Verse

I have always enjoyed Banjo Paterson’s mastery of rhyme and rhythm with Australian themes. Below, are some of my Latter-Day-Banjo offerings. More can be found at the end of each episode of my Latter-Day-Banjo Podcast:

Autocracy Good, Democracy Bad Latter Day Banjo

Autocracy Good, Democracy Bad, this is the singular rule … as we flounder about, deep in pandemic, mired in recession, with neoliberal shitfuckerist rulers imposing their autocracy on us proles in the interests of no one at all, other than themselv…
  1. Autocracy Good, Democracy Bad
  2. Disregard and Deviousness
  3. Mean and Tricky
  4. Entrenched Inequalities
  5. World or Rort Report

The Miracle

The PM sent a letter, with his robo-calls, to better

Help me understand ‘a fair go’ means that I must ‘have a go’

Scaremongering, he wrote it, and it’s painful now to quote it

For it led us to the ‘miracle’ returning of ScoMo

With preferences directed from Big Clive, his unexpected

Largesse propping up conservatives, in the plebiscite

And while Zali booted Abbott, those in the Liberal habit

Gifted Dutto back to Dickson, and a victory for the Right

With more carbons in emission, I can see with some precision

Dark, hazy skies, a dying reef, and rivers in poor health

To the Right, the votes are swinging, while the Green-Left choir is singing

This government’s austerity helps only those with wealth

And the bush stays friends with Barn(ab)y; Queensland keeps Adani

As Murray-Darling fish lie dead, the money flies off-shore

For the Right, a vision splendid, but Robo-debt extended

Takes a toll on those who cannot pay. The rich will keep them poor.

I am sitting, reading nonstop lamentation on my laptop

How fairness and reform lost out to nothing but hot air

Carbon tax? Epic failure. ‘How good is Australia?’

But the latest cuts do nothing to advance Australia fair

And in place of happy voters, there’s a gaggle of big noters

Blown by Cyclone Rupert, talking up their pyrrhic win

While the language uninviting of the keyboard soldiers fighting

Bleeds out of wounded hearts, or tells us: take it on the chin

We have to cop the painful truth: the PM is disdainful

To emergencies of climate, and refugee despair

It’s the Will of God, and sinners must be guided by the winners

Spurning God’s Salvation means you haven’t got a prayer

No free cancer help, or dental; maybe God will help the mental

Patients, if – of course – they work out what it means to ‘have a go’ 

When we comprehend paternalistic gibberish, eternal

Joy might be ours in the ‘miracle’ returning of ScoMo

In Twenty-first Century Schools

Chalk on the blackboard has long ceased to squeak

Now there’s a digital board

Once there was hush when a teacher might speak

No narrative left unexplored

Back in the day, we could teach wrong from right

In classrooms governed by rules

Technology guides us, now, to the light

In twenty-first century schools

In the past, teachers had room with each child

To meet that elusive need

Now, all learning must be reconciled

With points on a learning plan screed

Who cares if the kid can’t add up or spell?

The national curriculum cries

Standardise everything; our clientele

Will absorb it, so they advise

Entering data and filling the space

Software can enumerate

Percentile targets that we all chase

To make the numbers look great

By feedback impact, through deep-thought text

Computers are doing their sums

A graph heading north is what they want next

Quantified learning outcomes

So, when will our leaders trust teachers once more?

And reduce the checklists to ash

And why do public schools have to stay poor

While private schools rake in the cash?

In a perfect world, the point would be moot

But we suffer conservative rules

We only dream to give NAPLAN the boot

And have teachers reclaim our schools.

We’ll all be screwed

We’ll all be screwed, the poor bloke said

As Centrelink explained

The fair go he remembered: dead

His payment cut again

The jobless bloke went down the road

It wasn’t long until

The Robo-call, with what he owed

No service, but a bill!

We’ll all be screwed, the teacher said

As sad as she could be

We’ll never know what lies ahead

No full-time work for me

Now education is reformed

Children are neglected

With cutting jobs the new art form

Don’t mind me; I’m rejected.

