The unfunny Irish joke: Marlene Kairouz MP and multiculturalism

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Contributing editor-at-large, leprechaun Tess O'Lawrence discusses political incorrectness and shares a few Irish and Lebanese jokes with Victorian State MP Marlene Kairouz.

BEGORRAH, MACUSHLA, MARLENE KAIROUZ, you beautiful dear wee bint of Lebanese descent.

You've really copped some flake over your community warning and mufti-culturalists are spitting chips about what you said in your press conference. Sooooo unfair.

Never heard of Marlene? Doesn't surprise me.

Who'd ever heard of Victoria's diminutive Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation before she made "those" so-called racist comments? It wasn't racial profiling. Just telling the truth that's all. Warning us about door-to-door conmen. Why is that a crime?

Marlene, ever since your wise counsel that doors should be slammed in the face of anyone with an Irish accent, I've been taking electrocution lessons from your senatorial sisters and brothers in alms Pauline Hanson, Peter Dutton and the Empirical Not-So Grand Wizard Senator eX Malcolm Roberts.

It's working.

I have almost lost my brogue and now wear thongs. On both my feet and buttocks.

To be sure Marlene, some are unfairly labelling you a banshee. I'll not be having any of it. 

Maybe it's just me, but since you outed the Irish, all sorts of similar episodes have erupted. My head is spinning and I'm rambling all over the place like Father Ted, fretting about where all this malarkey is taking us.


Cheezus, Mary and Youssef, you'd have to be an eejit not to know that the Irish are not to be trusted. I say this against me own, mind, borne out of years of inexperience and watching old black and white Bling Crosby movies.  

It's no secret that Bling's 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas' is a Dutton-dressed-up-as-ham favourite. 

We had a sneaky peek at Pete's letter to Santa, handwritten on Immigration and Border Protection letterhead, featuring the Skull (Peter's nickname ) and Crossbones.

He didn't ask for much and, as always, put others first.

Here's a wee excerpt: 

Dear Santa, 

I've been ever such a good boy for the whole year and done everything that Tony, Malcolm, Eric and Marinara Le Pen have asked of me, so please, take all those Armani clad illiterate and innumerate greasy darkie men refugees back with you to the North Pole Dancer.

Don't let them anywhere near the reindeers, especially Vixen and Cupid. 

Some of those bludger reffos are in favour of unsame sex marriage and, as my spiritual sole mate Senator Cory Bernardi rightly pointed out, this leads to bestiality. These men are savages. They call Manus Island, Anus Island. That says it all.


Yours in Christ, 

Peter the Rock and the Fisher of Men 

Now, even though Marlene is Labor and Peter is Liberal, they are both tarnished with the same brush. They are rightly suspicious of people with funny accents — both Christians and both against same-sex marriage.

Moreover, Dutton's remarks and treatment of refugees has made international headlines and Kairouz, too, has now been globally immortalised. Yes indeedy Marlene. To be sure, next, she'll be starring on that fab show, Real Fishwives of Melbourne.

You're famous, girl! Even the Irish Times quoted you.

But what about what Peter Dutton said about the "Lebbos" in the Lower House? He's the definitive word on Lebbos too. Plus, he's a Government spokesman. So, it's all policy. It was a mistake bringing you lot here.


“If anybody knocks on your door that has an Irish accent, automatically ask them to leave."

What's wrong with what you said? Nothing. As a general rule, the world would do well to heed your words. I, for one, am sick of political incorrectness. You tell 'em, luvvie. 

It is a well-known fact the Irish are a nation of Murphy-heads and we rightly believe in the little people – including Sam Dastyari and Rupert Murdoch – and this gift makes us natural politicians, publicans and yes, so be it, roof tilers. 

No wonder there were advertisements saying, 'Irish (especially Catholics) need not apply'.

Not only in the past, either. 

Remember, it was just five years ago when there was a big kerfuffle over an ad in Gumtree calling for bricklayers in Australia — but 'NO IRISH'?!

The Australian embassy was forced to declare this big furphy:

The Government has an unwavering commitment to a multicultural Australia and greatly welcomes the contribution made by people of all backgrounds, regardless of origin, gender, or colour, to Australia's culture, society, and prosperity.

... Australia had no tolerance for racism and discrimination reflected in a broad range of anti-discrimination legislation.  

Yeah, right. 


Like the wandering gypsies we are, we fornicate willy nilly with anything that has an alimentary canal, scales and tri-forked tails, since we are the Divvil's very own spawn.

