Pleased to meet you, Hope you guess my name;
But what’s puzzling you, Is the nature of my game.
I stuck around St. Petersburg, When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Tsar and his ministers, Anastasia screamed in vain.
We have this little thing up here in the Pineapple Land called a lobbyist register, and on this register those who ply the hand shaking with movers and shakers of government trade are required to record the contact and meetings they and their clients have with the aforesaid power brokers so that in the interests of open and transparent government such potentially nefarious encounters can be publicly displayed.
The register is quite important, and absolutely necessary, for Queensland has a potted history of politicians and government officials being slung cash, seduced by favors or otherwise swayed by businesses seeking to grab a chunk of the billions of dollars of State Government business available to the entrepreneurial punter year in, year out.
The best known and most notorious incidence of political bribery was of course that of the paper bag containing $100 000 in used banknotes personally delivered to the then Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen by an Asian businessman seeking the government’s approval to develop the Port Office site down near Brisbane’s botanical gardens. That 100 large was for Joh personally; another $100k was delivered to National Party head office the day after, and lo and behold the very next day by miraculous coincidence the development was quietly approved.
There have been numerous other dodgy deals done over the years – you can read about them in the leading historian and writer Matthew Condon’s outstanding book Little Fish Are Sweet – and if anyone seriously believes that the dark days of bribe-driven skulduggery and deceit are behind us then they only need to look south at the Eddie Obeid and Ian McDonald scandals to realise that they are mistaken.
It is for this reason that the lobbyist register is important. The integrity of our elected representatives and the bureaucracy that supports the State are fundamental to our democratic system of government, and must be protected and policed at all costs.
So what then are we to make of the records of contact with politicians and senior State officials lodged by Govstrat, the highly influential lobbying firm run by my old mate and out of the closet homophobe Damian Power, aka the Branch Stacker, ably assisted by former Premier and Joh associate Rob Borbidge and their staff of former senior public officials?
Either (a) our senior public servants are suffering from early onset dementia manifesting in amnesia, in which case they should be immediately retired medically unfit; or (b) Someone at Govstrat was telling porkie pies when they lodged their record of government contact forms; or (c) It’s Groundhog Day each and every day north of the Tweed; or (d) The Branch Stacker’s losing his memory and his marbles, for based on their account the lobbying outfit seems to do an awful lot of introducing and not much meeting to talk about business, or they say they do anyway.
Take as an example Govstrat’s dealings with government on behalf of its client Sun Metals Corporation, a subsidiary of Korea’s major producer of zinc and a range of other highly toxic minerals.
According to the documents the lobbyists lodged on the public register Govstrat picked the foreign mining firm up as a client on the 5th of October last year, and the very next day Power, a former ALP Treasurer, had whisked them into the House of Broken Dreams to introduce the top brass of the company to the Premier, her hand-picked head of the public service (the bloke whose wife picked up 3/4 of million dollars worth of government contracts) and the childcare worker turned Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland – she must have big feet – Coralee O’Rourke.
Now how the f*ck anyone gets a meet and greet with the Premier arranged on less than 24 hours notice I don’t know, but the Branch Stacker did. Perhaps it was a modern day miracle, and all those rosaries he’s prayed over the years do count for something after all. The Lord moves in mysterious ways heathens, repent and be saved and you too can ring up Annastacia and get a coffee date the next day.
I guess it was just a heavenly coincidence as well that a couple of weeks layer Govstrat dropped $1100 into the ALP’s coffers, or maybe just dumb luck, or something else.
What bothers me though is that despite only meeting the company’s big guns 8 weeks before, the bloke who runs the State’s whole bureaucratic machine seemingly forgot who the eminent billionaire Korean businessmen were, because the Branch Stacker had to go back on the 12th of December and introduce them all over again.
Now we all know that Dodgy Dave has a few problems with his memory. After all he forgot to note his missus’s business interests on his official register, thus causing him to forget the massive conflict of interest her government contracts created for him too.
The CCC sorted that one out for him quick smart, but what can they do about this ongoing amnesia that seems to afflict him? After all, having to introduce the head of a multinational who wants to spend hundreds of millions increasing the environmental stress on the Reef twice is a little bit like shagging the blond bird you picked up in the Valley and then forgetting her name when you bump into her again the next weekend isn’t it?
It’s just plain rude and ignorant, and dead set you’d think his lobbyist mate would have been across all the details so that the double intro could have been avoided. I might be being too hard on Dodgy D though, for there’s a growing body of evidence that it may well be the Branch Stacker who’s the one with the dicky memory not Dave. Old age catches up with them all I suppose, and the Stacker’s got a fair bit of extra time on me and all that plonk boozing certainly doesn’t help the brain cells grow.
You reckon I’m being harsh on the modern day dandy? Nah, the facts are on my side: just take a Captain Cook at the Branch Stacker’s appointment book if you need proof.
On the 27th of January he rolled into George Street again with the Sun Metals crew in tow, and after a slap up lunch down on the river the crew caught up with the ED of the Department of State Development, who was in all likelihood Joh’s right hand man Sir Llew Edwards son Dave who the Branch Stacker knows well from his days lobbying for the poker machine barons behind the Queens Wharf ‘Casino’ development who are presently in the process of eradicating Brisbane’s colonial history and replacing it with a state of the art poverty factory for poor people.
