How Good Is 2019!

PREFACE

Each November/December we do a show that sends up the politics of the year just gone, and we take it on a little tour. We write and rehearse the show as close to the time as possible to give it a feeling of immediacy, as if the ink were drying on the page.

The manager of The Carrington Inn at Bungendore always advertises earlier than the other venues, and, in September, we received an email from him asking for a title and a media release. We were in the French Alps at the time, (Moya was leading the singing part of a walking and singing tour), and Australian politics was far from our minds. So we recalled our short list of titles, ran them past some of the people on the tour, and the popular choice was How Good Is 2019!

The blurb I wrote in the midst of snow-covered peaks went:

In a year when the Prime Minister is writing their titles for them, Bungendore’s own musical satirists, Shortis and Simpson, confirm what a stunning year this has been as they take you on a roller coaster ride through the stories and characters that have made 2019 so memorable.

2019- the year when the unwinnable election was won, Abbott fell off his bike, the polls were up the pole, and Shorten fell short. When Greenland was almost sold, journalists were raided by the AFP, a Cardinal lost his appeal, and Aldi shopping bags became the new method of making political donations.

Yes, in the year when the election gave us ScoMo, the ALP gave us Albo, and Brexit gave us BoJo, Shortis and Simpson (JoSho and Simmo) reckon that all you can do is laugh. So join them as they go Morrison dancing, and find out, in the words of The Titanium Man himself- ‘How Good Is 2019!’

When we arrived home in late September I got writing, but nothing was forthcoming. I rarely experience writer’s block, but that’s exactly what was happening. Days went by when I would sit at the piano to no avail.

One day I told myself I wasn’t going to bed until I had a title song written. So with that deadline in mind I remembered that back in 2015, on the day Turnbull knifed Abbott, I’d recorded his press conference, and isolated the words:

We had lost 30 Newspolls.

I copied the phrase and replayed it over and over. There was a tune that came through.

I thought that, if I applied the same process to the eloquent orations of ScoMo in full flight, I might find a tune. And I did.

It was there inside his victory speech. When I isolated ‘how good is Australia, and how good are Australians!’, there was a tune. This became the chorus of the song, and the rest poured out in no time at all.

Interestingly, Malcolm’s recording was at a press conference after he knifed Tony Abbott, so he was low-key, in baritone range, in the key of C minor. ScoMo was in full evangelical mode, so his notes were clearly tenor range in the key of D minor. I reckon if I can find a politician who speaks in E minor, possibly a counter tenor, I may be able to predict the next Australian Prime Minister.

A lot of my songs start when I’m walking, or in bed, or driving, so I decided that I’d write one on a two-hour drive I had to undertake- one on the forward trip and another on the return trip. The first was I’m a Mosquito, and when the tune came to mind, I stopped by the side of the road, found an old Shortis and Simpson flier, roughly drew a musical stave and scrawled out the tune. The second was the song about how to pronounce Albo’s name, which was to the tune of Funiculi Funicula.

With writer’s block unblocked, the writing and rehearsing could begin.

It wasn’t the best of years (though with the benefit of hindsight it was a breeze compared to 2020). It was hard to strike the right tone and find comedy. We changed the set list a million times, threw out songs and replaced them with new ones.

By November we had a show, which we toured to Jamberoo, Tanja, Wagga Wagga, Bungendore, Canberra, Peel and Sydney.

When we were about to perform our last show, which was at Tritton Hall in Marrickville, Wayne Richmond who runs a folk venue in Collaroy, turned up unannounced with recording equipment, and his video ended up on YouTube.

Here it is- the essay, lyrics, scores, and a link to YouTube. I hope you enjoy it.

THEME SONG

How good! How good! How good is Australia!
How good! How good! How good is Australia!

How good’s the climate
And how good is coal!
How good’s the surplus
And how good’s the dole!
How good’s a protest
In the hands of a Swedish teen!
How good is 2019!

How good’s the Donald
And his fake campaign!
How good’s impeachment
And how good’s Ukraine!
How good is Boris
Now that he reigns supreme!
How good is 2019!

The Year of the Porky
The Year of the Pig
The Year of the Dorky
The Year of the Bigwig
Though you’d hardly give it
A ten out of ten
Tonight we’ll relive it
Again and again
And again and again and again

How good is ScoMo
And how good the team!
How good his promos
And how good the dream!
How good’s a catch phrase

From the marketing man he’s been
(Where the bloody hell are ya?)
How good is 2019!

How good! How good! How good is Australia!
How good! How good! How good is Australia!
How good is 2019!

