All right, all right, Bad Tony’s not the blokes real name, it’s actually Stephen. Here at Its Not Normal though we work by the principle every bugger deserves a nickname, even a moron, so Tony Bennett it is and Tony it will stay.
This bloke we call Bad Tony goes by the name of Stephen Bennett, and he’s the Queensland Parliament’s Member for Burnett, one of the safest seats in the State given that the Tory party in its many and varied guises over time have held it for all but 9 of the past 156 years.
As well as being a politician based at the beach at Bargara – a nice little seaside town that may be located on the far edge rather than at the center of the electorate, features a much better perve than Childers – Bad Tony is also the blasted blusterer who has been giving the member for Springwood, poor old Michael ‘Beefcake’ De Brenni (you’re supposed to call him honorable but sorry old China I’d probably choke if I tried) a ridiculously hard time on the floor of the House of Broken Dreams, accusing him of all manner of things including the dual mortal sins of bias toward unions and stacking government boards with ALP factional hacks.
Tony neglected to mention, probably because he doesn’t know, that the Beefcake only stacks his boards with powerbrokers from his own faction The Left, meaning that until he needs the support of the right-wing Labor Unity faction to help his own cause you’ll never see an AWU bloke appointed to any of the boards in the Beefcake’s portfolio.
Blow me down with a westerly wind though sportsfans, can someone please explain to me in simple plain Strine language what exactly the problem is with a bloke who was elected to parliament to represent a party formed over 1oo years ago by and for unionised workers – and run by and for the workers by their descendants since – appointing suitably qualified or experienced union men and women to the governing boards of certain prescribed statutory authorities.
After all the party formed to represent the interests of capital (the Liberals) have been appointing representatives of capital to boards for donkeys years, and their coalition party the Nationals, who were formed to represent the interests of farmers, have been doing the same with the fellas who want a wife since Adam was a wee boy averting his eyes from Eve’s naked tits.
Has Tony Bennett been out in the sun for too long or something? Perhaps they’ve simply been drinking too much of that lovely grey coal seam gas flavored water. Or maybe the party is simply a giant joke that no bugger outside the LNP’s walls has twigged to yet. That would explain the train wreck on the LNP line at the last election at least.
But really readers, what the hell is going on in the whole bloody
Liberal Party oops …sorry National Party .. (sh*t slip of the tongue the deamalgamation hasn’t been officially bloody announced yet has it?) …no no no …. I meant LNP – yes that’s it, the LNP, the Labor National Party – what the hell’s going on with that mob over in the House of Broken Dreams? Can’t they cope with a Queensland storm? Or is the problem much deeper, a breakdown in the merged parties power-sharing agreement that if not inspected and fixed could result in the party being in the wilderness for decades, just like it was for all those long years in opposition between 1998 and 2014
My take is that the primary problem – apart from the party’s pilfer, plunder, pummel policy that underpins everything that the LNP does and scares the sh*t out of voters at the same to time – is that there is a yawning leadership vacuum at the top of the party left by the rapid departure and accompanying dummy spot of Campbell Newman, who in his haste to exit stage left after the last election before the recriminations started flying seems to have stuffed up one last time for posterity by flicking the dial on the Hoover to blow rather than suck as he raced out the door and p*ssed off for a jog instead of staying to help give warmth, succor and comfort to the survivors standing in shock staring at the sea a the stern of the 1 term HMAS LNP GUVNOR gave one last little wobble, broke into brittle little pieces, and sunk like a chunk of nuclear waste down to the depths of the mangrove swamp from whence it came.
What a bloody balls up of a golden opportunity that was, a riches to rags story if ever one was written (or sung).
Thank God the bastards are gone though, because you only need to take one look at the outright shenanigans that Campbell No-Name’s hand-picked crew at Qld Rail have been up to, and then look around and ask “where did all the TAFE’s go?” before you are left with no conceivable alternative other than to conclude that Can-Do’s crew were up to good, a and the ex-Premier himself was no good either, and the present and presently unknown leader’s an absolute dud as well.
Even if the LNP is the political party that rings your bells and blows your whistle you have to accept that despite the passage of a year and a half passing since that fateful day during the Ides of March that the good ship HMAS LNP GUVMENT hit an iceberg and Captain Campbell took the bolt instead of going down with his crew and passengers, the party remains a titanic-sized disaster, and the clown’s currently running the conservative circus have only a little less than half of one of the House of Broken Dreams last ever 3 year terms to right their ship and get the LNP’s act together.
