The Great Australian Novel? Chapter 2

As I observed late last year,

Some of youse Pubsters may have noticed that I haven’t published more of the late Malcolm B. Duncan’s “Chronicles of Nadir” recently. The change of PM in September has everything to do with that.

The lawyers have a term for it: ex abundante cautela, and given a certain person’s proclivities, that seems sage advice.

Instead, I offer something from a manuscript on which Mr Duncan was working in the months before his death.

Not that I would suggest Mr Duncan was anything other than original, but if any Pubster can suggest a possible source of his inspiration they might find themselves with a Golden Echidna.

The Golden Echidna is still waiting its rightful owner.

Meanwhile, read on.


Waltzing Matilda

I put my mug of tea down on the table and picked up my pen to return to the Sudoku.

She entered the room.

Although She had fallen on hard times largely as a result of the depredations of those in my profession, I could never look at her, ageing although she now was, without my heart heaving into my mouth. She was eternally beautiful in that Sunset Boulevarde sort of way and She had established the most extraordinary relationship with Him. He had even written a play especially for Her in which She had starred to great critical acclaim and enough public arts funding to provide a small squadron of decent jet fighters rather than the crock of shit Brendan Nelson had ordered.

She threw up, narrowly missing the cat. I wondered whether there might be any utility in acquiring a small dog like the homosexuals next door had but then remembered that the cat would just eat it anyway.

She eructated a burp and said, “Better get a cloth.” She disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a bottle of disinfectant and a rather cheap superwipe I had bought from Aldi.

As she was cleaning up the mess, He said again, “Bugger, the Canaries”. “Oh,” she said groggily, “Claude hasn’t been at them again, has he?”

At the mention of his name, the cat opened a lazy eye – strange thing, astigmatism in a cat – confuses the hell out of canaries – noticed that there was nothing immediately edible and settled down to sleep again. Well, I say ‘settled’; what he actually did was close the eye. Within moments, he was snoring.

“Why does that bloody cat snore?” He asked.

“What’s that got to do with canaries?” She responded.

I could see it was going to be another one of those days.

“Canaries – sinking,” He said.

“You what?” she said flashing those eyes and dislodging just a small portion of a well-formed breast from her house gown. A tinge of areola was evident.

It was at moments like these that I became paralysed by the panorama of the moment – being a bottle baby, I wasn’t used to breasts. Well, not until I got the first set of my own but thereby hangs another tale. I’ll never forget that lass, though.

“Canary Islands – sinking,” He said.

“I think I should clean my teeth,” She said, and headed towards the bathroom.

What does one do? Confronted by a now raddled, broke, beautiful actress who parties too much, yearning for love, deep in regret and knowing that one can do nothing about it – well, one just soldiers on I suppose, as soldiers do.

Of course, He never soldiered on: He had been in the RAF. Rum do that must have been. She, on the other hand had been a Vietnam protester. Probably a good thing because if She had been in the RAAF she would probably have been a lesbian. Not that one has anything against lesbians – I’m one myself – but for Her, and the rest of humanity, it would be a sad waste.

She returned beaming Colgate. Thank god for agents. If I were writing this on my own, I would have missed all the product placements.

Claude stretched and went to his Snappy Tom bowl filled with Whiskers biscuits as it nestled quietly by its companion replete with Evian water. (Another $10K, the agent tells me.)

Really though, plus ça change. Here’s Luck is full of product names and I bet Lennie never got a brass razoo out of it.

I wonder what it is about journalists, actresses and the bottle. They seem to have a tripartite attraction.

He was having none of it. “I said the Canaries are buggered. Nothing to do with the fucking cat. Canary islands. About to sink.”

“Oh, global warming,” She said, leaning over my shoulder and looking at the paper. “You shit, you’ve done the Sudoku.”

Restraining the urge to say something like well, at least I’m sober enough to do it you raddled old cow, I smiled in that way that I first learnt when I started smoking Sobranies and said, “The whiteout is in the top drawer of the desk.”

Claude returned and jumped up on my lap. Immediately I was covered in 10 cm of thick, impervious fur.

“Forget the fucking Sudoku, woman: this is important,” He said.

“Well, excuse ME,” She said, and burped again.

I’d once seen Olivier burp, and She had it down pat. There are so few Australian icons of the theatre and no-one, not even He, has ever been able to produce what could be called the Great Australian Novel. Perhaps it is just that we are not Great in that sense. I had, however, become slightly confused by the exchange between them. As I steadied my nerves by scratching Claude’s head idly, my thoughts turned to Browning and what a truly terrible poet he was. Not as bad as Gwen Harwood of course, but we need not plumb those depths.