A TIME WHEN

2019- a time when:

Tony Abbott lost his appeal (and so did Cardinal George Pell)

Clive Palmer spent $80 million and failed to get one seat (money well spent)

The Minister for Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, better known as Angus Horribilis, didn’t reduce any emissions, but he did manage to accuse Sydney City Council of increasing its carbon footprint by spending 16 million dollars on air travel (the only problem being that the actual figure was $6,000)

Prince Andrew was put on light duties (that’s what you call a right royal stuff-up)

Westpac was taken to the cleaners for laundering money (not once, not twice, but 23 million times)

The government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill had so much integrity that not even Pauline Hanson could vote for it.

MEMBERS

We looked through the names of the parliamentarians in this 46th parliament, and found that amongst them there were:

Two Smiths, one Jones, and one Brown
Two Kellys, two Kings, and two Butlers
A Waters and a Fawcett
A Bird, a Hawke, a Swanson, and a Gosling
A Shorten, a Broadbent, and a Broad
A Littleproud and a Goodenough
A Laming, a Lambie, and a Marino
A Leigh, a Ley, and a Liu
A Wyatt and a Wong
A Hanson-Young and a Hanson Old
A Price and a Cash
One Payne, one Burke and one Dick (actually there’s more than one dick).
Proof that our current parliament may contain traces of nuts.

OUR BOY BILL

At our show last year, I confidently predicted that in our 2019 show we’d be taking the piss out of Bill Shorten as Prime Minister. How wrong could one man be! And how wrong were the polls! By taxing like crazy, not explaining the cost of his climate change policy, alienating half the population, and not communicating to the voters, it was goodbye to Our Boy Bill.

Just as well he didn’t win, because I pretty well exhausted rhymes with ‘Bill’ in the Rhyming Dictionary in this one song.

You have an obvious skill, Bill
For going in for the kill, Bill
Just like a pterodactyl, Bill
Who’s in a leadership spill
But when you switch to vaudeville, Bill
You’re not exactly Churchill, Bill
I’d say you’re pretty Dullsville, Bill
No longer our boy Bill

Your campaign manager’s bill, Bill
The cost to you it was nil, Bill
You say it’s run of the mill, Bill
A case of simple goodwill
But then you slid us downhill, Bill
You were on the nostril, Bill
You tried overkill, Bill
No longer our boy Bill (Our boy Bill)

Lost the unlosable (Lost the plot)
No longer reusable (Lost the lot)
Now refusable (Lost to Scott)
So let-loosable, but always will
Be our boy Bill

You were not happy until, Bill
You dowsed the light on the hill, Bill
Fell off the top of the bill, Bill
You were no Cecil De Mille
Now you’re off the treadmill, Bill
Your dreaming never fulfilled, Bill
Your mountain was a molehill, Bill
No longer our boy Bill (Our boy Bill)

Queensland pro-coal (Adani yes)
Melbourne, no coal (What a bloody mess!)
Climate change policy (Anybody’s guess)
There’s so many reasons we’ve had our fill
Of our boy, Bill (Our boy Bill).

TITANIUM MAN 

In September 2019, the New York headquarters of the United Nations was home to the annual UN General Assembly, opening with a special climate change summit, giving world leaders a chance to show the world what they were doing in the name of reduction of carbon emissions. Jacinda Ardern was there, along with Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson, and many more.

16-year-old Greta Thunberg, leader of the worldwide School Climate Strike movement, had travelled from Sweden by zero-emissions yacht, and delivered an angry passionate address that caught the world’s attention.

You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.

How dare you!

Even Donald Trump made an appearance with Greta looking on disdainfully.

And where was Scott Morrison? He was in the USA, but instead of being at this important event, he was inspecting a smart Drive-Thru at a Chicago McDonald’s. He came there from Ohio where he’d been at the opening of Anthony Pratt’s cardboard box factory, then at a Trump rally where they loved him even though they didn’t know who he was.

The United Nations had officially declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table. We wondered what element best described our Prime Minister. Howgoodium? Mediocrium? Hardly Einsteinium.

John Howard had previously been endowed with the title of ‘Man of Steel’. Trump christened our Prime Minister in a similarly metallic fashion, calling on something stronger than steel, but more lightweight- titanium. Look up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Titanium Man.

Faster than a Sharks’ prop forward
More powerful than a Man of Steel
His leadership is so straightforward
Just listen to his adman spiel
Our very own Cronulla pollie
Our happy clappy family man
Mild-mannered suburban wally
That’s our Titanium Man

(Titanium Man) He’s burning for us every day
(Titanium Man) For the entire population
(Titanium Man) Except for when he stays away
From the United Nations

The Donald and his team of backers
They found a thing for Scott to do
They sent him to the local Maccas
To drive through a Smart Drive-Thru
But it’s hard to eat a quarter-pounder
When your head’s buried in the sand
Harder still to be a good all-rounder
Like our Titanium Man

(Titanium Man) He says that he is on our side
(Titanium Man) That’s his famous proclamation
(Titanium Man) Except for when he runs and hides
From the United Nations

But cardboard boxes and Anthony Pratt
And a Trump-like rally, well that’s where it’s at
Not the rising sea levels or melting icecaps
No, a Swedish teenager took care of that

(Titanium Man) He has no time for anxious kids
(Titanium Man) He wants to save us from damnation
(Titanium Man) Except for when slams the lid
On the United Nations

Titanium Man
Titanium Man
Titanium Man
Mediocrium, ScoModium.