More correctly, the conservative side of Qld politics has a maximum of just under 18 months to set their ship’s course straight, and will only get that if Premier Pannacotta decides to take her crew through their full term. If she pulls the trigger early that time frame is going to be a whole lot less, which is a bit of a worry for the leading lights of the LNP because there is an abundance of very good mail coming out of George Street that suggests that the Premier is going to Pull a Peter (Beattie) and send Queensland voters to an early election if the polls bounce as expected after the movers, shakers, quakers and Cabinet makers from the ALP caucus our the superannuation dough they pinched from the public servants fund into
pork barrelling popular local projects around the winnable electorates.
Labor’s idea of course is to catch the LNP leadership with their pants down and pinch the election and the newly introduced 4 year term that goes with it, which would be a genius of a strategy if only it weren’t for the fact that no more than about a dozen good folk living north of the Tweed River actually know who the LNP leader or his deputy are, meaning that 99% of Queensland punters wouldn’t have clue whether the party’s leadership wears pants at all, or give a rats arse if the posh strangers dacks fall fair down to their ankles.
This sad state of affairs – and of our representative democracy – is all of the nameless and faceless men’s own making too, for it’s not as if in parliament if they are up against the world’s pre-eminent Premier, far from it in fact. They may lead or sit a close second in the polls, but you havce to understand that these are mid term polls not pre-election ones and there is always a bias of a number of points in favor of the opposition at this stage of the electoral cycle. The rubber doesn’t hit the road until the election is called, and at that point the recognition factor becomes worth its weight in gold to politicians.
The problem for the LNP though is that outside of his Clayfield electorate – and largely within it as well – is that no bugger knows who Tim Nicholls is, and if the punters don’t know him from a bar of soap then they can’t be expected to know that he’s the LNP leader can they? Similarly the average sportsfan can’t carry the blame for not knowing that JP Langbroek is the party’s deputy leader when half of his own party aren’t aware of the fact, or seem not to be anyway.
People inside the hallowed halls of the opposition party rooms can make whatever bloody excuses that they like but Nitro Nicholls has to shoulder the majority of the blame because the bastard’s absolutely bloody useless, and comes across to the mug punters as the type of bludger who couldn’t organise a bloody root in an Emerald brothel during a mining boom. And as for that layabout Langbroek …..who he is again?
For those who don’t know the LNP leader here’s a very quick sketch.
Nitro’s this Augustus Gloop-looking toff from Clayfield who went to Churchie and QUT and once upon a time made himself useful by working at the council. All was going along swimmingly while Nitro was stuck in the City Hall chamber laughing at the idiots from the ALP who squandered their majority on the floor – and ultimately unleashed the Can-Do cyclone on the unsuspecting populace – by giving the popularly elected Mayor support on supply and all manner of other things like tunnels and roads and the like even though his own party didn’t have the numbers to get them through .
(As an aside, these morons from Labor led by former lackeys like Shane Sutton and Milton Dick – with spiritual guidance provided by the pernially gutless ‘woulda-coulda-shoulda been Mayor if only he had the ticker to risk his easy $250k safe-seat salary and nominate’ David Hinchliffe – gave future students of politics the textbook example of how not to run a show when you have the numbers that allow you to f*ck the opposition over royally).
Back in those salad days of doing bugger all and twice as much again old Nitro was coasting along nicely, and nothing could wipe the smirk off his dial or spoil his reverie, not even before forced to watch on in wonder as the mad westie Councillor Nicole Johnston put on the latest in the never-ending sequence of self-important turns that back in the days prior to de-institutionalisation would have seen her landed with a decent involuntary spell in the Wacol Sanitorium.
But then one day the biggest gimme in the game wandered directly his way – running for election to the House of Broken Dreams in the seat of Clayfield against Liddy Clarke, the Labor bird who flew banned grog into a dry Aboriginal community on the Premier’s plane – and not even the Buddha could have looked that particular gifty horse in the mouth.
