The Free Beer Party is out of grog
I wrote this satire after the 2004 election when it looked like John Howard (not the actor) would be Prime Minister for life. Of course it was only a few years later, when his lies had caught up with him, that he was so unpopular that his own ministers asked him to stand aside (He said he couldn’t as his wife wouldn’t let him and his spineless ministers excepted that). He went on to became the second ever Prime Minister to lose his seat.
A Political Icon
Today as we celebrate the milestone of our beloved Prime Minister becoming the longest serving in Australian history we should take a moment to consider this remarkable achievement. Later today Gazza will pass John Howard’s record of 32 years and 164 days as Prime Minister. Howard who is most remembered for winning his record 11th term in office after giving his campaign address from his Chesterfield recliner in the Benalong Retirement Village, before dropping dead.
Gazza’s remarkable arrival onto the Australian political landscape was when he first showed his now legendary feel for the concerns of the common man by his claims that the price of beer always increased under the then current government and by his promises of free beer. That the whining chardonnay liberals dismissed his campaign and ignored him only confirmed how out of touch they were. Economists claimed that the price of beer always increased whichever party is in government, but this had no effect as who listens to Economists anyway. Gazza’s triumph in the following election cemented the irrelevance of his critics.
Of course it wasn’t an easy start for Gazza. After the election when he declared free beer to be a ‘non-core promise’ and imposed a GST (Grog Swilling Tax) his popularity fell dramatically. The grass roots One Esky party was gaining support and when one of his mates was over heard describing Gazza as being “Mean, tricky, and out of beer” it looked like being the last shout for Gazza. All of which made the incredible victory that followed even more spectacular.
I am sure that no true Australian needs reminding that the start of that campaign was over shadowed by the ugly incident at the main bar involving the New Zealand Ruby team, a dozen kegs and a live sheep. It was Gazza’s magnificent handling of their expulsion and eventual deportation with the comment “We will determine who will drink our beer and the manner in which they do so” that captured the mood of the Nation.
The now infamous Esky Out The Back affair where Gazza claimed that the New Zealanders had thrown their Esky out the back of bus on the way to the airport and said “We don’t want people like that in our country” sealed the the fate of the election which went on to be a landslide in his favor. Rugby officials claims that the team were only showing their empty Esky to the assembled media were unbelievable as who would listen to anyone who believed such a story. Subsequent media footage after the election that confirmed the Rugby officials story only supported Gazza’s position when he said that he had been misled by his drunken officials and that the “The people have moved on”.
Now as we prepare for next months referendum to appoint Gazza as Australia’s first President-for-life we should all look back and marvel that such a civilized nation as Australia could have come to this.
All people, places and events depicted are real, just not in this universe.
© Paul Shipley