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Any old galah

A decent political memoir requires a little forward planning

15 December 2012

9:00 AM

15 December 2012

9:00 AM

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your interest in publishing my forthcoming magnum opus, Diaries and Musings of an Intellectual At Large. Although it has famously been said (by myself, as it happens) that ‘any old galah’ can write a book on politics, it is my firm intention that this will be no ordinary political tome.

First, let me put your mind at rest; my diaries will be considerably more than what I recall you flippantly dismissing as ‘a list of VIP airport lounges and fancy restaurants’. Perhaps you are unaware of the critical role I now play in solving major global problems that have vexed far lesser minds than mine, or even yours, for decades. For example, next week I’m off to Sri Lanka to stop the boats once and for all. Indeed, I have just finished writing up last week’s chapter: ‘How I brought peace to the Middle East’. As you will see from this excerpt, the sense of drama and suspense that springs off the page will allow future generations of grateful scholars to feel they were there in the room at the precise moment I made, yet again, my indelible mark on our nation’s history:

It is a cool and frosty morning in Canberra, even though it’s early December. But no! I speak not of the weather. I refer to the atmosphere I have deliberately allowed to fester in my digs on the top floor of DAFT when the Israeli ambassador, Mr Yoovy-something-or-other, comes into the room, tail between his legs. In no uncertain terms I inform him that his government’s despicable actions in drawing up a DA and a set of plans for a new block of flats directly upon the critical faultline of the most profound conflict since the American Civil War of 1861- 66 (of which I know a fair bit, let me tell you) was in my opinion the gravest threat to world peace since the Bay of Pigs and the Suez crisis combined. I could see the pathetic man trembling in fear, as the realisation of the calamitous and stupid nature of his idiotic government’s vile actions were brought crashing home to him by my strict countenance and the profound weight of my intellectual argument. After that he made his excuses and said that he was going for a coffee and would I like to join him. Naturally I refused. As he left my office, I felt the weight of world history…

I’m still working on this last sentence, to give it the gravitas it deserves. But as you can see from even this small tasting sample, the main dish of my Diaries will be
a smorgasbord of political intrigue and high drama, with myself as the central character and protagonist. A suitable actor will need to be found to play me (I am assuming you have negotiated movie rights) with an ability to convey the subtle workings of a superior political mind, and look good in Papuan native gear.

Regarding your preposterous comment that the book will be ‘in the remainder bins the day after the next election’, allow me again to set your mind at rest by outlining the key chapters that lie ahead.

During January, when the rest of my colleagues will be found snaffling sausage rolls on beaches up and down the coast, I shall be making my final preparations for the great role I have yet to play on our national stage.

Even someone such as yourself, who admits to ‘not being much of a history buff’, will be familiar with my pedigree as one of our nation’s greatest premiers, and my proud legacy of 100 national parks and one drug injecting room. Talent like this, in my objective opinion, ought not to be wasted. Indeed, it has famously been said (by myself, as it happens) that ‘great nations deserve great leaders’. (Note to self: possible subtitle of Part Three?)

Over the long, languid summer the polls will repeatedly remind us that Ms Gillard stands to lose the next election. This is partly because journalists mysteriously keep finding more and more documents about her and her boyfriend’s slush fund.

As is sublimely demonstrated in the recent events described on pp 1,179-1,195 (enclosed), where I tell the PM to get knotted because I wish to demonstrate my pro-Palestinian credentials to Caucus and to the rest of the UN, leadership requires firm convictions and a canny sense of timing.

By February, the pathetic short little union bloke from Victoria attempts to agitate for a leadership spill, laughably putting his own name forward in the interests of ‘saving the furniture’. I succeed in playing a pivotal role behind the scenes in convincing him of the foolishness of his decision, and reminding him to put the interests of the party ahead of his own ambitions.

During March, I am in Washington, being frequently photographed with my good friend Barack Obama. A key section of this chapter will detail our dinner conversations at the White House, where I regretfully have to inform him that his good friend ‘Jules’ is in fact a raving red-haired lunatic with no political future whatsoever. Upon my return I mention to Mr Rudd that I have negotiated a key UN role for him in the ‘not-too-distant’ future — on the understanding, of course, he refrains from any further leadership fantasies.

I have cleverly set aside the headline ‘April Fool’s Day’ for the following chapter, in which I pledge my undying loyalty to the Prime Minister during a heated Caucus debate about our ‘inability to communicate our message’.

All hell breaks loose in May! This really will be a terrific chapter. The Treasurer, a ridiculous character from Queensland who sits around playing noisy American rock music all day and wouldn’t know a budget paper from a budgerigar, is forced to resign when Standard & Poor’s take a look at his latest figures and downgrade us to a Triple C minus.

‘Hope springs forth’ is my tentative title for June/July or thereabouts. That’s when Ms Gillard realises that the nation, and indeed the Labor party, would be better served if she stepped down from the fray and the fury and handed the role over to a player with more experienced hands with which to hold the reins.

In August I call an election. And win.

Yours sincerely,

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