Diary

Gadfly
Egging to differ

The egg is a thing of beauty. Ergonomically designed, it seems to increase in velocity when it is thrown over distances. Its gooey interior can make a frightful mess of a good suit or hairdo, although strangely enough many hair conditioners are said to contain an eggy enrichment.

The prime minister’s collision with an egg in Albury was met with howls of indignation from politicians and even press gallery hacks. How dreadful, tut-tut, not the done thing, terrible, disgraceful.

Yet, the incident was a valuable reminder that Schmo Morrison has an exceedingly spongy head. So soft that Ms Amber Paige Holt’s egg failed to splatter and just rolled off the PM’s flaccid noggin. It was good to see she was carrying a box of half-a-dozen barn-laid googs as back-up ammo.

Momentarily forgetting the conduct of Peter Dutton and other luminaries on his frontbench, Morrison described Amber’s attack as “thuggery”.

To Gadfly’s infantile way of thinking, the egg has been a much-neglected missile in this election. It’s relatively harmless on impact, yet effective. The poor old Mad Monk was left dizzy and more than usually disoriented after he was headbutted in 2017 by Hobart’s Astro “DJ Funknukl” Labe.

Mr Labe said he just wanted “to nut the cunt”, but his completely understandable message could have effectively been carried out with an egg.

Yolkers wild

The history of citizens egging their politicians is long and distinguished. When Billy Hughes was egged at Warwick, Queensland, in 1917 he ordered the local copper to arrest the offender, Patrick Brosnan. Senior Sergeant Kenny refused, saying that the PM had no jurisdiction over him – hence we got the Commonwealth Police, which morphed into the Australian Federal Police.

Thanks, Patrick.

Pig Iron Bob Menzies was a target for egg throwers on more than one occasion but, unlike Schmo, he handled it with a modicum of wit. While campaigning in 1951 for the banning of the Communist Party, again in Queensland, someone threw an egg that missed but hit the podium. Pig Iron said: “That kind of argument is the only argument the Australian communist understands, and with eggs at 4½ pence each I call that gross extravagance.”

Someone named Kerry Alcorn hurled an egg at Malcolm Fraser in Parliament House, a protest she was making about the cost of a CHOGM conference, money she felt could have been better spent elsewhere.

In 1993 opposition leader John Hewson, at his last rally of the election campaign, was pelted with eggs, soft drink cans, apples, tomatoes and broccoli. Hewson cheerfully caught one of the eggs in flight. There were no reports of arrests.

The Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra describes this activity as “shelling truth to power”.

Inside job

The kombucha flowed freely at news that David Anderson had been confirmed as the managing director of Aunty.

David is the consummate insider, starting in the mailroom and working his way down. There are even recent photos of him wearing the ABC logo on his lapel.

The usual suspects were also mentioned in contention: former newspaper men Darren Goodsir, Peter Fray and Paul Ramadge, plus TV producer Anita Jacoby, and Kate Torney, a former ABC news director who is currently CEO of State Library Victoria.

One titbit passing unnoticed was that Sally Loane, a former journalist and ABC Radio broadcaster, one-time PR person for Coca-Cola Amatil and now head of the peak financial services lobby group, Financial Services Council, was approached by headhunters to apply for the ABC job.

Sally by now should be part way through recovering from being grilled by Rowena (Shock ’N) Orr at the Hayne royal commission, where she had trouble, among other things, explaining documents attached to her written submission and the failures of her members to meet basic standards of propriety. As she explained, she had staff to handle all that.

Her session with Ms Orr was widely described as a “trainwreck” and yet not sufficiently wreck-like to negate the call from the ABC’s job-placement outfit Spencer Stuart.

Why did Aunty need a costly headhunter at all when the successful candidate was sitting right under their noses with his gleaming badge saying “hello”?

Votes on a scandal

Good news – citizens who prefer candidates for their anti-Muslim tirades or jokes about rape, lesbians and Catholics can still cast a vote for these misfits because, even though they may have been disendorsed, their names are still on the pre-poll ballot papers.

In the seat of Isaacs, the Liberals had gone one step better and were this week handing out how-to-vote cards for their struck-off candidate, sharia fearmonger Jeremy Hearn.

