Top of the pups

The Australian - - INQUIRER - strewth@theaus­tralian.com.au

Ear­lier this week on Syd­ney’s WSFM, Mal­colm Turnbull found him­self in a con­ver­sa­tion with hosts Amanda and Jonesy about black labradors and what Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin might call his in the event he had one. Jonesy: “I think Putin would have a dog called Rex, wouldn’t he?” Turnbull: “Or Fang.” Amanda: “Fang! Sic ’em Fang!” Jonesy: “Or Stalin.” Turnbull: “On re­flec­tion, yes.” As Strewth noted the other day, Putin used to have a black labrador but she was not named after the greatest calamity to be­fall the Rus­sian peo­ple so far, an­swer­ing in­stead to the less prob­lem­atic name Konni. Konni, alas, is no more, but Putin is far from dog­less and has a Ja­panese akita called Yume and a karakachan (or Bul­gar­ian shep­herd) called Buffy. Barely a few days later and the Krem­lin ken­nel has been ex­panded, this time with a Cen­tral Asian shep­herd puppy handed to Putin by Turk­menistan Pres­i­dent Gur­ban­guly Berdy­mukhame­dov at a meet­ing of lead­ers of for­mer Soviet re­publics in Sochi. We have never seen a puppy pre­sented this way, hoisted aloft like a grisly tro­phy in a ter­ror­ist video. And judg­ing by the look on his face, Putin — who doubt­less has seen in­ter­est­ing things through the years — hadn’t ei­ther. As The Times’ Moscow cor­re­spon­dent Tom Parfitt puts it: “Mr Putin may have his hands full though, as Cen­tral Asian shep­herd dogs can grow to 50kg and are ca­pa­ble of killing a wolf.” The pup is called Faith­ful.

Not quite on brand

Some words ut­tered in the High Court yes­ter­day: “There should be no place in Aus­tralian law … in 2016 for some di­chotomy to be drawn be­tween so-called nat­u­ral­born Aus­tralians and im­mi­grant Aus­tralians.” That such words could come from a bar­ris­ter rep­re­sent­ing a One Na­tion sen­a­tor should be enough to make you be­lieve in magic again. So thank you, Robert Newlinds SC. And good luck with Mal­colm

Roberts; Strewth’s fin­gers are well and truly crossed!

Dodg­ing the IQ bul­let

Mean­while on ABC ra­dio in Ade­laide with David Be­van. Be­van: “We have the Pres­i­dent of the United States chal­leng­ing his Sec­re­tary of State to an IQ test … None of you are in a po­si­tion to chal­lenge your lead­ers on IQ tests? You not in­ter­ested in do­ing that, Nick Cham­pion?” Cham­pion: “No, don’t think so. Don’t think it’s wise.” Be­van: “Sarah Han­son-Young?” SHY: “No, but I do think per­haps we need a few more lie de­tec­tors in the par­lia­ment.” Be­van: “Si­mon Birm­ing­ham?” Birm­ing­ham: “As the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter, I live in ab­so­lute fear of such chal­lenges.”

Over and out

Strewth’s mum made a rare cameo in this space yes­ter­day, which got a lovely re­sponse from fans of her ap­pear­ances in other parts of this au­gust or­gan. End­lessly en­ter­tain­ing, she was, in writ­ing terms, the salami we thought we could slice for­ever. Turns out we were wrong. Eszter Szeke­ly­hidi’s run has come to an end and she will be laid to rest to­mor­row. This sud­den quiet, it must be said, does not suit her. In her hon­our, Google a Hun­gar­ian curse and shout it at the sky. She would have liked that.

What’s up, dog? One pres­i­dent pass­ing young Faith­ful to an­other

PIC­TURES: AP

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