Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Five steps to make Australia great again

Latest column in The Australian, in which I burn the midnight renewables to come up with five simple ways to make Australia great again. 

Recently I was on holidays and ventured north to my banana-bending, daylight-non-saving, cyclone-prone state of origin, the one-time hillbilly dictatorship known as Queensland. As a hard rain fell and biblical floods gathered, I spent most of my time watching television with my dad. This meant a non-stop diet of Andrew Bolt, Bill O’Reilly, Mark Latham’s Outsiders (before his latest self-immolating spontaneous combustion) and hour upon hour of question time.

And people, it got me questioning, where is the love? Where are the leaders? Between Malcolm Turnbull’s search for his inner mongrel and Bill Shorten blowing, sucking and turning his back, it was depressing stuff. We live in an age of political pygmies, paralysed in the eye of a sharknado of stupidity, self-interest and hypocrisy. My holiday passed in a blur of North Korean nukes, Trump tweets, radicalised ratbags, flash floods and gender fluids. The main climate change has been to one of fear and loathing. We the people must rise up and reclaim our nation. So I’ve been burning the midnight renewables to come up with a list of simple measures to make us great again.


1. Ditch honorifics. The whole business is outdated and absurd. Honour should be earned and learned. We are what we do, not what we’re called. Dubbing me “Mr” does me no real honour, and half the knights are errant. Arise, Sir Scumbag, cast off thy title and get on with it. We can solve this First World problem in one fell swoop. Let’s dispense with confusion, neuter the identity politics and dispense with titled entitlement once and for all. When HSBC offers customers a choice of 10 titles, New York City recognises 36 genders (could someone explain the difference between a gender bender and a gender blender, both of which are official in the Big Apple, where getting it wrong could mean a lawsuit) and the University of Sydney now has 57 varieties, it’s all gone Pete Tong, if not Boy George. Why mess with “Mix” and “Mux”, “Mx” and “Mre”, “Msr” and more? Let’s head this lawyers’ picnic off at the pass. Henceforth, you are your surname. We might also consider a simple Balinese style of first name, and save parents the agony of naming. One through four for all, in order of birth, and for the larger family, repeat. Call me Gagliardi or One, but don’t call me Mr or Mux or late for dinner. Done?

2. Formalise the pub test. Policy today often hinges on whether it passes this acid, beer-stained examination. Let’s locate the best hotel in which this powerful and mysterious test can be performed, and codify and enshrine it in law. It will streamline debate and lawmaking if all bills can be sent by express post or carrier pigeon to the nominated pub for testing. Pubs in Newtown or serving Coopers Ale, and especially Coopers Hotel, Newtown, are exempted.

3. Appoint a Reasonable Person. Let’s make this abstract legal twaddle an actual position, with a reasonable salary and a modest office, perhaps in the pub-test pub to achieve economies of scale. The Reasonable Person would be the ultimate everyman, a fair-minded, fair dinkum champion of the fair go, even-handed, honest as the day is long, and tolerant but only up to a point. A meditator and a mediator who can put the om into ombudsman, the pleb into plebiscite and some commons in the house. The successful candidate should possess a built-in bullshit detector and have no truck with trough-snouting, truffle-snuffling, nest-feathering fat cats, gender-bending, virtue-lathered culture warriors and identity politicians or garden variety corporate greenheads. Bankers, wankers, spin doctors, witch doctors, campus bullies, tin pot dictators, turd polishers and voodoo economists need not apply.

4. Pivot to China for power tips. We’re selling the Chinese all our coal and oil and they are making us look silly by inventing hi-tech, ultra-super-mega-critical clean-burning technology while here business flees for brighter places and we’ll soon be reading with candles. It should be obvious to even the greenest inner-city chardie sipper or state Labor premier that we are heading back to the dark ages. If we must have wind farms, let’s harness the only inexhaustible source of hot air and set them up in Parliament House. In the meantime, let’s frack our brains out and get the good oil. Call it the New Enlightenment.

5. Channel our fists of fury. Let’s round up all the one-punch thugs and budding delinquents and send them to boot camp, turning them into a fearsome force that can KO al-Qa’ida and rope-a-dope Daesh. We could dispense with Sydney’s lockout laws, revitalise the city’s night life and deliver a Bruce Lee one-inch punch to jihadists and terrorists. I give you the King’s Hit Regiment.

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