As a consequence, all five corners of the world's peoples carry the recessive Irish DNA and Ireland itself is overrun with the Irish. No good can come of it. 

Those that fell off the edge into the sea simply migrated to Australia with the sole purpose of travelling this great land of the free-quote-and-scamming people.

You'll often spy us sitting atop roofs, NBN towers, church steeples and telegraph poles like gargoyles, generally wondering how much money we can con out of the elderly and gullible to fix their roofs, extracting thousands of dollars as deposits, disappearing as quickly as the Holy Ghost on St Patrick's Day.


Drones have been a great boon to us in detecting roofs that could do with an Irish makeover.

We were doin' okay, too, until Minister Kairouz put the kibosh on us. It was time to get out anywise, because too many Scots were feigning an Irish accent and were taking away our jobs and money.

I don't like to speak ill of the dead useless, but they are notoriously stingy and were underquoting us. 

And, of course, there were genuine roof repairers who had genuine Irish accents and charged genuine prices for their genuine work. 

But they were giving the rest of us a good name so we had no choice but to pack it in and we're now seeing if we can get some work repairing the roofs on the Manus Island Detention Centre.

After that, we'll repent of our ways and settle down to become politicians and see what we can do with expenses, weddings, helicopters, real estate, brokering billion dollar Adani loans and suchlike.

Or maybe we'll put on cockney accents and go into another line of spruiking.


As Minister of Consumer Affairs, Ms Kairouz, you are without peer. We are lucky to have you, Marlene, and thank you for protecting us from the Irish ripping off people to the tune of 'Danny Boy' and thousands of rubles. 

Few realise that the beautiful melody that makes you weep at the drop of an Irish tweed hat was written specifically for Victoria's Premier, "Danny Boy" Andrews by Christopher "Lone" Pyne, a longtime admirer. 

Not many people know that Pyne wrote the lyrics to many Easybeats songs.

I didn't know it myself until just now when it suddenly popped into my head. 

I thought it very gallant, how Andrews jumped to your offence. He said you "misspoke" and that you “didn't mean any offence” and had “apologised accordingly". 

Marlene, how you have the time to also fit in being the Minister for Gaming, Liquor Regulation and Local Government is a marvel to behold. 

I hope you had a wonderful time at the Emirates Melbourne Cup Half Empty. Pity about the execution of Regal Monarch, innit? Did you have a bet on him? Strange how he seemed able to stand after the fall and yet was later killed; another reason to make your own pet food.

Regal Monarch's jockey Joao Moreira didn't have to be euthanised, I note. Why he wasn't is a mystery, given part of his surname is really the code name for Ireland. Dead giveaway, I would have thought. 

I no longer attend or bet on the Cup. Once did. Was a once a year bet. No more. And sick of the inane betting ads on the telly and online pop-ups that cruel our intelligence as well as our wallets. 

I was tinkin' to meself, isn't it ironical that the name of the horse that was scratched from the Cup was called Who Shot Thebarman? That's the Little People hubris for ye. 

On his own admission, Bob Marley shot the sheriff. But he did not shoot the deputy. And his band was called The Wailers in honour of our great Australian horse. Is there no end to these amazing wheels within wheels or hooves atop roofs?


And how is it that the first three live horses over the finishing line all had strong Irish links? 

Oh, the luck of the Irish — Rekindling; Johannes Vermeer, named for the Queensland bull artist, Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, also known as Banjo Paterson; and Max Dynamite. First, second and third — should all be given dual citizenship. 

How did you cope out at Flemington, Marlene, given you're the State Gambling Minister, let alone after your friendly reminder about the Irish? Did you slam the stable door after the horses had bolted? Do horses whinny in Gaelic?

I just love how one week you're launching Responsible Gambling Awareness Week and then a few weeks later, you're out at the Cup, Gambling Central. Onya.

Did the sponsors welcome you into their parlour? Did you happen to visit the Emirates Marquee de Sade?  


Perhaps it should be called the Marquee de Sad. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai has spent nigh on $1 billion trying to win the Melbourne Cup to no avail. No wonder he looks so glum.

Or, perhaps he's thinking about his elder brother Sheikh Maktoum, who died about 11 years ago when staying at the Gold Coast's Palazzo Versace and from whom Mohammed inherited all his titles? 

He's a man who has known personal pain. A couple of years ago, one of his sons, Rashid, a gold Olympian, died, it is said, of an overdose — a family tragedy shared by millions of families around the world. 

Perhaps it is time for the Sheikh to consider a new field of human beings to run his Godolphin empire. I reckon Mohammed is being taken for a ride. He ought to put in a call to Ireland. Or Tasmania. That's a bit like Ireland in parts. Good horse country.


