“But they will not be knowing what has happened to me.”

“This bastard’s read the Act,” said Ruddock to the crack team. “Clearly we’ve got the right bloke. Take him away.”

Strange things were also happening elsewhere on the edge of the Land of Nadir, this time where it intersected the otherworld. Sir Alfred Deakin, being dead, could drift in and out at will. Just now he was at the bar in the High Court Retirement Home for Deceased Knights of the Realm and Other Former Sitting Members of The Court. Since Sir Alfred had been the Attorney who introduced the Judiciary Act, he was a frequent guest. As usual he was holding forth in true barristerial fashion, telling the one about the Key to the Arch of the Federation. Sir Garfield Barwick, as bored by the speech as the first time he had read it, threw another stack of Income Tax Assessments on the fire. As each one caught, he muttered “Bastards!” to himself. Sir Owen Dixon was at the other end of the bar reading to anyone who would listen (although no-one did any more) from an article describing him as the greatest jurisprudential mind ever to grace a bench anywhere. It needs to be said though, that the article had been written by an academic. “Tell us about the separation of powers then, Owen,” said Sir Hayden Starke with thinly veiled contempt.

In a well-stuffed armchair by the fire, Sir Frank Kitto (who actually had been the finest jurisprudential mind ever to sit on the bench) was reading the latest edition of Meagher, Heydon and Leeming. It just wasn’t the same without John Lehane’s humanizing influence although the line about the soi-disant musicians had survived Heydon’s clinical treatment.

Eddie McTiernan was at the TAB window still trying to back I Agree With The Chief Justice (always a mouthful for the callers) in the third at Caulfield. As had happened so often before, The Chief (as the gelding was known) was odds-on. Meanwhile, Lionel Murphy was out on the lawn looking after a few little mates. Had he realized at the time of his appointment that because the House Rules had been drawn up exclusively by people with knighthoods, his refusal to be knighted in accordance with tradition would mean that he was perpetually required to use the tradesman’s’ entrance, he may have reconsidered and we might have been saved a lot of looney left-wing biographies by insane feminist fans. As it was, he was making the best of things and was keenly awaiting the arrival of Gaudron and McHugh. He had been stashing away a vast array of grog under the back stairs in anticipation of the celebration.

Sir Alfred finished the speech for the umpteenth time and decided to drift back to the Land of Nadir. He had a strange premonition that involved the use of the notorious Teak Table and he could feel an overwhelming sense of personal sacrifice coming on. Apart from that, there was one persistent thing he couldn’t get off his mind: wheat.

460 thoughts on “The Scion, the Wheat, and the Cabinet – Chapters VI & VII

  1. You know, I’m sure there is something immoral, if not illegal, about selling a debt owed to a third party? Has anyone ever challenged that sort of ‘transfer of who you owe the debt to’?
    Obviously I am ignorant in the ways of the world, because I know that is how we got into the whole GFC thing that some folk think didn’t happen. But it still strikes me as wrong to sell off a return in investment to a third party, since I believe that investing in future generations is one of the things that makes us better than mere consuming mouths.

  2. Barnaby Joyce should come with subtitles, or a translator. I have no idea what he’s ranting on about, I doubt he has any idea either. Turned him off,.

  3. On MH-370, I rest my case.

    There is now – officially – no evidence at all.

  4. Mr Abbott must now be very pleased to have that $90 million available for lurks and perks.

  5. The Idiot has left poor old Truss to explain why the government has been unable to find that plane.He hasn’t done well. He seems to think the thing is definitely in the Southern Ocean, no matter what anyone else says, and his government is going to keep on looking there.

