1. Snap, Crackle and Pop promote which type of breakfast cereal in Australia? (Bonus point for naming the parent brand.)
Rice Bubbles. (Bonus point: Kellogg’s.)
2. Where in the human body are the metatarsal bones?
3. Phobos is the largest moon of which planet?
4. In which country did the Battle of Culloden take place?
5. Who is the strapper of the Melbourne Cup-winning horse Prince Of Penzance?
6. What is the name of the lead female character in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice
7. Aylesbury, Rouen and Muscovy are breeds of what animal?
8. Trinidadian-born American singer-songwriter Onika Tanya Maraj is better known by what stage name?
9. Which of these South Pacific nations is nearest to Australia: (a) Vanuatu; (b) New Caledonia; or (c) Fiji?
10. Who was the first British Labour leader to win three consecutive general elections?
“To the childless people of Australia I want to say, on behalf of this parliament, ‘Thank you for being childless.’ ”
The senator makes his plea to Bill Heffernan’s forgotten people: the deliberately barren, the men and women with empty fruit bowls and clean shirts and uninterrupted sleep patterns.
“It is bad enough that people continue to bring wave upon wave of these little blighters into the world.”
The senator continues on this tack, making his case for welfare restrictions on those who do not immunise their children. Birth, in his mind, is a tidal phenomenon.
“The least they can do is immunise their bundles of dribble and sputum so they don’t make the rest of us sick.”
The senator confuses children with spittoons, which can get a libertarian tobacco chewer into all sorts of trouble. Also: forcing vaccinations is not very libertarian.
“Children generate great joy, warmth and meaning for their parents. They are a precious gift. What more do you want?”
The senator explains that paid parental leave should be abolished and replaced with a currency of smiles.
“It is like making people in wheelchairs pay for other people’s running shoes.”
The senator threatens to wear babies on his feet. Or some such. By this stage, it is difficult to follow his views. He seems not to understand taxation as a means of redistributing wealth.
“It would be weird to suggest that you need to pay for the upbringing and training of a baker just because one day you will want to buy bread.”
The senator lands his final blow against parental subsidies. Except, that is kind of exactly what we do: it’s badly funded, and it’s called TAFE.