It is amazing, really, what with money being so tight these days, that there are people who seem to think we should be entitled to access a government minister for free!
It is a wonder anyone is upset that Treasurer Joe Hockey has been revealed selling meetings to businesses when he has made it perfectly clear time and time again: the age of entitlement is over!
If you are not willing to do your share of heavy lifting and pay thousands of dollars in return for lunch with Hockey, why should you be rewarded with access to government? It's just all take and no give with some people.
After all, the process is open to all Australians equally. Joe Hockey may be many things, but he is no snob. He'll meet with absolutely anyone — from single mothers to mining magnates — willing to cough up $22,000 in membership fees to the North Sydney slush f— ah, the North Sydney Forum.
It has been implied by some in the gutter press — who are always looking for an easy scandal to counter dropping circulation — that buying these meetings is a way to buy influence. But what this ignores is that Hockey — like Labor leader Bill Shorten, who has also been selling meetings for thousands of dollars — is actually a brilliant entertainer. Truly, he is a great story teller and witty raconteur — a modern day Oscar Wilde.
If anything, 20 grand is a bargain for an audience with Hockey, who can talk engagingly on a wide array of topics. For instance, you should hear Hockey's fascinating theories on the aesthetics of landscapes.
“Utterly offensive” is Hockey's charmingly “pull-no-punches” assessment of the wind farms at Lake George, just outside the ACT. And if you treat the treasurer to a couple of glasses of Grange, expect to be spellbound by his depiction of the inherent beauty of a coalmine.
A couple more, and he'll spell out his remarkable vision to transform our nation's capital into a world-class tourist destination — not before time, when you consider the Great Barrier Reef clearly hasn't got too many years left in it, with the coal export expansion green-lighted by the Coalition government.
From Coal Stack Boulevard to Black Lung Lane — his proposed quirky entertainment strip painted the colour of a retired miner's lungs and featuring buskers recreating the hacking cough of a dying sufferer of black lung disease — he'll amaze you with his stunning vision for coal-themed urban regeneration.
In fact, the more you think about it, the more ridiculous the idea that he should be expected to put his immense talents on display for free truly is.
* * *
In other news, we all know we have a terrible budget crisis necessitating severe cuts — what with our terrible debt-GDP ratio of a staggering 34.5% compared to an OECD average of a mere 112%, and our stubborn refusal to cut the billions of corporate subsidies, close tax loopholes for top income earners or refrain from buying overpriced fighter jets that are likely to need billions more in maintenance.
The solution seems obvious to me in light of recent events — stage cage fights featuring billionaires with ">grudges against each other using a range of medieval weapons. The ticket sales alone would generate enough money to fund an entirely free public health system and a doubling of the pension.
Factor in revenue from the sale of the TV rights, and we'd earn enough money to eradicate homelessness and fund the transition to 100% renewable energy.
Now I am not suggesting we force the super-rich to actually fight to the death. This is not from humanitarian concerns. It is just that there aren't actually that many of these mega-rich parasitic fuckers who are expanding their obscene levels of inherited wealth through feeding off such socially destructive practices as gambling.
We want to keep them alive to fight and maim each other in televised bouts till we can guarantee a dignified, quality retirement to every member of society on an environmentally sustainable planet.