Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, August 02, 2004
YOU THOUGHT ALL POLITICAL SATIRE on Auntie was left-wing? No more.

Uncle has offered a series of political commentaries to the ABC, to balance the regular John Clarke and Brian Dawe segments on television's 7.30 Report. Here is the first. You can expect it to be broadcast very soon.

Brian Clawe: Welcome Julian Burnside!

John Darke (adopting expression of sincere self-admiration): I'm only talking to you because my fans expect it. I'm really a modest if very rich lawyer. It's not my fault I've been declared a National Treasure.

Clawe: Why's a conservative, money-grubbing lawyer like yourself riding so high on the 'refugee' band-wagon?

Darke: Just because I'm a mouth for hire, it doesn't mean I don't know how to tell the difference between right and wrong. The wrong ones usually pay more, for starters. What are you paying?

Clawe: We only pay in psychic currency. Haven't you noticed our photographer has taken 30 photographic portraits. Our friends at Fairfax have promised to print at least eight of them.

Darke: I prefer full-face. That way you get both sides at once.

Clawe: Or both barrels, perhaps. Earlier this year you said of our present government; "it remains the fact that our government is engaged in a continuing crime against humanity...I accuse Mr Howard and Mr Ruddock of that crime".

Darke: Yes, but that was only for the Rotary Club. If I'd been talking to more intelligent people I'd have been more honest. How about this: John Howard is "immoral, hypocritical, un-Christian and a criminal". Would you tell that photographer to make sure my wife's paintings get in the shot. We're having a sale next week.

Clawe: You're now a conservative anti-government activist, like Malcolm Fraser. We understand Mr Fraser's motives. Do you feel like a feather duster, too? And when did you feel like a rooster?

Darke: It's all very simple Brian. By the way did that shot of me pouting and wrinkling my brow in distaste at all this unwanted attention come out alright? Oh, good. Yes, it all began with my work for those people who held up the good ship Tampa and forced it to sail to Christmas Island

Clawe: wasn't that a bit rough?

Darke: You should meet some of my previous clients. No, the Tampa mob broke no Australian law. They're all innocent. Locking them up is therefore a crime. And since they're human it's a crime against humanity.

Clawe: But if these intruders broke no law, why did you say ""quite early on, it became apparent to me that the problem was the provisions of the migration act: the law itself was wrong. ... Courts can't change that. I thought the only thing that would achieve change was to make the public see that we had laws that were working dreadful injustice".

Darke: What part of "immoral" don't you understand. We lawyers know immorality when we see it. People who can't pay our fees must be of superior character, or why would I be representing them. Howard took us to war in Iraq on the basis of a lie. Howard and Ruddock are dishonest hypocrites. I, on the other hand, am a thoroughly decent man, blessed with insight into the truth that is above law.

Clawe: That rings a bell. Are you a candidate for Governor-General next time around?

Darke: "That's very flattering. The first thing is it would never happen under any government that would benefit from it".

Clawe: What does that mean?

Darke: I have no idea. But you can be sure that when I go to Yarralumla I will be a much better man than the PM who appoints me.

Clawe: Julian Burnside, thank you.

Darke: Don't mention it. Make sure you send me those photographs to check.

(Uncle wishes to thank Julian Burnside, QC, for the jokes (from the Australian Financial Review Magazine of last week, undated, pages 60-67), and asks to be excused the usual fee).