Iona Mineshaft’s greatest letters Vol 3

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The final instalment of a bundle of letters written by mega-mining heiress Iona Mineshaft and found, in mysterious circumstances, by Graham Jackson.

(Read Part One and Part 2.)


(The Unauthorised ‘Mr Coolie’ Edition, including the viral smash singles ‘Since you have taken my name in vain, Wayne,’ ‘I admire a man who casts a decent shadow’ and ‘Like a Pilbara Olive Python I have held you to my bosom’)

#1  Dear ‘Mr Coolie’,

I am in receipt of a letter concluding “Yours truly, ‘Mr Coolie’,” which contains no truth at all but a tissue of lies, misrepresentations of my conversations with Clive Palmer and false accusations against members of the skittish staff at the Age, a letter which exceeds the stipulated word length of correspondence addressed to me and mine, uses language reminiscent of the foul mouths who phone Alan Jones, and last but not least makes ugly allusions to the ‘bottoms of Mineshafts’, which I have (incidentally) brought to the attention of the Pilbara police, excellent officers who can tell the difference between an insult and an ingot at fifty paces and who support Hungry Jacks franchises whenever the chance comes their way, secure in the knowledge they know which side of their hamburger bun is buttered, unlike you, ‘Mr Coolie’, with your poor diet and unpatriotic pen, you are a disgrace to the nation and were you not desperately needed to work in the mines would be better off back in your country of origin or, better still, Victoria. Clive Palmer was born there, make of that what you will.

#2  Dear Editor in Chief of the Age,

I note with incredulity that you have disregarded my instructions to allow Prime Minister Gillard to run her full term, and that in doing so you have used the old tactic of beating crusader war drums and tested the truth of your blades on Coolies and Tribesmen and sacked tent cities in the outer territories en route to the Holy Land, all the while taking soundings of the depths and shallows of everyone’s perceptions of this and of that, but not once responding to the letters of your owner, Iona Mineshaft, so the time has now come for me to spill all positions in newsroom and board, in which I predict the only ones left standing will be me and Michelle, because we are so dogged, a quality I admire above all others and will need when we go after Mr Abbott, or whoever I determine might best wear a token Prime Minister’s mantle. One possibility is Julie Bishop, an Anglican product of a reasonable Girls’ School, who carries no weight in her saddlebags.

#3  Dear Ms Bishop,

You are such a light weight I almost overlooked you completely, but be that as it may we are of an age and (I imagine) temperament, as well as icons of the West, and have both more or less given up on men (unless you advise me otherwise), so I have come to the conclusion that you are a fit person to accompany me to the St Hilda’s Old Girls’ Reunion at the Lodge – or some other restaurant of my choosing – where we might discuss tactics, perhaps consider Mr Murdoch’s example, see how they seek him here, there and everywhere, how he closes one newspaper and opens another, how he endorses lead singers of obscure bands like Rick Santorum’s Saints, and how when he’s expected to appear in Australia he pops up in Scotland and proclaims that strange little outpost of empire as his country of preference! He is a wonderful, wonderful man Ms Bishop, and I commend him to you, just as I commend myself and the enclosed ticket to the aforementioned Reunion, as well as a redeemable coupon for personal security services.

#4  Dear Prime Minister Gillard,

Might I be the first to congratulate you on your recent victory and to assure you there will be no more shenanigans in Fairfax media, no more phone calls taken from Mr Rudd, no more careless reportage or reports purporting to be something else, and to inform you that although I’ve been unable to dislodge Ms Vanstone from the special comments team I have the bugging of her phone in prospect (on Mr Murdoch’s advice) and believe we can reasonably anticipate her future cooperation in the challenging days ahead, when we must all rise to great occasions, Prime Minister, deciding who to appoint and not to appoint, who to abuse and not to abuse, how to avoid self-abuse, what moisturising creams to use on one’s hands, how to deal with dust from the mines and dangerous fallout generally, spreading the good news that the climate is best placed to look after itself, with a tweak here and there from Lord Monckton’s soft hands, and last but not least determining the result of the next election. Mr Abbott might think he has it won, but I have a mind to throw a spanner in his Speedos.

#5  Dear Professor Dominatrix,

Following the departure of Doctor Who, I wonder if I could persuade you to take on his role as my analyst, since we already enjoy close ties through our mutual acquaintance, Mr Rupert Murdoch, who has provided you with a reference for your good work denouncing the wretched of the earth, the envious and delusional, lashing Coolies, peppering bodies with buckshot, and one way or another punishing the Australian’s readers with a liberating message of hope for the day they might submit to Mr Tony Abbott, a keen amateur pugilist, I’m told, who certainly knows how to hit the airwaves and strut round in a circle, but so easily distracted by forays into the tribal territories (looking for lost children) he needs more of your discipline, Professor, the stern eyes gazing over your spectacles, which is what I hope you might do for me if you find the prospect agreeable and can fit me into your busy schedule. You have so many strings to your bow, so many tails to your cat, I can only hope you will be touched by my plight and find time for my pain.