Now, I wouldn't be surprised if His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has Irish blood in his veins. He might be. How so, you ask? Well, did you know Marlene, that like all the Irish, he's a bit of a poet? Yes, in the rich Nabati vein — a wonderful history and story-telling Arabian tradition associated with the Bedu.

This, from one of my faves, 'We Rejoiced in Love':

... We rejoiced in love united,
And hearts, without appointments, met.

Took me, yearning, due to distance,
My heart and mind after my feelings eloped.

With love for who put fire in my soul,
Of my conscience and my 
pains they are unaware ...

Now you're Lebanese, Marlene, so you'd be hearing of the great poet Kahlil Gibran, no doubt? You and Mohammed have this great poetic tradition in common. You must have had a great talk.

I'll wager you didn't talk about the atrocity-riddled war in Yemen and the UAE's role in unlawful conduct by the Saudi-led Coalition attacks. 

In April this year, Human Rights Watch wrote to Sheikh Mohammed about violations of international human rights, humanitarian law and violations of the laws of war, asking him to support an investigation of the same into all parties to the conflict.

At the time, HRW said, since March 2015, 4,773 civilians had been killed and 8,272 wounded.


Now thousands more are dead. The civilian population is being pulverised into bloody nothingness by constant bombings.  Thousands are starving and dying of malnutrition. Cholera is rife.

Last month, the World Health Organisation quoted Yemen's Health Ministry figures reporting

' ... a cumulative total of 862,858 suspected cases of cholera including 2,177 associated deaths as of 26 July for the outbreak which started in October 2016.'

The world has been begging for the madness to stop. But there is no love, only hate in the time of Yemen's cholera epidemic.  

So how could a man who writes so eloquently about love not front up to talk about its absence in Yemen? 

Today, the ABC has filed heartbreaking stories by Sophie McNeill and Moohialdin Fuad about their visit to the al-Thawrah hospital in Yemen's capital of Sana'a. The footage is gut-wrenching and a shameful indictment not only of all "actors" in this catastrophic hell — but an indictment upon the world and our inhumanity towards those with whom we are in conflict.

Last month, the UAE

'... expressed its unwavering commitment to promoting and protecting human rights within the domestic legal framework, stressing it's (sic) commitment to continue serving as a pioneering model for change in the region, as well as an active member of the international community.'

When Sheikh Mohammed comes to Melbourne, he is surrounded by an impenetrable grid. Access is only granted to the fawning, the flatterer and the fascinator. No media access. Why would that be?

I'll be getting me Irish up now, but did anyone in or out of Flemington's Birdcage or the Emirates Marquee ask His Highness about Yemen or the blockade against Qatar?

I'm galloping all over the place, Marlene. And yet I'm running on the spot. What a coincidence you're also the member for the electorate of Kororoit, sister land to Connemara — not all that far from the Blarney Stone that you've surely tongue-kissed, given your gift of the gab and the legend that it imbues politicians with a special eloquence.

You're proof of that.


You've certainly brought us all together. No more draining the peat swamps or the Yarra looking for those bog Irish. 

We are a singular plural society. For a start, look at our multicultural pizzas and yet, the family favourite is still the Aussie Pizza where the pineapple chunk reigns supreme. One needs no further proof of our racist egalitarianism.

Look at yourself. You've done alright for a Lebbo. Okay, you haven't got as far as former Premier Steve Bracks, but hey, you are a girl and you wouldn't have got so far in your own country would you? No, mate. 

At first, I saw green when you wrapped up all we Irish in the same felafel. It was very hurtful.

Some people decried you and said you were stereotyping. It's true that Ned Kelly was Irish but he is the one rule to the exception.  

But upon deep self-reflection, I realise you are quite right.  

Come to think of it, whenever I go door knocking, even before I open my mouth, as soon as the door opens and they see me, the door is firmly slammed in my face, so hard at times that even a few roof tiles fall off. 

That is because I have "Irish" written all over me. I have had those tatts since infancy. They were a going away present from my parents when they abandoned me on the bluestone doorstep of St Alopecia in Ballarat. 


My own dear Daddy was a group of Irish Archbishops and as a foundling, the scapula I was wearing proved that I was the second most immaculate conception that the world has ever known outside of the petri dish. 

On the upside, I get a spotter's fee for every door I knock on, so as soon as I'm out of view I give the lads a call and, quick as a flash, they're around there, giving a quote to repair the roof and fleece them of thousands of dollars. Like that other Irish bloke, they are, Errol Leslie Flynn.

