The pond had wondered what was the inspiration for this Currish Snail headline in yesterday's rag.
Today all became clear:
The pond is looking forward to this sort of Currish Snail headline during the election campaign:
Adolf Hitler urges vote for Labor.
Speaking from his remote Bolivian hideway yesterday, Queensland time, designed to preserve the integrity of curtains, the former German chancellor urged Queenslanders to consider how Campbell Newman had failed at the task of state dictator and urged a vote for Labor. "In my day, we simply wouldn't have tolerated this tragic strutting bantam purporting to be strong and right", Herr Hitler observed. What Queenslanders need is a government soft on death heads and bikies...
Of course with this sort of lead story, no doubt the editorialists will be scrabbling around for an illustration. This symbol of Labor support and Labor voters simply isn't strong enough:
May the pond humbly propose an excellent illustration of your typical Queensland Labor voter:
Several senior Government ministers are also on leave, including Treasurer Tim Nicholls, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, Mr Langbroek and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is also out of the country and would be unable to join the Premier on the campaign trail until some time after Australia Day...
Oh no, the much loved PM won't be available, and yet the enormously popular PM did a tremendous amount of work keeping Victoria safe from the national socialist hordes ...
Meanwhile, the fearless leader has managed to get the media's knickers in a knot.
Not the fearless reptiles at the Oz of course. They're perfectly happy to recycle the droppings from the PM's office, it's what they do every day.
But others were in a bit of a flap, wot wot, number one, of the Journalists cut out of Tony Abbott visit to Baghdad kind:
The decision to exclude the Australian crew meant that no independent footage could be gathered and no Australian journalists were present to quiz Mr Abbott during a joint appearance with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi.
Australian television networks were left bewildered and frustrated by the decision not to take a pool crew – to which each of the major networks contributed – that had already made its own way to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
And so on:
Media silence was also demanded by the Prime Minister's office ahead of Mr Abbott's visit on Sunday. But this was undermined by IraqiNews.com's publication nearly a week ago of news of Mr Abbott's trip.
The website reported on December 29 at that time that Mr Abbott planned to visit Baghdad "in the coming days", quoting government spokesman Saad Hadithi.
Scooped by the Iraquis! Does it get any more humiliating?
The official transcript of Mr Abbott's remarks in Baghdad was changed to correct his reference to Dr al-Abadi as "President" rather than his correct title of "Prime Minister".
It is understood the TV networks paid between $10,000 and $12,000 to send the pool crew to Dubai. A spokesman for Mr Abbott blamed security for keeping the media off the trip.
"Due to security measures, there was very limited capacity to facilitate any movements of Australian media in Baghdad and the international zone during the Prime Minister's visit yesterday," he said. "The PM's office did attempt to obtain the necessary approvals for media but it wasn't possible for this visit to Baghdad. "
Any suggestion the Prime Minister's office 'excluded media' is patently untrue."
Yes, the Australian media was excluded by the hand and an act of God, and as everyone knows, the PM isn't God ...
It has absolutely nothing to do with the chance of the Australian media having yet another fun "shit happens" moment, as the Graudian makes clear in Tony Abbott criticised for excluding Australian media from Baghdad visit.
Oh wait, the reptiles did get a tad agitated.
Why there's David Crowe sounding a tad agitated about the "unique" approach to reptile handling:
While a camera crew was sent to the United Arab Emirates to cover Mr Abbott’s visit to the Australian troops, it was told it would have to stay in Dubai when the Prime Minister and his team boarded a Royal Australian Air Force Hercules to fly to Baghdad.
Mr Abbott’s visit on Sunday included a barbecue with Australian troops, where he thanked them for their efforts to combat Islamic State forces, as well as a joint statement to the press with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
All footage of the visit was shot by Mr Abbott’s own cameraman and photographer, who is paid as an adviser within the Prime Minister’s office.
There were no questions from Australian journalists during the joint press statement from Mr Abbott and Mr al-Abadi.
Yes, it was safe enough for a couple of tame, pet in-house reptiles of the kindly carpet snake kind, but the other reptiles were better off lazing on their hot rocks ...
All in all, another striking victory for the PMO and Peta, and lordy lordy thank heavens there will be no talk of the PMO and Peta in the coming months ...
Meanwhile, a fierce debate broke out over the inspiration for the jacket worn by the fearless leader, revealed only by official PM photos supplied to the media by the PM's office (Andrew Greene on Twitter here).
Was it this?
He used conspicuously strong language to slam the post-2003 handling of Iraq led by the US administration of George Bush and Dick Cheney, and strongly supported by former Prime Minister John Howard, who is Mr Abbott's political mentor.
"Iraq is a country which has suffered a very great deal," Mr Abbott said. "First, decades of tyranny under Saddam Hussein. Then, the chaos and confusion that followed the American-led invasion. Most recently, the tumult, the dark age, which has descended upon northern Iraq as a result of the Da'esh death cult. But Australia will do what we can to help."
The deliberately chosen words about the post-invasion period reflect Mr Abbott's efforts to distinguish what is now widely seen as a debacle in the aftermath of 2003 from the current more cautious approach, steering Australians away from any impression the West is being drawn back into a quagmire. (Tony Abbott hits out at US over Iraq post-war 'chaos').