    DPM Truss on #MH370: "We are still very confident the resting place of the aircraft is in the Southern Indian Ocean."— Karen Barlow (@KJBar) May 29, 2014

    DPM Truss on #MH370: "We remain as a nation committed to the search."— Karen Barlow (@KJBar) May 29, 2014

  6. ” On MH-370, I rest my case.”
    Why oh why isn’t anyone listening to me??…I’m telling you it’s “up there” orbiting the earth!…there’s only one thing more to achieve after being a pilot of a big plane, and that’s an astronaut!…you turn all communications off, point the beast toward Alpha Centauri, lock in the coordinates, snap on the auto-pilot and put “pedal to the metal”…and it’s “Duck Dodgers in the 241/2 cen–tury !!!”
    Curioz…centrelink sold it’s old debts to Dunn and Bradstreet collection agency once..but I think they gave the attempt away.

  7. Leone….Barnaby DID have a translator once, it didn’t work…the translator himself couldn’t be understood…his name was “Katter”…a Mr. B. Katter!

  8. Perhaps for Barnaby we should try using First Dog on the Moon’s ABC Interpretative Dance Bandicoot. to explain what he is saying.

  9. Geez – here’s a thought. What if Turnbull is thinking of defecting to PUP? How would PUP cope with two ginormous egos, both wanting to be PM? Would there be a huge PUP implosion? Here’s hoping……


  11. Geez – here’s a thought. What if Turnbull is thinking of defecting to PUP?

    The porcine are known for sniffing out, hunting and devouring ” truffles “!!

  12. Defecting to the PUP? No, I don’t think so. In fact I think there is sweet F.A. chance of that. Mal will stay in his senior cabinet role like a good boy. Note that the Menzies house guy was also at the meeting. All very much in-the-tent. I think Mal was trying the get Palmer onside for the budget, or at least set up a channel of communications for Senate negotiations.

  13. ” Geez – here’s a thought. What if Turnbull is thinking of defecting to PUP? ”

    Truffles is more likely to be playing Rickety Kate, i.e we gang up against the abbott together and when a win is in the offing you’re on your own.

  14. HOW will the co-payment make Medicare sustainable when $5 goes to the doctor/provider and $2 goes to the research fund? HOW will that ‘fix’ the budget and make Medicare sustainable? WHY WON’T ANYONE ASK THE IDIOT THAT QUESTION?

    Indeed. And here’s another question noone is asking: What, Prime Minister, do you anticipate will be the effect of the co-payment on bulk billing rates?

  15. I agree, Turnbull was trying to schmooze Palmer into passing crucial parts of the budget. But wasn’t Chrssie Pyne supposed to be handling the negotiating? Who would ever have thought that could go wrong…..

    If someone wanted to persuade me to support their mean and vicious budget it would take a lot more than a free meal of Peking duck and a banana split to win me over. Palmer is starting to sound like a very cheap date.

  16. dedalus
    There’s this thing I hadn’t noticed until this afternoon called a Low Gap Incentive. It seems the government will slug doctors an extra $6 if they continue to bulk bill concession holding patients, but if they decide to charge the co-payment this will not apply. Doctors will be bribed to stop bulk billing.

    Details are sketchy, but this sort of explains it

  17. Dr Hambleton’s comments are very similar to those made by the head honcho of the doctors’ reform association which I heard on radio a couple of weeks ago. It’s all about putting cost pressures on doctors. Or should I say profit pressures.

    The $7 itself is a distraction (most people won’t really care about it as it’s only a couple of beers). That’s why the media have been only too happy to talk about the headline figure, rather than the underlying issue.

    The real intention of the government is to destroy medicare – and the way to do this is to drive down bulk billing rates. How do they do that? Simple: a co-payment. That starts a self-propelling slide.

    How that works is that once bulk billing rates go down, doctors will compensate for the extra compliance costs and uncertainty of automatic reimbursement by upping their fees, which they’re free to do. That will lead to increases in the gap for patients, since HoJo will only cover the scheduled fee. This in turn will further exacerbate the drift away from doctor visits by people who are least able to afford it.

    Next stop, a US-style health system. But by then it’ll be too late.

    The time to apply the gum on this slippery slope is right now.

  18. Indeed. And here’s another question noone is asking: What, Prime Minister, do you anticipate will be the effect of the co-payment on bulk billing rates?

