The PM was standing at the window overlooking the lake. He was worried as storm clouds were drifting in from the West.
“Bad omen, bad omen,” he mumbled to himself. The winter could be really bad in Canberra. Perhaps the capital should be up north. It would be more fun on his bike and he could visit the Aborigines more often and camp with them as he planned to do. He had promised it at the last election and the media were asking silly questions now.
A tall woman, his secretary, entered the office. She has been worried lately about her boss. After his near death experience a few months ago he had become softer, kinder – sort of.
The PM has heard her coming and, without turning away from the window, he said,
“Peta, I’m worried. Yesterday, in the cabinet room, I had a revolt on my hand. I’m really worried, Peta. Six of my most trusted colleagues told me, ‘Nope, we won’t stand for that”. Old Brandis even insisted he is the Attorney General and only he can look after the laws of the country. Doesn’t he know, I could replace him with Scott?”
“Boss,” his secretary said, “we have just discovered another group of ‘double dippers’.”
“Who, Peta? Peta, who?” He said with panic in his voice.
“ASIO has delivered the names and addresses of people holding dual citizenship and receiving pensions from foreign governments on top of our more than generous ‘old-age pension’. They have observed them for years and now they think it is time, in the present climate, that we should know about this potential ‘Fifth column’.”
“Didn’t we force them to apply for this money? It was always good for the bottom line.”
“Yes, Boss! But this was then. Today they are a liability for ‘Team Australia’. Especially as ASIO has cross-referenced them with people who had small arms training in those countries.”
“Peta, aren’t they old and senile now?”
“Yes, Boss, but they influence their offshoots and still love their home countries.”
“I could send them all back, but Julie (the Minister for Foreign Affairs) told me we can’t do that. If we declare someone a terrorist, nobody else will take him.”
“There are some legal issues with that, but we could always send them to another island.”
“Yes, Peta, Tasmania comes to mind. We could declare Tasmania an off-shore territory and solve two problems at one. Tasmania reverts to a penal colony and we get rid of that feisty Senator Jacqui Lambie. You are brilliant, Peta!”
“I’ll get right to work, Boss. The department can work out the legislation and we make Scotty the ‘Minister for the Off-Shore Territory of the New Van Diemen’s Land’. He would be the only person tough enough to control a can of worms.”
“Peta, I love your enthusiasm,” the PM smiled at her, “and the way you pick up on my wavelengths. I would make you a Dame. Really I would make you a Dame, but the bastards stopped me. ‘No more captain’s pick! No more captain’s pick!’ they said.”
When his secretary had left the office the PM turned on the TV. On the news channel, he saw a group of people at the Federation Square in Melbourne unfolding a large banner which said, “Send Tony back to Pommy-land. We don’t want foreigners in Team Australia!” He was disgusted and switched the TV off. He walked back to the window. The clouds looked even darker now.
The PM was enraged and his head started shaking. He was wondering why his parents ever migrated to this country at the ass-end of the world, where half the population are potentially deniers of our freedom to choose our protector.
After a few minutes, he went to the intercom and said, “Get my bike ready. I’ll go for a spin around the lake or this job will eat me alive!”