SUNDAY, 1 AUGUST 1999
Telephone lines opened this week for prospective stick breakers (sorry... that should read "stock brokers") to register expressions of interest (I always imagine people pulling funny faces over the phone, or just pressing their face to the fax machine) in purchasing the next round of Telstra shares available to the public. The following is an actual recording of an actual conversation that never actually happened.
OPERATOR: "Welcome to Telstra, how can I help you?"
CLIENT: "I'd like to reserve some Telstra shares, please."
OPERATOR: "Of course, sir. How many would you like to purchase? The minimum reserve amount is 400 shares."
CLIENT: "I'd like to buy them all."
OPERATOR: "Excuse me?"
CLIENT: "I'd like to reserve every single share you're selling."
OPERATOR: "And... um... what name should I put that under, sir?"
CLIENT: "Mr Kim Beasley, Leader of the Federal Opposition."
OPERATOR: "Oh. Um... How will you be paying for that?"
CLIENT: "Through the national treasury. Except um... I may not be able to pay the money for a little while."
OPERATOR: "How long?"
CLIENT: "Well... the next election isn't due for at least two and a half more years. If we win Government, you'll have the money then."
OPERATOR: "And the purpose of reserving all of them, sir?"
CLIENT: "Because I don't want the public getting their grotty hands all over them. Could you do something else for me?"
OPERATOR: "And what's that, sir?"
CLIENT: "Ring up everyone else who bought shares in the first sell-off and ask how much they'd sell them all for."
OPERATOR: "I'm afraid I can't do that, sir."
CLIENT: "Funny, the Commonwealth Bank people told me the exact same thing. Just a moment... (aside) Barry, is Red Rooster listed on the stock exchange?"
SUNDAY, 8 AUGUST 1999
A mishap aboard an Italian tanker resulted in a huge oil spill polluting Sydney Harbour (yes, somebody did notice the difference). Taking this to be as good an excuse as any, Bendigo fuel retailers took the opportunity to push petrol prices to their highest levels since the stuff was discovered, despite the fact that there were no major tourist-drawcard events occurring in the region this weekend.
"It was a sudden decision by every single retailer in the whole of Bendigo to independently and spontaneously raise petrol, gas and diesel prices by the exact same amount," said an oil company spokesgangster. "There was absolutely no collusion in any way whatsoever, especially not over a few beers at the pub on Tuesday night."
Other experts claim that transportation costs cause fuel prices in Bendigo to remain so high; the city is not on any major transportation routes, apparently. Like the Calder Highway and Midland Highway don't converge here or anything.
Motorists are asked to take along eyedroppers if they wish to purchase any amounts of fuel less than $20.
Prime Minister John Howard visited Central Victoria this week to stand around looking ineffectual and talk about the weather. Onlookers were surprised to realize that he was actually telling the truth, heaven forbid, when he announced in a major policy speech that it was very dry weather for farmers, a fact he was careful to blame on the U.S. import industry.
In related news, football and fishing guru Rex Hunt gave the world his up-to-date, informed political opinion that the Prime Minister was indeed bald.
Robert Downey Jr was sentenced to three years imprisonment for violation of his probation from a 1996 drug conviction.
Municipal Court Judge Lawrence Mira said he was concerned for the safety of the public. "Last time we tried to make him do some community service work; unfortunately, he went ahead and appeared in U.S. Marshals anyway. If this sort of behaviour goes unchecked we might end up with another Air America, and then we'd have sufficient cause to fire up a whole new debate in favour of capital punishment."
Peter Reith, Federal Minister for Being A Slimy Git, demonstrated his staunch support for Australia becoming a Republic by announcing his intention to vote "No" in this year's Referendum. This continues the trend Mr Reith has followed in his politcal career since attaining a Government portfolio: his intent to improve workers' rights by stripping their Awards and then mass-sacking them; and trying to improve his own public image by actually appearing in public.
Mr Reith said he would prefer to see an Australian Head of State voted for by the public rather than by two-thirds of Parliament as the current Referendum model proposes.
Monarchists (including the Prime Minister) and Republicans (basically, everyone but the Prime Minister) alike were quick to inform Mr Reith through keynote Parliamentary discussions that he was, at a 66-3 majority vote, "an idiot".
"Imagine having a head of state voted for by the Australian public, for goodness' sake. They'd probably want [footballer] Tony Lockett or [he calls himself a "journalist"] Ray Martin for President or something. Imagine trying to explain that to other world leaders at major international diplomatic gatherings."
SUNDAY, 15 AUGUST 1999
The Bendigo Bank announced it's profit for the 1998-1999 financial year was $19 million dollars, almost a 40% increase on the previous year.
Naturally, customers of the Bendigo Bank are gratified to have been able to make significant contributions toward the company's success, and look forward to the plethora of fees and charges waiting to be introduced to further the Bank's market success.
A teenage Australian boy has run up a telephone bill of nearly $10,000 in talking to his "girlfriend" in the USA, whom he met over the Internet (there's probably a website where you can order them cheaper than local department stores or something).
Family members took the precaution of removing all sharp objects from her house before mentioning to her that the ICQ Voice Phone program could have allowed her son to speak to his "girlfriend" at the cost of a local call and standard Internet subscription rates.
Major news headlines around the country for minutes on end were screaming that St Kilda footballer Tony "Plugger" Lockett was hanging up his boots. Apparently at the same time he also announced his retirement from professional football. Perhaps all the fuss was about the fact that he could actually do these two things at the one time.
In all seriousness, this malicious act of willfull inconsideration has deprived satirists and intellectuals alike of a necessary Australian icon - Somebody to Take the Piss Out Of.