“Anyway,” She said in that irresistibly vacuous way that actresses have, “Global warming might be a good thing. The Canaries could be a reef. Greenland would be worth visiting again.”

My thoughts naturally wandered into a reverie about democracy, the Aelthing and the Witenagemot.

“Reef? Who wants a new reef? Got a reef. Just want to keep it,” He replied.

“Whatever,” She said, and drifted towards the toaster. Claude raised his head slightly, thought better of it, and settled down to sleep once more. It was moments like these that I felt completely trapped.

Sanderus Antiquariaat

393 thoughts on “The Great Australian Novel? Chapter 2

  1. What else will we get a plebiscite for? The 2016 budget?

    Turnbull says the plebiscite is a democratic process.

    Every single Australian will have a say. It is a new approach. It has not been a practice in the Australian political system, other than constitutional referendums. It is a new approach, I grant the honourable member that, and it is certainly not the approach that I favoured. At the outset, I am a traditionalist. This was a case of democratic innovation. The innovator was out innovating. There you go.

  2. Mr Ross gets a mention: the government … crickets

    Two weeks ago a taped conversation between a journalist and management at the ABC surfaced. It revealed an ABC article critical of his NBN was blockedby management because they did not want to upset, and I quote ,”The Turnbull camp.” Can thePrime Minister advise the Houseif he or any members of his current or former office has had any contact with ABCmanagement in relation to stories critical of his second-rate NBN?

    Pyne objects on the grounds it is within the responsibility of the ABC. Burke says it is within the bounds. Pyne says it was a fishing exercise.

    Speaker rules the question can be answered.

    Now it’s in Hansard. And, from the Main Stream Mice, … ?

    • Waffles is not allowed to say if anyone in his office has spoken to the ABC?!

  3. Turnbull getting grilled about his directives to ABC Management re the LNP’s NBN. Making sure that if something nasty were to arise, that he can’t be accused of misleading the house.

    Watched some of the Senate QT and saw some delicate sidestepping re the role of Pyne & Roy in the Slipper affair. I hope that Labor continues to pursue these issues. Wonderful to see the grubs uncomfortable & squirming like a fish on the end of a line! 😉

  4. There has never been a more exciting time to be unemployed…… and this year has started off in a particularly ‘exciting’ way.

    Almost 2000 jobs to disappear if shipping reforms go ahead

    Add that to the 300+ to be sacked from the CSIRO. And the 150 jobs lost at SCone abbatoir.

    And 140 gone in Adelaide.
    About 140 jobs go at Adelaide manufacturer

    And the 230++ at Queensland Nickel.

    And 1100 heallth service jobs gone in Perth.

    Not bad for the first five weeks of the year. What an exciting record. There’s more, too much more, just Google job losses 2016.

    We can still afford to splash money around on school chaplains though. Could that be a new growth area for employment?

    Ms Bird (Cunningham)
    “The Government failing students in vocational education.”

  6. The techos think otherwise

    You know, is fibre to the node worthwhile? Does it deliver adequate speeds? Is fibre to the premises the only way to go?

    I mean, in many respects the debate has been resolved. The evidence is in, the multi-technology mix the Government is taking has been proved to be correct.

  7. The ABCC bill ain’t gonna happen

    The Federal Government’s bid to reintroduce a building industry watchdog has been delayed by the Senate, reducing the time available to use the issue as a double dissolution trigger.

    The Coalition had wanted the Senate to begin debate on the bill to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

    But Labor and the Greens teamed up with crossbench senators to send the bill to a committee which will not report back until March 15.

    It will give the Government only three sitting days to debate and pass the bill before budget day on May 10.

    The deadline for a double dissolution is May 11.

  8. ABC News ‏@abcnews 14m14 minutes ago

    #ICYMI: What happens to your vagina as you age?
    View summary
    7 retweets 0 likes

    jaycee@jaycee ‏@trulyjaycee 2m2 minutes ago Adelaide, South Australia

    @abcnews You’d wanna hope it is well and truly “f#cked”!
    0 retweets 0 likes

    Am I wrong?…Am I wrong?!!

  9. Well goodness me. First AGL pulls out of NSW and Queensland, and now this –

    Adani puts mine funding ‘on hold’ until coal price goes up

    “…the project on hold until the global coal price improves”. Which will be never.

    Let’s not mention the bleeding obvious – Adani can’t find anyone willing to finance his mine because no-one wants to pour money into digging up coal that no-one wants to buy.

    • Wow!..and to think just yesterday we had Truzzzzz enthusiastic about how the mine would give benefits to both local economy and India for 100 years!

