As mentioned in the previous post, we were well entertained at the National Rural Health Alliance’s dinner in Canberra last night.
Amongst other fare, the Alliance’s executive director Gordon Gregory was channeling Banjo Paterson….
IN DEFENCE OF THE BUSH
by The Doggreller
– with apologies to Banjo Paterson, whose poem of the same title
was first published in The Bulletin on 23 July 1892.
So you’re back at home in Manly, Mister Abbott, where you went,
And you’re cursing all the voters in a bitter discontent;
Now we grieve to disappoint you, though your praises we have sung
But it isn’t what you wanted for the Parliament is hung.
We’re sorry that we snorted when you first came into view;
But we know that what you’ve written down is all you say is true
And when you met the jolly three your credits then to push
How pleased we were to hear how much you really love the Bush.
From Adelaide to Melbourne’s west Ms Gillard plied her trade
And many people thought of her a leader ready-made.
Team energy can’t overcome ineptness (sad to tell)
And that – like Peter Lalor’s – was the reason that it fell.
Fear not though, true believers, that one Julia has died
For the real one stands at ready and is waiting just outside.
Here’s hoping that she understands, when shove turns into push,
That one in three live country lives and celebrate the Bush.
If the two of you would venture down the very track we live
In a month or two at furthest you would see what it can give:
Where once the sunbaked earth was lately gasping as in pain
You will now see grasses waving like a field of summer grain,
Where miles of thirsty channels were once choked with sand and mud,
You’ll now find mighty rivers with a turbid, sweeping flood;
But the rain and sun mean little in a Garrett on the street,
In the sullen line of buildings and the ceaseless tramp of feet;
But the bush has moods and changes, as each season comes along
And the folks who know the bush-land can see clearly right from Wong.
You think the outback dismal and a land of no delight:
But have you seen the Southern Cross on a clear and dark blue night?
Have you been with CRANA’s nurses as they minister relief
Or seen the outback dawning steal the night-time like a thief?
Do you know the kind of settlement where bauxite is the go
Or been out on a trawler pulling gemfish from below?
Have you seen the Todd in short-term flood, the Birdsville races race
Or felt the sands of Esperance blow cutting at your face?
Collect your mail from postal agents weekly you might meet
And not with faces saddened like the faces in the street.
Come and hear the voice of bell-birds in the music of the scrub
Much sweeter than the roar of trains and the loutish swirling pub.
If you had come to see these things we’d think much more of you
But you chose to stay in marginals till the campaign was all through.
So now you’re stuck with Rob and Tony, Katter’s young son Bob;
We like them all and trust them too to help us do the job.
We want some decent broadband at a fair and decent price
Sustainable communities – and PATS schemes would be nice.
We want our kids to stay at school and learn – like all kids ought –
And go to TAFE or uni with some CentreLink support.
E-health we’re told will help us all with consults done on-line
And social infrastructure’s something else we Christopher-ly Pyne.
More nurses, decent dental health – that isn’t much to ask
The Independents see this too and the Greens support the task.
As soon as counting’s finished then, please look again our way
Give some notice to our interests as this doggrel dares to say.
And whoever’s in the Lodge we hope we’ll never have to push
To understand the circumstance of people in the Bush.