At home with the ever plebisciteful Tony Abbott

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The Abbotts are at home on one of Tony’s rare nights off, discussing going to see a film.

TONY: Margie. How about we go to the movies? We haven’t done that for years.

MARGIE: Why not. I can’t believe it. Going out on a date together. There is a film I’m interested in seeing. Neruda.

TONY: I’m rather partial to checking out Churchill. About Winston Churchill during the war.

MARGIE: Oh. What should we do?

TONY: What’s Neruda about?

MARGIE: A Chilean communist poet.

TONY: Margaret. Why in God’s name would you want to watch a film about a person like that? I want Churchill. We’ll have to set up a plebiscite. Let’s vote.

MARGIE: That won’t work, you idiot.

TONY: Why? I believe in the will of the people.

MARGIE: The people here are two and we are split down the middle.

TONY: OK, We’ll broaden the people’s voice to an uneven number. I’ll ring Peta and see what she says.

[Tony calls Peta.]

TONY: Peta. How would you enjoy a night at the movies? Churchill or Neruda?

PETA: Who or what is Neruda?

TONY: Some Commie Chilean creep.

PETA: Churchill for sure.

TONY: Thanks. I’ll get back to you soon with the details.


TONY: An overwhelming landslide result for Churchill.

MARGIE: What did you expect? You and your branch stacking. I’m sick of it. I think I’ll broaden the plebiscite participants with a phone call of my own.

TONY: Oh. Will you!

[Margie rings Malcolm Turnbull.]

MARGIE: Malcolm, it’s Margaret. How’s Lucy? Tony and I are debating which film to see tonight: Neruda or Churchill.

MALCOLM: Easy. Lucy and I saw it last night. Neruda. Fabulous. What a man. A great political thinker and an excellent poet. He wrote many of his poems in green ink, as a sign of his optimism for the future.

MARGIE: Sounds wonderful. Regards to Lucy.

[Margie hangs up the phone.]

Well, that’s 50/50 for Neruda, and if I include Lucy, it’s 60/40 for Neruda. Did you know he wrote using green ink?

TONY: Oh, did he now!! Just because he is dead doesn’t make him a saint. Green ink, you say! I’ll call Josh. He is our current environment minister, after all. I’ll show you green.

[Tony calls Josh.]

TONY: Josh

JOSH: Lovely to hear your voice Tony.

TONY: Margie and I are banging heads over which movie to see tonight. Churchill or Neruda? We’re split down the middle. I rang Peta. She’s for Churchill, like me. Then Marg rang Malcolm.

JOSH: What did Malcolm say?

TONY: Neruda. A film about some creepy Chilean poet.

JOSH: Well, I’d better go with Malcolm’s pick. Neruda.

TONY: Fuck you, Josh.

JOSH: Sorry, Tony.

TONY: Fuck off Frydenberg.

MARGIE: Well. I guess the plebiscite has come out favouring Neruda 60/40.That settles it.

TONY: Bullshit. Who says it’s over. I’ll speak to Eric.

[Tony rings Eric Abetz.]

TONY: Eric. I’m going to the movies tonight with Margaret. She wants Neruda. I want Churchill. What do you think?

ERIC: What are they about?

TONY: Neruda is about some Commie poet running from the Government, and Churchill is about Winston Churchill. Easy choice don’t you think.

ERIC: Yes. Those World War II films don’t end all that well for my family and I love the thought of Commies on the run just to stay alive. Has to be Neruda.

TONY: You’re fucking kidding.

[Tony slams the phone down.]

MARGIE: An avalanche for Neruda. The people have spoken Tony.

TONY: Bullshit. Who said it’s a binding plebiscite? Not me. You can watch whatever you want. For all I care you can visit Mr Harbourside Mansion and watch episodes of The West Wing with the Turnbulls.

I’m going with Peta to watch a film about a man of integrity, Winston Churchill.

Rocky Dabscheck is a musician/songwriter and front person for Rocky and The Two Bob Millionaires. He is also the author of Stoney Broke and the Hi-Spenders.

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