Monday, November 10, 2014

In which the pond inspects what the cat's dragged in ...

(Above: and more New Yorker cartoons here).

One of the pond's favourite Tamworth sayings (yes, the pond knows it's a worldwide saying, that's because Tamworth was the centre of the known universe until it elected Barners), is "look what the cat's just dragged in ..."

You could, of course, vary it to circumstances, and change it to "look at what the dog's just dragged in ..."

Invariably it was repulsive - a dead bird, or a mouldy old rat, or some hideous smelly treasure the dog had remembered burying in some forgotten corner of the yard.

The pond has since moved on from the age of pets, but the phrase still comes in handy, because knock the pond down with a feather, look what the reptiles of the lizard Oz have just dragged in ...

Lordy, lordy, the last time Sophie Mirabella crossed the pond's mind, she was being appointed to a board, a move seemingly designed to end submarine and other ship building in Adelaide permanently.

And yet at one time she was a pond favourite, a devoted performer at that punch-drunk experiment in Murdochian blogging, The Punch (now a Norwegian Blue), and it also led to a very tidy column by Jack Waterford back in December 2013, which you can find here, and which led off this way:

The only person who could possibly stand ahead of me in admiration of Sophie Mirabella and all she represents is Sophie Mirabella herself, and maybe her mother. 
I have marvelled at her talents through thick and thin, in good times and in bad, and for better and worse. I have tutted as she has been wilfully misunderstood, and winced as I have seen people rush to hate her. I have seen her calm, her charm, her empathy, stoicism and indifference to pain - particularly when being suffered by others. Even in my dreams and the current drought caused by her recent indeposition, I can hear her firm, dulcet, convincing and cogent tones in debate. 
Far from being a divisive force, she is one of those great Australians with a capacity to unite people - sadly, all too often, in a very personalised dislike of her. For myself, as soon as I hear her on any issue, I know where I stand.

Yes, satire is the best way to cope with Mirabella and Waterford had plenty to spare:

As is well known, there are problems inside ASC Pty Ltd, a commercial operation that was nationalised by that wicked socialist John Howard in 2000. It has never, so far as I am aware, won a single contract on merit. It has certainly never done so by offering the lowest price, the quickest delivery or even most efficient sea-going vehicle. It is not famed for the value of its warranties, guarantees, or the quality of its after-sales service, either. It is considered somewhat of a miracle that at any one time only about two of its six submarines are fit to be submerged. 
Apart from the maintenance cost, this fundamental lack of reliability might have been reckoned a great saving to the Australian economy, and a preventive of naval embarrassment, given that the navy has been having trouble attracting submariners - particularly ones willing to go underwater in these boats. 
The continent has been especially vulnerable as a result: indeed it is understood that we are no longer able to do routine circuits of Tasmania to assure ourselves of its safety. (more here)

Hmm, what would Jack make of the latest Mirabella line, toeing the party line in defiance of reality?

If only the pond could channel Jack, in the way that Amanda Vanstone channels Gough Whitlam ...

Yes, Mandy knows the answer to WWGD.

God, and Gough, it seems, would not have any boisterousness, or unseemly behaviour, God and Gough would sit down and share a cheese and cucumber sandwich and tut tutt through clenched mouths and handerchiefs, in best small town style.

Ah but first of all, to become a legendary psychic like Mandy, channeling Gough and determining what he'd think, you first have  to become a remarkably silly twit.

Naturally Mandy manages that requirement in style. You see, Gough Whitlam was cremated at a private family funeral, and what followed was a state memorial service.

Even that fatuous fop Paul Kelly managed the distinction:

The commemoration was a celebration heavy with love, nostalgia and celebrity. It was as though people had waited for the sad occasion of Whitlam’s death to burst forth with pent-up joyous tribute. The earlier funeral had been a private event. The themes, reflected in the speakers, were equality of opportunities, Aboriginal recognition, the liberation of women and better access to health and education. 
The style was creative expression. With his actor’s flair, Whitlam would have approved. His eldest son, Antony Whitlam, said: “Gough, of course, would have loved to speak today.” (no link, it would only lead to a begging plea for an upsizing, gouging sub from the paupers of the press).

Yep, it was a commemoration, showbiz, creative expression, arty. Why Gough can even be seen as an extra in the 1938 feature The Broken Melody. Dress it how you will, it wasn't a funeral as the term is commonly understood.

So what headline do we cop with Mandy?

But it wasn't a funeral, you goose, it was a memorial service, and thank the long absent lord, Christopher Pearson was unavoidably detained and prevented from attending...

On and on she rabbited, doling out folksie whimsy and endless cluck clucking over her tea and scones about her mum and funerals, sounding more and more like an eastern suburbs dame (who knows, keep it in mind Tony, for the next round), even if she allegedly resides in Adelaide:

Booing at funerals is quite a different thing. It seems to me the booers missed some important lessons from Gough. While no doubt he had the strength, wit and intellect to go mano a mano with the best of his enemies, the image of him lowering himself to boo at a funeral just does not come to mind. Whatever the policy differences between him and the then opposition, I know of not one person who thought he was not an exemplar of manners. (I put the famous glass-of-water incident down as a minor slip-up.) 

Yes, who could argue that throwing a glass of water at Paul Hasluck and calling him the filthiest thing to come into this chamber the height of good manners. Actually, considering Hasluck, a little understated.

And what about this one?

To a heavy drinking opponent: Whitlam: 
“Look at his bleary face.” 
 Snedden: “You are being gutless.” 
 Whitlam: “It is what he put in his guts that rooted him.”

