Can pol­lies turn rust spots into trust spots?

Central and North Burnett Times - - WEEKEND - with Michael Burlace Pol­lie Tick­led is a satir­i­cal col­umn.

THE US and many other coun­tries have their rust belt – re­gions where in­dus­try pro­duced goods that rust – steel, cars, cans and the like. We don’t. We have rust spots in­stead. Think Geelong, Wol­lon­gong, New­cas­tle, Whyalla and mul­ti­ple smaller towns and cities on the coast and in­land. Some are towns with mines or that built ex­port ter­mi­nals or sim­i­lar boom then bust jobs.

In the past it was easy to keep the rust spot peo­ple em­ployed, happy-ish and ful­fill­ing their civic duty of vot­ing for the in­cum­bent. Chuck in mil­lions in sub­si­dies and all will be well.

Un­for­tu­nately big over­seas com­pa­nies pock­eted sub­si­dies, cut jobs and are now cut­ting out the last bits and run­ning.

All good things come to an end and the in­cum­bent party in each rusty elec­torate has to do some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. Such as think. Or lis­ten to the peo­ple. Or, hard­est of all, change.

Yes, change is upon us. Your friendly lo­cal politi­cian is about to be just that. Friendly and lo­cal. No longer will she or he be dis­con­nected, lazy, iso­lated and un­avail­able.

And as they say in China where our jobs are now, “Be care­ful what you ask for, you just might might get it”.

So it will be our civic duty from now on to put up with MPs. Just imag­ine an­swer­ing the phone on Mon­day to hear “Hi, it’s Freda Bloggs, your friendly lo­cal mem­ber. Got any­thing I can open, any rib­bons I can cut, any cer­tifi­cates I can hand out?”

Or worse, they just turn up, unan­nounced with a gag­gle of me­dia ex­perts to twist things to look good. No longer is the fam­ily bar­be­cue safe. The prob­lem used to be food poi­son­ing be­cause of dad’s non-be­lief in hy­giene. Or Un­cle Al­bert would get a skin­ful and try to fon­dle the wives of his neph­ews.

Now it’s the smell of burn­ing meat that draws politi­cians like flies. Or does it draw flies like politi­cians? Never mind, they’re as pop­u­lar as each other for sim­i­lar rea­sons. Maybe some Pol­lieGard is the go. A quick spray that keeps them away.

I tried scat­ter­ing empty beer bot­tles across the lawn. It works on dogs. But it has no ef­fect on my lo­cal mem­ber. Un­seen for years, he fi­nally found the keys to the car, ven­tured be­yond his three usual haunts and has been seen in ac­tion. Well, in motion – the car’s on cruise con­trol and he’s on au­topi­lot.

He came to my fam­ily bar­bie un­in­vited – with some beer com­pany’s in­sipid at­tempt at an apol­ogy for gay mar­riage. Or for op­po­si­tion to gay mar­riage. Or for a gay mar­riage poll. Or for get­ting caught with their pants down. Fig­u­ra­tively, of course.

But we can see the change. Politi­cians and parties are do­ing things. Worth­while things. It’s good to know that at least one Coali­tion mem­ber will be com­fort­ably elected as a re­sult of buy­ing a huge num­ber of jobs build­ing sub­marines. And the bill only came to bil­lions of dol­lars. Great value, re­ally.

And the politi­cians aren’t ne­glect­ing their real job. The Libs are rip­ping into Bill Shorten. Vot­ers ap­par­ently think Shorten stinks more than Mal­colm Turn­bull.

But that plan could back­fire. Just imag­ine the panic if La­bor throws away its agree­ment to not roll the leader un­less it’s just af­ter an elec­tion. Or Bill takes one for the party and re­signs.

Oops. The Coali­tion might just have cre­ated a real Op­po­si­tion. One with a cred­i­ble leader. An electable leader.

What was that Chi­nese say­ing again?

‘‘ Maybe some Pol­lieGard is the go. A quick spray that keeps them away.


◗ The fam­ily bar­be­cue is no longer safe as the pol­lies be­gin to prowl for me­dia op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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