Pie chart of Aussie PMs

Daily Mercury - - TALK OF THE NORTH -

YOU don’t eat a pie. You smash it. You let it know who is boss. You re­strain it with both hands so that the strug­gling, squirm­ing an­i­mal that it is can­not es­cape your clutches. You gulp down the meat and let the juices and flu­ids run down your chin and down on to your shirt.

A shirt stained with pie juice stud­ded with the odd morsel of cow eye ball and bull scro­tum is a sym­bol of Aussie male viril­ity. It is the sign of the great hunter. The ul­ti­mate hunter­gath­erer.

It is a pa­gan rit­ual, a mod­ern-day Ro­man orgy in­volv­ing just you and that sweet lit­tle disc of pas­try con­tain­ing gris­tle, wa­ter, and an­i­mal body parts pumped from the slaugh­ter­house sump af­ter the bon­ing room floor has been hosed out.

It is an in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence shared by just you and the ol’ dog’s eye. You do not eat a pie with a knife and fork.

Our prime min­is­ters’ past and present have had dif­fer­ing views of deco­rum when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of eat­ing a pie.

Mal­colm Turnbull was caught fla­grante delicto look­ing like a Pom­mie knob when he was sprung eat­ing a pie in Tassie with a knife and fork. I mean, re­ally, do they have knives and forks in Tas­ma­nia?

To make it worse he was wear­ing a cash­mere jumper un­der his sweater. Wear­ing cash­mere upped the ante as far as his Pom­mie “knob­ness” was con­cerned. What’s wrong with Aussie Merino wool?

It all went down­hill from there for Mal­colm. He was busted as prime min­is­ter and look who took his place? None other than the Ne­an­derthal Man him­self, ScoMo.

Scott Mor­ri­son rips into a pie like a hyena into a downed wilde­beest. Take a look at the fangs. Take a look at the photo. Wrap him up in a bit of woolly mam­moth hide and he’d look like he just stepped out of the cave.

Ju­lia Gil­lard looks like some­one has hit her on the back­side with a cat­tle jig­ger just as she bit into her pie.

We couldn’t find any pho­tos of Bill Shorten eat­ing a pie, but watch­ing him eat this sausage sand­wich was like be­ing forced to sit through a 30 minute lec­ture on ad­vanced al­ge­bra.

Kevin Rudd eat­ing a pie? Yes, here is pho­to­graphic proof that this try-hard Aussie has ac­tu­ally eaten a pie. Watch­ing him eat it is ex­cru­ci­at­ingly painful. It is enough to make any nor­mal per­son’s eyes bleed, but, the fact can’t be ig­nored that it is a rare photo.

It’s very sim­i­lar in its rar­ity to one, say, of the reclu­sive Congo okapi and of the (un­til re­cently) thought to be ex­tinct, ground dwelling night par­rot.

For Tony Ab­bott, eat­ing a pie is a re­li­gious ex­pe­ri­ence. In­deed in this photo it looks as though he could be hav­ing a re­li­gious “thoughtie”, but, no, we are not go­ing to go there.

Bob Hawke, “Hawkie” to his mates, re­lied on one food group to get him through the long days and nights when he was prime min­is­ter. Yes, he was sus­tained by pies, pies of all per­sua­sions, be they meat, pep­per steak, steak and mush­room, or steak and kid­ney with mushy peas.

With Hawkie, no pie was off lim­its. And he washed them all down with a six pack of Vic­tor Bravo’s. Yes, there is deco­rum at­tached to eat­ing a pie, and very few of our politi­cians man­age to get it right.

But, if ever there was a PM who looks as though he en­joys a pie it is the in­cum­bent. Rip into that wilde­beest, ScoMo.

BREKKIE WITH SCOMO

SUP­PORT­ERS paid $5000 a head to have break­fast with ScoMo in Townsville on Thurs­day morn­ing. Per­haps they were served pies? I hear about eight guests were there plus staff and min­ders.

TURN­ING OFF ECO-TOURISTS

THE State Gov­ern­ment’s plan to de­velop a pop­u­lar wilder­ness trail on Hinch­in­brook Is­land with walk­ing bridges and glamp­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion has the sup­port of Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party Nick Dametto. Mr Dametto, the Mem­ber for Hinch­in­brook, was on the ra­dio this week back­ing state La­bor’s plan to turn the rugged bush track into a glamp­ing style at­trac­tion.