In his career, Lockett has kicked over 1300 goals, which is apparently Very Significant and Worthy of Releasing Several Videos Celebrating the Achievement. Other "football enthusiasts" can probably provide a more complete list of vital statistics, including: Marks (number of times he caught the ball); Possessions (number of times he held the ball (no, really... there are people out there who actually sit through football matches (this is in itself a major achievement) and count this)); Kicks (number of times he inflicted injuries on other players); and Injuries (number of times he inflicted injuries on other players using only his head or groin).
When asked about his contribution to the social fabric of the community as a whole through the pursuit of his football, Lockett made the poignant statement, "Well, yeah, you know, the fans... yeah, you know? Yeah."
This writer is already willing to accept suggestions for other footballers to use in Lockett's place for purposes of light comedic relief and piss-taking. Please do not suggest James Hird because I think I might have once heard him use a word with more than three syllables, but this can't yet be proven. The AFL may have already released a book and several videos of statistics regarding this, which I shall take due care and attention not to consult.
Television commercials for Stolly Lemon Ruskies have been released - and they are all no longer than one second in length.
Apart from giving Max Headroom fans the chance to say they were right all along (if you get this joke, you're really sad), thousands of normal people hail this as a brilliant advertising innovation, and request that this format of advertising (perhaps of even shorter duration) be taken up by Sunraysia fruit juice company (if you are offended by this joke, you're even sadder).
There were dramatic events surrounding the Republic debate this week, but nobody knows exactly what they were or what it all meant because, quite frankly, nobody could give a flying fandangle.
The Referendum question is being amended to read: "Which variety of blunt and rusty garden implement should be used against which orifice of Prime Minister John Howard if he ever says the word 'mateship' in public again?"
As far as anybody can tell, the revised draft preamble for
Australia's constitution reads something like this:
"Australia. Mateship (or probably not). Something about the Aboriginies (contractual obligatory conciliatory reference)."
Prime Minister John Howard was last seen talking about the preamble as if it was something important concerning Australia's future as an independent nation. Nobody was listening, with the exception of people who like to make fun of him (this is in itself not necessarily newsworthy).
SUNDAY, 22 AUGUST 1999
Despite much public speculation, Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett did not announce a state government election on Monday.
Prince Phillip is in right royal trouble after making a comment that a dodgy-looking fusebox at an electronics factory "must have been installed by an Indian".
Every news service around the world made it their royal responsibility to make headlines about his comment because "they thought it was a pretty good joke", and could get away with blaming it on someone else.
Prince Philip later apologized, and claimed that he had "really meant to say it was a Pakistani".
In a move that stunned media and political colleagues alike, Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett did not announce a state government election on Tuesday either.
In a bold move toward global peace, previously conflicting countries India and Pakistan have joined forces and reached a mutual agreement that all their tactical nuclear missiles be redirected toward Buckingham Palace.
Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett defied overwhelming expectations that he would announce a state election on Wednesday.
Fugitives from federal justice, Transurban, this week went ahead with their evil scheme to open the Citylink roadways into Melbourne. They haven't yet activated the tolling system due to "technical difficulties" (they should look in the Troubleshooting Guide under "Fucking Stupid Ideas"), however they claim thousands of motorists are enjoying the fast and easy travel into the Victorian state capital.
We have photographic evidence that half the cars going up and down that roadway are all Transurban company cars going around in circles.
Several real motorists were asked for their opinion of the Citylink tollway. "I suppose it's all right. I'm just doing all my Christmas shopping in the city now before I have to pay my arse off for the pleasure of doing it again."
At precisely 9.05am on Thursday morning, Premier Jeff Kennett completely failed to make an announcement of an impending state election. When asked point-blank about whether he was going to call one soon, Chairman Jeff replied "Yes, it is rather sunny for this time of year, isn't it?".
A televised OzLotto draw was suspended this week when the machinery malfunctioned. Millions of lottery punters were disappointed with being denied their chance to win.
Except for one little old lady who claimed "they were my numbers they were drawing before they stopped the fucking machine!". She had to be forcibly removed from her local Tattslotto vendor, under arrest on a charge of Possession of a Loaded Handbag.
Premier Jeff Kennett, on a tour of regional Victoria (probably just to remind him that the state does still exist outside Melbourne city limits), was forced to ask his entourage and surrounding media what the public meant with comments such as "Just get on with it, you bastard".
Four days after "The OzLotto Incident", a $15 million Tattslotto draw was declared invalid when... the machinery malfunctioned. The SWAT Squad was quick to react, surrounding several retirement villages within minutes.
Premier Jeff Kennett announced that he wouldn't be calling an election at all because "there'd be no point. I'm already more popular than God, the people of Victoria are like sheep and the result is already obvious."
Five minutes later, his popularity had dropped by 3,000% amongst the residents of Victoria, their pets, visitors, pond scum, and the entire population of Djibouti.
SUNDAY, 29 AUGUST 1999
Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has finally announced the date of the state election - September 18. He launched the Liberal Party's campaign with the promise that, if they win Government back, they'll continue to serve Victoria the same way they had done for the last seven years.
At the same time, the Victorian Labor Party leader announced that their campaign will be based on the fact that, if the Liberals win Government back, they'll be running the state the same way they had done for the last seven years.
There was more pressure on the Prime Minister this week to issue a formal public apology in regard to the "Stolen Generation" of Aboriginal children. A Democrat Senator said that Prime Minister Howard could issue his long-awaited apology without even having to use the word "sorry" at all: pretty much in the same manner as any of his policy speeches: long-winded and sounding as if it means something, without ever actually relaying anything of significance.
A trailer packed with $30,000 worth of toilet paper was stolen from a yard in Melbourne.
Far from worrying about the mental state of the person who stole it in the first place, the police are more concerned for the wellbeing of the people it was actually intended for.