So you just told the crew that you might knock the barnacles off, Mr Prime Minister? Or should that be Cap’n Pugwash? Brilliant! We don’t know who writes your material, even though we taxpayers are paying a fortune in salaries and bonuses, but the latest metaphor takes the (ship’s) biscuit for black comedy. Barnacles!
It wasn’t them? OK, it was that Truth Parrott that so regularly but unpredictably shits all over your outfit. Just won’t shut up, will it? Annabel Crabb first noticed it. Your parrot squawks out the truth at the worst moments, Cap’n Pugwash. Knock off the barnacles, indeed. Best you listen this time.
Where would you begin? Your Ship of Fools, SS Team Australia, worm eaten, listing badly to starboard, almost rudderless, is now aground on Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Reef and she’s leaking badly while that scurvy backbench crew becomes daily ever more mutinous. Mutinous? Not just the back bench. There’s friggin in the riggin, Cap’n while you’ve been down below.
Hell, even Pyne the ship’s cat, deserted his watch, to write submissions about the ABC. That’s right, a submission to his own government! The ship’s cat attempted to jump ship. Or perhaps he believes he’s already on another one. Or he’s dived in after all the other rats. Cabin boy Hockey is already bobbing around in the drink, furiously treading water, like some kind of human buoyancy marker.
Signaleer Malcolm Rotary Nuts goes on ABC to lie about your lie about not cutting funding. Now, a few days later he spills his guts and calls it a cut. Lies about his lie about your lie about a lie. He’s trying to send you a message, Cap’n.
Ditzy Ms Bishop, your recruit from SS Princess Mesothelioma, just won’t stick to her knitting. At first you liked her style. Tough customer. Hard as nails and as smart and flash as a rat with a gold tooth, she made an early forward showing, when she broke all the rules to toss Steve Bracks out of his NY consular berth to repay a favour for Nick Minchin. Then she yanked Mike Rann home from London eighteen months early in favour of Alexander Downer because Downer was owed a big favour, too.
Downer, you recall, bugged Timor Leste leaders during delicate negotiations on the Timor Sea resources treaty in 2004. Woodside Petroleum did well out of it and returned the favour by finding a position for Alexander afterwards.Through his consulting firm Bespoke Approach, Downer became a paid consultant to Woodside Australia’s largest hydrocarbon company, which stands to make billions of dollars. No doubt you have something similar lined up for yourself with the coal industry.
But once on deck, Bishop has been a shocker. Not only has she insulted every world leader you would want on your side, including China and the entire UN Security Council, she set you up for an Obama Broadside. Stitched you right up. Ruined your G20.
Watch your back Captain Abbott. Forget the so-called death stare. Bishop has her eyes on the main prize. You never even questioned why she was so below decks at the time. Now you know. And she’s up in the ratings. All sorts of favourable mentions including Woman of the year for Harpers and even a push from the Fairfax press is whispering sweet nothings in our ear.
Risky recruit, Cap’n. Can’t say you weren’t warned, though. Wrong team. Not your team. Not only is she one of the Adelaide ‘born to rulers,’ she breaks your own rules about putting women in charge. They are not physiologically suited to the decision making required of leaders, as you have said. And furthermore, fess up, Cap’n: you always knew it was bad luck to have a woman on board, let alone a Twitterbox, even openly on her iPhone during Question Time. It’s not a good look, Cap’n. Sheeesh! You sure can pick ’em.
Barnacles! It’s your Christmas message to the crew Captain Abbott. You are rubbish in the polls. Your unfair, stuck budget festers in the public craw. You send in pin-stripe suited Cormann, your party’s own Heimlich manoeuvre but he just ends up looking like some expensive foreign mercenary or mafia hit man. But, hey, we will knock one or two barnacles off the ship before Christmas.
If you mean what you say, and that’s a bit controversial at the moment, we assume you have some plan for steering back into port. And someone on board who knows how to navigate. What’s that? Coal-powered? You have hitched the ship to a coal-burning tug. Brilliant! But you will need a dry-dock, Cap’n. And where will you find one of those, now, Cap’n? You’ve just about exhausted or alienated all your known stocks and supplies. Even Captain Rupert’s hacks are backing off or openly backing another rat.
Forget the barnacles. Abandon ship. Call a double dissolution. Put your money where your mouth is. It’s your only chance to get out while you can salvage any shred of credibility. So you lose the election. That’s the plan. Get a cosy berth ashore in coals, or even oil. Dick Warburton will even set you up with a few names of firms who would love to have you on board. And you wouldn’t have to do a thing. That’s the best Christmas gift of all – to all parties.