Yes, it turns out that Tony Abbott wasn't a member of the Howard government, and in no way supported the invasion of Iraq, and absolutely refused to have anything to do with the likes of Dick Cheney and George Bush ...
Madam Lash, if leave is granted, may the pond refer to a speech made in federal parliament in March 2003, and faithfully transcribed by Hansard, and available in full here in a pdf:
Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) (6.03 p.m.) …
….I can fully understand why so many Australians have real misgivings about this. There is no harder thing for a pacific democracy to do than to commit its armed forces to war. The consequences of going to war are dire. But I put it to the House that the consequences of leaving Iraq in possession of weapons of mass destruction are worse. This is not a pre-emptive war in Iraq; this is a further development in the war on terrorism which started on 11 September 2001. We need to contemplate whether anyone seriously suggests that the sort of people who would fly civilian airliners into civilian office towers would not place an atomic bomb in New York, London, Sydney or Melbourne if they could. That is the risk that the world faces. The level of acceptable risk is different depending on whether the downside is a Semtex bomb in a railway carriage or an atomic bomb in a major city. For that reason, dangers which we might once have decided to live with can no longer be tolerated by responsible governments. Many people, as I said, are understandably dwelling on the numbers likely to die in any invasion of Iraq. I ask those people, with respect, to contemplate the far greater numbers that are likely to die if Saddam Hussein is left undisturbed in place and with his weapons of mass destruction intact.
We need to face up to the truth that the allied army now assembled on the borders of Iraq cannot be left forever in situ. It will either be used or, in the ordinary course of events, be withdrawn. We need to be aware of the consequences of a withdrawal of that allied army. The first consequence is that we can be quite confident that the United States will retreat into an isolationist fortress, with terrible consequences for the rest of the world. Why would the United States take risks again on behalf of other countries that they would regard for all sorts of understandable reasons as hypocrites? That is the first consequence. The second consequence is that the United Nations will be rendered worse than the League of Nations. If the Anglo-American army is withdrawn, does any-one think for a second that the French, for instance, will put a quarter of a million men onto the borders of Iraq to back United Nations resolutions with a credible threat of force?
The third and most dire consequence of withdrawal of the forces currently in Kuwait and elsewhere is that Saddam Hussein will be left as the master of the Middle East, because he will have successfully stared down the world’s greatest military powers. The immediate result of that will be a new slaughter of the Kurds, who will no longer be protected by the British and American no-fly zone. The fourth consequence will be an immediate resumption of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, assisted no doubt by that other rogue state, North Korea. The final consequence of a withdrawal would be the prospect of nuclear war in the Middle East. This is truly a doomsday scenario. This is a scenario for the descent of the world into a new dark age. I am very pleased to say that this is now far less likely because of the decision taken by the American, British and Australian governments. Twenty-six countries in a coalition of the willing are prepared to enforce United Nations resolutions to give such world order as we have a chance to hold.
Honourable members interjecting—
Mr ABBOTT—Mr Deputy Speaker, I can hear a whole lot of out-of-order chatter from members opposite, which really ought to be restrained.
Let me appeal to a higher authority. Tony Blair—who is someone members opposite should respect—posed the question: ‘But why Saddam?’ In response he said: ... I defy anyone to say that this cruel and sadistic dictator should be allowed any possibility of getting his hands on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. He posed another question: ‘Why now?’ to which he went on to say that Saddam Hussein will draw the conclusion: ... that the international community will talk but not act, will use diplomacy but not force. We know, again from our history, that diplomacy, not backed by the threat of force, has never worked with dictators and never will. Tony Blair continued: ‘Why should we care?’ He said—and I completely agree with him:
Iraq deserves to be led by someone who can abide by international law, not a murderous dictator; by someone who can bring Iraq back into the international community where it belongs, not languishing as a pariah; by someone who can make the country rich and successful, not impoverished by Saddam’s personal greed.
Tony Blair is right. I have to say that he has not made the mistake that is made by so many others of willing the ends but not the means. Tony Blair has not made the mistake that is made by so many others of subcontracting his foreign policy and his defence and security to the vagaries of the United Nations.
Many arguments will whirl around this chamber in the next 24 hours or so. We will know soon enough who is wise and who is unwise, what is for the best and what is for the worst, who is right and who is wrong, because these arguments will soon be put to the stern test of events. This government believes that the cause is just and that the justification is overwhelming. May God give all of us—our leaders, our soldiers and our people—strength, wisdom and compassion in the days and months ahead.
And now the lickspittle war mongering fellow traveller seeks to distance himself from decisions made and actions taken and consequences incurred by the government in which he was a Minister and John Howard's lap dog.
Truly, it's a wondrous and strange and richly compelling world ...
Meanwhile over in reptile la la land ...
Truly, the pond has come to the conclusion that if Nick Cater didn't exist, then a site dedicated to loons would surely have had to invent him.
With little else to go on ...
Well credit where credit's due ... with little else to go on, the Caterists turn to the wimmin ...
But back to the Commander in Chief, and the inestimable David Pope for a cartoon to wrap up this day's loonish proceedings (and more Pope here):