A certain sadness

After many years of trawling through the very many excellent parliamentary reporting and archival websites for performance and research materials for my work with version 1.0, it produced a certain sadness to see the following message appear this morning on www.pm.gov.au:

"An election for the House of Representatives was held on 24 November 2007 at which the Coalition Government led by the Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard MP, was defeated.

A new Government led by the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Kevin Rudd MP, is expected to be sworn in by the Governor-General in the near future. In the interim, media content is available on Mr Rudd's website. Any comments or messages to Mr Rudd can also be made via Mr Rudd's website.

Mr Howard will remain the caretaker Prime Minister until the new Ministry is sworn in. Until this time any comments or messages to Mr Howard can be made through the following form - Contact the Hon John Howard MP.

Archived material from the former Prime Minister's website is available on the National Library of Australia Pandora archive."

Whatever will version 1.0 use for primary source material now? Alas, the now former Prime Minister was not the inventor of the political scandal, and we'll be closely monitoring the newly-forming, Teflon-coated Rudd government, as well as taking stock of the last decade, and addressing ongoing matters of concern that don't disappear with a change of government (for instance, private security firms operating in Iraq to enforce democracy without the necessity of that troublesome rule-of-law thing, the culture of the Department of Immigration in Australia, especially in relation to wrongful detention and deportation of Australian residents and citizens). So still much more to do. And the odd hint of a smile poking out beneath this certain sadness - under the circumstances, to lose a favoured website isn't really such a bad thing after all. And next year when version 1.0 celebrates a decade of theatre practice, expect to see our remix of John Howard's concession speech. Some things must truly be treasured...

Image: David Williams as Prime Minister John Howard in version 1.0's Deeply offensive and utterly untrue. Photo by Heidrun Lohr.


don't worry young david... you'll have plenty of material before long...

but you may have to move further into satire... i'm think education revolution, chairman rudd and the long walk up the digital highway with red flags in toe and a bit of loose change....

or you could even turn your attention to james hardie... or the nsw state government... or the australian institute of sport... or even possibly the stc...
David Williams said…
Thanks Nick, I'll leave the AIS alone, sports people have nasty lawyers and a humour deficit. We have talked about Hardie, but it doesn't feel quite right, and gee works about the NSW government would travel well, wouldn't they?

No, I'm confident that there's still much to mine in the public accountability stakes despite the change in government, and in the interim, there are still a number of projects investigating vexed issues about the business of Australian democracy that aren't directly linked to the now former government. The work continues.

And besides, whenever our work has been described as being 'anti-government', I never thought that meant simply being anti-Howard. I distrust such simple positions as that. The former Prime Minister has a key part of the landscape that made our recent work possible, but it wasn't really all about him. He wasn't that central to the life of version 1.0...

But the transparent, user-friendly, well-maintained web archives I will truly miss, and will be interested to see if they are maintained so effectively by the new administration. The NSW government has been not so effective at this for instance.
harley Stumm said…
IDEA FOR A MUSICAL inspired by the Liberal leadership settlement

An 80s retro musical, hmm let's see, casey benetto to write it, titled um how about:


Synopsis: a political thriller set in an imaginary political party riven by personal animosities and ambitions for thirteen years, lurching from crisis to thigh-slappingly hilarious crisis...

Dramatis Personae & Casting Suggestions:

Sunlamp Kid Andrew Peacock 83-85, played by Brendan Nelson

Honest John Howard 85-89 played by Tony 'People Skills' Abbott (thanks for that line, Annabel Crabb)

Then the return of the king, Andrew 'a souffle never rises twice' Peacock 89-90, Brendan Nelson reprises the role that made him fatuous...

And coup mastermind Wilson Tuckey played by.... Wilson Tuckey!

Ferrari-driving merchant banker Dr John Hewson 90-94 played by... hmmmmm, is Malcolm Turnbull too obvious a choice?

Alexander Downer 94-95, well who else has the rounded Adelaide vowels but Christopher Pyne?

And before we come to Howard Redux 95-96 let's think about supporting cast:

Who to play Joh for Canberra 87? Barnaby's nutty enough but not nearly as nasty. Maybe Dr Flegg the Qld Lib leader who won't call a party room vote? Or the WA opposition leader Omodei who said anyone who tapped him on the shoulder would cop a right hook? or maybe Pauline Hanson?

And how about Bronwyn Bishop and her pitch for leader in 93, anyone remember that? Who plays Bronny? Julie Bishop has the name, but is disqualified by actually having some talent, so for some inspired casting how about Janet Albrechtsen, we'd save on the wig budget cos she has the hair for it, and she could be a Lib senator in ten years time, yes?

Finally we come to Act 3: Howard Redux, eyebrows plucked, teeth capped, 95-96... The prodigal son returns from the wilderness to claim what is rightfully his... has to be a forgotten man written off by everyone in act one... yes of course.... Peter Costello! (like in that Luis Bunuel film, That Obscure Object Of Desire, with the same character played by two different actors... tricky huh...)

Remember what our mate Karl Marx said, history is always repeated twice, first time as tragedy, second as farce...

but in our production we save money but making it tragedy and farce all at once...

OK OK OK i've already posted on nick's and alison's blogs but i'm insufferably relentless, just like J.W.Howard (but a much better dancer)

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