Channeling Gough - yes, like Mandy, the pond is a pretty mean psychic, what with the dowsing and the tea leaves -  the pond has no doubt he'd be flinging a glass of water at Vanstone as he noted that she was one of the dumbest things to emerge from the chamber, incapable as she is of understanding the difference between a funeral and a state memorial service. She's so rooted she must have imagined there was a coffin on display, and never mind the cremation ...

But, but, billy goat, it's so unfair, all this showboating by Mandy, because Mandy has distracted the pond from Sophie, and Sophie has a very important message to convey.

Sure, it's direct from Tony Abbott, but attention must be paid, and forelocks tugged:

Some commentators have criticised the federal government for not specifically including or highlighting climate change on the G20 leaders’ official agenda. 
This is no “climate sceptic” agenda. The G20 is a finance and economics forum. Its raison d’etre is to promote international economic growth and financial stability. Grandstanding aside, it makes sense from a political and a practical perspective to focus on issues where we can influence policy and make a tangible difference.

Makes sense. As there's no climate change, except for the always changing climate, there's no point in discussing it in relation to the promotion of international economic growth and financial stability.

Indeed, if we listen to Tony Abbott, his business advisor Maurice Newman, and the reptiles at the Oz, we'll forget all this idle chatter about climate having some sort of impact on international economic growth and financial stability.

We'll also over-ride the sensibilities of some of the others attending the G20 who would have been perfectly happy to have a discussion of the implications of climate science on the G20 and what to do about it - inconsequential nobodies like Obama and David Cameron.

Why we'd even embark on a conspiracy with like-minded luddites like the Canadians to prevent any idle chit chat.

So was there anything else Mirabella had to offer, apart from forelock tugging in Tony Abbott's direction? Yep, it came in the closer:

Those who believe climate change should be an automatic priority in every international forum should remember that it is only when countries become wealthy that they can afford, both financially and politically, to invest in environmental priorities and policies.

Uh huh. So the G20 is full of poor, helpless countries, and therefore they shouldn't discuss environmental priorities and policies. But when the G20 get wealthy, they can afford the time to have a chat ...

Or some such thing.

It helps explain why submarine manufacturing in this country is stuffed.

It also brings to mind Jack's immortal line:

For myself, as soon as I hear her on any issue, I know where I stand.

There is a last sting in the tail:

Sophie Mirabella is a public policy fellow at the University of Melbourne. This article has been published with

Yep, students, that's where federal government money is going, or in the poodle's brave new world, your student fees ... to support brazenly naked political messaging from an alleged public policy fellow, with an "" site attached ...

It's around this time that the pond usually pauses to contemplate various other matters, like feminist Julie Bishop explaining how she's channeling Ayn Rand, and a tip that Abbott will knock Putin out in the first round in the bunged on shirtfront thriller in Beijing, scheduled for tomorrow:

Abbott comes out to meet Putin and Putin starts to retreat,
If Putin goes back an inch farther he'll end up in a ringside seat. 
Abbott swings with a left, Abbott swings with a right, 
Just look at young Abbott carry the fight. 
Putin keeps backing but there's not enough room, 
It's a matter of time until Abbott lowers the boom. 
Then Abbott lands with a right, what a beautiful swing, 
And the punch raised the Russian bear clear out of the ring. 
Putin still rising and the ref wears a frown, 
But he can't start counting until Vlad the impaler comes down. 
Now Putin disappears from view, the crowd is getting frantic 
But our radar stations have picked him up somewhere over the Atlantic. 
Who on Earth thought, when they came to the fight, 
That they would witness the launching of a human satellite. 
Hence the crowd did not dream, when they laid down their money, 
That they would see a total eclipse of Putin the dummy (apologies to MA, original here).

The vision splendid. Next week Julie Bishop explains how to demolish feminists while defending asbestos.

But hey, instead of all that, David Rowe covers the entire scene in a cartoon, and more Rowe here:


  1. You, You! How very dare You, DP! Calling Amanda a distraction. You?
    Now, me, being a toothless wonder trying to exploit any chance to get on national TV, and there was a State Memorial at the Town Hall, and I've got a million gripes, especially about the cost of methadone, what can I do make a name for myself? How about a rebel yell, or a catcall, or a Boooo? Never mind my voting behaviour, let Them identify me with absolute certainty as a leftie, when I vote Shooters. The laugh's on Them, alright.
    And nothing more amusing than the well-bred Tut-tutters wasting space in the broadsheets. Ban the Boo!

  2. It is only fitting that as our Minister for women,"The Pelaco Kid",, has not only seconds of the highest caliber in his corner,but, indeed a lovely shirt sir, to match.
    Maybe this should go into the Kids Xmas stocking.

  3. Interesting that Vanstone would refer to "Mafia" in her column, when you recall the Mafia Visa (for party donations) shenanigans of a few years ago

  4. Oh Dot, oh the circularity!

    While you put yourself through the pain of reading above, I spotted a full page Bolter for today in the dead tree edition of the Currant Bun. And what do you know? How could you have guessed?

    His 833rd column complaining about the ABC - no points changed whatsoever from the other 832 columns - is a full page, full colour litany of whinging complaint. I thought kids at the end of year could frame it for parents, or the odd angry uncle that shows up at Christmas lunch.

    As we know, the perpetual complaint about imbalance in ABC broadcasters is a perpetual, so how fabulous that on a day of full page complaint, up pops Sophie Mirabella to underline AGAIN the utter paucity of talent on the right wing media bench.

    The stars really are in alignment today, I might pop out and snag a Tatts ticket.


    1. The pond always appreciates updates on Bolter land, but it requires brave souls willing to step into a darkness more dark than Mordor.

      Surely this day your business plan will pay off and you will be richly rewarded by Tatts ...

  5. Who on earth puts cheese on a bleedin' cucumber sandwich?

    1. Amanda Vanstone. That may well explain a lot.


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