AFTER 27 years in the Australian Senate — enough for male menopause to set-in — Senator Ian Macdonald is throwing his ‘Made in France’ hat into the ring for the $350,000 per year gig as President of the Senate.
After all those years sitting on his backside on red leather in a magnificent building in a city that cost $1 million per square metre to build, he is being ostracised throughout the media as being out of his league for the prestigious position. After all, it made some other blonde sheila think she was God.
Only last week in a Senate Estimates hearing — where talking heads pontificate and filibuster about how much they know about bugger all — the good Senator from North Queensland was told to pull his head in.
And, oh, the humiliation he’s had to suffer: “The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, laughed when asked if Labor would support Senator Macdonald’s appointment,” quotes ABC News out of Melbourne.
It was 1990 when Senator Mac was elected to the grand hall of bitterness, resentment, acrimony, obfuscation and complete denial of the state of the nation.
Since then he has experienced over again modern day repetition of the feast of the pass-over — he has never been able to shine as a fully-fledged Minister of the Crown.
It was many years ago that I ran into the forlorn Senator in Cairns airport — I had just arrived back from China and he and his good wife (a former classmate) were off to the UK on a six month sabbatical. John Howard had just passed him over for a ministerial, and there was a distinct sense of disappointment.
After all, how could North Queensland survive with a Minister without portfolio.
Things got worse in 2013 when that nasty Tony Abbott also denied him the chance to shine as a Minister. I have often wondered whether he joined the Niki Savva academy for sticking needles in Abbott effigies.
Senator Macdonald can’t miss a trick. Things got worse when he and federal colleague, the parliamentary representative for Cape York crocodiles, Warren Entsch, lost the plot over losing their much-coveted, taxpayer-funded, set-for-life Gold Card.
So what is the poor Senator supposed to do — considering he has another five years before he has to face another election and he will, by then, be 77?
Why shouldn’t he get the ‘big’ gig’ and a pay packet one down from the Prime Minister (also a dead-set failure) to cheer him up as he approaches his Methuselah era.
Heaven knows, when he does eventually retire from the hollowed halls of government, he will be entitled to much higher parliamentary privileges that should go towards appeasing the many disappointments he has had to suffer.
For what it’s worth, I’d like to offer the good Senator some opportune advice:
“Mac, you go tell them all to get stuffed.
“Tell them they’ll need six Senators to replace you — after all, the only good Senator to come out of the Liberal/National ranks in a long time is that bloke from Rockhampton who some said was a spaghetti lover.
“You tell them, Mac, that there is no-one coming up through the ranks of any party who is capable of governing with common-sense, has a clear head for the work of the Red Chamber and empathy for the ever-suffering taxpayer.
“You walk away with pride. After all those 27 years, who more than you ‘understands Parliament and the procedures and traditions of the Senate.’
“You take them by the hand and lead them through the House of Representative and The Senate and let themselves witness first-hand the abject failures who call themselves our parliamentary representatives.
‘Then get in your Comcar, walk through Canberra airport, get on a plane to Townsville — and when you’re on the tarmac at Garbutt, breathe-in that beautiful sea air and know you’re alive.
‘You’ve done more than enough for North Queensland.
‘Yes, Il est temps de pisser – de.”
I hear France is looking good this time of the year.
The Chief Government Whip in the Senate, David Bushby, and the Deputy Government Whip in the Senate, David Fawcett, are also expected to put their hat in the ring.
Later this month, Liberal senators will vote on who they think should take on the role and then the Senate will be asked if it supports the decision.