SUNDAY, 3 OCTOBER 1999
Voters all over Australia this week received their official Australian Electoral Commission pamphlets about the upcoming Republic Referendum. Inside it details why we should ot should not vote "Yes" or "No" for a Republican model we don't want and a Constitution Preamble we don't need.
We are assured that a Republic won't change our flag (which needs changing), or our national anthem (which nobody knows and yet everyone hates), but will allow an Australian to be our head of state, elected by a two-thirds majority of federal parliament (who never agree on anything) but will be at the mercy of the Prime Minister should he wish to replace or dispose of him at will (rather like his current ministry and policies).
We're all told that this is a very democratic process. We're told that this is the Republican model that we wanted and that we should vote for it because it is for our benefit.
By similar logic, I hope that just because Ray Martin gets high ratings doesn't mean that we are the ones who give rise to his inexplicable popularity, and that as a result we should be very happy to have him as our President.
War continues in Indonesia. Five earthquakes have occurred around the world in five weeks. New Year's Eve is less than 90 days away.
Millennium fever is in the air. Everybody blames their current political, geological, social, moral, and dietary problems on the imminent arrival of the year 2000.
But the year is merely an arbitrary date forced upon us by the fact that some guy may or may not have been born approximately 2000 years ago, and that is but a small speck of the overall timeline of the Earth itself, let alone the whole Universe.
So, basically, for the world to get over its current crises everybody needs to move together and accomplish one single goal: find someone else to blame for their problems. (This would be the only occasion where I would vote for John Howard.)
Following the narrow victory by the Australian womens netball team against New Zealand this week, Prime Minister John Howard send them a message of congratulations, commending them on their contriubution toward women's hockey in Australia.
They in return sent a reply commending the Prime Minister on his contribution toward economic reform in Australia.
The long-awaited fourth film in Kevin Smith's New Jersey series, Dogma (promised at the end of Mallrats but we got Chasing Amy instead, not that this is necessarily bad - but remember that we were promised Superman III at the end of Superman II and look at what we got) finally opened this week, the premiere being attended by Religious Nuts protesting the anti-Catholic sentiments of the movie.
Naturally, none of the protestors had actually seen the film. Some of them hadn't even seen any films since... well, ever. But they continue to protest anyway. I only wish I hadn't read the Bible (or bits thereof) because then I'd be qualified enough to tell them what a load of crap it is, too.
SUNDAY, 10 OCTOBER 1999
Bendigo is in shock this week following an all-night seige by a gunman in Kangaroo Flat, who shot and wounded four policemen before turning the gun on himself.
"It certainly was a real tragedy," one senior Victorian police official said. "After all that, and what he did to members of our Force, we didn't get a chance to shoot the crap out of him ourselves."
On the subject of random violence, a student who survived the Springfield high school shootings last year died this week in a hunting accident, shot by a gun held by his brother.
If this guy was paranoid that all his friends and family were out to get him, then he had good reason to be.
Jeff Kennett this week pleaded with the three independent state MPs to support a Coalition government. If the Libs lose the Frankston East by-election, he will need the support of all three independents to maintain government; his argument for trying to persuade them is that the public apparently want him in office.
The fact that more than 50% of the public voted against him in the election seems to have escaped his attention. However, past experience has proven that these are the exact conditions required for a Liberal to declare he has a "strong mandate" to govern.
If you are planning an overseas holiday in the coming months, be on the lookout for a tall, dark-skinned man who may be looking incredibly nervous about boarding any means of public transport.
This man was spotted aboard the Qantas jet that ran off the runway at Singapore airport in the last few weeks, and this week was a passenger aboard one of the two commuter trains that collided in London.
Rex Hunt, television personality responsible for endless programs about how to catch fish and commentate football (often simultaneously), this week protested against plans to release an unofficial video, entitled Rex's Bigguns.
The video is a collation of out-takes from his various television appearances where he gets a little heated up and repeatedly makes use of the "F" word. (Fish? Football? Flibbertigibbet?). It was felt by parties connected to Rex that the Australian public might be a bit shocked to find out that he really is a foul-mouthed, football-loving yobbo.
SUNDAY, 17 OCTOBER 1999
Following several months of waiting, the thousands of people who applied for tickets to the Sydney Olympic Games received their official documentation from the Sydney Olympic Committee.
Due to the number of applicants outweighing the number of seats available to the public, not everybody was able to get all the tickets they wanted, if indeed they won anything at all. After all, of all the seats available in all the official Olympic venues, seats have been reserved for the IOC and their families, SOCOG and their families, athletes (past and present) and their families, the trainers and their families, the team mascots and their families, the media and their families, and of course the seats reserved for those wishing to adopt the "premium packages" (those who have had savings accounts running since the very first Olympics in Athens, of course).
