The Scion, the Wheat, and the Cabinet – Chapter IX

If Malcolm B Duncan were still alive, I’d be asking him to direct his attention to Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. As – unfortunately for us – he is now seated at the heavenly bar with Tom Lewis (when Claude the White Persian isn’t trying to resume its rightful position on the Leather Armchair), we will simply have to endure another excursion to the Land of Nadir …

(Image Credit: Steppin’ Up)

As the three, Peter, Amanda and Little Lucy, walked along warily with the Beavers, their feet became increasingly wet in the burgeoning slush as the snow melted around them – a bit like Good King Wenceslas without the Page, thought Amanda to herself. Peter was walking with a funny gait, having had the Field Marshal’s baton which he had always carried in his back pocket wedged firmly up his … well as this is a children’s story, let’s just say that sitting down was now a painful process, made all the more galling by the fact that it had been an own goal.

Further into the Land of Nadir, the Dwarf and the White Queen were gaining on the children as they came closer to the teak table. Ruddock, now incarnated magically as a wolf, loped along beside them, fondly recalling the interview he had sat in on with Mr Patel. Why the boss was having renovations done when Patel wasn’t even in residence remained a mystery to him, but he supposed at least it meant that Patel couldn’t object to the DA. Corder was off somewhere doing whatever it was that Corder did.

In a fashion which need not be described but could only happen in a magical land, the Lady Jadis had become aware through Alexander of a scheme to supply Australian wheat to the land of Nadir. A huge amount of it was now available as a result of a shooting incident in a place called Mesopotamia or something like that – and the terms were extremely favourable.

A scheme had been devised by Little Johnnie, the Cabinet Secretary, the Head of Treasury and a frighteningly clever accountant – the modern Nugget Coombs, A W Board. It was top secret and known only to its devisers as quadruple entry book-keeping whereby the wheat deal could go ahead to everybody’s advantage. As a young solicitor, Little Johnnie hadn’t really understood double-entry book-keeping and he’d left the running of the trust account largely to the book-keeper but this new system looked – well – almost too good to be true. Mr Board would supply the wheat to the Lady Jadis, who would then pay for it twice-over by way of Fruits of Office. Half the Fruits of Office went to Mr Board (after the deduction of a handling fee) and half went to Little Johnnie who could then offload them on office holders, friends etc., at whatever he could get for them. A number of boards were already interested and suddenly retirement was starting to become an attractive short-term option on his horizon. He’d even put in a DA on the house. Because it was an offshore deal, there was no taxable supply and no GST. The Lady Jadis sold the wheat in Nadir for faery gold which she then stored in a pot at the end of a Swiss rainbow in Jeanette’s name.

Mr Board’s crucial role, however, was to ensure that no-one was ever told about the scheme or knew anything about it. He was vastly experienced in these things, having already been sent on trade missions about which he knew nothing to places as far afield as Mesopotamia and Persia. Little Johnnie thought it was a pity that we didn’t have Imperial Honours any more, because Mr Board definitely deserved a knighthood for this one. The Treasury Secretary said it would be sufficient reward to put him on the Board of the ABC and make him a Governor of the Reserve Bank. Mr Board liked that idea very much as he hadn’t been sacked as a CEO for a long time and could do with the cash. He wondered whether the job at Telstra might be coming up. It should be, he thought – they’d appointed the last one months ago.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the cabinet, there was terrible trouble brewing because of some documents that had fallen off the back of a trolley in the Federal Court. The Coalface was flintier than ever, as a consequence of which Mr Board had been asking about the possibility of a position with Macquarie Bank. The last one had been taken by an actor named Booth who did incredible impersonations of Abraham Lincoln. His wife never liked the plays, though. That didn’t really matter, because it wasn’t actually his wife he was interested in.

Back in the land of Nadir, Sir Alfred Deakin was giving himself some advice (he had been Attorney-general, after all) and he thought, on balance, that there had to be some accounting. Unfortunately, he couldn’t count so he wandered quietly into the Otherworld and looked up Sir Garfield at the Club. Sir Garfield couldn’t count either, which was why he’d gone bankrupt although it wasn’t really his fault but, as this is a children’s story, we don’t really have to discuss the vexed question of whether barristers can continue to practice after they’ve been bankrupted. As they were pondering what to do, a terrible thing happened: Red Ted Theodore walked into the Club bold as brass as though he were a member. Before the shocked assembly at the bar could call for him to be thrown out Sir Alfred suddenly had a brilliant idea: if anyone could count it was Red Ted. In fact, if he remembered correctly, Red Ted could count to 12 just using his fingers. To avoid the inevitable nasty incident, Sir Alfred threw his arms around Red Ted and said, “Sir Edward, how delightful to see you. Will you take a little air on the terrace, and a pint of porter? I keenly want to seek your views on Wheat.”