ALBANEASEY, ALBANEASE

In the wake of its devastating election loss, the job of clawing the Labor Party back to being competitive again was placed in the hands of its new leader, a man known simply by one little word- ‘Albo’. But, Albo was given little Albo room by his party as they spent months soul-searching, asking the difficult questions. But after all that, there was still one vitally important question that remained unanswered.

Albo__ your party lost the last election
Your stakes are low (Your stakes are low)
And so__ I have a little list of questions
For you Albo (For you Albo)
Your name__ oh if you could, would you announce it?
To make it plain (To make it plain)
Then we__ could do our darndest to pronounce it
What is a-your name? (What is a-your name?)

Albo, Albo, will you help us please?
Albaneasey, or is it Al-ban-ease?
Or Albanaise or Albanaisey, Albaneasy, Albanease
We think we’re going crazy, Albo
Will you help us please?

Albo__ your party’s doing rather badly
But you won’t crash (No, you won’t crash)
As long__ as you get plastic bags from Aldi
Replete with cash (Replete with cash)
Albo__ you could improve your poll position
Get good reviews (Get good reviews)
If you__ could clear up your name recognition
But we’re confused (We’re so confused)

Albo, Albo, will you help us please?
Albaneasey, or is it Al-ban-ease?
Or Albanaise or Albanaisey, Albaneasy, Albanease
Can you make it easy, Albo
Will you help us please?

GO TO HELL

 Israel Folau- great footballer, Christian fundamentalist- upset the apple cart in 2019, when he posted this on Instagram:

Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent. Only Jesus saves.

It was Mark Twain who once said:

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.

Based on that list I tend to agree with him.

Atheists and liars
And those who fornicate
You may not be the highest
On the list at the Pearly Gates
Non-believers, drunkards
All who gaily copulate
Don’t you look cute
In your asbestos suit

Adulterers and robbers
Lesbians and gays
Israel and his cobbers say
‘If you don’t change your ways’
You and all your wicked types
Old Satan will flambé
You’ll be hellbent
Less you repent’

Which only goes to prove the words we know so well
Go to Heaven for the climate, but for the company
Go to Hell

Idolaters and fibbers, you who are not devout
The misguided and the sinners
You’ll all be missing out
The permissive and promiscuous
Your future’s not in doubt
You’re in the shite
‘Less you see the light

Which only goes to prove the words we know so well
Go to Heaven for the climate, but for the company
Go to Hell

Jesus saves with the Commonwealth
Westpac, NAB and ANZ
With every dollar, every cent
He says repent, repent, repent
Or will find yourself in the red

Which only goes to prove the words we know so well
Go to Heaven for the climate, but for the company
Go to Hell
Go to Heaven for the climate, but for the company
Go to Hell.

 

THE PRINCE OF WHALES

And now some Trumpisms of 2019. On describing himself:

I am a man of great and unmatched wisdom.

On his vision for the future:

I love the concept of buying Greenland.

On the conflict with Iran:

I never called the strike against Iran off, I just stopped it from going forward.

On the Turkish invasion of Syria:

They gotta lot o’ sand over there.

Then, in a visit to Britain this year, after being cornered by Prince Charles on the dangers of global warning, he tweeted:

I just met with the Queen of England and the Prince of Whales.

Yes, that’s how he spelled it- W-H-A-L-E-S.

Mister Trump, he came to Britain
With him we were hardly smitten
Came to London, but he didn’t
Come to visit Wales

Met the Queen and met Teresa
Talked of Brexit, tried to please her
Since he could not meet with Caesar,
He met with the Prince of Wales

But when I saw his tweeting
The Prince that he was meeting
Was a hundred feet long, and 10 feet wide
With a layer of blubber for his heating
And a blowhole for his respiration
A dorsal fin for stabilisation
Warm-blooded was his conversation
With the Prince of Whales

The themes the prince spoke of were ranging
From greenhouse gas to climate changing
So Trump tried seating rearranging
To avoid the Prince of Whales
The prince he made a small commotion
About the warming of the ocean
‘If you don’t act’ said he with emotion
‘There’ll be no Prince of Whales’.

7.30 ON THE ABC

The Horse Racing Spring Carnival went ahead as usual this year, but with something of a cloud over it after the ABC’s 7.30 program reported about the wholesale slaughter of retired racehorses. Celebrities like Megan Gale and Taylor Swift boycotted events, and there were protests outside racecourse gates, and at the Melbourne Cup parade.