The successful applicant was very pleased to receive his ticket, although he had hoped it would be to the Opening Ceremony, and not the International Jumping On the Spot Championship Finals.
The world's population reached 6 billion people on Tuesday.
This would be more impressive if the word "billion" actually meant what it's supposed to mean (a million million), and not what the idiot Americans tell us it means (a thousand million).
Supporters of the "Yes" campaign for an Australian Republic this week unveiled their secret weapon: Prince Charles.
"As King Charles III," they warned, "this man could be Australia's next head of state. Is that what you want, because that's what'll happen."
The Victorian Labor Party won the by-election in Frankston East, giving the ALP 42 seats and the Coalition 43.
But is it all over yet? Hell no, the three independents, in a bid to make all Victorians so sick and tired of waiting and democracy in general, have decided to wait until next week before announcing their intentions.
For anyone who still cares, you might be able to read the result on this page. That is, provided I still care enough to actually write anything more about it. Unless it involves Jeff Kennett, a large German Shepherd dog and the words "bloody and violent".
SUNDAY, 24 OCTOBER 1999
The three independent Victorian MPs announced on Monday that they will all support the Labor Party to form a minority government in Victoria, under the leadership of Steve... um... Steve... thingy. You know, that guy that looks like Hymie from the Get Smart TV series (according to Chris, leading Political Commentator Over a Few Drinks on a Friday Night).
They would also like to remind the voting public that the next time anyone calls a state election, there will be an amnesty on the use of firearms.
Just as an aside for the moment, do you see the episode of Babylon 5 when the Interstellar News Network took enormous pleasure in announcing the death of totalitarian Earthforce President Morgan Clark?
Well, imagine that scenario when youth radio network Triple J announced the end of Jeff Kennett's seven-year "reign of terror". (Does this mean we get to behead him?)
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks' first action as Premier of Victoria, as a part of his Premierly duties for the whole of the State of Victoria (sorry... just helping you comprehend this concept... and also because no doubt Mr Bracks likes the sound of it) has been to reduce the retirement income for former Victorian Premiers. The million-dollar superannuation benefit scheme was one of Kennett's own first actions as Premier seven years ago... but was refused to be accepted by former Labor Premiers John Caine and Joan Kirner. So, the only person to suffer from the cutbacks is... Jeff Kennett! Vindictive? Hell no.
Jeff Kennett has also announced his resignation as leader of the Liberal Party. Cited to take his place are... well, um... If anybody happens to know the names of anyone else in the Victorian Liberal Party, please drop me a line. But I'm sure there's lots of prospective Conservative candidates in Parliament who are experienced and qualified enough to ignore the needs of everybody.
In a further blow to the Liberal Party, the Victorian National Party has decided to bring an end to their long-running Coalition. Not that this necessarily changes anything. They're still gonna be a bunch of old country hicks wearing silly hats no matter who they ally themselves with in Parliament.
They have also announced a new Party motto: "We'll prove that we really can make our own decisions, provided somebody gives them to us with big diagrams included."
SUNDAY, 31 OCTOBER 1999
In yet another tragic blow for the Liberal Party, the Victorian National Party re-signed the Coalition agreement after almost a week on their own.
"We realized that, being on our own, we were going to be singled out when taking the blame for anything. This way, the Libs are going to cop just as much shit as us," a leading spokesman said.
VCE students all over the state this week celebrated the end of their years in high school. The students conducted themselves in the dignified, time-honoured manner passed down through generations... at least until they passed outside the classroom door for the final time and promptly produced a veritable armoury of water pistols, flour bombs, toilet rolls and tactical nuclear-powered eggs gestated in laboratories under supervised conditions for months.
In Bendigo, police and principals alike congratulated the students on their behaviour, thanking them for not including innocent people, pets and landmarks in their celebrations this time around.
Jeff Kennett officially resigned from politics this week, effectively invoking the centuries-long tradition of "if I can't be leader, I'm taking my bat and ball and pissing off home". Another by-election will be held in his seat of Burwood, but it can be assumed that if the constituents there can keep Kennett in place for many years, they'll probably elect Humphrey B. Bear if he ran for the Libs.
Something called a "Denis Napthine" has been named as new leader of the Liberal Party. We suspect that it is an animatronic puppet imbued with the collective consciousness of Tory MPs designed to spout lengthy platitudes in public forums (it doesn't actually have to do anything now that they are in opposition). In a bold move that encapsulates the ideals and forward-thinking paradigms of the Twentieth Century, the Libs have even named a woman, of all things, as Deputy Leader.
In an empassioned inaugural speech, Louise Asher promised that her party would support the country and rural areas in future. "We admit that it really does exist," she said. "We're already implementing a new policy to make all the people in these so-called... what did you call it again?... country areas, residents of Melbourne."