I'm knowing that you yourself (I still have to finesse my lilt) come from a most esteemed gene pool, even though my own family is mentioned in the revised Ethiopian edition of the little book of Kells – the original forerunner of The Game of "Throwns" – mere Seamus-come-latelies when it comes to the likes of the ancient families of Bsharri — yours included.

We Irish are a queer lot, 'tis true. Do you know that Leo Varadkar, our beloved Taoiseach is gay as a row of striped tents — the sort that your own ancestors would have undoubtedly lived in? We have so much in common.

He's a doctor, did you know? And he's half Indian. There you go, lass. 

I read somewhere that you are against same-sex marriage. This can't be true, can it? Surely not. I'll not be believing it.

What was the real reason that Lebanon's President Saad Hariri fled to Saudi Arabia? Can you ask some of your terrorist mates?

I know what you're thinking, Marlene. You're thinking I've got a damn cheek; you're thinking about the Irish “troubles” and the fighting between the IRA and those Protestant Dogs. But that's different. We're Christians. 

You say you're a Maronite Christian but how can we be sure you're not just putting that on the census to pretend you're loyal and you're really a closet Muslim? Have you got dual citizenship? You're not a fair dinkum Aussie if you haven't.

I don't believe in racial profiling as you know, but you can't be too careful.  

Look at what happened to poor Senator Sam the other day. There he was, having a quiet beer with his mates after a speech at Victoria University when the cowardly men in blue – Patriot Blue, as in dinky-di true blue – believed to be a breakaway group from the United Patriots Front started harassing and abusing him; calling him a terrorist and a monkey. 


Leading the Charge of the White Brigade is that burgeoning champion of inhuman rites, Neil Erikson, who has been mentioned in despatches in IA before.

Now, I won't have a bar of the monkey business. But there's no doubt he looks like a terrorist. For Allah's sake, he was born in Iran. The entire country is a terrorist factory. He reckons he's not a practising Muslim. Puh-leeze! Is the Pope a Catholic! 

Even Pauline Hanson, who can smell a Mozzie a mile off, didn't pick him as one, did she? They are cunning and know how to disguise themselves as Parliamentarians.

There's no such thing as a non-practising Muslim, just as there's no such thing as a pro-lapsed Catholic. I should know, because I am one. 

And, yes, they had a go at him asking the Chinese Government to pay his personal bills. Fair cop. 

Was it mere coincidence that he supported China against his own Labor Party's policy? No wonder he was forced to resign from the Opposition's eye shadow ministry.


And now, begorrah, we find out that said Chinese Government and its people have not only bought up the whole of Australia's real estate and, ridiculously, in a breach of sovereign security sold them the lease to the Port of Darwin, but also it apparently controls one of our premier publishers, Allen & Unwin. How stupid are we? Very, very. 

In a breathtaking act of publishing gutlessness, the publishers have cancelled the publication of Professor Clive Hamilton's latest book, Silent Invasion, in what will indisputably now become an international bestseller.

Even if Allen & Unwin recanted and rebuffed China's Communist Party, this publisher is not worthy of publishing Hamilton's book. Or any book for that matter. Christopher Hitchens, one of their authors, must be turning in his overcrowded grave in what was left of his diseased body that he donated to research. 

Hamilton, ironically, is Professor of Public Ethics at Canberra's Charles Sturt University, and one of Australia's more courageous, publicly robust and energetic intellects. And has been for years.

The Guardian described the dumped book as

'... a comprehensive analysis of the Chinese government’s methods of asserting influence in Australia – not only in media and politics, as had been previously reported, but in a range of others areas.'

What's not to love about this manuscript? I reckon Clive should self-publish. It will take off from there. 

The reality is, regardless of the threats of foreign governments, the power of publishing and freedom of speech rests solely in our own kangaroo paws — not China's.

I'm not on my Pat Malone on this, either. 

I sometimes feel some of us are unworthy of this Great Southern Land. We so often betray her wild and feral beauty. 

In the bush, there is this strange and mystical, sacred and frightening lament by nature's own singing: choristers drawn from the mingling of wind, earth and fire, trees and leaves, waves, shifting sands, voices of birds, insects, cicadas, animals large and small, the dead.

And yet, in the midst of this unscripted cacophony, is a mystical zone. You can feel the earth's heartbeat. Strangely within all the noise is the void of the sound of silence. 

We need to think. About love. And live it and not just speak it or write it. 

We are all inextricably linked.

Let us weep for the world And each other. 

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