Now Nitro may have hitherto seemed so relaxed that he appeared to be asleep with an ever-present smirk on his dial, but he’s no Buddha and no fool either, despite all the indications and appearances to the contrary, and he saw the opportunity for a larger pay check and imagined a world full of adulation as he stepped onto the larger stage. So motivated by these glittering prizes was Nitro that for once in his pampered and privileged life the toff showed a bit of dash and initiative and actually managed to get off his arse and submit his bid for the seat, getting it into the selectors hands nine seconds before the nominations closed, and if reckon that he cut it a bit fine, well othere’s a story thatgoes with it.
You see Nitro’s Dad had long ago organised and locked in the Liberal Party preselection votes for his son in that neck of the woods, and because there have been no National Party members left in the district since the deeply corrupt trench-jumping dingo Don Lane dropped off the perch a decade before, the Liberal-National merger didn’t affect Nitro’s numbers at all.
Having absolutely no need to secure any of the swingers votes from head office Nitro of course never bothered going near the joint at all, preferring instead to keep the economy over by doing his business in fine dining establishments with water views and gentleman’s club with dead animals on the wall.
So panicked or enthusiastic (delete one) was Nitro that when it came time to hand in his nomination for selection – or when he heard the date and time on the 1oam news and shouted “Holy sh*t! I need to have the paperwork in by midday”, whichever version you prefer – he quickly texted up an Uber chariot and sprinted to the end of his long Hamilton driveway ready to hand it over to the foreign chappie behind the wheel, which he verily proceeded to do about half an hour later when the battered Nissan Maxima driven by the 457 visa holder working four times the maximum hours allowed under the terms of his temporary resident arrangement finally turned up.
The first question the driver asked after listening to Nitro’s frantic instruction to ‘get this f*cker to LNP head office immediately and don’t be late’ was exactly the one you would expect if you were anyone other than Nitro and hadn’t had everything that you needed or wanted served to you on a silver platter ever since you were a pup in shorts and long socks.
“What is address for delivery Sir?”
Poor bloody Nitro didn’t have a clue. Why would he? After all he’d never been to the joint had he? How the hell was he supposed to know?
It all seemed eminently reasonable, or did to Nitro at least, but the Uber driver took a different view of matters, and while I’m not sure precisely what the Persian is for ‘you f*cking halfwit why are you wasting my time!’ I’m pretty certain that’s exactly what the Uber driver was saying as he screeched his Nissan’s 20 year old bald tyres and took off at a rapid rate of knots through the leafy streets and headed back to the sanctuary of the closest of his brother-in-law’s eighty-three Seven-11 franchise stores.
For the slimmest of seconds Nitro thought he was ruined as he watched the Uber drive away, and momentarily abandoning all hope he slumped down in the gutter and was about to start sobbing in self-pity, when all of a sudden he noticed a kid in an Ascot State School Uniform (shorts by Canterbury, shirts by Ralph Lauren) walking down the street towards him.
Now if there’s one thing that Nitro hates more than hard work it’s truancy, because how were these little buggers supposed to stay out of trouble and get a decent job with a down-sizing firm if they were never in school? The simple answer to that question in Nitro’s eyes was that they weren’t, and that little nippers who nicked off from classes were on an express ride in cattle class straight to Dole Queue Station.
Overwhelmed by outrage and seeking an outlet for his anger at himself for missing the nomination deadline Nitro leapt to his feet and shouted ‘Oi ya little sh*t! What are you doing out here walking the streets during school time ya wanton wastrel?’
The kid looked goggle-eyed at the crazed and by now red-faced man standing before him screaming, and wondered if the bloke was insane. He was about to ask him exactly that ‘are you mad mate?’ – but well-bred manners are hard to shake and the kid’s civility quickly kicked in, so instead he politely informed the man that school had finished for the day, and asked whether his elder might not perhaps be mistaken about the time, pointing to the hands reading 3 o’clock on the Seiko he was sporting on his left wrist.
Bewildered for no more than a mere second, Nitro quickly realised that he had forgotten that we don’t have daylight saving time up here in Qld, and had absent-mindedly wound his watch forward an hour when the announcer on ABC Radio National made the announcement to listeners in the Southern states to do so. And now lo and behold as a result of the mistake commonly made by toffs who dwell in towers of ivory and glass Nitro had up his sleeve the precious 55 minutes that he required to delet Uber from his iPhone and dial up good old Black and White Cabs, and before you could say ‘sell public assets’ there the taxi was lobbing up at Nitro’s door.