Just a fortnight later though the poor memory-afflicted lobbyist had to go all the way back into town and do it all over again. God only knows why – he probably talks directly to the Branch Stacker, so perhaps I should ask him – given that only 14 days had elapsed since the last time he made the intros, but their Govstrat’s main man was again, meeting with Director Dave (not to be confused with Dodgy Dave: they must all be called Dave at the top level of the public service) so that he could reintroduce the Korean zinc cream miners and makers to the boys.
Although I’m certain he was feeling a sense of deja vu (the feeling that I’ve been here before…the feeling that I’ve been here before …..the feeling that…..), I’m equally as certain that Director Dave wouldn’t have been too put out by having to do the intros all over again because he grew up with a father who had a bugger of a memory too.
Poor old Sir Llew, his inability to remember things was so bad that despite their 30 year age gap he often mistook his mistress for his wife, regularly directing his driver to take him to the bird without the ring’s joint at knock off time instead of heading straight home to the older model sporting the gold band.
Even if Director Dave didn’t clue to the old man’s regular mistake though, the fact is that the Branch Stacker always puts on a flash spread for lunch for important folk, and makes sure it’s accompanied by ample quantities of well chosen fine wine, so no public servant with cheese sandwiches and a thermos of tea in their briefcase ever minds meeting up with the Stacker in the middle of a hot summer’s day.
I’m bloody worried about the bloke though. Sure we may have fallen out spectacularly – man cannot serve Mammon and his mates at the same time, not if the interests of a faithful friend and a bucket load of union-driven factional support dependent bling collide, and the Stacker has always loved the sound ka-ching! almost as much the face staring back at him in the mirror, although in the latter case who the hell knows why – but I still have a soft spot for the artful dodger, and more particularly for his kids, and I’d hate to see him lose his bloody marbles without someone saying so.
If it was just the Sun Metals memory lapses and forced double intros I probably wouldn’t be so worried about the mad right-wing bigot, but unfortunately it seems as if the problem’s becoming deep-seated.
I mean crikey, just take a look at what happened a few weeks after the February meeting, when the befuddled Beau Brummel of Brisbane had 5 grand of his client’s money in his kick that was supposed to be kicked into the ALP coffers, probably to pay the lunch bill. The silly old duffer must have had a bit of the dough in each pocket and, given his loathing for the left, I’m suspecting he forgot to put his hand down that side of his chino’s because he only dumped 3 grand of it in the bucket on the front desk at Labor HQ.
You can only imagine what his missus had to say when he arrived home at 2pm after a late finish to a taxing day that had begun three long hours before, dumped his dacks in the Pope John Paul 2 special edition washing basket, grabbed a glass of red and collapsed exhausted and naked onto the limited edition Ratzinger rat-fur recliner.
The screaming reported by the neighbors wasn’t inspired by the awful sight of the lobbyist lounging sans clobber – Mrs Stacker’s long been resigned to the fact that she’s been dudded in the hot bodied husband department – but rather because as she was whacking the chinos in the whirlpool the forgotten 2 grand fell out and landed in a rubber-banded bundle on the floor.
“You bloody drongo Damian” I can just imagine her shouting. “Get your Savile Row suit back on and piss off back to town post haste to pay these spondoolies into the ALP election slush fund you forgetful fool”.
He would have too. The Stacker may put up a brave facade that fools some suckers into believing he’s the boss at home, but wise men know who really wears the pants, and despite his myriad of self-evident flaws stupidity ain’t one of them. And so we get two payments totaling 5 grand in the same day rather than one, and the old ducker and weaver’s dementia starts to stand out like dogs balls.
At sad as it is to see a bloke who’s about to put up his half century forget what day of the week it is though, at least it explains a few things, and know that I’m in the know sportsfans I’m not too proud to admit that I owe the Branch Stacker one hell of a huge apology.
Here I’ve been for these past few years branding the bloke as a treacherous train-jumping rat and warning all and sundry not to trust the fop as far as they could fling him f*cking head first, when all this time his disloyal un-Geebung-like behavior has actually been driven by bloody dying brain cells. Bugger me.
An artist’s impression of the Branch Stacker on Christmas Day 2017. Lucky he’s going to be born again isn’t it?
The casual disregard for deep friendships, the sell-out of the union movement so his multinational clients could secure the sold state assets and win the contracts for the workers outsourced jobs and slash their salaries in the process, the duplicity of his slipping from the arms of the ALP in favor of cuddling up to Campbell, the coconut shell tricks he played with ever changing consortium of clients in the Brisbane casino bid, the forest of fiction he planted and grew during the course of the great Cairns Casino con, even his most recent reinvention as an advocate of solar power after being a lifelong coal fired electricity man.
The Stacker wasn’t a slipperier than thou snake in the grass c*nt at all: he was simply a hapless brain dead moron suffering the living hell of disappearing grey matter cells vanishing as rapidly as his once bountiful head of hair. Never judge a book by its cover, even if it is a volume of the lobbyists register, that’s the lesson from all of this.
Damian Michael Branch Stacking Papist Power – I’m sorry. Just like you.
Before you go though, have I introduced you to …………..?