7.30 on the ABC
Is haunting me
Is haunting me
7.30 on the Thursday night
Full colour scenes
That are black and white

Race horses
Players in the sport of kings
Big business bucks
That’s what pull the strings

Saw the pictures
Heard the cries
Saw the pain
In the horse’s eyes
Read the stories
‘Bout a welfare fund
Promises
While the cup is run

Spring fashions
And a glass of French champagne
Go place a bet
And feel no pain

So may years
So many weeks
So many wakes
So many sleeps
So many hours
So many days
When the truth was known
In a dollar haze

7.30 on the ABC
Is haunting me
Still haunting me
Haunting me
Still haunting me.

BRING ME LITTLE TAX CUTS, SCOMO

Moya and I run a choir in Canberra called Worldly Goods, and every now and then we spend money they’ve earned from gigs on visiting tutors. Stuart Davis gave the choir a workshop in 2019, at which he taught us Bring Me Little Water Sylvie, a song associated with Leadbelly. Stuart taught us a body percussion routine that had been created by American banjo player/dancer Evie Ladin. We decide to borrow the song and the actions to sing of some of ScoMo’s accomplishments.

When the last budget was handed down, Mr Morrison promised tax cuts, the first of which, for people earning up to $126 000, took effect in July. It seems that most of it went into people’s savings or paid down debt, and did not show up significantly in retail figures.

Bring me little tax cut, ScoMo
Bring me little tax cut now
Bring me little tax cut, ScoMo
It’s good for me but I can’t see how.

In the aftermath of the gay marriage debate in 2017, there were those in the community who thought that the new laws would restrict the right to practise their religion fully. There was an inquiry led by Philip Ruddock, and then, in the wake of the Israel Folau case, a draft religious freedom bill that makes it unlawful to discriminate against Australians on the basis of their religion.

Bring religious freedom, ScoMo
Bring religious freedom now
Bring religious freedom, ScoMo
To please the fans of Israel Folau.

After the Australian Federal Police raided the Canberra home of a News Corp journalist, and the ABC’s Ultimo headquarters, media organisations of all stripes came together and, on one day, the front pages of newspapers showed stories severely redacted. The on-going Right To Know campaign argued for press freedom.

Bring me media freedom, ScoMo
Bring me media freedom time
Bring me media freedom, ScoMo
Journalism is not a crime

ScoMo came a running
Front page in his hand
Every word had been redacted
Whistle blowers blown from the land

Redacted version
Bring me ……. ScoMo
Bring me ….. time
Bring me …… ScoMo
Journalism ….. crime

Give me little tax cut, ScoMo
Bring religious freedom, ScoMo
Give the media freedom, ScoMo
Every little once in a while.

I’M A MOSQUITO

At the third stroke it will be

BEEP BEEP BEEP.

The Talking Clock Phone Service began in Britain in 1936. It took a while before we in the Antipodes adopted it in 1953.

Fast forward to 2109 and the service still exists in the UK, with 30 million annual callers. But here in Australia, Telstra stopped the service in October.

BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEP.

It seems that for Telstra, time had run out.

As it had for 11,258 climate scientists from 153 countries, who supported a paper that declared that

at the third stroke there will be a climate emergency. BEEP BEEP BEEEEEP (SIREN).

Since that declaration in November there seems to have been an increase in this mantra:

Australia is responsible for only 1.3% of global emissions so anything we do will not make a difference.

Well, Mr Morrison, heed the words of the Dali Lama:

Anyone who thinks they are too small to make a difference has never spent the night in a room with a mosquito.

This is the song I wrote in the car. 

I’m a mosquito
Where you go, I go
I’m a mosquito
And I’m a parasite

I am a nuisance
When I pounce
You wince
I am a menace
And I cut like a knife

And if you think that you’re too small
To make a difference
Try spending a night in a room with me
You’ll soon change your terms of reference

I’ll have you scratching
And searching for Pea Beu
I’m a mosquito
And I am a delight
I might be weeny
But I am a meanie
Yes I might be teeny
But I pack quite a bite

And if you think that you’re too small
To make a difference
Try spending a night in a room with me
You’ll soon change your terms of reference

I’ll go incognito
I’m biting you, ScoMo
I’m a mosquito
I’ll buzz you through the night
Yes I’m a mosquito
I may be petite-o
I’ll turn up the heat-o
And I can change your life

Just a tiny mosquito
But I can change your life
Zzzzzzzz! 

LIKE A BODGIE DO

 

In May 2019, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke died, days before the election, sparing him the devastation of Labor’s loss. The nation as a whole mourned the loss of its favourite larrikin PM, the silver bodgie himself.

Hawke came from a religious family, his father being a Congregational minister. The Hawke family folklore has it that his mother said that the Bible would often fall open at Isaiah, chapter 9 verse 6:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder.’ It became family lore that RH would one day become PM. Bob shared this sense of destiny.

