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30 August 2010 @ 01:09 am
Australian politics and the Deathly Dull Hallows  
For those who are wondering about the outcome of the Australian election, there still isn't one. I have been meaning to provide an update earlier, but to be honest, it's all so appallingly tedious that it has taken me days to raise the energy to be even mildly satiric about it. Some of the following may not make sense if you missed this entry. Though, given the topic and the author, there's no guarantee that will help.

It was hard to describe the battle between Crabbe and Hermione. Somewhere between what you could expect to see at the Great Ring Matches of the Australian Snail Fighting League and the vicious stylings of a three-day-old lettuce, if one was pressed.

But it came to a head, as these things must, and on Saturday August 21, the Australian people went to vote. It came as no great shock to learn that the Australian people thought the two options were both a bit on the nose.

With neither party gaining the 76 seats in the lower house required to form government, Hermione and Crabbe set about wooing the winners of the remaining seats. If they could make up the 76 with the assistance of the  Independents or the Green, they would be able to approach the Governor General Minerva McGonagall  (thanks to drbunsen ) and form a government. The race was on! Off they went, flowers and chocolates tucked into their bags, to pay court to the men who held the fate of the nation in their hands.

The first was the seat of Melbourne, won by Viktor Krum . A rising star of the Greens party, Viktor waged a good campaign and was rewarded by the voters. He was quickly descended upon by Neville Longbottom, leader of the Greens, and by Hermione Granger, who needed to find four or five Golden Ticket Holders Members of the House of Representatives who would promise not to block supply and so allow her to form government.

'Congratulations!' cried Neville. 'You've made me a very proud old Green!'

'Hello, Viktor. Well done,' said Hermione. 'When you have time, I would love to have a quiet word with you about whether or not you could find it in your heart to support the ALP in the …'

'Yes!' said Viktor.

'Now let's not get ahead of ourselves,' said Neville. 'We'll want to have a long talk about …'

'YES!' said Viktor.

'Er, we'd be willing to offer you …' began Hermione.

'I don't need anything. You had me at Hello! Maybe a lock of your hair.'

'You're a sad disappointment when it comes to negotiations,' muttered Neville, pronouncing 'negotiations' correctly.

As Hermione left the building, clutching Viktor's phone number, email, home address, and Facebook details in her hand, she realised that she had not seen Crabbe there at all, which could only mean one thing: that he had gone off to court one of the three rural independents, to see if any of them could be lured on board. Former Nationals (the party was once known as the Country Party* and still has many of the same policies it had in those days), each of them had broken with the party that nurtured them. It was the sort of break-up that you have with Voldemort – bloody, vicious and unable to be repaired. Though in fairness to our Voldemort , I should point out that I'm talking Book Canon there. The local variety was comparatively decent with apostates, more a Lavender Brown.

The first on the list was Mad-Eye Moody**  , here seen protesting the importation of bananas. Alas, I could not find a photo of him with his chorus of friends dressed in banana suits. Mad-Eye was once a classic conservative politician, but the nearly-12-year reign of Voldemort saw the position of farmers in Australia go from slightly pampered to deeply fucked. Some of this was due to The Drought, which deserved its capitals. Some was due to continued removal of agricultural protections in the name of freedom of trade, despite most of our major trading partners having significant agricultural tariffs in place. A great deal of it was due to the fact that the Australian food trade is dominated by the duopoly of Coles and Woolworths, two mega corporations who can only be described as Unforgiveables in the way they deal with much of the agricultural sector, and who the conservative coalition saw no problem with.

Moody was appalled by the continued erosion of the lifestyle of his constituents, and kicked up an almighty fuss. When he stormed out of the Nationals, a party that was bound to support Voldemort's policies by virtue of their coalition with the Liberals, his political doom was predicted. But despite the fact that he lost the backing of a major party, his blazing – if slightly bonkers at times – integrity saw him returned with a 70% result, time and again, and this election had been no different.

By dint of experienced running in her sensible heels, Hermione reached him at about the same time as Crabbe. Moody grinned, with only the faintest trace of Great White Shark in his expression. 'I've been waiting for you two,' he said.

'Moody,' said Crabbe. 'Love your work, always wanted the chance to sit down and talk with you about the future of the farming man.'

'Bullshit,' said Moody. 'You can't stand me. But you go away and come back with a list of what you can do for my constituents without fucking up the country and I'll listen to you.'

'Good-oh,' said Crabbe, glad of the excuse to leave quickly – Moody's eye was twitching and he was getting nervous.

Hermione was paying attention. 'Same for me, I'm guessing,' she said.

