Peter Smith

Look who pulls McKew’s strings

Yet another sexist attack on the PM? It looks like it. It could even be construed as a misogynistic attack according to the powers that be at the Macquarie dictionary.

A spokesperson said, “Look, words are flexible, which currently means bendy, so watch this space, which currently means vacant gap, because things can change, which currently means altered state, and you never know, which currently means having information, where you are, which currently means your position, unless you keep up, which currently means the opposite of down, with the latest definition, which currently means whatever we want it to mean”.

When asked whether this might be confusing, the spokesperson said it all depends on what you mean by confusing.

Anyway, to the attack: Maxine McKew accused Julia Gillard of conspiring to stab Kevin 07 in the back. This wasn’t spontaneous, she intimated. There was plotting and planning and malice aforethought.

Julia called a surprise press conference and dismissed Maxine’s charges as baseless. She said that she had dealt with this before. “I was disingenuous then and have no intention of being disingenuous over and over again about the same old thing. Fresh lies are one thing but old lies are simply not de rigour”.

When asked whether she meant de rigueur she responded tartly that the Macquarie dictionary would undoubtedly catch up soon with her vocabulary and turn of phrase.

“This is yet another example of misogyny”, Julia said. “Tony Abbott is behind it, don’t you worry about that.”

“How can Tony Abbott be behind it?” An incredulous reporter asked. And then sarcastically, to his cost, he added, “he is hardly going about in drag pretending he’s Maxine McKew”.

“Ok, you mincing poodle, who put you up to asking that question? Who? No, you don’t have to answer that, I know who.”

“Maxine McKew is nothing but a puppet dancing to Abbott’s tune. Notice how quick he was to jump on the bandwagon. You’re obviously part of the plot too. You despicable misogynist!”

“I know what you and Abbot get up to in your spare time: beating up defenceless women; exhibiting entrenched and extreme prejudice against capable women. Just like Abbott, I heard you once turned your back on Nicola Roxon, my extremely capable attorney general. She might have been twenty feet away but she noticed. She felt spurned and sullied, she told me.”

“You’re out to get me and Nicola and Tanya and Kate and Penny just because we’re women. Well bring it on. Bring it on!”

Leaning forward towards the reporter, she started jerking disconcertingly from side to side, her hands splayed, her eyes wild and staring. “I’ve had enough. No more turning the other cheek for me. No more ladylike manners. No more sweet and gentle Julia. Castigation is all you misogynists will get from me.”

The reporter, who had begun sweating and backing away unnerved, misheard castigation for something else in his fluster. Losing his presence of mind, he began scurrying for the side door.

Julia’s voice rose to a nasal crescendo. “That’s right you misogynist, turn your back on a woman, run out on a woman. I’ll castigate you cowardly wretches. I’ll castigate you wretches”, she repeated.

The reporter ran as fast as he could into Abbott’s office. “She’s onto us”, he said as he collapsed breathlessly to the floor.

Maxine rushed over to help him. “What should we do Tony?” It’s your fault you told me to write it.

“That’s right Maxine blame me. Everyone blames me for everything.”

“You don’t understand Tony”, the reporter whined. “She said she’d castrate me”.

“Oh come on be a man, she’s always full of high dungeon and hyper bowl”, Tony said. “I think that’s the new way the Macquarie dictionary puts it.”

“Well it unnerved me I can tell you”, the reporter said.

“We have to hold our nerve,” Tony said. “Plausible deniability is the key. In case we’ve been seen, you two simply made a wrong turn into my office. Now Maxine, start putting it about that most male Labor politicians told you that they think Julia is a totally incompetent, untrustworthy, accident-prone dipstick.”

“But they did say that, Tony, all besides Wayne Swan."

“Ah, okay, then how can we embellish it?”

“You are so devious and clever, Tony.”

“Well I am a Rhodes Scholar you know.”

Meanwhile the reporter was trying to steady himself by downing a double scotch from Tony’s supply. “Please don’t send me out again to ask her awkward questions”, he pleaded.

“Courage, be a macho man”, Tony said, with a cocky chauvinistic glint in his eye.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

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