#6  Dear Mr Treasurer,

Since you have taken my name in vain, Wayne, no apology is possible and a flogging at the hands of the Professor the only possible outcome, so you are hereby given warning of your capture by my press gallery custodians and temporary detention in a dark mine, from which you will be taken to your place of execution (Mr Abbott’s Italianate lounge room) where you will be lashed to a Peter Costello column and whacked to death by the Professor’s cat … for you have no excuse, you black Swan of trespass in flooded mineshafts, your name is mud, and will be subject to constant abuse by Clive Palmer and his itinerant soccer troupe, as well as by Twiggy Forrest’s accountants, who will wipe the tax threshold floor with you, you ‘slimy and shifty and slippery’ excrescence (to borrow the words of Julie Bishop, another product of an Anglican Girls’ School who knows how to choose her words), and if you think our barbs will glance off your scales or feathers – or whatever you cover your vile nakedness with – let me conclude with this: you have another think coming. Rest in peace.

#7  Dear Mr Palmer,

On this business of National Treasure, it was my understanding we were divvying it up more or less equally – even the country’s doomed Treasurer, no friend of ours, agrees – so I am concerned by reports you have welcomed your elevation to the board of the National Trust Fund and thereby to a position of pre-eminence amongst your peers, when a modest refusal was the proper response, together with a brief explanation why you could not accept a gong for which you might well be worthy (in the sense that your gross worth entitles you to buy whatever you want – viz, national affairs policy, football clubs, cream cakes, etc) but are in no sense entitled on other considerations, like not being a team player, failure to disclose your ownership of the Liberal and National Parties, secretiveness about being a Knight Templar and other designations within the Walt Disney empire, like this and so much more … I mean, it beggars belief that an ore-bearing mountain of a man like you, Clive, should be seduced by such a trivial honour.  On a related matter, you should know I am reconsidering Lord Monckton’s kind offer of a peerage.

#8  Dear Editor at Large,

I know you are a recent appointment with no previous experience of running a newspaper, but anyone I employ should at least be able to look after my interests, which do not include publishing a Clive Palmer article purporting to be an attack on the Treasurer but which is in reality a thinly disguised attack on me, your owner, Iona Mineshaft, with its references to intellectual pygmies, people who make impressions on cushions – he should speak! – and “robbing children of their opportunities,” or words to that effect, with the intention of making me a laughing stock, playing fast and loose with footballers, truth, the ghost of John F Kennedy, love, forgiveness and the spirit of reconciliation, thereby diverting the country’s sympathies from miners and people with round faces and landing it squarely on lowlife nurses, Coolies of all creeds and colours, even the Treasurer himself, who will take heart from our disunity and devise a great big new Super Ego Tax, which might even rein you in, Editor, so chuffed by your unexpected appointment you imagine you can do as you please. I’ll forgive you this time, but mind how you go.

#9  Dear Shadow Treasurer,

I admire a man who casts a decent shadow, just as I admire corporate lawyers – lawyers of any kind, for that matter – unlike my former friend Clive Palmer, who admires no one but himself and who handles all his own legal work (to save a dollar) and refuses to pay into the Magnates’ Fighting Fund (to save a few dollars more), so that if you need help filling the hole in your shadowy budget, Mr Hockey, and providing me with long overdue middle class welfare relief educating my children (to show more respect to their mother), you should look no further than Clive at Le Club de Madrid – you can’t miss him – who usually has a few millions spare to wreak havoc, buy training balls, pencil sharpeners, etc, with enough left over to tip your way, since you have been so nice in the past and no doubt will continue to serve our free drinks in the future. Although Clive and I are no longer talking to each other, we still patronise the Club every day to post notices about how Australian democracy might best be improved to our gain.

#10  Dear Michelle Grattan,

To date I have deemed it unwise to address you directly, but you are still on my mind, my special project – despite our public spat over the relative merits of Labour prime ministers – and I recognise that the time has now come to test our special bond and remind you that I am your owner (a generous, forgiving owner) and that my advice needs to be taken seriously and that my advice is as follows: wipe away the tears you shed at Kevin Rudd’s funeral, accept you have failed in your attempt to resurrect his shrouded corpse and restore it to the prime ministership, and just get on with the job – for the love of St Hilda, Michelle – stop crying over souls lost in purgatory or on the back bench, or wherever the damned end up … you went to a decent Girls’ School, Michelle, you know the value of non-denominational faith, but I implore you to drop this faith in Rudd, whom we might all in our best moments admire for doing the odd good thing but at the end of the day abused friend, foe and cabin staff and deserved the axe. Please, Michelle.