“Here – take that and get it to LNP office as quickly as you can” our hero barked as he lobbed the nomination form through the vacant passenger seat window and into the lap of a bloke who delivers on time, every time and can recite the names and details of all the winners and placegetters in The Cup since Archer too.
Of course I speak here of none other than Gary the Cabbie, one of the increasingly endagered survivors from the ancient species of taxi driver who actually speaks English and knows the back streets of Brisvegas, and as an added bonus holds the distinction of being widely recognised as the State’s leading expert on all things Melbourne Cup.
That small seed of luck germinated quickly into a forest of good fortune, and to cut a long story short here we are sitting in the public gallery of the House of Broken Dreams and just over there on the other side of the rail rests Nitro, sound asleep and snoring in his comfortable leather chair with the words ‘OPPOSITION LEADER’ stencilled on it’s back iust in case any of the members were wondering who exactly the sleeping bloke was.
How the hell did we get here sportsfans, and where are we bloody heading?
Oh yeah, that’s right I was going to tell you all about how Bad Tony Bennett has been mean to the Beefcake this week by constantly slaggiong him off for not renewing the government board contracts of a wide array of LNP mates so that the Tory-leaning incumbents whose terms had expired could be replaced by the Beefcake with a bunch of mates of his own.
Bad Tony doesn’t like it one little bit because he knows – because God told him so of course – that this cynical move by the Beefcake was but the first step in the socialist Fidel Castro apologist’s 5 year plan for a communist resurgence in Queensland. And how dare the upstart up and sack Bad Tony’s mates! Who the hell did this jumped up trade unionist think he was? A representative of the bloody working class or something?
Sadly for Bad Tony the Beefcake actually does. Think (know) that he’s there in the place where dreams are daily broken not because he’s buff or handsome or intelligent – even though in the ‘Cake’s own view he meets and exceeds each of the criteria comfortably – but rather because he was fortunate enough (if he’s telling the story himself) or cosied up to the right people for long enough (if it’s one his many disgruntled former underlings narrating the tale) to receive enthusiastic support from his union allies and their associated ALP factions that was sufficient o enable him to achieve his lifelong dream of doing what his old man never quite could.
You’ve probably guessed already that the dream come true in question was to stroll through the hallowed halls of the house where dreams are made and broken, not stopping his wee ramble until he reached the magic modern-day bora ring of democracy where debates on such weighty topics as the maximum TARE load of a 12 wheeled Semi-Trailers are won and lost, and there plonking his arse in the custom designed leather armchair with ‘Premier-in-Waiting Once He Works Out How to Knock Jihad Jackie Off” written in gold lettered script across the back.
He may be many things the Beefcake, some of them good and others bad, but one thing he’s not is stupid, and he knows that if is to achieve his overall goal of reaching the political Everest summit he needs to keep his union backers and the Labor factions sweet.
So it was a no brainer that he’d replace LNP hanger-ons with hanger-ons from his own side of the divide, and if Bad Tony or Nitro or any other wombat who traded in their government salary for that of a backbenchers chooses to call them Labor mates then that’s their prerogative and they’d be damned right too because the Beefcake is proud to stand up for and stand forever next to any mate, or mate of a mate, or mate of a mate of a mate who might help him further his own cause; or for as long as the fella or filly is useful to his quest fpr greatness and glory anyway.
Besides, what the hell was the Housing Minister supposed to do? Go through an expensive and tortuous process to select the best person for the job or something?
This is politics not the bloody public service through whose ranks Bad Tony rose.
The Beefcake wants more than a one day to be running the whole damn show, not sitting like a bad smell in the the back benches like his hapless carping opponent Bennett. So of course when an easy earn on a government board becomes available it’s going to be mates, mates and even more mates whose names appear on the official list marked ‘Appointed’.
Up here where the pineapples grow we don’t do things like Tony Bennett buddy. Anything Goes up here – anything except LNP aligned bludgers on government boards – as our Government works night and day to make sure that The Good Life can be enjoyed by all. All our mates that is of course.
We do it the Beefcake and Frank Sinatra way up here in the Sunshine State mate.
Yep things are always stranger in paradise punters, but take the weirdo’s word last word on the subject – just like Cane Toads, unwound clocks, laws that render queers criminals, crooked cops, corrupt Commissioners and coal seam gas, the weirdness was introduced for your own good, and it’s doing you bloody good too.
And don’t you worry about that.