Insights from Quadrant

Nightmare
on the Yarra

A Victorian friend of Quadrant awoke in a wee-hours panic after a most unsettling dream, one he fears may be more prophecy than fancy. He jotted down what he recalled of his vision and sent it along:

With the Melbourne Cup coming up special precautions are being planned, with jockeys and horses being required to observe social distancing. To ensure compliance, snipers are being placed at strategic points to deal with riders who breach the rules, their targets selected with the help of eye-in-the-sky drones Premier Dandemic’s government has announced will soon be hovering over Melbourne and suburbs to monitor residents’ compliance with Spring Street’s latest edicts.

Animal welfare groups remain concerned, however, as the possibility of an animal being injured accidentally cannot be ruled out.

“Victoria Police has already opened fire at a 64-year-old suspected curfew violator I have been told  is alleged to have driven at the officers who pulled him over,” noted Premier Dandemic. “The people of this state can be assured we are taking seriously the responsibility to aim correctly.

“Moreover, I have been assured by the CFMEU that the loss of one or two horses is acceptable collateral damage, provided the meat is donated to the union’s Meat Tray Raffle, which has become another of this government’s great successes since the purchase of tickets was made compulsory.”

The ABC and The Age, which each sent squads of newsroom stenographers to cover the announcement, were at pains to emphasise in their reports that Premier Dandemic had acted only after consulting Victoria’s key stakeholders.

“Fortunately, a Belt & Road ambassador just happened to be in town to arrange the latest loans from Beijing to strengthen Victoria’s economy,” the ABC reported, noting that the state’s current anti-COVID lockdowns, quarantines, curfews, target practice and advertising campaigns (‘Staying apart keeps us together‘) were faithful replications of the initiatives that had made China a model for the world.

As to the suspension of parliament, The Age editorialised that it was a needed measure, “as members of the Opposition, many of whom are climate deniers, persist in criticising government policies.”

Leader of the Opposition Mick O’btuse denied being a climate-change denier and stressed that his party placed a premium on suppressing greenhouse emissions by adding premiums to energy consumers’ power bills.

Before Deputy Leader Tim Schmick could raise a hand to declare that cheap energy would help get Victoria’s ravaged economy back on it feet, Mr O’btuse assigned him to serve as shadow spokesman for planning, a job that had a galvanic effect on the career of former Gliberal leader Matthew Guy.

Premier Dandemic ended the press conference with an expression of deep gratitude to the United Firefighters Union, whose members have been blitzing call-in radio shows in an organised campaign to highlight the Labor government’s many achievements, augmenting that push with social-media assaults on reporters who pose questions Premier Dandemic would prefer not to answer.

“It’s the least we could do,” a union official said. “I mean, how better to express our gratitude to Premier Dandemic for cutting the Country Fire Authority’s volunteers down to size while building our influence and membership rolls?”

Our dreamland correspondent concluded: “Why is it that a few lines of an old Animals song, ‘I gotta get out of this place’, is playing endlessly in my head? Must go now. VicPol’s SWAT Squad is kicking in the front door…”

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