I’ve written songs about all 30 of our Prime Ministers, so I called on one that I’d written about Mr Hawke.

Unto us a boy is born
A baby boy who’s heaven sent
The bible says it’s so
He will lead the government
And so his destiny
Is as clear as baby poo
He knows what he has to be, oh Lord
And he knows what he has to do

Well, he must do
Like a bodgie do
He must give up
The grog for you
Even leave
The A-C-T-U,
To do___
Like a bodgie do

Unto us a boy is born
A boy who’s born to run the show
In a larrikin kind of way
Oh the bible tells us so
His path it is writ large
And as loud as a baby’s cry
He knows what he has to do, oh Lord
When a tear comes to his eye

Well, he must sob
Like a bodgie sob
He must bark
Like a drover’s dog
Spout the gospel
According to Bob
And sob___
Like a bodgie sob

With each shed of a tear
With each blink of an eye
With each pull of an ear
Watch the polls go high, high, high
High, high, high
High, high, high, high___

I wanna be Bob
I wanna be
I wanna be Bob
I wanna be
Now can I be Bob?
Please answer me

You just gotta do
Like a bodgie do
Even screw
Like a bodgie screw
Impress those widgies
With your bodgie hairdo
And do___
Like a bodgie do
Like a bodgie do
Like a bodgie do
(Bob, Bob, Bob).

MORRISON DANCING

At a time of the government’s policy aimed at reducing electricity prices by taking a big stick to the energy companies, we couldn’t resist a dance that makes good use of big sticks- Morrison Dancing.

Voters all, it’s party time
Follow the leader, fall in line
Feel the power down the mine
And do some Morrison Dancing

Be a good suburbanite
Swing your partner to the right
Be a happy Vegemite
And do some Morrison Dancing

Spin with ScoMo
Hop step with Albo
Sidestep with BoJo
Have a go, get a go

Have a Newstart holiday
Live on 40 bucks a day
Have a drug test anyway
And do some Morrison Dancing

Go to Paris, steal the show
In a canter, heel and toe
Praise the lord and dosido
And do some Morrison Dancing.

FROM THE NRMA

From Morrison Dancing to Pauline Hanson, the woman who dyed her hair to match the colour of her neck. In 2019 she was in the headlines yet again when two of her colleagues, James Ashby and Steve Dickson, were in America, a little tired and emotional. In a set-up, they were caught on camera by Al Jazeera, happy to receive donations from the National Rifle Association, the NRA. But, Pauline thrilled us all when she assured us that she would never accept donations from the NRMA.

Oh I say to all Australians
Let me make it very clear
About the Al Jazeera doco on TV
It’s a film made by aliens
The stitch up of the year
Yes, they put the ‘con’ into conspiracy

James and Steve were as pissed as parrots
Don’t believe a word you heard them say
I’m so distraught
‘Cause I’ve never ever sought
Donations from the NRMA

The media doesn’t like me
Well, except for Alan Jones
And Bolt and all his mates on Sky TV
Q&A get spiky
When they hear my dulcet tones
Which proves that we should sell the ABC

Someone’s out to destroy One Nation
In this last disgusting exposé
An Islamic plot
‘Cause I never ever got
Donations from the NRMA

On the open road, I always keep my distance
And I’ll not be towed by roadside assistance
No battery flat, or faulty indicator
Dodgy thermostat, or boiling radiator
There’ll be no green slip, or insurance claim
No reason I should please explain
Go away, NRMA

In fact I won’t be taking money from the biggish end of town

Big business it will pass my party by
Unless it is Adani, generosity abounds
My support for fossil fuels they can buy

On burkas, greenies and immigration
I’ll stay firm forever and a day
But as I speak
I will never ever seek
Donations from the NRMA.

DOG’S BREXIT

 Membership of the EU, or its equivalent, has been contentious for a long time in the UK. The left used to oppose it, now the right does. There have been two referendums, one in 1975 that had Britain join the Common Market, the other in 2016 that gave us Brexit.

It has seen off two Prime Ministers- Cameron and May. It has caused two general elections. The withdrawal agreement has been rejected by parliament three times. The deadline has been extended a couple of times. And now Boris Johnson says he’ll ‘get Brexit done.’

The whole thing is nothing but a dog’s Brexit.

Come, BoJo, come. Sit. Good dog. Now eat your breakfast.

So you’re feeling a little peckish
Need a brekkie, or maybe brunch
Don’t you order the Continental
It’ll only spoil your lunch
No, go for the full English
Keep it undignified
‘Cause it’s a dog’s Brexit
Poached
Scrambled, fried

Two small items on the menu
One of them is take away
If you don’t like that, then you
Can stay in the café
Whatever your decision
To go, or stay inside
It’s still a dog’s Brexit
Poached
Scrambled, fried

Sit, BoJo, heel
Shit, no deal
Run, BoJo run
Come, BoJo, come

Time for obedience class, BoJo. And no humping that French poodle or that Dachshund. And stay right away from that Irish Setter who stole your balls last week. You shouldn’t have sniffed his backstop.

