Meanwhile: Far North of the River

Written By: Roger Plastow


When The Northsider’s editor called for contributors from north of the river, she didn’t say how far north. Queensland is north of the river so I decided to contribute – distance holds little relevance this far north. I’m writing this epistle to north-of-theriver Melbournians while enjoying the magnificence of QLD’s Sunshine Beach. For those who are unfamiliar, this is just south of Noosa and just north of the ‘Federal Electorate of Fairfax’.

Fairfax is in-the-raw territory where dinosaurs, Clive Palmer, and other wild things are. Normally, your Deep North correspondent would be in Brisbane but I realised that preparing for this article meant some serious emotional preparation, as it required some deep contemplation of the spectre of Clive Palmer. No capital city can provide the right environment for that type of emotion, not even Brisbane.

I used the word ‘spectre’ with intent because, according to the dictionary, it means ‘a mental image of something unpleasant or menacing’ – a perfect description of Clive who, from now on, may be referred to as ‘The Spectre’.

I’m sure the majority of you are genuinely, though quietly, thanking Queenslanders for the many things we have done for everyone north and south of the river.

Not too long ago we transformed the struggling Fitzroy Lions into the juggernaut now known as the Brisbane Lions. Bring on the 2014 season! I think I smell a premiership – or is it something I just stepped in? We have given you KRudd, Julian Assange, Kyle Sandilands, and a long list of AFL players. Hold the applause.

And of course, we have delivered a remarkable expletive-riddled, pommiebashing, stick-that-where-the-sun-don’t shine victory in game one of the Ashes cricket series. We expect, no, demand a similar result in the Boxing Day Test – we set the bar high up here.

As you can see, our generosity to Northsiders, and all Australians for that matter, is boundless. Proof of this is yet another political gift – Carnotaurus Clive.

Please don’t tell me you don’t know ‘The Spectre’ who is widely and affectionately regarded as God’s gift to political comic relief. Queenslanders applaud anyone with a penchant to stick it up politicians, and that outstanding ability featured prominently in CP’s pre-election CV. You’ve got to love someone whose ego equates to the size of his girth.

Until 12 months ago, we regarded ‘The Spectre’ as a great source of entertainment and never even considered sharing him with anyone south of the border. But now, Clive has a, though mostly vacant, seat in our national parliament, total zombie-like influence over an unknown number of soon-to-be Senators, and a burning desire to cause as much mayhem for the government as possible. Again, hold the applause.

Melbourne Northsiders seem to have clutched Clive and his new political party to their collective breasts. At the recent Federal election voters in the seat of Melbourne warmly embraced the Palmer United Party (PUP) candidate, Martin Vrbnjak, giving him 0.92 per cent of the vote. That was a swing of +0.92 per cent to PUP.

Admittedly, it was less than half the vote given to the Sex Party candidate James Mangisi, but on present form, 0.92 per cent would have been enough to get you a Senate seat in West Australia.Speaking of voting trends in the seat of Melbourne, the Animal Justice Party received more votes than the Family First Party. There has to be a message in there somewhere. When it comes to trends and indicators, I think we are seeing a winning streak developing. It’s quite freakish really.

The Palmer United Party is listed as PUP for short. At the last election it was regarded as a winner – unorthodox and uncouth at times – but a winner. The Australian cricket captain, Michael Clarke, has the nickname Pup. In the first Ashes Test he was also regarded as a winner – unpopular and uncouth at times – but a winner. Apparently the PUPs have it.

So here’s a brave prediction: the Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, and the Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer (The PUP) will regularly vote the same way in parliament.

Even though they are ideologically, geographically, and physically (as in physique) poles apart – Bandt wants to stop mining, Palmer wants to mine – they both hate Tony Abbott and his government with a passion. So, we can expect to see The Odd Couple, Adam and Clive, holding hands at least some of the time. That’s one mental image I’m trying to erase.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re real nice to us, we will also share our other political giant and closet Green – Bob (The Kat in the Hat) Katter.


Roger Plastow is a freelance journalist – a poor but passionate, bald but beautiful ‘young’ man who sometimes handles the truth somewhat carelessly and has plans to become a centenarian so he can get a letter from the Queen. He is a true-blue Queenslander with strong Melbourne connections. (He knows a few people who live there).

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