      Oooops!……asleep on the job again , methinks.


    • I believe there are the emails to come from Nick Ross…I wonder how far he will carry could get very nasty now that questions have been asked in Parl’..

  11. Re Morgan Freeman – only link I can find to that looks like a day old hoax, possibly intended to point you to some other site (a virus?) so I won’t link it.

    • I saw it on twitter , but didn’t copy and paste the site or tweet…I am not that keen on celebrity health!

  12. jaycee423,

    Oh..thanks ducks!

    He’s one hell of a clever beggar is our Ducky.

    Thank goodness he’s on our side JC.

    He is one of the stalwarts of this wonderful blog and long may it continue to be an irritant to those who would do harm to the majority of the people who aren’t worth $100M or so.

    Like, all of us on this blog! 😉

  13. Prepare for some/many “It ain’t half hot mum” messages from SW Sandgropia. We are to pay dearly for all the recent mild weather.

    •Thursday: Sunny 35
    •Friday: Sunny 20-35
    •Saturday: Sunny 20-36
    •Sunday: Very hot and sunny 23-40
    •Monday: Very hot and sunny 25-41
    •Tuesday: Very hot and sunny 24-40
    •Wednesday: Very hot and sunny 24-39

  14. Leroy,

    It might just be that he is up there in the clouds, flying one of his private planes.Unsure if he is in the area where the angels are though. he doesn’t seem to believe in them! 😉

    At age 65, Freeman earned a private pilot’s license. He owns or has owned at least three private aircraft, including a Cessna Citation 501 jet and a Cessna 414 twin-engine prop. In 2007 he purchased an Emivest SJ30 long-range private jet and took delivery in December 2009. He is certified to fly all of them.

  15. Freeman’s car accident might be a trifle out of date!

    Freeman was injured in an automobile accident near Ruleville, Mississippi, on the night of August 3, 2008.

    Seems he has a better chance of being in an aeroplane one. But seeing they are fairly new, probably not so either!

  16. The first 2016 SA Chapter Event is now live, which means anyone on the mailing list will have an invitation, unless they have changed email address.

    The event is at Jaycee and Mrs Jaycee’s farm, on 27 February at Sedan, SA. Overnight sleepover facilities are available.

    The instructions for replying are in the email. If your details have changed or you want an invite, please send your correct contact details through The Moderators,

    This is going to be a goodun, don’t miss out.

    • I will be there in spirit. Unfortunately, teaching starts at daybreak 29th February, so while it is logistically feasible, in terms of preparation not so much.

  17. Scorps,

    You have a kind, considerate, and occasionally meticulous sub-editor . . .

    And with my particularly substandard internet skills, I am always in desperate need of the wonderful services of an “occasionally meticulous sub-editor”!

    In fact, I often wonder how I get on when you are in your basket or otherwise occupied looking after the needs of students etc! 😉

    Many thanks for what you do to assist in making this blog work so well and in making my comments somewhat more readable than they otherwise might not be.

  18. Going by the stuff that number 2 daughter received from the office of our local Federal LNP Member (don’t know where they got the idea she was one of them) I believe Turnbull was determined to pull a double dissolution election in March to cash in on the honeymoon polling figures and before the wheels fell off his wagon. (love to think of it as a Tumbrel)

    I’d love to see most of this lot get a neck massage by Madam Guillotine after a rough trip in Turnbull’s tumbrel!

    It’s the least we could do for them after their sterling service to the rank & file! 😉

  19. After a break of about 2 years, (I understand that that’s roughly the break they give you after being on a number of jury’s in one year) I have been summoned to appear for further jury service.

    The last time, I was summoned 5 times & served on 4 jury’s, 3 as Foreman and in the last one I thought I should give someone else a go.

    What a bad misjudgment that turned out to be. People who are desperate to be in charge of a jury remind me of the desperation Tony Abbott had to be PM of this once great country!

    In both cases, totally out of their depth & justice cannot get served appropriately with either in charge.

    It’s hard work being a Foreman of a jury. A bit like herding cats really. getting them to arrive at a verdict from the evidence presented that fulfills the requirement of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and not something that conforms to their inbuilt prejudices or opinions etc is bloody hard work!

  20. Hufff Post has a bit on Waffles, Fraudband and the ABC

    Later, the issue of former ABC journalist Nick Ross’ allegations that he had been directed to write stories critical of Labor’s broadband internet plan ahead of the 2013 election because management “didn’t want to upset” Malcolm Turnbull.