When you’ve knocked back your German sausage
And refused your baguette
All you’re left with are your kippers
And a cuppa to keep your nose wet
Now you’re back for a second helping
One thing that cannot be denied
It’s still a dog’s Brexit
Poached
Scrambled, fried

It’s still a dog’s Brexit
With an election
On the side.

THE SURPLUS IS COMING TO TOWN

During the election campaign we kept hearing Scott Morrison describe Bill Shorten as:

The Bill you can’t afford.

Also, he never stopped telling us how the coalition were the only ones well placed to manage the economy. This, despite the fact they spent $180 million re-opening Christmas Island when the only ones to have been housed there have been a Tamil family of four.

But, all is OK because the Treasurer has managed to sneak in a surplus budget- another budget smuggler.

Jobs and growth slowing, interest rates down, roll up, roll up, the surplus is coming to town.

Excitement, and anticipation
Wondrous, what a thrill!
The Big Top it has been erected
Up on Capital Hill
The murmur is electric
As the word is spread around
That the surplus is coming to town

See Frydenberg the Treasurer
Complete with rubber neck
One hand quickly deals the cards
The other rigs the deck
A master of the sleight of hand
He knows how to astound
Yes, the surplus is coming to town

His budget has not a spot of red
In fact his budget is blacker than the night
To fudge it, he simply flicks his head
And the lack of any stimulus
Is just an oversight

Next he walks the tightrope
With a blindfold on his eyes
He cuts away the deficit
The clamour starts to rise
And then, the books he juggles
With the timing of a clown
Oh, the surplus is coming to town

In his budget, there’s nothing he has missed
In fact his budget he rests his laurels on
To fudge it, he simply flicks his wrist
And the NDIS underspend
Magic! Gone!

Everything is balanced
Now how daring can he get?
Watch him on the high trapeze
Without a safety net
His hands are freely flying
And his feet have left the ground
Yes, the surplus is coming to town
Yes, the surplus is coming to town.

THE FARMER NEEDS A LIFE

I often get an idea for a song from a cartoon published in one of our daily papers. Matt Golding, who appears in the letters pages of the Sydney Morning Herald, drew one in response to the drought that had the simple caption, ‘the farmer needs a life’.

I’m no fan of Alan Jones, but I’ll have to say he didn’t let Scott Morrison off the hook when it came to the government’s inadequate drought relief programs. He played the Prime Minister a recording of a farmer bursting into tears in desperation as he spoke of his plight.

I recalled Golding’s cartoon and wrote this.

The farmer checks the well
The farmer checks the well
Hi-ho the derry-o
The farmer checks the well

The well is running dry
The well is running dry
Hi-ho add-i-o
The well is running dry

Hi-o, hi-o
The dry is in the air
Hi-o, hi-o,
The dry is in the air

On air is where they cry
On air is where they cry
Hi-o the derry-o
On air is where they cry

The cry is clearly heard
The cry is clearly heard
Hi-o the add-i-o
The cry is clearly heard

Hi-o, hi-o
The herd is fed by hand
Hi-o, hi-o
The herd is fed by hand

The hand is reaching out
The hand is reaching out
Hi-o the derry-o
The hand is reaching out

The farmer needs a life
The farmer needs a life
Hi-o the add-i-o
The farmer needs a life.

OH GIVE ME A PRIME MINISTER

One of the big stories of the year was the ban on climbing the sacred site of Uluru. On the day the ban was enforced, there was a major event to mark the occasion. Neither the PM, nor the Opposition leader, nor the Minister for Indigenous Australians was present. But representing the government was Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, who gave a speech, but didn’t mention the reason she was there- the walk to the top of the rock. I wonder if she was told ‘Don’t mention the walk’.

When asked about his absence, Mr Morrison replied that his itinerary was full and he couldn’t be everywhere. And where was he? At a basketball match in Perth.

Oh give me a Prime Minister
Who’s at the basketball-o
Instead of being at Uluru
To represent us all-o
Who loves to don the green and gold
Whose itinerary’s chock-a-block-o,
Who supports the insignificance
Of a sacred dreamtime rock-o

Oh give me a Prime Minister
Who loves a bit of sport-0
Rugby union, rugby league
They all get his support-o
Who picks up and runs with the ball
While praising aspirations-o
As long as they don’t give a voice
To the people of First Nations-0

Oh give me a Prime Minister
Who cultivates the art-o
Of shutting down discussion
On the statement from the heart-o
Who wants all quiet Australians
To make a contribution-o
As long as it won’t end up
In the Aussie constitution-o.

