Worried Government backbenchers begin gruelling job seeking process due to rising job insecurity. Steve Atyre reports.
AUSTRALIANS WERE NEITHER SHOCKED nor surprised when a "worried backbencher" lamented, in the face of the latest episode of the Canberra version of Game of Thrones (but with less nudity, thank Christ), that:
A lot of our people are facing that fact that they are in the last six months of their political careers ... they've got houses, school bills, cars that they've set up for themselves on the basis that they're earning $200,000 plus.
What do they do if they're suddenly out of work?
Reaction on social media was as swift and merciless as a swung axe from the Hound, with epithets ranging from, 'Try ringing Centrelink!' and 'Get a better job', to 'Sell the car' and 'Apply for Newstart like everyone else'.
But what does a politician, suddenly out of work and with ready access to a pension, contacts, favours to call in, lobbying firms to join or opportunities to rail about socialism on Sky News do for a crust — short of not changing their underwear for a fortnight?
I spoke to several recruitment agencies – who insisted on anonymity as they are in receipt, currently, of a lot of taxpayer-funded largesse to not find people jobs – and the response was pretty positive, as well as being largely consistent across the board:
RECRUITMENT AGENCY ADVICE FOR UNEMPLOYED BACKBENCHERS
Qualifications as a lawyer but little practical skill in that profession would be desirable, as would an innate capacity to say one thing, do another and then be able to shamelessly blame someone else when it all goes pear-shaped. Bearing a remarkable likeness to a potato or a wing-nut would also be highly desirable.
Key selection criteria:
- behaving like a complete arse in the office;
- pointlessly interjecting in meetings;
- being entirely self-focused to the point of a narcissistic personality disorder;
- showing no capacity to answer a direct question;
- a devil-may-care attitude to the use of the corporate expense account;
- taking credit for the achievements of others;
- absolutely no sense of personal responsibility;
- loyalty to one's mates over that which is ethical and lawful;
- inferior communication skills;
- no ability to think more than a week ahead, unless it involves a matter of personal interest;
- a strong personal belief there is an "I" in "team";
- a lack of attention to detail; and, of course,
- must be a dual citizen.
It is possible that someone with those skills might find employment in a major bank or as a commentator for the Murdoch press, but the competition would be pretty tight.
It has also emerged that at least one current Government backbencher who may be given the arse within six months has, in fact, sought career counselling, and IA was provided with a transcript of a secretly recorded interview:
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Thanks for your time, we've looked through your resume and spoken to referees—
BACKBENCHER: Yes, but the real question is, what about me?
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Thanks, we were coming to that. Now, we sent you some literature for you to read to help you in framing your expressions of interest for alternate employment—
BACKBENCHER: Yes, but I know what it said.
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Did you read it?
BACKBENCHER: No, but let's cut to the chase, I stand on my record. I stand behind my record. My record speaks for itself. I'm eminently qualified for anything on offer. I can do anything. And it would be best I start at least somewhere in senior management.
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Well, that's the issue — you don't appear to have any real qualifications or experience for such a role.
BACKBENCHER: That is an outrageous slur. I challenge you to say that in public.
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Look, we do have something for you. It is a very exclusive position.
BACKBENCHER: Excellent, that sounds like me. What is it?
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Taronga Zoo has a very rare species of venomous frog—
BACKBENCHER: Yes, and?
CAREER COUNSELLOR: They are very rare, but one is desperately sick.
BACKBENCHER: I have a proud record in protecting endangered species.
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Yes, however this is less a protection role than a donor role. You see, their only breeding male developed a rectal infection and unless it receives an urgent transplant, it will die and the species will go on the critical list.
BACKBENCHER: A transplant of what? Perhaps I need a detailed briefing.
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Not necessary. It needs a new rectum. It cannot, well ... go to the toilet and it will die.
BACKBENCHER: Where do I come in?
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Well, we'd like you to offer yourself as a donor.
BACKBENCHER: What? Donate my own rectum?!
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Actually, no. The experts tell us that it needs an entire body for the transplant to take and apparently you'd be compatible.
BACKBENCHER: Are these experts scientists?
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Yes.
BACKBENCHER: Well, there you are! Can't trust 'em. What would they know? The evidence probably isn't even settled.
'Key selection criteria: Must be a dual citizen'
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Well, 97 per cent of them consider you'd be ideal. And that is notwithstanding some information we did receive in background checking.
BACKBENCHER: What was that?
CAREER COUNSELLOR: You were described as – and I quote – "he's not a venomous frog's arsehole".
BACKBENCHER: Who said that? Those bastards on the other side?
CAREER COUNSELLOR: No. One of your own party room.
BACKBENCHER: Outrageous! I'll be calling my lawyer, I'll...
CAREER COUNSELLOR: Look, this is your chance to prove them wrong. You could be the saviour of the species by being a venomous frog's arsehole. Think of the prestige. Man selflessly donates himself to science to keep a species from extinction.
And there'd be other benefits — you'd keep your pension and post office perks. You'd get fed three times a day without it costing you a brass razoo. You could sit around a pool looking as vacuous as you like and have sex with all the other frogs like crazy. And all you'd have to produce is pure frogshit. It will be just like being in parliament.
BACKBENCHER: When do I start?
DISCLOSURE: Steve Atyre is a small, furry wombat who once unsuccessfully sought pre-selection for the National Party in a seat they've never contested.
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