We’ll all be screwed, the Hi-Vis guy

Complained, his job redundant

Infrastructure funds run dry

Frustration, though, abundant

Our nation’s leader heard their pain

The cries from aching lungs

So, off in church he prayed again

And spoke, it’s said, in tongues

Scott came away and now did know

That Judgement Day was near

A fair go, if you have a go

For Scott the Word was clear

Those at the table have time still

To make a contribution

Those who try to take, not give, will

Suffer retribution

For those who come across the seas

Of hope, there’s not a ray

Scott cries at night for refugees

And locks them up by day

We’ll all be screwed, protesters cry

When we are fined and jailed

Environmental end is nigh

The government has failed

Supporting coal is quite insane

Of that we’re in despair

But Scott prefers we don’t complain

When carbon fouls the air

We’ll all be screwed, Greens fulminate

Enviro-degredation

The reef, the mines, the whole debate

Indictment of our nation

We’ll all be screwed, the farmers sigh

As lambs before the slaughter

The Murray-Darling’s all run dry

Some bastard stole our water

We’ll all be screwed, on 2GB

Misogyny runs riot

But now is not the time, you see

For Jonesy to go quiet

Macquarie’s voice speaks loud and clear

As winter moves to spring

The bleeding hearts will disappear

You never heard a thing

We’ll all be screwed, the islands warn

It’s not a far-fetched notion

There’ll soon be no time left to mourn

Our homes beneath the ocean

We’ll all be screwed, the mother wails

When child-care is no more

Her part-time casual work travails

Will surely keep her poor

We’ll all be screwed, the elders say

They’ve dudded Kenny Wyatt

There’ll be no treaty into play

No heart nor will to try it

We’ll all be screwed, the prisoner said

No will to see it through

Two thousand days, and not yet dead

On Manus and Nauru

We’ll all be screwed, the people say

We have the ScoMo blues

There’s no fair go unless you pay

Your Coalition dues

And if you want to have a go

On principle, to stand

We’ll all be screwed a treat, you know

On solar, rivers, land

Politically, and weather-wise

The temperature will soar

We’ll all be screwed, you realise

Of that, you can be sure

Climate Change Denied

There was movement through the nations, for the word had passed around

That emissions full of carbon filled the sky

As the air sustaining life was now in danger quite profound

And those with any sense could tell you why

All the air pollutant industries that gouged the earth with holes

Learnt: officials that you pay are what you get

For the pollies love big pay cheques to get them through the polls

Without concern to whom they are in debt

There was Morrison, Prime Minister, when Turnbull bit the dust

With a heart, he’d have you think, as pure as snow

Too pure to care for science when there’s God’s coal to combust

He brought some into Parliament to show

While Angus came to Canberra, he was burning Jam Land grass

And flogging river waters to his mate

He ignored emissions targets, his facts and figures sparse

And his rising greenhouse gas report was late

Then in Stockholm, Greta Thunberg decided she would strike

Every Friday, she wouldn’t go to school

Citing climate change inertia; most leaders were alike

As puppets for the lords of fossil fuel

She persisted; her convictions were the sort that won’t say die

Insisting that she wasn’t seeking praise

Now in every town and city, ‘Climate Crisis’ is the cry

The demand is that our leaders change their ways

You see, Greta went aboard a solar vessel and she sailed

United Nations-bound; that plucky Swede

Shaming all the elders as collectively they failed

To eliminate the politics of greed

Greta called to cut emissions; failing that there’s not a shred

Of hope for kids, environmentally

‘I want you to feel the fear I feel, every day,’ she said

‘And listen to the science, not to me.’

While the science has accumulated evidence that grows

To convince the sceptics just how wrong they are

They are yet to breach the most determined bubble, apropos

The White House, and Trump, a bridge too far?