There will be some argy-bargy over the plan. One Card­well busi­ness­woman told me that peo­ple who op­posed the devel­op­ment were ei­ther “liv­ing in the past like an old per­son” or were “back­ward minded.” She, per­haps like other Card­well busi­ness­peo­ple, see it as a way to bring more tourists to their town. The risk is, of course, that the fair dinkum eco-tourists, such as those who now walk the Thors­borne Trail, will look else­where for that wilder­ness hik­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Tully, too, has the sort of raw, wilder­ness en­vi­ron­ment that will un­doubt­edly be­come more pop­u­lar as the world shrinks and peo­ple start look­ing more and more for na­ture un­adorned.

White wa­ter raft­ing pi­o­neer Gra­ham Maifredi, who is cur­rently in Ar­gentina judg­ing world raft­ing com­pe­ti­tions, told me he sees no rea­son why Tully can’t model it­self on New Zea­land ad­ven­ture mecca, Queen­stown.

WHIT­SUN­DAYS’ WOES

THE Whit­sun­days are still re­cov­er­ing from 2017’s Cy­clone Deb­bie.

There are houses there that have still not been re­paired. But, since then there have been three shark at­tacks in Cid Har­bour.

The lat­est at­tack this week was fa­tal and the two pre­ced­ing it were se­ri­ous, with one per­son los­ing a leg. And then there was the drown­ing of the fa­ther and son in the Air­lie La­goon. All of this in has hap­pened over the last eight weeks.

How two peo­ple could drown in the la­goon is a puz­zle, but I’m told div­ing in­dus­try peo­ple have learnt to watch tourists from South-East Asia very care­fully when they are in the wa­ter.

Ap­par­ently, it is be­cause they don’t like draw­ing at­ten­tion to them­selves when in trou­ble, even in the wa­ter. All of this has hap­pened in the lead up to Schoolie’s.

BRAN­SON REFUTES RU­MOUR

I MEN­TIONED a fort­night ago that Vir­gin boss Sir Richard Bran­son was ru­moured to be eye­ing off Dunk Is­land. His Aussie rep has been in touch to say Mr Bran­son has no plans to set up show in North Queens­land.

IN­LAND NUM­BERS DWINDLE

OUR in­land con­tin­ues to bleed pop­u­la­tion num­bers as res­i­dents leave and re­lo­cate to coastal and South-East Queens­land. Noth­ing has been done to stop the steady trickle of peo­ple leav­ing our west­ern towns. De­spite our love of the bush and the in­spi­ra­tion it pro­vides on a day-to-day ba­sis, it is dy­ing the death of one thou­sand cuts. Shear­ers and sta­tion hand jobs went long ago and then the gov­ern­ment shut down rail­way ser­vices. Third gen­er­a­tion rail­way folk packed up their fam­i­lies and headed for the coast.

The drought, now in its sixth year, takes its own toll on busi­nesses and jobs.

In­land may­ors John Whar­ton at Rich­mond, Jane McNa­mara at Flinders and Belinda Mur­phy at McKin­lay and KAP’s Rob­bie Kat­ter are all on the record for try­ing to get things done that will open the in­land up to jobs, ca­reers and sat­is­fy­ing life­styles. It is still a hard road for them to hoe.

Politi­cians talk about grand wa­ter schemes that will open the in­land up to crop­ping and beef pro­duc­tion, but so far all of that talk just blows away in a hot wind.

De­mog­ra­pher Dr Aude Bernard from the Queens­land Cen­tre for Pop­u­la­tion Re­search at the Univer­sity of Queens­land has the fig­ures.

She told me that Rich­mond, McKin­lay (Ju­lia Creek) and Flinders (Hugh­en­den) which are rolled into one and called the North­ern High­lands re­gion by the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics lost 14.8 per cent of its pop­u­la­tion be­tween 2011 and 2016.

In­land Queens­land over­all lost 11.1 per cent of its pop­u­la­tion in the same pe­riod. Un­less some­thing is done to re­verse this trend it will be­come a case of “will the last per­son to leave, please turn out the lights”.

Photo: Dan Peled

TASTE TEST: Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son eats a pie dur­ing a visit to the Beefy's Pies fac­tory near Ma­roochy­dore on the Sun­shine Coast this week.

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