FRESH from recruiting Peter “Keep The Meter Running” Slipper to her cause, our PM is now poised to announce a new cabinet. It is an opportunity to re-make her government’s image, to put square pegs in square holes and, most of all, to give the likes of Ann Summers, Michael Gordon, Katharine Murphy, Laura Tingle and her legion of media well-wishers the opportunity to write yet again, and perhaps even more extensively, of how the re-shuffle will finally alert the voting public to the many fine qualities it has so far declined to recognise. The electorate can be quite stubborn in this regard, so the new cabinet really needs to be an advertisement for everything Gillard represents. How about the following lineup, which includes several new portfolios specifically tailored to the proposed occupants' unique and individual talents:
Minister for Immigration Doug Cameron
A reminder of the talent, decency and couth an enlightened admissions policy bestows on our nation. From a spinner’s point of view, Cameron brings the additional advantage of highlighting value for money. The Pride of the Gorbals cost just 10 pounds to import, but with the price per head of rescuing and processing asylum seekers, not to mention integrating them into the motel-dwelling community, now running to the high six figures, Australia’s future gains will be exponential.
Minister for Families and Child Care Craig Thomson
He is the perfect man for this job, as his newborn child has been taking care of him since allegations of fraud and brothel-creeping made it expedient to seek a parliamentary pair and stay as far away from Question Time as humanly possible.
Minister for Extractive Industries Stephen Conroy
Having poured billions of dollars into the NBN’s long, narrow trenches it is now time to reclaim from large, round holes some of those previously interred sums. His passionate support for filtering web content will be very handy if grumbles about mining taxes become troublesome.
Minister for Alternative Marriage Nicola Roxon
Rather than being wasted in the Attorney General’s slot, as is being widely tipped, the current Health Minister is a living, waddling endorsement of the fashionable notion that heterosexual relations are grossly overrated.
Foreign Minister Tony Burke
A consummate diplomat, the current environment minister has already done much to improve relations with Japan by equating Victoria’s mountain cattlemen with that country’s despised whalers. The warm welcome he receives in irrigation-dependent communities along the Murray, where they light fires in his honour, speaks of the reaction he would inspire in fora of international affairs. As everyone knows, New Zealanders are very annoying. It is about time we had a war with them.
Minister for Employment Peter Garrett
The fine art of remaining well paid for doing absolutely nothing of note, apart from starting fires and electrocuting the odd apprentice, needs an exemplar. As the indolent and incompetent represent a large slice of the population, roughly equivalent to the number of public servants, this demographic will appreciate being represented by one of their own.
Minister for Status of Women Craig Emerson
As the former lover of our PM, a dalliance that ended his marriage, he knows how to help a gal get on top.
Minister for Media Bill Shorten
The real hero of the Beaconsfield Mine rescue, without whose intervention at poppet-head news conferences Australia would not have noticed the unfolding drama, he can bring attention to the government’s many under-rated achievements, from GroceryWatch to Cash For Clunkers.
Minister for Climate Change Mark Arbib
In his capacity as the man currently charged with expanding Aboriginal employment, he has fostered the job prospects and incomes of many people not readily recognisable as being in the least dusky. With, say, Larissa Behrendt as his chief departmental adviser he will bring to the new role all the qualifications the business of regulating the weather most needs – nice, well-paid gigs for the priveleged and well-connected few while exerting no influence or improvement whatsoever on global temperatures.
Minister for Small Business Kim Carr
How do you start a small business? Put Carr in charge of large ones, which Australia still had when he assumed the Industry portfolio. As the man to oversee small businesses, he will soon shrink them to microscopic businesses, which will reduce their carbon footprints even further.
Minister for Defence Kevin Rudd
The go-to expert on guerrilla warfare, he will effect the greatest improvement in Australia’s security since the subsidence of the Timor Strait land bridge. With Ruddspeak as the ADF’s official code and cipher, what enemy will ever make heads or tails of our military strategies and tactics.
Readers are invited to provide further suggestions for appointments to the new Gillard cabinet, most particularly a fresh career for the problematic Wayne Swan.