THE DAY WE WENT TO CANBERRA

We live in a time when we question why young people are not engaged with politics.

No wonder when you consider that the Minister for Youth is 61 years old, that there are hardly any politicians under the age of 35, and that no Australian under 30 has ever voted for a PM who has lasted a full term.

Each year around 75 000 school-age kids make the pilgrimage to Parliament House from all over Australia to see our democracy at work. If Parliament’s in session, they go to Question Time, along with tragics like me, and when I see them looking down on the Bear Pit, I often think ‘no wonder they’re not convinced.’

But, thankfully, they also visit the Parliamentary Education Office where they role-play positions like the PM, the Speaker, Opposition Leader etc. That’s when they experience first-hand the real job of parliament- turning a thought bubble into a law.

We have a friend who works at the Parliamentary Education Office, so Moya quizzed her, and came up with this song, a nod to the future in the hands of our youth, and to the school excursions to Canberra.

Didn’t we have a lovely time, the day we went to Canberra?
A beautiful day we went the wrong way
But all us kids enjoyed the ride
Do you recall the thrill of it all
As we walked across the forecourt
We’re here to see how Democracy’s
Wheels go round

Wasn’t it grand when we had to stand
In line with all our schoolbags?
Have to confess
Felt a little depressed
With all those fellows in black with guns
But nobody died, we all got inside
Security was scary
We’re here to see how Democracy’s
Wheels go round

Then we stood in line for Question Time
And there was lots of shouting
Some of them left
And some of them slept
And some were sent outside the door
It sounded the same
As one of our games
But no-one blew a whistle
We’re here to see how Democracy’s
Wheels go round

Wasn’t it great when me and my mate
Were dressed just like the Speaker?
Pollies went by
And some of them tried to talk to future voters like us
One or two did acknowledge the kid
Who threw up in the Senate
We’re here to see how Democracy’s
Wheels go round

We’re here to see if Democracy
Is…still…sound.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

But young people do seem to get involved when there’s an issue that touches them. Take same sex marriage for example- 65 000 of them registered to vote at the plebiscite in 2017.

And climate change- 300 000 school children on strike, marching in the streets. After all, they’re the ones who have to live with the consequences.

So, young people, get out there, there are only three demo days left before Christmas.

Tis the night before Christmas in Parliament House
Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings are hung by the backbencher’s chair
Now that our Tony is no longer there

The pollies are nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of focus groups dance in their heads
Albo’s in a nightie that’s lost all its colour
And ScoMo’s in PJs he bought in Cronulla

When out on the lawns there arises a clatter
They spring from their beds to see what is the matter
There before their wondering eyes a display
300 000 squashed into a sleigh

With Dasher and Dancer and Vixen and Prancer
They’ve written a question and they want an answer
So to Capital Hill, to the top of the flag
Down the pole old St Nicholas slides down with his bag

To ScoMo and Albo, says ‘how do you do?’
Then, as quickly as you can say ‘Vanuatu’
He gives them a note from the crowd in the sleigh
Then back up the pole- ‘gotta be on my way’

Leaving them both to read as he flies out of sight
‘How dare you, how dare you!
Merry Christmas, good night.’

LEARLESS FEEDERS

Spoonerisms have lent themselves to some memorable comedy segments like the Two Ronnies doing Rindercella, and an American political satire group, Capitol Steps, who end every show in this way. Inspired by Capitol Steps, we started doing our own Spoonerism segment in 2009, and now it’s a regular component in our satire shows. We call ours Learless Feeders, and the best way to include it here is to give you the script.

In case you’ve forgotten, I’m John Shortis
And I’m Moya Simpson

Or rather, I’m Shon Jortis
And I’m Soya Mimpson

This is the story of our fearless leaders
No, this is the story of our learless feeders

First learless feeder– a former Mime Prinister, Ony Tabbott- Mr Smudgie Buggler himself. Also known as One Prick Tony. He was in trig bubble at election time and the voters told him to iss poff. Does his absence does make the fart grow honder? I thon’t dink so

But what about that other former Mime Prinister-Talcolm Murnbull? He thought he was a fart smeller,but he was just a big pissadointmen. He’s gone back to being a bealthy wanke. The igger they bar, the farder they hall

Meanwhile, rack at the banch, we all thought the new Mime Prinister would be Shill Borten, but we were red dong.
He wanted to get rid of cranking fedits…and the voters were hot nappy. He never knew when to ut the shuck fup

Bill pored the bants off us all. He bopped his drundle, and the winner was Mott Scorrison. Now there’s a pare squeg in a hound roll

MoSco-.the clappy happer white ringer. And speaking of white ringers, what about Deter Putton? Isn’t he a fugly ucker?

And as for the shoovers and makers of the Pabor Larty, like Wenny Pong, and Bony Turke- they’re in sheep dit.

