Federal Cabinet, a sheltered workshop.

Lifters and leaners are terms in vogue lately, thanks to Joe Hockey who proceeds to dazzle the nation with his spell-binding oratory. Are you a Lifter or leaner?  is but one of the Federal Treasurer’s many formulations to prove of inestimable service to the public good as he goes about his mission of a meaner, leaner government.

 Lifters and leaners illuminates Hockey’s profound grasp of the social contract. As true leaders must, he shows a rare capacity for incisive thinking.  In two words, he’s illuminated our national discourse. It’s all about ourselves, of course. And it’s us and them. Us versus them. And we love it.

 Pitting lifter against leaner has helped inspire so many ordinary Australians to feel good about themselves. To be more selfish. Intolerant. Resentful of any social responsibility. And to point the finger at others who, invariably, have only themselves to blame. Fully costed and self-funded, this direction is guaranteed to be borne by others.

 In a breath-takingly benign controlled climate, thrives a hitherto unsung mutual support group of disadvantaged Australians which carries on bravely, battling all kinds of adversity. We refer to the sheltered workshop that is the Federal Cabinet. They lean inwards lifting themselves by their bootstraps, pausing only to get the nation to pay their expenses.

 Benevolence flowers rarely in the ordure of the modern world. Incredible as it may seem then, in our dog eat dog, look out for yourself, you bastard, society where markets rule supreme, and men and women count for so little, we can still look after some top dogs. These are a rare group of men (and one woman) who through no fault of their own prove incompetent in their chosen professions and often as people.  They rise to the top like turds in a sewage treatment plant.

 Federal Cabinet enables us to help out those who may face grave personal, social and emotional challenges. Time to take a closer look at a few examples of those we support, those whom we encourage and subsidise to develop vital on the job skills which enable and empower. Those we sponsor to develop vital workplace skills such as lying, denying and putting the boot into other battlers.

 Let’s begin with the runt of the litter, Tony Abbott. Battling a range of disorders including ODD, (oppositional defiance disorder), ADD, (attention deficit disorder), Narcissistic Personality Disorder, anger management issues and many others, little Tone is up against so much that he has been assigned his own integration aide, Peta Credlin.

 Along with being our unelected Prime Minister, running Cabinet, keeping the boys and Julie out of the public eye as much as possible and the odd phone call to Russia, Peta has a special way with this highly challenged individual and has been granted extensive powers of supervision. In particular she manages his delusional states most capably, even allowing him to pose in public as Prime Minister in his favourite dress ups. 

 Tony is, however, a demanding case and left to his own devices has been known to punch holes in walls. A failed seminarian who dabbled unsuccessfully in journalism, before qualifying for cabinet workshop, Tony’s case is under permanent review, given the propensity for other members to band against him behind his back, or say hurtful things about his intelligence, his temper and his lack of coordination to his face.

 The member for Wide Bay, Kingaroy born, Queensland farmer, Warren Truss, is widely held to be Abbott’s deputy leader. A member of the endangered National Party species, sixty-five year old Truss appears headed for extinction. He recently alienated his own generation with his claim that pensioners blow their savings on world cruises and then have to bludge off the rest of us. He also enraged his own constituency when eagerly spruiking Abbott’s PPL. Truss’ claims that the PPL had been shaped by consultation were disproved when both CWA and NFF leaders angrily pointed out that no-one from government had ever consulted either rural association. Severely afflicted with logorrhoea, echolalia, and the capacity to induce sleep in any animal or agricultural worker within earshot, long-winded Wokka is kept safely away from any livestock in Cabinet and is rumoured to be working on his memoir ‘Talk to the animals.’    

 Like Wokka, George Brandis is in the public eye for the wrong reasons. Clearly Brandis is a battler on so many fronts. Consider the damage he might do if he were permitted to practise law again. Or practise any form of public service. Helping others? You wouldn’t even want him anywhere near a computer. The thought of anything more technologically advanced than a fountain pen makes him ill. Defamation cases? Forget it. Unless you are looking to settle out of court. George could be of service in patting plaintiffs on the head and counselling that we all have a right to be a bigot.

 Our survey is limited only by time, space and decency. Many other cases clamour for attention. All are deserving causes worth of future attention. In the meantime, the nation can relax in the sure knowledge that the key decisions affecting our nation are taken by those outside cabinet. Indeed, they are outside politics. Australia is a nominal constitutional democracy ruled by an oligarchy whose power is greatly assisted, if not nurtured by the sheltered workshop of Prime Minister in Cabinet.