(Above: the pond loves the loving detailing Rowe puts into his cartoons. To see the full version, head off to the rotating rotunda at the AFR here, where for the moment, today only, it's top of the page and features the PUP follies).
Thanks to a pond correspondent, the pond was made aware of just how low Malcolm Turnbull has managed to go, in terms of casual defamation and smears, in the ABC debate.
Now the pond has always held Turnbull in contempt, and, at that, long before the Godwin Grech utegate affair in 2009, always reserving a hollow, echoing cynical laugh of the patented Treasure of the Sierra Madre kind. Here you go:
It's the same sort of laugh the pond reserved for credulous Queenslanders who seemed to think that the buffoon and his team of PUPs represented a new way forward in politics.
Okay, that hearty laugh's out of the way, let's get back to the thoroughly contemptible Malcolm Turnbull and and his contemptible innuendo. The straight story is here:
"The ABC under Labor just got more money every year," he told Sky News.
"I think there was, in effect, a political bargain between the Labor government and the ABC: We'll keep sending you more money and you just have peace at the industrial front at the ABC."
Asked if he was suggesting such a bargain affected editorial content of the ABC, Mr Turnbull replied: "I'm not suggesting that. Others can infer that."
Of course, in saying that, he just suggested it, and he suggested others could infer it, because he'd just suggested it ...
It's exactly the style of the fabulously despicable cad Francis Urquhart, in House of Cards, whose line is now the most quoted of any political Machiavelli:
Now you might very well think that, but of course I couldn't possibly comment.
Of course Urguhart is a figure of fun, a psychopath, a deceiver and a consummate liar and fraud. Welcome to the club Mr Turnbull ...
The pond's correspondent drew attention to the outraged tweets of Melissa Clarke (for the originals and more bitter comments, go here):
Then came the official denial:
But it was academic, because the only person to emerge from that sordid, sorry little affair, that immensely revealing exchange, with their credibility tarnished was Malcolm Turnbull ... and by golly there is a little resemblance in the slyness:
But enough of playing catch up with the forelock tugging, lickspittle follies known as the big Mal show, it's time to look forward, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and what a wealth of choices there is this morning at reptile lodge.
Should the pond go with the assiduous knob polisher and forelock tugger, a past master of the bent knee tribute?
An optimistic message of hope and reassurance!
Or should the pond risk a case of stuporous catatonia and spend time with the team coach who seems to think a little work's needed to make the nation swallow its castor oil?
How about Dame Slap, sounding like a demented Elmer Gantry style preacher, demanding repentance and confession?
Of course, of course, there was only one wise choice.
You see, for some reason, Dame Slap decided that today was the day to give Master Tony a jolly good spanking on the britches for failing at his many Chairman Rupert appointed and anointed tasks:
In short, Dame Slap knows the liar told a lie and so decided he should spend a little time wearing a dunce's cap and standing in the corner, because he's mucked up the job demanded by Chairman Rupert - de-gut the ABC, in a quick, painless way.
Instead the befuddled, beheaded chook has been running around the garden spraying blood everywhere ...
On and on Dame Slap ranted about messages being mulched in delivery, and it soon became clear that Master Tony was her least favourite student.
In short, she did a despairing Bolter, one of a number of commentariat members who've started shouting more at Abbott than at Bill "zinger" Shorten:
By the time Dame Slap got to the end of her complaints, the report card was full of red ink and exclamation marks and dire warnings that Master Abbott was failing badly, and might not see out the term:
So there you go. The Abbott government is on the nose, seriously on the nose. Jolly Joe has been a disaster. A cabinet reshuffle is needed and the sooner the better. The Abbott government is heading the way of the Napthine government ...
Things are serious. Dame Slap is flaying her children. Attention needs to be paid ...
At this point of course, the pond is inclined to deliver that deeply rich and ironic, the gold is blowing in the wind, Treasure of Sierra Madre laugh ...
You see, just this morning came news of a new outbreak, a new brush fire that required Master Tony's attention:
Yep, there's the absurd spectacle of the Minister for Defence saying one thing, and Abbott attempting to say the other, as you can read in Tony Abbott backs submarine maker his defence minister 'wouldn't trust to build a canoe':
The prime minister defended ASC, formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation, saying it played a vital role in supporting the navy.
“Whilst ASC has had challenges meeting the government’s cost and schedule expectations of the Air Warfare Destroyer program, we are working closely with ASC on a reform strategy to improve shipyard performance and productivity,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It is early days, but the government is confident that ASC and its partners will successfully turn the corner on this important build.”
So who is right? Master Tony, or his defence minister?
Of course there's an even deeper irony at work here. Guess who's on the ASC board?
(You can find out more, and perhaps think of joining the ASC Social Club, by heading off here).
Oh yes, a Master Abbott appointment.
One thing's certain. Of all the people you might want to appoint, in order to supervise the building of a canoe, surely Sophie Mirabella would be the most inept and incompetent choice of all ...
Poor old Dame Slap ... did she say something about Team Abbott kept kicking own goals, and mulching messages in delivery?
And so to the Xmas message:
Tony Abbott has asked nervous government MPs to maintain internal discipline in the face of the ABC funding controversy and bad polling, reassuring them he will knock "one or two barnacles off the ship" before Christmas.
The Prime Minister's comments touched off speculation that he is shaping to abandon one or more of his unpopular budget measures concluding there is no chance of passing them through the Senate and that the government has lost enough skin trying to do so until now.
But unity was already under strain on Tuesday with Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull admitting the 4.9 per cent so-called "efficiency dividend" being extracted from the ABC funding envelope, constituted a cut, and another MP, Western Sydney Liberal Craig Laundy, calling on the Prime Minister to dispense with "verbal gymnastics" on the matter. (Christmas message: Tony Abbott prepares to knock the 'barnacles off the ship')
That's the Xmaa message from the Xmas Grinch? And it might be time for a re-shuffle?
There are a few barnacles on the ship?
If the pond could just go the full Buddha, the barnacles are the ship, the ship is the barnacles ... and the biggest barnacle of all is the barnacle in charge of the ship of barnacles, and re-shuffling and knocking off that barnacle will take another full year of the kinds of efforts seen this year ...
And in that endeavour the pond has absolute faith ...
Oh it's going to be a good one ... the barnacles will be everywhere ... as Abbott knows if he sends embittered failures to the back bench ... because they realise, as Dame Slap does, that the chief barnacle is the real problem, and Under Tony Abbott we are going nowhere with the nowhere man ...
(Below: Master Tony takes a suspicious look at the present Dame Slap left for him under the Xmas tree)