    Labor MP Jason Clare’s question to Turnbull, about whether he or his office had contacted the ABC over its coverage of NBN stories, kickstarted several minutes of complaints about parliamentary procedure and led to around 10 minutes of debate on the topic.

    Manager of Government Business in the House, Christopher Pyne, tried to argue that the question should not be addressed to the prime minister, with Manager of Opposition Business, Tony Burke, arguing for the question to be allowed.

    After Clare rephrased the question to the satisfaction of the speaker, Turnbull admitted he had spoken to ABC management about their NBN coverage, but denied any wrongdoing.

    “I have, on several occasions, complained very publicly and openly about the ABC’s coverage about the NBN issue, in particular and most notably in the lead-up to the last election where I felt the ABC’s coverage of the issue was very poor and lacked balance and I said so publicly and I’ve said nothing privately that I haven’t said publicly,” Turnbull answered.

    “[The ABC] should have done a better job in putting more information about the competing alternatives [to Labor’s NBN plan] before the public.”

    “The Honourable Member’s question is have I complained, did I complain about this to the ABC? The answer is yes.”

    Fairfax? Zilch.

  21. From yesterday’s (proof) Hansard. Might be worth taking a copy before it is “enhaced”.

    Mr CLARE (Blaxland) (14:58): My question is to the Prime Minister. Two weeks ago a taped conversation between a journalist and management at the ABC surfaced. It revealed that an ABC article critical of the Prime Minister’s second-rate NBN was blocked by management, because they did not want to upset ‘the Turnbull camp’. Can the Prime Minister advise the House if he or any members of his current or former office have had any
    contact with ABC management in relation to stories critical of his second-rate NBN?

    Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is a question wholly within the confines of the ABC. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the Prime Minister’s responsibilities and therefore he cannot possibly answer—

    Opposition members interjecting—

    The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat. The member for Watson will resume his seat. Everyone else can resume their seats too, including the member for Ryan. I will ask the Leader of the House to repeat his point of order. I could not hear it through the interjections. If there are interjections people will be leaving under 94(a). The Leader of the House.

    Mr Pyne: The question is about internal management practices within the ABC that have been alleged by a former journalist at the ABC. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the responsibilities of the Prime Minister, and I think therefore it should be ruled out of order.

    Government members interjecting—

    Mr Danby interjecting—

    The SPEAKER: Members on my right will resume their seats. The member for Melbourne Ports will leave under 94(a). The Manager of Opposition Business on the point of order.

    Mr Burke: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: the last part of the question goes specifically to the actions of the Prime Minister or his office—it goes quite specifically to that. That is what is being asked. If the question was only internal to another organisation it might be another thing. This is about the actions of the Prime Minister or his office in dealing with the management.

    Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker—

    Ms MacTiernan: Are you politically interfering with the management of the ABC?

    The SPEAKER: The member for Perth will leave under 94(a).

    The member for Perth then left the chamber.

    Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, further on the point of order, there has been absolutely no suggestion whatsoever that any actions have been taken by the Prime Minister either as Prime Minister or as Minister for Communications. Question time is not an expedition in fishing—it is not a fishing exercise. If the opposition has any evidence to put to the House, that is a different matter—but they cannot simply raise matters on the never-never and expect an answer. It is not within the standing orders.

    Mr Burke: Again on the point of order, Mr Speaker: we are allowed quite specifically under standing orders to ask about public affairs. We are able under the standing orders quite specifically to ask about the actions of a minister or his office. This is squarely within the standing orders, and the actions of the Leader of the House in trying to suppress the question demonstrate exactly why it is in the public interest that it be asked.

    The SPEAKER: I have listened to the Leader of the House and the member for Watson. The last part of the question I do not think is quite in order. I am going to allow the member for Blaxland to rephrase it.

    Opposition members interjecting—

    The SPEAKER: Sure. My recollection of the question was that it did not ask whether there had been any action; it stated it.

    Mr Snowdon interjecting—

    The SPEAKER: The member for Lingiari is warned. I will ask the member for Blaxland to read the final part of the question.

    Mr CLARE: I am happy to, Mr Speaker. Can the Prime Minister advise the House if he or any member of his current or former office has had any contact with ABC management in relation to stories critical of his second-rate NBN?

    The SPEAKER: I am going to allow the question.

    Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (15:02): I can assure the honourable member for Blaxland that I have on several occasions complained very publicly and openly about the ABC’s coverage of the NBN issue, in particular and most notably in the lead-up to the last election where I felt the ABC’s coverage of the issue was very poor and lacked balance. I said so publicly, and I have said nothing privately that I have not said publicly. My point very simply was this: as we know, in the lead-up to the last election there was a debate—a discussion, if you like—about competing technologies and the proposition that the Labor government resented was that the only acceptable solution was to have a universal fibre to the premises network, which was their plan.

