Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:
The end of the year is imminent but the orbit of eclectic and core issues keeps your city in that post-political glow. That glow attracts the belated return of the political moths. I am now sitting on a mini bus in Taiwan but it is hopeless, I am still engaged in it.
We have had our final shadow cabinet meeting, returning to the big white boarding school on the hill like penitent school children ordered back after school has risen for the year. Canberra is beautiful but that building is rather depressing when the electricity of sitting has left. You rattle around dodging the maintenance men, glancing at the locked doors of offices of colleagues who are all at home with their families.
Canberra’s trees are green, the shade is full and the water in the lake was like glass in the still evening as I drove in. Back at the boarding school Tony was in one room and Julia in the other. The latter desperately trying to reconfigure the batting line up, the former clearing up loose ends and trying to maintain the pace attack that has proven itself on a lively green wicket.
The year finished with more a fizzle than a thunderous bang. We have all been climatised, mortgaged and now we have been granted a Minister for Disastrous Events, the Hon. Robert McClelland. He will not have to travel too far for work; it is obvious why he needs to remain in cabinet.
I do not know what it takes to get kicked out of the current Labor Party cabinet but it would have to be horrendous. The get-out-of-jail card, at least for those lucky to live on the green carpet, is to threaten resignation. Former cabinet minister, Senator the Hon. Kim Carr, got the boot though, and now he is sulking around, wondering in his three-piece suit about how much time he can commit to campaign for the comeback of Kevin Rudd. Stephen Conroy has given an illuminating expansion of the Queen’s English in the daytime kiddies’ slot; quite an interesting expose of how the Minister for Communications uses old Saxon profanities when communicating.
A few weeks ago much political attention focused on a gay marriage convention held in Sydney, where apparently quite a number of ALP politicians and members turned up. It appeared rather incongruous to a country whose people are asking the serious cost of living questions about how they pay their power bill and how well prepared are we for possible global economic meltdown. The country is looking to where the ship is going not who the captain marries.
Back at St George, the ducks have lately taken up residence on the levy bank next to my house, rather ominous and unerring as the Balonne River once more starts its Christmas task of moving the benevolence and possible curse of the northern inclement weather to the flood plains of the south. The ultimate source of wealth, fresh water, sine qua non. It is renewable green wealth, which even in our own small western shire, will earn well in excess of half a billion dollars; something which I have always been proud of but many others apparently want to decry. The desire for an environmental utopia of pre-settlement without ever putting up an alternate source of income.
Somewhere was the silent force of Bob Brown, the greatest victor of the year, viewing his spoils of policy success. Success beyond his wildest dreams and all delivered to him by a third party chained to his request and impotent against his cunning and adroit ransoms so well tuned after years of practice.
I am looking forward to the time at home. The cattle work, sweat and swearing and a million miles from Parliament, the purification that comes from dealing with the honest and noble pursuit of creating food. I am looking forward to going to the beach with my family and swimming beyond the last break to float in the early morning sea then back for a coffee and paper with the boss, Natalie.
And Canberra, you are happy to be rid of the Z-sleds with those caustic ostentatious overpaid prima donnas otherwise known as your local Members and Senators.