But they’ve got a new leader- Ablo

Poor old Pabor Larty, they nearly had a hatal fart attack. But will they make a  bange for the chetter? Or stay the same foring old barts they are? Nuck foes

At least we don’t have Tronald Dump…or Joris Bonson

Let’s hope someone somewhere can give us some hoy in our jarts, and some soap in our holes.

RIPPING THE NEWS

Another segment that has been part of our satire shows since 1996 is a collection of short parodies of well-known songs featuring recent news stories.

First, the Medevac Bill, introduced by Kerryn Phelps to allow people on Manus and Nauru to access medical attention in Australia, supported by her fellow crossbenchers Andrew Wilkie, Adam Bandt, Julia Banks, and Rebekha Sharkie. It was repealed at the end of 2019, thanks to the casting vote of Jacqui Lambie.

Rebekha Sharkie had sharp fangs, dear
Adam Bandt’s, were pearly white
And a jacknife had Julia Banks, dear
They all struck when the time was right

Now Kerryn Phelps, ja, and Andrew Wilkie
Looks like their Bill is going down
Oh the line forms on the right dear
Now that Medevac is back in town

Christmas Island is full of no one
Jacqui Lambie‘s oozing life
See her sneaking round the corner
Now she gave Medevac the knife.

During the recent debate on the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW, we came home one night and, to our horror, there was a robo-message on our answering machine from none other than Barnaby Joyce.

Barnaby
He has just been on the phone to me
He wants abortion to be history
I can’t believe it’s Barnaby

Suddenly
That Abortion Bill’s a mystery
Didn’t know it’s still a felony
I can’t believe it’s Barnaby

It’s been years and years
All we wanted was a choice
There is something wrong
With the voice of Barnaby Joyce___

Barnaby
He’s a bad smell that won’t go away
And it looks as though he’s here to stay
Still don’t agree with Barnaby.

The NBN finally came to our home town of Bungendore. We signed up and it’s been a nightmare. It feels like it plays up every second day, and we came back from an overseas trip to find that our landline number we’d had for 20 years was changed. Thanks NBN.

NBN, so now you’ve come to Bungendore
And this village girl need wait no more
With satellite and mobile phone
I’ll never be alone
My NBN, you’ll see
You have a friend in me
(You have a friend in me)

For just 80 bucks a gigabyte
I call a doctor in the dead of night
And if the rate at which I bleed
Is slower than the speed
Of the Internet
I’m forever in your debt
(Forever in your debt)

But when the NBN came through
I lost a bit of faith in you
My landline went, I’ve lost my phone
So I’m at home, at home alone

NBN most people would turn you away
I don’t listen to a word they say
I don’t see you as they do
‘Cause my TV just turned blue
I’ve lost my dearest friends
Thanks to the NBN
(Thanks to the NBN).

And finally, Alexander Downer, when he was High Commissioner to Great Britain, had drinks with a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos. Downer, hearing from Papadopoulos that the Russians might release some damaging information on Hillary Clinton, cabled this information to Canberra which was then passed on to US intelligence. It is claimed that this helped set off the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.

In 2019, Papadopoulos, in his book Deep State Target, accused Downer of being a spy. It seems that the G and Ts the two shared were shaken not stirred.

Alexander
He’s the spy, the spy in the fishnet tights
A wondrous sight
Is our Alexander
Beckons you to meet for some G & Ts
Then talks with ease

Downer words he will pour in your ear
But his tights can’t disguise what you fear
For a Trump campaign will never miss him
He’s the kiss of death

That’s Mister Alexander
Donald Trump, remember that London night
His net is tight
Fishnet tights
Dressed to the Right
Fishnet tights.

NOTES

Information comes mostly from the daily newspapers and current affairs TV shows of 2019.

SONGS, YOUTUBES AND CREDITS

See and hear the whole show at How Good Is 2019

All songs and parody lyrics by John Shortis, except where indicated

Albaneasey, Albanease, based on Funiculi Funicula, music by Luigi Denza, words by Peppino Turco

Prince of Whales, based on Men of Harlech , traditional Welsh

Bring Me Little Tax Cut ScoMo, based on Bring Me Little Water Sylvie, by Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly)

Oh Give Me a Prime Minister, based on The Derby Ram, traditional

The Day We Went to Canberra, based on Day Trip to Bangor (Didn’t We Have a Lovely Time?), by Debbie Cook, parody lyrics by Moya Simpson

The Night Before Christmas, based on the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

Give Medevac the Knife, based on Mack the Knife, by Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Marc Blitzstein

Barnaby, based on Yesterday by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

NBN, based on Ben, by Walter Scharf and Don Black

Alexander, based on Goldfinger, music by John Barry, words by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Books
Albanese- Telling It Straight by Karen Middleton.

Performed Nov/Dec 2019
Essay written June 2020