    Ms Rishworth interjecting—

    The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston.

    Mr TURNBULL: We countered and said we can get the project built, the network built, faster and at less cost—

    Ms Rishworth: By 2016? How is that going to happen? The ABC was right.

    The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston has been warned. This is her final warning.

    Mr TURNBULL: We would do that by using a mix of technologies, including using fibre to the node, as has been used in a number of other countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and others. The debate really focused in large part on these competing technologies. In my view—I was very public about this—the ABC failed in its coverage of the issue because it failed to use its rather extensive international resources to at least go and interview people at British Telecom or Deutsche Telekom or Swisscom and test
    whether the arguments I was putting as the shadow minister for communications were correct. They declined to do that and as a consequence I feel in that regard the national broadcaster, which I hold in high regard, as I am sure honourable members do, should have done a better job in putting more information about the competing alternatives before the public. As honourable members will recall, we went to some lengths to do that, to raise the
    level of information and debate on this important choice of technology.

    The member’s question asks whether I complained about this to the ABC. The answer is that yes I did complain, but I complained publicly. I was very public about it and made this point—

    Mr Clare: And privately?

    Mr TURNBULL: In any of my discussions with the chief executive I have said exactly the same things privately as I have said publicly—

    Mr Brendan O’Connor: You bullied them. You’re a bully

    The SPEAKER: The member for Gorton will leave under 94(a).

    The member for Gorton then left the chamber

    Mr TURNBULL: In my view it is important that the national broadcaster, wherever it can, seeks to inform the public debate so to ensure that, right or wrong, the contending arguments are well exposed in light of the facts.

    (Time expired);fileType=application%2Fpdf

  22. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. And it’s another boomer of an edition today.

    Peter Martin says that a GST hike is a solution in search of a problem. He says that like a shark preparing to attack Morrison has closed his eyes.
    Michelle Grattan suggests that Morrison has been wounded over his GST push.
    Fairness will be the biggest hurdle for the government to attend to with the tax reforms.
    Mark Kenny writes on how the GST is chipping away at party unity. A pretty good article.
    Are we sleepwalking into a real mess?
    John Menadue has plenty to say about the Royal Commissions put in place by Coalition governments and their attached motives and actions. A good read.,8641
    Oh dear! Adam Gartrell links a Turnbull investment to 7-Eleven in Australia. Stand by for some QT fun today.
    Waleed Aly asks how long we can keep lying to ourselves about Nauru.
    Michaela Whitbourn examines the legality of churches harbouring asylum seekers.
    More naughty stuff at Which Bank?

  23. Section 2 . . .

    The success of Sydney’s lockout success has hit a nerve.
    Could you imagine the uproar from certain lobby groups and politicians if these products were sourced from China?
    At last!
    More gutting of the CSIRO. Outsourcing agility perhaps?
    “View from the Street” explores the GST and children in detention.
    This Senate inquiry will investigate the financial exposure to climate change risks.
    The ACCC has clearly had enough of Woolworths’s management!
    More trouble for Woolworths as it is revealed that workers were under-payed during the time of its ownership of Dick Smith.
    Is the SCG dream for NSW all over in a flash?
    The states are (justifiably) pushing back against the TAFE takeover proposal.

  24. Section 3 . . .

    Michael Pascoe sees some good economic signs
    This is horrible.
    Richard Ackland laments where we are after the latest High Court decision. “After the high court decision on Nauru, what we’re left with are people who have no remedy, no rights and are at the mercy of someone like Peter Dutton.”
    Labor is hunting Turnbull over the Nick Ross/ABC issue.
    Quite frankly one could not blame Truss for nodding off during a Turnbull QT waffle.
    The Australian Border Force head is to face a Senate grilling over payments to people smugglers.
    And the Essendon saga is set to roll on for some years yet!
    Two questions for Bernie Sanders.
    Jeb Bush – the sound of no hands clapping.
    The Australian Navy – can’t crew a canoe!

  25. Section 4 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    And things are coming to a head in the Defence Department with the staff enterprise agreement process.
    Alan Moir on Morrison’s credentials.

    Cathy Wilcox and the further education curricula.

    More from Cathy Wilcox on the separation of church and state-sanctioned abuse.

    Alan Moir gives both barrels to Dutton!

    Ron Tandberg has his say on the return of the children to Nauru.

    David Pope puts many things into perspective here.
    Mark Knight asks some questions with this contribution.
    Ouch! David Rowe on Turnbull taking the moral high ground.

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