546 thoughts on “The Scion, the Wheat, and the Cabinet – Chapter IX

  1. Bushfire Bill,

    and then the people can decide

    Surely, Shirley, that’s the way justice is “done” in the Land of Oz?

  2. Speaking of escargot dishes . Goodness those Mediterranean types have been at it for a while..

    Earliest evidence of snail-eating

    The findings revealed that Homo sapiens living in the Benidorm area were the first recorded group to include snails in their diet, some 30,000 years ago.

    Archaeologists working in Cova de la Barriada have found large and concentrated amounts of snail shells among stone tools and other animal remains in pits that were used for cooking during the early Gravettian era – 32,000 to 26,000 years ago

  3. I think it’s called the Court of Public Opinion.

    It has greater authority than the High Court of Australia.

    It worked, like, really well for Lindy Chamberlain (among others).

  4. Kaffeeklatscher,

    While I don’t particularly fancy them myself, snails must be a good source of protein, and have the big advantage of not being able to avoid capture easily.

  5. As someone said, justice must be seen to be done (never mind whether it is done). Especially for PCA offences.

  6. I think we need a kind of Colosseum type of Public justice…once we get this bunch of gastric disorders out of govt’, we drag those who need a good dose “how’s your uncle” into the arena and make them convince US that the lions ought not be released!
    A simple thumbs up or down will decide…..first up..: Pyne!

  7. kk

    The findings revealed that Homo sapiens living in the Benidorm area were the first recorded group to include snails in their diet, some 30,000 years ago.

    Lacking ‘snail bait’ was a real problem.

    Eating them a good option.

  8. Union boss slams $52m waste

    The national secretary of the Transport Workers Union has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Employment Minister Eric Abetz of wasting $52 million on “trivial” matters brought before the royal commission into unions.

    Tony Sheldon, who is also federal vice-president of the ALP, said outside the commission the government could better spend taxpayer dollars on pursuing corruption.

    “I’m calling on Tony Abbott and Eric Abetz to come down to this court and explain why $52 million is being spent on this royal commission rather than setting up a national ICAC, a national inquiry into corruption in the political sphere, right across this country,” he said before being called to give evidence.

    Mr Sheldon also accused the federal government of allowing big business including Coles and the banks to set its agenda in trying to get “Safe Rates” legislation withdrawn from Parliament. “When you pay the piper, they sing your tune,” he said.

    Read more:

  9. Dear Dog!

    “Did you view his evidence, Cardinal?” Hersbach’s lawyer, Sean Cash, asked.

    “No I didn’t. I have a job here in Rome,” Pell replied, to gasps and sniggers from the public gallery.

  10. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    BREAKING NEWS: “Pell shows sociopathic lack of empathy”.
    And, to derisive groans from the floor at the hearing, Pell annonces that the Vatican will refuse to provide files on accused peadophile priests. Pell’s weasel words were plentiful.
    Pell told the RC that he took claims “with a grain of salt”.
    Martin Parkinson on the future of personal taxation and the selling of the budget.
    Mr and Mrs Cornwell go down in flames at ICAC.
    Baird to stop the gravy train?
    Looks like crunch time for Clive Palmer and Co is nigh.
    Lenore Taylor on Bill Shorten’s stement yesterday.
    Palmer modifies the conditions for the resumption of an ETS.

  11. Section 2 . . .

    Abbott rejects the GPs proposal for exempting pensioners from the copayment.
    This country does NOT need to be like the US with its chronically bad health “system”.
    Laura Tingle says that the governement is to blame for the health policy mess.
    And it’s off to the High Court for Abbott and Morrison.
    And some advice to Morrison on the locking up of children.
    Tamania all set to tear up forresty agreement.
    Waleed Aly with a very good insight into the motives of ISIS.
    The big end of town is running scared and move to beef up the qualifications of financial planners.
    News Copr’s Ken Williams to accuse others of engaging in a festival of vengeance”. What a scream!!
    Idiot Fred Nile brings the abortion/breast cancer fallacy to NSW parliament.

