||Issue No. 294||10 February 2006|
Interview: Court's in Session
Industrial: Whose Choices?
Politics: Peter's Principles
Environment: TINA or Greener?
History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
Education: No AWA - No Job
Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
Review: Charlie the Serf
The Locker Room
Belated Merry Whatmas?
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
I Think Therefore I Scam
A Taxing Answer
Leslie John Turner
Riding Into the Sunset
When the Liberal Party set up a youth wing they quickly became known as the Young Libs. When the Country Party set up a youth wing they changed their name to the National Party.
For most of last century the Country/National Party made itself relevant with policies designed for the century before that.
It was a proud tradition based on the universal belief in a bunyip aristocracy, the Masters and Servants Act and the salacious benefits of animal husbandry.
The party that the Anthony family treated as a personal family heirloom turned established political wisdom, and most other wisdom, on it's head by bringing socialism in our time to the wealthiest sections of what stoically passed itself off as the rural economy.
Founded by Earl Page as a boarding school prank gone wrong, the party really hit its straps under Tenterfield's answer to Joseph Stalin, Black Jack McEwen.
McEwen brought the unlikely policy of socialising losses and privatising profits to the Menzies' government by a unique combination of mulesing and crutching of Liberal members in three-cornered contests in what ephemerally became known as the bush, which was anything west of Doonside.
Of course the party gained some popularity by offering both a brimming pork barrel and a jingoistic nationalism that was useful for rounding up malcontents.
The party reached its zenith under the subtle genius of Joh Bjielke Petersen, who was just about to appoint his horse to the Senate when things started to go horribly wrong.
The first hurdle was the fact that there was no possibility of recreating the Queensland gerrymander, and the fact that 90% of the population south of the Tweed couldn't stop laughing when Joh launched his eponymously named Joh for PM campaign.
That was when the rot set in.
Amazingly the now re-badged Nationals thought Ian Sinclair would be their saviour, which made sense if you wanted a party that offered creative accounting as a selling point for its ideology.
Tim Fischer tried to steady the ship, but even a gawky trainspotter from the Riverina couldn't give the party credibility.
By the time the party turned to John Anderson it appeared that they were trying to sleep their way to power, but luckily that one-time Tool Of the Week has gone to Queensland drovin', and we don't know where he are.
With the brains trust settling on Mark Vaile as the leader it came as no surprise that Julian McGauran, the master of the one-fingered salute, decided to show his commitment to Rural Victoria by joining the party of Peter Costello.
With half the state on fire at the time he could have helped fight bushfires, but that has never been the McGauran way.
Still, the party that gave us the expression "as mad as a Katter" does have Warren Truss, which must be some consolation for someone, somewhere, but we can't think of any.
Our collective tools of the week have vowed to come out fighting, which is a bit like getting threatened by a cranky chook, they are already well on their way to being the feather duster.
And why? Because they never really have looked after people in the bush, just people with money, and the people with money have all moved to the city so their phones work, they can afford petrol and their kids can go to a halfway decent school and there's a hospital handy if they get gored by a vicious forex trader in Hunter Street.
Like banks, shops, schools, services, phones, roads and jobs, it's the end of the line for the Nationals in the bush.
The only humane thing to do would be to take them around by the back of the woodpile and put the poor bastards out of their misery.
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