Yes, six days after disendorsement the Liberals were still supporting a candidate they don’t want to be elected. The man with oversight of this curiosity is “duty senator” the Human Toilet Brush.

And in the seat of Melbourne, voters still have the opportunity to support Labor’s defenestrated contestant Luke Creasey. What happens if any of these busted flushes actually win?

Meanwhile, the Greens’ candidate in Kooyong, barrister Julian Burnside, has been receiving emails from hacks at Melbourne’s Herald Sun asking him to explain why he is driving a Bentley convertible.

Such an expensive, gas-guzzling auto must surely be contrary to his environmental credentials. And look – here’s a photo of a silver-haired toff tooling around in the Bentley.

Mr Burnside explained that he doesn’t own a Bentley, and that it is not him in the photo.

The relentless truth-seekers at Moloch’s rag were not satisfied. Do any of the candidate’s relatives own a Bentley and is he certain that is not him in the photo?

As you might expect, Burnside’s motor in town is a Smart car and in the country a Tesla.

Command boast

North of the Murray, the priorities of Senator Jim “Below the Line” Molan have become clearer.

The man the party dumped to No. 4 on the Coalition’s NSW senate ticket wants you to put him first, then move across to Clive Palmer’s “United” Australia Party and put them second, then Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party for the third spot and finally the flat earth Liberal Democrats at No. 4.

You can know a lot about someone by their friends and allies.

As for the claims on his how-to-vote card, there are a lot of problems. According to AAP FactCheck, they are “mostly false”.

For instance, vote for Jim because he “led coalition forces to success in Iraq”. Someone must have made that up because United States General George W. Casey Jr was the commander of the multinational force in Iraq. Jimbo was part of the operations support team.

When questioned by AAP FactCheck about this, Molan agreed: “I never said I was a commander, I never said I led anything, because I didn’t.”

Nice to have it sorted.

Entsch of reality

Further north still we hear that soft-boiled LNP man Warren Entsch is flagging his environmental credentials and has broken ranks with Schmo’s denunciation of the Greens as “extremists”.

Guardian Australia reported that Warren is preferencing the Greens because in his borough it would be self-defeating to do anything else. “I’m a committed conservationist. I am not a climate change denier,” he announced. Yet, when citizens got his how-to-vote card in their letterbox it turned out that Warren was a paler shade of green than expected – he had the Greens party at No. 5 in an eight-person contest.

Warren’s idea of preferring Greens is to put them in after Palmer’s UAP, an independent, and Katter’s Australian Party.

Tariffed valley

US Treasury secretary Steven Munchkin says he will implement a new round of tariffs on Chinese imports. Sharemarkets tumbled and the captains and cabin boys of industry are gripped with fear.

Already there has been a round of tariff hikes on Chinese airconditioners, vacuum cleaners, handbags, dog leashes and toilet paper.

This next hike will be more serious, although trade experts say they are still hopeful of a breakthrough when China agrees to buy more American coal and other minerals, and agricultural products of all descriptions, including beef.

In other words, settlement of the US–China trade stand-off could come at a big cost to Washington’s poor, snivelling ANZUS ally down under.

The other possibility is even worse. The Chinese may get fed up and start dumping the US Treasury debt paper they bought to enable Americans to import their manufactured stuff.

The US debt to China is more than $1.1 trillion, or about 30 per cent of the US Treasury bills, notes and bonds held by foreign countries.

If it started offloading these notes and bonds big time, it would blow up the US economy, crashing the dollar and strengthening the yuan.

It’s called the “nuclear option” and it will put either Shorten or Morrison in a huge pickle.

It’s clear the Pussy Grabber has trouble grasping some of the intricacies of tariffs that usually get a good workout in Economics 101.

He thinks the Chinese pay for US tariffs on Chinese imports into the US, whereas others know it’s American importers who pay the tariff, which is then passed on to American consumers.

It’s back to Kep Enderby-land, where we all learnt a valuable lesson: “Traditionally Australia obtains its imports from overseas.”

Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 11, 2019 as "Gadfly: Egging to differ". Subscribe here.

Richard Ackland
is the publisher of Justinian. He is The Saturday Paper’s diarist-at-large and legal affairs editor.