  12. Section 3 . . .

    Michael Leunig – should heads be cut off or blown off?

    Alan Moir with a ripper on the Titanic.
    ABSOLUTELY MUST SEE! Abbott’s ice bucket challenge. David pope at his best.
    Ron Tandberg with top sportsman Scott Morrison.
    Who is the subject of this David Rowe cartoon?

  13. That article by Kim Williams in BK’s list is a god one..:
    ” On the other hand a well developed sustainable model for commercial delivery of serious independent journalism, as we have known it, is yet to emerge in the digital sphere. It is important that model emerges as a result of extensive consumer trials and from endless communication between consumers and working professional, because the health of our democracy is so dependent on a strong and independent media.”

    Read more:

    I think to implement an independent media, you’d have to sack the entire crew of MSM. journos’ and make them reapply to the fifth estate for their jobs!

  14. . Yesterday AMA proposed an alternative to budget $7 co-payment. With Abbott of course being the “suppository of wisdom”. Rowe has the AMA suggesting what they can do with the co-payment .

  15. Palmer’s ETS –

    The Palmer United Party is hopeful Labor and the Greens will back the scheme in the Senate because the PUP proposal largely replicates the architecture of the carbon price passed by the Gillard government. But even if Labor and the Greens passed it in the Senate, it is unlikely the legislation would get through the House of Representatives, given the federal government’s opposition to a price on carbon

    Exactly. Palmer’s ETS is doomed and he has always known it. IF he had been genine about the need for an ETS he would have had his senators intorduce new legislation dealing only with this. Instead he tacked his idea onto existing legislation, knowing the reps will knock back PUP’s amendments. If he really wanted an ETS he would not have voted to repeal the carbon price , it was going to become an ETS anyway.

    It’s all just Palmer trying to attract attention.

    Everything Palmer says or promises is seen through some sort of distorting haze by the MSM who then report misleading information. It is all believed without question by voters who are desperate to believe they did the right thing by voting PUP and by others who really want to believe Palmer has interests other than his own at heart.

    As I’ve been saying ever since that appearance with Al Gore, there will be no ETS. A quick look at what Palmer proposed would tell you that, but the MSM didn’t say so. They also pushed the ‘Palmer will save the RET’ story, also incorrect. Palmer doesn’t care about the RET. He said so himself. He just wants repeal taken to the next election.

  16. Bazz Cass says that Tony has “scratched his itchy trigger finger”…that would mean Tony has finally extracted it from Bazz’s arse!

  17. Did Abbott really say pensioners pay about $7 for a prescription? If he did then he knows nothing. They pay $6.

    Why is the focus only on ‘pensioners’ anyway? So many others can get those $6 prscriptions – anyone with a Pensioner Concession Card or a Health Care Card qualifies – anyone who gets DSP, a Carer payment, a Brereavement Allowance, Newstart, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment for a single parent, Special Benefit, Sickness Allowance, Widow Allowance, Partner Allowance and more. If you receive Mobility Allowance but don’t need DSP you are issued with a card anyway.

    There are more. Also qualifying for those cheap prescriptions are people on low incomes who have a Health Care Card. And let’s not forget all those wealthy oldies who manipulate their finances so they qualify for a small part pension, and the Commonwealth Seniors Card holders who are too well off even for a tiny part pension but get the benefits anyway.

    It’s not just ‘pensioners’ who will be affected by an increase in the cost of a prescription or by Abbott’s GP co-payment, and many of those affected are far worse off than pensioners because their benefit payments are much less than the pension rate.

    Why don’t we hear about ALL those who will be hit hard by this mean-spirited cost increase?

  18. They always blame Labor…They’re like some covert serial killer who borrows a neighbour’s gun ostensibly to shoot rabbits then goes on a murdering spree and blames the neighbour for lending them the gun!

  19. I tire of hearing of J. Bishop being compared to Julia Gillard….not to re-state the obvious people and diplomatic skills of J.Gillard….in comparison, Bish’ was the equivalent of a “Bully’s moll”…hiding behind her protectors and sniping from a safe harbour….and then usurping the position with total bullshit-propping from the Merde-och masticators!
    Bish’ is just a second-rate bimbo in a chorus-line of suckoles !

  20. Eureka Street is an online journal published by the Australian Jesuits. It is well worth following because it comes up with interesting commentary. Like this, on Abbott’s Team Australia, with some interesting thoughts on why Abbott is the way he is.