#11  Dearest Clive,

Credible threats have been received against my well-being, both from within my disaffected family and from without, threats the courts of the land refuse to take seriously, and so in my hour of need I turn to you to eat humble pie (a double serve topped with whipped cream) in the hope we can forget our differences and install you at the head of my legal team, you with your uncanny ability to get people on side, even judge and jury, twelve Coolies true, and unblemished record in the judicial system, and yes, I will sprinkle the cream with Smarties and all my Fairfax shares, since I have received further credible (but unrelated) threats from people refusing to buy my papers, people whom you with your common touch and ancestry, familiarity with football riots, and so on, will be able to cajole back into the fold of compliant readership, etc, etc, digesting our news every morning with their scrambled eggs and instant coffee, or other way round. With one or two exceptions, you will find Fairfax staff genuinely fearful and eager to please as they show you round the office.

#12  Dear Editor at Large,

Rejecting my forgiveness, you have fallen into error and are sacked forthwith for sending mixed messages, on the one hand supporting carbon pricing and mining taxes (bad message) and on the other attacking the Treasurer who established the prices and taxes (good message), with the result we now have no message at all but some kind of flummery like my father used to enjoy in old age – served up by his maid – and our readers are left wondering whether they’re coming or going or Arthur or Martha, whether the Minister for Defence should have responsibility for the nation’s troops or whether patriotism is better left in the hands of Colonel Blimp, or Alan Jones, or anyone with a loud hailer who knows how to keep their balance on the back of a truck and shout down the people’s representatives, as if parliamentarians were anything more than a sop to the restless Tribesmen and Coolies we are duty bound, Mr Editor, to starve of news, reduce to a weakened state, and subdue. On reflection, a mixed message is not such a bad thing and you are herewith reinstated, with an apology for any confusion.

#13  Dear Mr Murdoch,

Governments come and governments go, but once in a while an item of genuine news comes along on which we can all reflect and agree: that I am richer than you are, Rupert – you don’t even make the Top 100 – Forbes has crunched your numbers and found they don’t stack up, found that I control more resources, operate in more spheres of influence, have power over more Coolies and Tribesmen and am even quite active for my age, for which I am happy to give you credit, elder magnate, still putting your nose in everyone’s business with or without compensation, you are an inspiration to us all, even young James Packer who must be spitting chips with his latest ranking, but with no one to blame but himself, giving free dim sims to bankrupt gamblers, which might allow their families to survive into another deprived generation without shirts on their backs, but at the end of the day only fit to see action on a paper round, or in one of my mines, their gratitude knowing no bounds. But what are boundaries, Rupert, if not speed humps on the road to world domination?

#14  Dear Self,

If serving God and Mammon can be likened to serving St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls and the Barristers’ Benevolent Society, then it can be done with a clear conscience, since the same people sit on the boards and sing the same club songs, like Glory, Glory, Hallelujah! etc, etc, and both are unrepentant advocates of all we hold near and dear, like parents and wayward children, as well as stepmothers elevated beyond their station in the Coolie/Tribesmen scheme of things, in which even you and I, Iona, if the truth were told, had a modest beginning and would be modest even now were it not for our position at the top of the Rich List attracting the envy of everyone, even our analyst, Professor Dominatrix, who obsesses on the subject whenever we’re not on her couch reminiscing about our inheritance and other preoccupations, notwithstanding which … Drat it all, Iona, why do you play their game when you could so easily change it with a snap of your jewel-encrusted fingers (metaphorically speaking) and proclaim the Fire and the Rose or (realistically speaking) yourself and ‘Mr Coolie’ as One? What say you, sweetheart?

#15  Dear Hugo Chavez,

Like a Pilbara Olive Python I have held you to my bosom, two endangered species seeking comfort in each other’s coils, but you have turned your beady eye from me and slithered away to Indonesia to show them how to nationalise mines, to swallow them whole – just when I thought you had found the value of getting into bed with foreigners – but at the business end of the day we cannot escape our past, it seems, or the fact we speak different languages, or that our natures are at odds, you with your excitable genes, me with my introversion and injunctions … if only the stars had aligned differently, Chavez, in a clear night sky over the Pilbara, when the Pythons were tucked away in their solitary beds, and prospectors ought to have been (but were sometimes found wanting), oh, Chavez! why are we so choked by our past? our dear parents and ancestors? sometimes I feel smothered by them, by myself and my own mortal coils, another endangered Pilbara Olive Python – shy and unattractively coloured – with no future in the clear light of day. I am lost, Chavez, lost in the clear light of day.

#16  Dear Clive,

As a girl I was taught to be fearful of the Red in my Bed, and now you tell me there is a Spy in your Fly I am wondering what to fear next and at a loss to know how to advise the girls at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls at their monthly retreat, from which their parents might reasonably expect them to emerge emboldened, charged to go forth and multiply with confidence, but in the current climate more likely to demand police protection and regular virginity tests, all very well for those who can afford it, but what about the scholarship girls, those whom I could make a special philanthropic project of, and probably will, but that will miss the point, Clive, how to tackle these fearful competitors who daily dilute the fear we engender ourselves, and rightfully so, with our manifest power and names on the Rich List, leaving us with no choice but to fight back and rout these Reds, scatter these Spies, so there is only one fear in the land. Would you like to talk to the girls yourself, and address their mistrust of beds and flies?

Iona Mineshaft.

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