The Hodges Dossier (1)

The rules are being rewritten every day and I can’t get used to it.

Yesterday a media officer was supposed to put a harmful slant on his adversary’s words. It was part of his job description. Today he can’t. Yesterday an unruly mob was warned by the police to behave themselves or go to gaol. Today it isn’t.

Yesterday it was common practise that an offended group turn up with shouts and placards where a detested politician was speaking. Today it’s not. Yesterday you didn’t get sacked for saying where Tony Abbott was, and twisting his words. Today you do.

Why not call the Riot Squad and remove the shouting, thumping mob? Why treat them like assassins and run with the PM under your armpit as if dodging bullets? Why?

It’s the cops not Hodges who should have been sacked, but the PM said they did ‘an amazing job’. An amazing job, she said. She really did. A ‘truly amazing job’. It’s probably the right word. They turned Australia’s day of self-celebration into a seemingly racist melee, the PM on her knees and the flag burning, on televisions and websites around the world. Amazing. Truly amazing.

The PM’s view, or what seems to have been the PM’s view, that black folk shouldn’t be told where important white folk are drinking latte, might well be misunderstood, I fear — by, say, Rob Oakeshott, who has a black wife and a casting vote, and most of India, the Middle East and Africa.

It’s a terrible thing to even hint at. She should restore poor Hodges (his name so reminiscent of Dr johnson’s beloved oyster-eating cat) to his job immediately. He said no more than that Abbott was being ‘relentlessly negative’ about the Aborigines too. Which he was. He really was.

Or can’t we say ‘relentlessly negative’ any more? Is that a new rule also?

Just asking.

P.S. What would I have done, you well may ask. What would I have done in her shoes, or do I mean shoe?

I would have called the cops to deal with the rioters, and continued on with the ceremony and the speeches. And when Pyne said Labor had falsified Abbott’s words, I would have said, ‘What else does “move on” mean? I ask Tony Abbott to apologise to the Aboriginal people, as his predecessor Brendan Nelson did, for this crude new attack on their ethnic solidarity on what should be a day of national unity. How dare he say what he said. If we in the government have misconstrued it, will he tell us what, precisely, he meant by “move on”? What did he mean?’

And I would have bought poor Hodges a box of chocolates. Or, in the Dr Johnson manner, an overflowing bucket of shucked oysters.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Are you in auto spin recycle mode Bob? Why don’t you focus your gaze on what really happened? Political shenanigans from Gillards office to try and stir the abos into thumping Abbott - backfired big time. She probably directed it. It has her hallmark signature all over it. Incompetence. It’s all coming out in the wash mate but poor old Bob is off with the fairies. Hurts when your team are a bunch of incompetent amateurs. How do you spin this into a crowning achievement? Tough job.

  2. So my piece was a spin job was it, and a go at turning the PM’s worst moment into a ‘crowning achievement’? Read it again.

    No, don’t bother. You’re a Liberal staffer, and, by the sound of you, nearly as old as me.

    Keep up the breakfast double scotches, you know it makes sense.

    They so thoroughly and efficiently clear the mind, and rid the brain, of the heinous memory of serving, for so long, John Howard.

  3. The incident seems to have been exacerbated by a security overreaction.

    As far as I can recall, no leader has ever sacked staff for being overprotective. ‘Underprotective’ on the other hand, can result in assassinations and other disastrous incidents.

    As for Hodge, we do not appear to have the whole story.

    And whilst Julia and Tony are political opponents long accustomed to a “vigorous exchange of views” they also appear to have some personal regard for each other.

    As a black rod once admonished a newbie in the House of Commons, “Your opponents sit opposite you; but your enemies sit behind you.”

    The upshot is that Julia is protective of Tony.

    A cynic might say it is because she can outmanoeuvre him all over the field, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

    (should I attribute that to House of Cards?)

  4. The reference to Dr Johnson and the feline Hodge is wonderful. Why can’t our newspapers employ educated journos capable of this kind of writing ? And, yes, reinstate Hodges, silly young bugger.

  5. No-one has explained why we were not allowed to know where Abbott was.

  6. Hodges seems to have been sacked for being a loose cannon. His leak to Sattler, for her to pass on, was dangerously close to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. Not only was Abbott placed in harms way, but the Prime Minister herself.

    That being said, Abbott and Pyne have engaged in hyperbole above and beyond the call of duty. No doubt they will back away, as they always do, when questioned further.

    As usual, Ms Gillard has handled it well with dignity and assurance.

  7. Never Enough Ellis

    Yes and yes, Henry. The fact that Bob is not on a nice fat retainer, writing a regular column, on a topic of his choice, is a travesty.

    I may sometimes disagree with his positions, but his breathtaking prose (and primate poems) make him a national treasure. Just count how many times this posting (Bob’s, not my own) brings a smile with its wit, sense and word play.

    And he’s BOLD. Not many of us are.

  8. There you are Bob : the CIA rep says you are a national treasure!

    And here am I trying to keep your head small enough to fit through the door . . .

  9. Photo of congressman winking at LBJ as he walks alongside Jackie after the assassination.

    • Reader 1: That’s because he has a hard on for anyone that owns a stetson much less wears one.

      See the guy in the back corner with glasses that’s the third gunman, Ladybird has a smile because she’s figuring she’s gonna get to use better plates, and Jackie is smiling bacause she thought the guy winking at LBJ was winking at her.

      • You have no sense of romance, Allthumbs. None at all. That picture is as dodgy as hell. I reckon the congressman did it.

  10. Why aren’t you allowing comments for the most recent?

    Her trouble is social, Bob. Social. She doesn’t exist, keen analysis would focus on her creators and her appraisors. Have you ever read “My Cousin Rachel”?

    Nevertheless, I identify with her. I am female and a media consumer after all, how can I not identify with the narcissist bitch? My problem could well be gynecological. I lack iron and get dehydrated.

  11. It wasn’t me, it was my mutinous machine. No, I think Mavis Gary exists. Most female arts bureaucrats are like her. One old girl friend of mine.

    What was most disturbing, as I said, was her impersonation of a cheery visiting altruistic unforgotten old acquaintance with no agenda but retrieved chaste friendship, which almost convinces even us, who know what she is up to. This is more like an American woman than an Australian or British woman, probably, but there are examples here.

    I think it’s a wonderful film, and a very real one.

    Comments can now occur, my household expert tells me, and the conversation continue in the appropriate place, underneath the film review.

    See you there.

  12. It all sounds a bit uncomfortably close to the bone.

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