The Hobart Mercury 26/9/09

The Hobart Mercury 26/9/09

Every political party has their unpalatable extreme.

For the Greens it’s compulsory vegetarianism for all citizens with tree-hugging re-education camps for recidivists, for the Libs it’s the idea that rendering down the unemployed for soap makes good economic sense, for the Nats it’s Wilson Tuckey, the Democrats democratted themselves out of existence and for Family First, well, where to start?

The Achilles Heel of the ALP is mates and in Tasmania it’s reached pandemic status. Their only hope is that they manage to suck up to so many mates by March that their mates form a majority of voters, but that’s only if these mini-mates fail to notice that there’s an elite club of Special Mates and they haven’t been shown the secret handshake (it involves unzipping your fly).

Now the spin don’t work, it just makes things worse…

The Hobart Mercury, 18/9/09

The Hobart Mercury, 18/9/09

…and after the election, we most likely won’t see your face again.

Okay, we all know the Tasmanian ALP and Libs are minor subsidiaries of Gunns Ltd, but if they’re going to be so embarrassingly obvious about it, could they at least save us the weasel words and make it official policy?

As Howard discovered in 2007, eventually the spin stops working. Announcing another bike track really isn’t going to help.

Wendy by Gus Gordon

Now a little background here. Many years ago, before I became a National Treasure, I used to spend time in Sydney trying to become a National Treasure by hanging around in the big smoke, then buggering off back to Hobart when the money ran out or I got sick of the nice weather.

This time around (I think it was around 1999) I was filling in on the oped cartoon for The Australian on one of the rare occasions when Peter Nicholson and Bill Leak were both on leave simultaneously (they didn’t run a page one cartoon in those days, and I had to walk to the newspaper in bare feet in the snow).

I had spent quite a lot of my previous trip in Sydney sleeping in the back of my Datsun 180B station wagon, but since the Datty was now deceased and I was between cars that wasn’t an option. Fortunately, the quite short but not-to-be-messed-with Claire, cat-lover, cynic and fellow expat Hobartian was up for a potentially short-term and far less tidy flatmate in upmarket Kirribilli.

Since I wasn’t going to be sleeping in the pinnacle of Japanese automotive excellence this time around, I had set my heart on buying a futon mattress in the name of luxurious decadence. As I wasn’t all that keen on lugging a mattress all the way home and I was too cheap to get it delivered, I called my mate Gus who I hadn’t spoken to in a while, but who I knew had a ute (he’s from the country).

“Gus!” I said when he answered his mobile, “I’m in Sydney mate! Where are you these days?”

“In Kirribilli.”

“Now there’s a coincidence, so am I, in Elamang Avenue.”

“Get out!” exclaimed Gus (he’s from the country) “I’m in Elamang too! Number 21, 11th floor.”

“I’m two floors below you, I’ll be right up.” I said.

Now, for a Tasmanian, that’s not exactly gobsmacking, as you’re almost certain to be related to pretty much everyone, but Sydney’s considerably roomier and it was something of a coincidence.

It was very handy having a likeminded fellow working cartoonist hours just two flights of stairs away, and there was a very nice pub just up the road. Gus at the time was also of sub-National Treasure status but starting to kick off his book illustration career.

One fine day over an equally fine Guinness, he showed me a story he’d written about a very adventurous chicken. One day you’ll get that published,” I said, “and it’s your round.”

“One day, I’m going to get this published!” said Gus, and bought two more stouts to celebrate.

…and to cut a long story short, ten years later, I got along to Gus’ launch party and drank a responsible amount of beer to commemorate his transition from Book Illustrating National Treasure to Book Writing and Illustrating National Treasure (you get to wear a pink father boa when you graduate).

‘Tis a mighty fine book and well worth your buying for your little tacker. My three year old loves it.

Gus’ blog is here
and here’s one of many glowing reviews.

A shiny happy clappy internet

first published in The Australian (Media section) 14/9/09

first published in The Australian (Media section) 14/9/09

It’s been really really hard not to make fun of Steve Fielding’s self-proclaimed learning difficulty, and just as well, because it’ll be the first thing up against the firewall when Stephen Conroy’s Sucking Up To Family First’s Internet Revolution comes. So I’ll just say that it explains a lot, and bring on the double dissolution post haste.
Call me a cynic, but when it comes to censoring the internet, I wouldn’t trust any government to ****UNAUSTRALIAN COMMENT DELETED****