Editor’s note: Email is a thoroughly reliable mode of communication most of the time. But there are moments when things go awry, as they must have done late yesterday evening, when what might be SMH Canberra correspondent Peter Hartcher’s budget-night copy and correspondence turned up by mistake in Quadrant’s in-box.
Now, read on:
Suggested Headline: PM’s Snub to Gay Tradies
by Peter Hartcher
Homosexual plumbers, carpenters and electricians are up in arms about the Abbott government’s $20,000 tax deduction for new equipment unveiled in last night’s budget.
A secret and as-yet undisclosed provision, my sources say, will oblige tradies to make their gay partners wait outside building sites in any crew cab or ute purchased under the initiative announced last night by Treasurer Joe Hockey.
This has prompted widespread alarm among unnamed sources, including anonymous noise-pollution experts, who say unspecified councils may have to introduce bylaws limiting both the number of times and the volume at which Funky Town and I Am What I Am can be played on dashboard stereos during the course of their partners’ typical eight-hour shifts.
Abbott has previously stated that he finds homosexuality “confronting”.
My un-named sources see this snub as further proof that his pretense of support for a lesbian sister, alleged friendship with the late Christopher Pearson and anodyne expressions of public respect for the RAAF’s gender-bending winged warrior Cate (formerly Malcolm) McGregor are part of a cynical charade intended to blunt criticism that the Prime Minster is a Catholic.
“It is incredibly unfair,” said an un-named gay media figure with a keen interest in workingmen and tool belts. Fresh from London, where he reported on what would have been an overwhelming Labour victory if not for Rupert Murdoch, the universally respected pundit took time from selecting a relaxed-but-smart outfit for his next appearance on Insiders to explain the still-secret provision’s logic.
“By restricting this to work vehicles with limited seating, Abbott is undermining the push for gay marriage, as there will be insufficient room for the baby seats and the Filipina nanny.
“Worse, much worse than that, is the ongoing discrimination and blatant hypocrisy this measure enshrines.
“Yes, gays can now get tax deductions on their work vehicles. But what of Mardi Gras marchers, who generate at least $18 billion of economic activity every year to the Sydney economy?
“I ask you, why are bottomless chaps, nun costumes and the large motorcycles that are an essential and intrinsic part of the economically robust dykes-on-bikes lifestyle not covered by Hockey’s tax deduction?”
An unnamed spokesman for former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd confirmed that Abbott is a homophobe.
Next came an email from Sydney Morning Herald Monday-to-Friday editor Ben Cubby, formerly that newspaper’s global-warming correspondent.
To: Peter Hartcher
From: Ben Cubby
Great scoop, Peter – even better than your classic ‘get’ on Abbott’s deliberate snub of our Paris ambassador’s boyfriend, which you will be pleased to hear we are determined not to retract, no matter how much alleged evidence deniers of Abbott’s homophobia’s keep submitting.
But two questions:
1/ this ‘anodyne’ you mention, should that be Anna Dyne and is she a gay activist?
2/ surely, the constant playing of Funky Town must increase carbon emissions? Peter Hannam, our man in charge of the team that presents each day’s weather forecast as a further symptom of the planet’s climate-driven death throes, could whip up a quick companion article to really drive home the message that Abbott is a climate-denying Catholic.
So, amongst your many unnamed sources, do you have any gay and anonymous climate scientists who can pile on?
I’m figuring you must have some, because we hire a lot of UTS grads who tell me that that inversion happens with temperatures as well as sexual orientation. And if climate-change wasn’t tied to gay-marriage oppression, why would they talk about Gaia all the time?
As this point, no further mis-directed correspondence appeared in Quadrant’s in-box, except for this:
From: Peter Hartcher
To: Ben Cubby
Sorry, Ben. All my anonymous gay climate activist contacts have been ordered by Abbott to wait in their cars outside the CSIRO and cannot be reached. I have confirmed this with Kevin.
You’ll just have to muddle through, as always.