The Flack

The week Bill Kelty Belted Labor and Greece Went to the Polls (Again)

Posted May 18, 2012 by Mina Durack in Regular Items
FNDP Greek flag

Photo: Attribution Some rights reserved by tjuel

What a week! When you had to fly interstate with ten minutes’ notice, it got pretty real indeed. The paperwork threatened to engulf you like a giant hand of horror. You certainly didn’t have time to watch the news or read a paper. But now you want to go out to drinks, and participate meaningfully in repartee. What to do? A solution is at hand.

What to read if you’ve been too busy to read this week.


  • The Federal Budget gives Labor a boost in the polls. Speaking points: this is the turning point for Labor. Don’t say that.
  • Bill Kelty says at an ACTU dinner that the public has lost faith in the Government. Speaking points: it’s so nice when people all muck in to help their friends.
  • James Ashby, the staffer who accused federal Speaker, Peter Slipper, of sexual harassment, has now lodged a separate complaint in HREOC against Bob Carr and Barnaby Joyce for things they said about him in public. Speaking points: interesting that the Age chose to publish the allegedly infringing comments. Their legal team obviously doesn’t rate Ashby’s chances too highly. Bob Carr sings Edith Piaf at him.
  • Australia was named the seventh worst polluter in the world. Speaking points: this is a bit of a downer. Talk about things you have been doing to reduce carbon emissions. For example, getting a bidet.


  • Rebekah Brooks claims charges that she tried to destroy evidence in the phone hacking scandal are baffling and she will eventually be proven innocent. Speaking points: It must be frustrating no longer to have your own newspaper through which to say these things and to have to rely on other Murdoch newspapers to tell her side of the story.
  • Obama continued to endorse marriage equality. Speaking points: …which Fox persists in calling, “Gay Marriage.” Nice.
  • Facebook goes public with an IPO. Speaking points: discuss worst Facebook gaffe.
  • Man sets himself alight in front of Breivik trial in Norway. Speaking points: police are still trying to establish the man’s motives.
  • Ratko Mladic trial starts in the Hague but is then suspended indefinitely because the prosecution failed to disclose thousands of important documents. Speaking points: Apparently it was a clerical error. There but for the grace of god go I. According to a 2009 poll for a Serbian television station, 14.29% of Serbia’s citizens would reveal information that would lead to Mladic‘s arrest in exchange for €1 million, 20.57% did not have a determined attitude, and 65.14% would not have divulged information for one million Euros (the poll was conducted when the United States embassy issued a reward of 1.3 million Euros for any information on Ratko Mladic). Apologies to readers who are missing the accent on Mladic’s “c.” For some reason our font does not allow this.
  • Panagiotis Pikrammenos, head of Greece’s Council of State, the highest administrative court, is sworn in as head of the caretaker administration and caretaker government. Elections will be held on June 17. Speaking points: only six weeks since the last election. Do you think annual leave has been prohibited amongst their electoral officials? Imagine how shirty Australians would be if they had elections within six weeks.

Entertainment & Gossip

  • Donna Summer dies, aged 63. Speaking points: start singing, Hot Stuff. People will probably cry.
  • Michael Clarke weds Kyly Boldy. They tweet the photos, one of which features her on a horse, Napoleon Dynamite style. Speaking points: how is Lara Bingle feeling and has anyone asked her for comment? ”No deals, no media, no $$$’s, just family and class,” tweeted one fan. Nothing says class like a horse.
  • Ricky Nixon has a new reality TV show to facilitate an image makeover. Speaking points: This is really happening. Put your affairs in order because this is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.
  • One of the contestants on The Voice has been sacked because she appeared as a backing singer on Guy Sebastian’s new single. Speaking points: that’s gotta hurt (her) but what tremendous controversy for the show. Guy has backed her. So brave.
  • Masterchef contestants get gastro and ratings drop to lowest point since the series started. Speaking points: these facts are unrelated.


  • Casey Stoner is retiring at the end of this season, citing “family reasons.” Speaking points: has the concept of “famnily reasons” lost all currency because it’s so often code for something else?
  • Manchester City wins the English Premier League with two goals in time added on to beat their cross town rivals Manchester United. Speaking points: Since taking over in 2008, the Abu Dhabi United group, owned by a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family, has spent over £900 million on new players and staff. Wow, that sure is a lot. Discuss the impact this has had on the player transfer market, bemoan the death of the once great working class game and speculate on what the impact on City would be if the Arab Spring spreads to the UAE. Manchester United is finding this nearly as confusing as when they had to understand Cristiano.
  • Teams for the Rugby League State of Origin are announced. Speaking points: Pretty much every commentator of the game is giving NSW as much chance of winning this series as Craig Thomson holding the seat of Dobell so sound emphatic about Queensland winning. Refer to Queensland as the ‘Maroons’ and make reference to how much you enjoyed listening to Roy and HG doing a commentary of Origin games ‘back in the day’.
  • Last week’s AFL round delivered a lot of upsets suggesting that the season is going to be a lot more competitive than was previously assumed. Speaking points: Does this mean that the AFL is in fact really well run and the competition is actually quite healthy? Once you get people agreeing to this proposition, point out that Geelong has been dominating for the last five years and maybe we should let this play out before getting too carried away. 
  • An Australian named Joel Parkinson is currently top of the world surfing rankings. Speaking points: Does this mean that Kelly Slater is no longer any good? Does Kelly Slater’s record of 11 ASP World Championships make him a better athlete than Michael Jordan? Can you think of anyone who has made going bald look as cool as Kelly Slater?

Emergency go to subject

  • A former student sues Geelong Grammar for failing to get her into law at University. Speaking points: what would you like to sue your former high school for? I’m surprised more lawyers don’t sue high schools for not talking them out of getting into law.

Prediction for next week

  • You will think fondly of how much thinner you used to be and contemplate exercise before deciding, sensibly, that you can’t be bothered.



About the Author

Mina Durack
Mina Durack

Wilhemina (Mina) Durack was born in Lithgow, NSW to Henry and Shirley who, in the absence of sons, forced her into the family business. She became an apprentice blacksmith at the age of 15 but her true passion was Cheese Rolling at which she longed to turn professional. She trained secretly in the Blue Mountains. Despite her parents entering her in the Lithgow St George's Day International Jousting Tournament, she ran away to Gloucester, England where she entered The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, coming twelfth in 1995 and third in 1996. She struggled to break into the cheese rolling speakers’ circuit and eventually resettled in Fitzroy, Melbourne where she lives with her husband Fred, offering a boutique cheese advisory service. She collects vintage swimsuits and is an avid swimmer and online shopper.