Amid asylum seeker polices that grow crueller and more surreal by the day, plans to turn the unemployed into virtual slaves and Christopher Pyne let loose on education, there is, without a doubt, one big question in Australian politics in 2014.
And that is: What drugs is Clive Palmer on?
And where can we get some? ‘Coz that bloke is clearly off his chops. You never know what the hell he’ll pull next, which makes me worry about what will happen when he finally comes down. Some poor aide is going to have to explain what he got up to.
Clive will walk in looking like death and declaring: “Oh Jesus Christ my head! Man was I wasted! What the hell did I do?”
“Ah, Clive … you ... ah ... you formed a political party and ran for prime minister.”
“Really? What on Earth did I do that for?”
“Well … you said wanted to represent the Common Man against the elite.”
“Against the elite? But I’m a billionaire!”
“Yes ... ah ... yes I know Clive ... but you said, and I’m quoting you here, you said ‘billionaires are an oppressed minority’.”
“What the fuck?”
“Also you voted to save the government-funded renewable energy program.”
“But I’m a coal magnate! I despise clean energy.”
“We tried to tell you, Clive, but you just ran off to a press conference with Al Gore.”
“Al Gore? That’s it, I’m going to rehab! First thing tomorrow, I’m going cold turkey. But is there anything else, anything at all, that I did that I should know about?”
“You might need to sit down Clive. Ah … see … I’m not quite sure how to put this, but ... you’ve got this new boat. Also, how do you feel about dinosaurs?”
This is what politics in this country has come to. A government is being given the run around and put on the ropes by a bloke whose idea of a good business investment is to rebuild a ship that sank 100 years ago in one of the worst maritime disasters in human history and turn it into a tourist attraction.
A man who builds a golf course and thinks: “OK, so we’ve got the grass! Good. And the little holes with flags in them! Tick. And some trees, a few bunkers and a lake! OK, but what else does it need? I know, a bunch of giant robotic dinosaurs!”
The Tony Abbott government is not a strong government, for all of its bluster. It may be cruel, petty, racist and filled with hatred for the poor, but it is weak and incompetent.
So weak and incompetent even Clive Palmer can run rings around it. And if Clive can do it, surely the left can too.
Israel keeps insisting it is trying very hard to avoid civilian casualties in its assault on Gaza, and yet somehow it has managed to kill at least 1400 people, mostly civilians, since July 7.
It is weird because most people find not killing civilians to be pretty easy. I personally find a good starting point is don’t deliberately shell a UN-run school in a refugee camp filled with civilians after you told those people to go seek shelter there.
As far as a plan to avoid civilian deaths goes, that is what you might call a significant tactical failure.
I could give Israel tips, because I haven’t killed any civilians and I am not even trying. Well, OK, I say no civilians, but it’s true, I did kill that couple in a mortar strike last Tuesday, but they were playing Coldplay’s new album loudly and incessantly in a nearby flat and I do have a right to defend myself.
And it’s not like I didn’t warn them. I phoned them first, said I was about to blow up their apartment and suggested they seek safety in a school down the road. Then I shelled the school, but I had to, you see, in case there were more copies of Coldplay’s CD stored there.
It turns out there weren't, but you can't be too careful. No people on Earth can be expected to tolerate Chris Martin’s whiney voice without retaliation.
[Carlo Sands is performing at Melbourne's Green Left Weekly comedy debate "Can We Survive The Abbottoir?", hosted by Rod Quantock, on August 15, and Sydney's Green left comedy fundraiser "Abbottalypse Now!" on August 23.]