    Abbott’s Team Christian Australia

    I especially liked this –

    And consider this, Mr Abbott. Many Muslims did not migrate to Australia. Over 40 per cent were born here. They grew here. You flew (or perhaps sailed) here. Albanian Muslims have lived in Shepparton and Mareeba since the 1920s. Descendants of Afghan cameleers can be found across the country. Every major wave of Australian migration has included persons of Muslim heritage.

    These people were, in many cases, part of Team Australia before you were born.

  21. For once I agree with what scrott says – – –

    “Scott Morrison clashes with Human Rights Commission head who compared child detention on Christmas Island to prison”

    I think it’s more of a ‘gulag’ sort of thing or concentration camp thingamajig that sort of thing, definitely not a prison!

  22. Would the likes of Lindsay Fox set up a paedophile protection unit if a cabal of his truck drivers offended? I think not!

  23. Doesn’t look as if Tripodi’s brief is doing too well.

    McKay cracking up in #ICAC witness box when Tripodi's brief suggests it was SHE who was "treacherous" to Tripodi, not other way round.— Sarah Gerathy (@sarahgerathy) August 22, 2014

  24. ABC still on Shorten: “Should now be put at rest.” Why mentioning it constantly? This is not the end of it, imo. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day words such as “pervert” or “rapist” are “accidently” thrown in the mix.

  25. Last night Toolman actually did something useful. He presented a story about employees of what used to be called ‘sheltered workshops’, now known as ‘supported employment. Empoyees in these places have disabilities, ususally but not always intellectual disabilities. For their work they have always been paid less than peanuts. It was once explained to me that paying these people less than slave wages was a good thing because it meant they could keep their whole Disability Support payment. So what they are doing is actually working for their Centrelink benefit and the profits from their work go to the organiations that run these places.

    Here’s the 7.30 story –

    This issue has been developing quiety for quite a while, but so far has not attracted much attention.

    Here’s an earlier story about the initial court decision that is the basis for the ongoing case.

    There was a bit of misleading information in the 7.30 story. It claimed that David Barbagallo ‘runs 230 not-for-profit disability enterprises around the country’ giving the impression that all those ‘enterprises’ employ disabled workers. Not exactly. Mr Barbagallo is the CEO of the Endeavour Foundation.

    The Endeavour Foundation operates in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. It provides disability services – places that offer training, education and care – to people with disabilities. These services receive substantial funding from state governments via their clients. It’s a complicated system that does not need explaining here.

    The Endeavour Foundation also operates 25 commercial operations in Queensland and NSW – these are the places that employ people with disabilities. Not quite the same as implying there are 230.
    Scroll down to page 42 –

    In my student days I made some extra money by doing a bit of packing work in factories, exactly the same thing the Endeavour Foundation and other providers of supported employment offer. It was boring as hell but I was paid a proper wage and the overtime was good. Why should an able-bodied worker in a factory be paid an award wage for their work when a worker in supported employment is paid less than $2 an hour for the same work?

    Mt Barbagallo, as CEO of a not-for-profit organisation that is doing very well financially (take a look at the full details in the financial report linked above) would be paid very handsomely for his services. Would he be happy to work for $4.75 an hour to help his organisation? I don’t think so.

    The same underpayment and exploitation has been going on across the country for many, many years. I’m surprised no-one ever challenged it before. The excuse is always ‘we would have to close if we paid better wages’. Why not charge clients more for the services on offer so employees can be better paid? I do understand the problems, like the need for supervisors in the work place and the costs involved in setting up and maintanining these businesses, but even so, it must be possible to find a way to pay people properly.

    We hear a lot about getting people with disabilities into the workforce. There is no reason why the services offered by supported employment places can’t be provided (and are provided) by regular businesses that do not need government subsidies to operate and who do not exploit people with disabilities. There is no reason why the people now working in supported employment could not be employed by ‘normal’ businesses, if employers were willing to take them on. Changing employer attitudes to people with disabilites is the key here.

    What would you rather have? A factory job that paid a decent, award wage and maybe offered you training and opportunities, or a job in supported employment that paid a couple of dollars an hour, for which you were supposed to be grateful, and gave you no hope of ever getting out into other employment? It seems to me that many organisations working with people with disabilities don’t want their clients to enter the ‘normal’ workforce because they are far too valuable being exploited as slaves, earning income to support the organisation they work for.

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