These two excerpts are from my (unpublished) first novel "Cull" written in 2006. The first is reproduced here mainly for my Australians friends as we go into an election with Climate Change as an issue. The setting is a meeting of the US Administration, but the tactic is universal. It was used by the Blair government in the UK that produced the Frost Report and by the Howard government here that produced the Garnaut Report and is being used yet again by Prime Minister Gillard. Sara Phillips of the Age (July 23) wrote: 'Gillard's announcement of a "citizen's assembly" to spend 12 months pondering whether consensus has been reached has been met with incredulity by the public'. Of course she is right, but it will deliver what Gillard wants. She will avoid much of the opportunistic negativism that is currently driving Australian politics.
President Mason Tanner is speaking.
“If we suddenly declare a new direction we’ll be crucified by our own party.”
“Right!”, interjection from Arino, ignored by Tanner.
“But if we initiate an inquiry by an expert panel and let them indicate the new direction, that may provide enough distance for us to avoid serious backlash. They can deliver the bad news, not us. We can be seen to be listening, but they’ll be the target for public anger.
“The experts we choose will need to be high profile and have public support already, so we can draw that support to ourselves. We would need to appoint six or seven to cover the problem areas. That may be the way to go.”
Excerpt two was prompted by a policy on refugees, stated recently by the Current leader of the Auistralian opposition, who proposes 'turning back the boats'. This quote is part of a private conversation between the fictitious Conservative Australian prime minister Charles Mulaney and his defence minister, Brett Woolley. Money from a foreign source has financed the purchase of a fleet of fishing boats to save thousands of Asian families, starving on their failing Mekong Delta farms. They are heading for Australia. So many boats have been detected that Mulaney wants them repelled by force.
“OK,” agreed Woolley. “But have you considered the fallout? On the election. Have you thought about that?”
“Trust me. You just do your bit and save us from the hordes. I’ll save us from ourselves.”
“I need to know the down side, that’s all,” he said. “I mean, if I’m going to stick my dick in the mincer, I’d like to know it was worth it. At least I’d like to think the party’ll be re-elected.”
“OK.” He smiled mirthlessly. “I’ll call an election on this. The deadly force option will work for us. You know the Howard Doctrine: ‘We’ll decide who comes and under what circumstances’. It worked then and it’ll work now.”
“I don’t know,” Woolley warned. “A lot has changed since then.”
“No, it’ll work,” he assured him. “Bring out the bogey men and everyone runs to Daddy.” He laughed briefly at his own wit, then returned his gaze to Woolley.
“But we hold off for three weeks to a month before we start shooting, even if we’re justified. We need time to get some fear going in the electorate…”
“But, PM,” he interrupted. “According to this report from Jakarta, there are over five hundred boats on the way as we speak. At least sixty to a hundred boats will arrive within a week and another two hundred the week after that and God knows how many more to follow. It’s urgent we act now.”
“Oh, I’ll act now all right!” he smiled. “I’ll see the Governor General this morning and set up the election a month from next Saturday.”
He stood and walked to the wall calendar. After a few seconds’ consideration he pointed to a date.
“God loves me,” he intoned. “A week after footie Grand Final. No time for the punters to think too much about the issues.” He rubbed his hands together “Yes! That gives you two weeks to get those planes over and the service chiefs up to speed. Then…”
“But, PM,” Woolley interrupted. “There could be twenty five thousand people arriving within two weeks! Didn’t you hear me?”
“Oh, I heard you all right,’ he answered. “There’ll be thousands of aliens running around suburbia scaring the shit out of Mr and Mrs Oz.”
“Is that wise? We may never find them.”
“Wise?! It’s brilliant,” he laughed. “The press’ll be howling for blood. We tell ‘em the opposition and the Greens are wimps, stopping us in the Senate. We shaft them both at the same time. We just let ‘em think there are hundreds of thousands of rapists and terrorists on the way and bingo! We win.”
“These people aren’t rapists or bloody terrorists,” objected Woolley. “They’re just poor starving families displaced by climate change. They aren’t….”
“Who says they aren’t?” he demanded. “Who cares if they aren’t? Don’t you be the bloody fool that says they aren’t! We say nothing and our wonderful Australian people, our give-‘em-a-fair-go-Australian-values people will feel threatened and that’s what we want... .”