For the President, the science reads like other stuff that he

Dismisses out of hand: it’s all fake news

He’s cocooned inside his hubris, and not disposed to see

The population’s climate crisis blues

And the greenhouse gas keeps rising, UN set to talk it through

In a summit where world leaders will commune

But the President stays put in Pennsylvania Avenue

The talkfest in New York inopportune

For instead of stepping up to lead, the White House is estranged

State reception for his Aussie mate instead

By the time that Trump and Morrison might see the need for change

Our planet and its people could be dead

And before he took off for the states, ScoMo made it clear

That children would be better off in school

Pointless climate ‘virtue signalling’ was sure to interfere

With their learning, and, besides, there’s fossil fuel

In the land where Native Title has been quietly removed

There’s nothing to see there, so don’t protest

All this nonsense on the climate; you know nothing has been proved

Back to class, kids, and remember: we know best

We’ll never make the Paris targets, at this current rate

The older generation left this mess

The leaders of tomorrow must seek to activate

Change amongst the current ones, unless

They want a burnt-out planet, full of poison in the air

As islands are engulfed by rising seas

With hurricanes and floods and drought, extinctions everywhere

Crop failure, famine, riots, crime, disease

So, in every national senate, Greta’s message can be heard

The climate crisis calls both young and old

Undeniable, the science, but increasingly absurd

Counter-arguments to facts are still unrolled

And the activists protest until their throats are dry and sore

The push for climate change goes far and wide

If emissions stay as they are now another decade more

We court disaster: climate change denied

Not the Right Time

Rejoice in God, the miracle

He granted us, this year, in May

The Blessing came for those reborn

In Christ. The time was right that day

You looney trendies – unlike those

With common sense, who think and pray –

Please spare us all your raves and rants

It’s not the right time, not today

From Treasury there were some cuts

We had a billion going spare

A fair go if you have a go

Budget surplus, not aged care

So, sixteen thousand died in wait

For aged care beds to come their way

It’s Labor’s mess, so don’t protest

It’s not the right time, not today

Liberal good and Labor bad

Our Uncle Rupert rightly states

Rudd-Gillard-Rudd? We’re not like them

We trust and look out for our mates

Yes, Angus may have burnt some grass

A little water went astray

There is no cause to cry ‘alas’

It’s not the right time, not today

The teacher union whines and wails

That funds for public schools are tight

While private schools all have a go

And worship Jesus, as is right

But we get less than half per kid

Indulgent, selfish whingers say

Perhaps we might throw them a bone?

It’s not the right time, not today

Should we ignore the Will of God?

He gave us coal that we might burn

And Jesus saves the ones who save

The cash – from honest toil – they earn

Do-gooders beg us: ‘Raise Newstart’

Should quiet Aussies have to pay

For shiftless bludgers on the dole?

It’s not the right time, not today

The Greens are an affront to God

They undermine us as we try

To manage our environment

The hot air fills with each Green lie

Yes, Jesus loves us, if we’re Saved

Not atheists, who – ‘woke’ – won’t pray

Perhaps we might ignore their crimes?

It’s not the right time, not today

They whine that somehow we’re at fault

Complain about God-given coal

And then they sob amongst themselves

We’re on the fossil fuel payroll

They denigrate our thoughts and prayers

For Aussies scorched by fire, and they

Won’t brook denial, won’t accept

It’s not the right time, not today

The activists who spread this bile

Have all been told to shut their gobs

And not to boycott industry

And not to threaten mining jobs

Don’t listen to those urban freaks

Shareholders have the right of way

Link fires and drought to what’s-a-name?

It’s not the right time, not today

In the Firepits of Hell

In the firepits of Hell, where sinners must dwell

If they cannot outrun controversy

From their breaches of law, in torment – with the poor –

They’re barred from heavenly mercy

It’s the weak shiftless poor, who are breakers of law

Not the rich, who are much more deserving

In financial health, God smiles on their wealth

Their places in heaven reserving

To be poor is a vale of pain; those who fail

Must suffer its many diseases

But wealth deifies, and church tithing buys

Your personal friendship with Jesus

The Almighty sees all; at a glance can recall

His heavenly wealth databases

It is easy to see that prosperity

Raises you up in God’s graces

So, throw cash about, wealth is good, you can flout

It before those whose means are more humble

It’s good to be flash, have the keys to the cash

But be careful, never to stumble

You must cover your tracks, only losers pay tax

For the rules don’t apply to the wealthy

But emotions get fraught when someone is caught

Flaunting taxpayer cash. So be stealthy

In a marginal seat, it’s OK to cheat

So long as you don’t get detected

Club needs a new bar? The boss a new car?

No sweat, if our guy’s elected

Forget forms filled with notes; it’s nailing more votes

And ignoring the efforts of amateurs

Where good, healthy greed will feed up the need

For extras beyond the parameters

Some say Parliament rorts. But they’re just bad sports

With their colour-code, pork-barrel frenzy

Crying grant money meets us in marginal seats

So we sacrifice Bridget Mackenzie

Public life is quite tough; being white’s not enough

When you’re in the cross-hairs of the nation

She had to make way, because the rules say

Being male is the only salvation

In the firepits of Hell, it’s understood well

That those who are caught are the sinners

And cursed are the meek, for they turn their cheek

And they will never be winners

Legend of the Game

One Wednesday in December 1960 we remember

Image for the ages, a runout tied the score

Fall of the last wicket brought joy back into cricket

Worrell’s tour Down Under elevated to folklore

Captain of that series, an adventurer with theories

On cricket when distilled might say risk is not a sin

Six down at tea, Hall firing, self-belief inspiring

Benaud said to Bradman: we’re going for a win

And so the many clashes versus England for the Ashes

Bowling May behind his legs a series-winning ball

Playing days completed as captain undefeated

In television Richie found new ways to enthral

Less more in his precision of words to colour vision

Never in winter painting pictures of the game

Driving evolution, the Packer revolution

Unassuming, private, humble with his fame

For decades every season, voice of summer reason

Now the wordsmith leaves us. Nothing is the same

His canny story-telling of cricket was compelling

Now silenced, flags half-mast. Vale, legend of the game