    Allow me to put on my Abbott hat to provide an answer to that one:

    Abbott: Ah, I thank the Member for Dedalus for his answer, ah ha, ha, I welcome it with OPEN ARMS, Madam Speaker, open arms. It’s just another example of how Labor will not own up to their own debt and deficit disaster. Debt and deficit disaster, Madam ah Speaker. Now, it is true that there will be some pain, some pain Madam Speaker… ah, but it’s shared equally by all. The debt tax, and we are forgoing a pay raise. And allow me, ah, Madam Speaker to remind those opposite of exactly what a great man, a great man who I’m sure they all know Madam Speaker…

    Speaker: Member for Dedalus, what is your point of order?

    Dedalus: Relevance. The PM was asked a question about…

    Speaker: There is no point of order. As the member for Denison well knows…

    Dedalus: It’s Dedalus, Madam Speaker.

    Speaker: There will be no reflecting on the Chair! I can call him the Member for Turnip if I want to, and I will if he persists with these frivolous interjections. The Member will be seated. Now, as you know, you have ended the question with that mantra, and when you do that the question is open to a broad interpretation… The Manager for Opposition Business?

    Burke: There was no mantra at the end of that…

    Speaker: The Manager for Opposition Business will be seated. There was a mantra, I heard it, and that allows a wide interpretation. There is no point of order, the Prime Minister has the call.

    Abbott: Thank you Madam Speaker. They’ve all got the vapours, the croup, they’ve got falling sickness, petticoats stuck in their corsets, Madam Speaker. That’s right. A great man by the name of Bob Hawke! Ha ha ahah ha. And he’s a greater leader than the current Opposition Leader opposite me will ever ah be! And if he’s really serious about making things easier for those who visit the doctor, he’ll get out of the way and let us abolish the toxic Carbon Tax, Carbon Tax Madam Speaker. Debt and deficit disaster. (sits, winks at Peta Credlin)


    I trust that answers your question.

  19. I would say that most people are not aware how the abbott is going about destroying medicare, but they KNOW in their bones that that is his aim. The Libs and Nats have had a go at getting rid of medicare since its inception and failed so as soon as a coalition govt show they’ve got their grubby mitts on any part of it, the warning bells sound loud and clear.

  20. Aguirre…I think you have nailed the tone, the timing, the speaker, the fool and the futility of it all…..give yourself a moments weeping!

  21. First Dog’s vision of a future Royal Commission on the treatment of asylum seekers.

  22. I’d like to ask: how long until Angus Houston gets the chop from Abbott?

    When Abbott was in Beijing, Angus Houston was virtually dropped from coverage for the first couple of days, and then dropped altogether in coverage more concerned with informing us of how “Prime Ministerial” Abbott was (via Mark Simkin), what a statesman he had become (Laurie Oakes), a confidant to Prime Ministers and Presidents everywhere (media in general).

    You’d have thought, given the pizzazz, Abbott was out there in a zodiac himself, leading the search. This period was called, by Mark Kenny (why do I have a memory for things like this?) as “Abbott’s greatest week” since the election.

    Oh my, how the worm turns

    Angus Hourton, surely a man possessing the saddest face of all in our national discourse, got suckered by Abbott. There is no question in my mind that eventually Houston will be saddled with the blame for all this. Abbott, contrary to journalistic opinion, is not a trustworthy person, nor is he loyal to his mates.

    MH-370 has all the makings of a classic Abbott beat-up.

    There’s the “emergency” aspect, in keeping with Abbott’s “firey” persona. There’s the “statesman” angle, where Tony had a secret he could only reveal to the Chinese Premier. There’s the “defence” dimension, where Abbott could swagger among the jocks flying outdated sub spotter planes and be a hero.

    Let’s not forget that this all happened in the middle of a WA Senate by-election. “Perth On The Map!” read the headlines, if not literally, certainly spin-wize. I even saw an article on how the WA tourist industry was going to “cash-in” on all the worldwide attention.

    And now, for Christ’s sake, ISN’T it all falling in a stinking heap?

