Pie chart of Aussie PMs
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.
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”.
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.