    No-one can prove the plane even crashed. I mean, there’s no direct evidence for it. None. It’s all been discredited, rejected and abandoned. Officially – although they won’t put it this way – we’re back to where we were three months ago. All the media reports, the speculations, the evidence, the confident press conferences, the political swagger, the condolence motions… all of it… and we don’t have a clue where the plane is, or why it went wherever it went.

    Let that sink in for a few seconds.

    Poor, sad Angus Houston, he’s your classic fall guy. A decent, intelligent, man used and abused by Tony Abbott, the great wrecker.

    Don’t feel too bad about it, Angus. Joe Hockey’s just realizing he’s been sucker-punched again by Abbott, too.

  23. The GP co-payment is most unlikely to make it through the senate. Labor, the Greens and PUP have all said they will wil oppose it. Dutton was carrying on about it yesterday, it sounds like he knows he’s not going to get what he wants and is becoming desperate.

    That could change after last might’s little tete-a-tete between Turnbull and Palmer, of course. If Palmer has beeen won over by a free meal of Peking Duck, fried rice and banana split it will be up to the loopy incoming indies to help block it.

  24. why oh why do the media accept Abbott’s Bland assurances on fee HELP or HECs ‘we will not be charging the dead’ of course not but they will be chasing up their relatives or their estates .Its an obvious point but no one thought of it? Or are they not allowed to speculate?

  25. Check the inside of Tony’s skull for the pings, I’ve been telling you

    And Kerry Packer said, “I’ve been there & I’m telling you, there’s nothing there”. 😉

  26. a good set of stories

  27. That, Dedalus, was drawn almost completely from incidents that happened in QT this week. The only addition I made was the Turnip reference. And I gave the Minister for Women a few extra slurs. Otherwise, quite faithful.

  28. You are far too modest, Aguirre. Your comments are pithy and full of insight, and I relish all of them.

  29. Now that I remember, I was going to write something about Turnbull as well. There’s not much talk about him challenging for the leadership, but for those who think it’s a possibility, there’s another reason – along with his party hating him and his unwillingness to inherit the current poll figures – for him to steer clear. He’d not only inherit the leadership, he’d inherit the budget as well. The only reason people are leaping at the idea of Turnbull leading is that he’d provide a more moderate direction to the party. That would of necessity mean dumping all the current budget measures, as they are what the electorate hate the most. But it’s out there, they own it and they can’t undo it. It would be the massive weight around his neck.

    There isn’t really any way around that for him. And I suspect the IPA and certain business interests have a massive noose around the Liberals’ necks. There’s no way Turnbull could untangle it. Whatever idyllic party people are dreaming of under Turnbull, that utopia has been razed to the ground, and all the bridges back have been burnt.


  31. George Brandis seems to have an extensive collection of cufflinks. Yesterday he was wearing ones in the shape of comedy and tragedy masks with matching facial expressions.

    I wonder if he is going to have a special cuff link cabinet made to house them?

  32. A Frankston by-election would be very interesting, but if the rules at the state level are the same as the federal level, where there is no express requirement that a by-election be held by a certain time, then Napthine could hold off calling a by-election and let the seat stay vacant while continuing to hold onto power thanks to the speaker’s casting vote.

  33. I was in the local petrol station today, the eftpos was slow. I started talking about the NBN, and the young Indian guy behind the counter said, ‘Abbott has to go, he is a #$*#$%!’

  34. Can someone help?
    I installed Google Chrome, or rather it installed itself as part of something else, the other day. So I thought I’d treat myself to Stop Tony Meow. Its site assures me it’s been installed successfully but nothing’s happened. The sites own reviews include a comment to the effect that only full websites are affected, that other linky things mightn’t work. So, steeling myself, I went to his website, to be assaulted with a picture of… Tony Abbott. Can someone give an opinion as to what might be going on?
    Incidentally, I don’t like Google Chrome much. My web wanderings til now have been on Explorer which at the moment I think I’ll retain.

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