'Smart girl.'

'That's a wee bit patronising, Mad-Eye.'

'Nah, if you want patronising, hang about and I'll tell you what I think of Crabbe's broadband plans.'

Hermione stifled a laugh. 'That's fine, I need to go and have a polite word with your colleagues.'

Next on the list was Xenophilius Lovegood*** . By the time Hermione reached him, he was deep in discussion with Crabbe.

'The thing is,' said Xeno, 'all this divisive two-party politicking is no good for anyone. I just don't understand why we can't all work together. For example, Draco could be environment minister in Hermione's cabinet …'

Hermione paused outside the door. There was no denying the appeal of the idea. Working beside the vigorous young Malfoy, inhaling his appealing scent of success, finding out what he used on his hair …

Lovegood was still speaking. 'Or Harry could be foreign minister in a Crabbe government …'

Hermione was shaken from her reverie. She looked up, into the horrified eyes of Crabbe, and for the first time she felt genuine fellow-feeling for the man. She stepped into the room. 'Thanks so much for your time, Xeno,' she said, giving Crabbe a moment to recover. 'We'll take those suggestions on board and come back to you with a proposal in the fullness of time.'

'All the best, Hermione,' smiled Lovegood benignly. 'Take care, Crabbe.'

Hermione ushered Crabbe back outside, she could feel the firm muscle of the man's arm trembling ever so slightly through the thick wool of his suit, but she did not judge him. For she knew. She, too, had seen Harry on election night, seen the broad grin that had only grown as the strength of his personal position contrasted ever more strongly with that of the two main parties. She knew that even now the former Saviour of the Wizarding World was sitting at home in Queensland waiting for his next move back towards power. No innocent deserved to have that sitting on the front benches behind them as they spoke in parliament. Not even Crabbe.

She shuddered.

Crabbe looked at her. 'Hermione …' he began.

'It's all right, Vincent, I know exactly how you feel.'

He nodded tersely. 'I'll keep quiet about it if you will,' he offered.

'To the grave, mate. To the grave.'

Caught up in the moment, Crabbe leaned forward. 'Are you really going to offer him a Ministry if you win?'

'I promised.'

'You're a braver woman than I, Hermione Granger.' Crabbe paused a moment. 'Not that I'm a woman.'

'I never thought it for a moment. Should we tackle Dirk Cresswell next?'

'Race you.'

Dirk Cresswell ****  had begun life as a farmer, before moving into politics. Pragmatic, a little bluff, but mostly decent, he held to a simple belief that a politician should work for his constituents, so was obviously a radical.

Crabbe was there first again, having leapt onto his trusty racing bike rather than risk the traffic. When Hermione appeared, he was mid-argument with Cresswell.

'I just want to see your costings before I make up my mind,' said Cresswell. 'It's hardly an outrageous suggestion.'

'I've delivered our budget analysis, it's as clear as could be!' Crabbe countered.

Cresswell raised an eyebrow. 'Except that the analysis was done by accountants you paid for and who are therefore unlikely to be as impartial as one would like.'

'You're Muggle-born, aren't you?' Crabbe muttered, making a note in his diary.

'All I am asking for is a treasury-based analysis.'

Crabbe gaped in horror. 'TREASURY! There are leaks in treasury!'

'Well, you'd know all about that,' Cresswell agreed amiably, 'But since the leaks seem to mostly be in your direction, I fail to see why you're bothered.'

Hermione took advantage of Crabbe's sudden speechlessness to leap in. 'Here's all of our budget, treasury costed, you'll see that there's nothing outrageous and we're happy to discuss anything you have issues with.'

Cresswell came to the door to meet her amicably. Behind his back Crabbe made extremely rude hand gestures in Hermione's direction.

'We've obviously sent similar notes off to the other independents and are comfortable discussing the issues with you as a team or as individuals,' Hermione added.

Crabbe mimed Hermione's death by Fiendfyre.

'Cheers, Granger. I like the cut of your jib. And your broadband plan. Even though most of my electorate prefers the other guy and I may feel duty bound to go with him on their behalf.'

Hermione kept her smile in place. 'Won't take it personally, Dirk. And we'll still be here for you if Crabbe launches a pogrom against the Muggle-born.'

'I'm not Voldemort!' Crabbe complained from the back of the room.

'Of course you're not,' Hermione agreed. 'He never had a hung parliament.'

She bade Cresswell a quick farewell and skipped off before Crabbe could reply.

Ron was waiting for her back at her offices. 'How did it go?' he asked.

'Look, who knows?' she replied honestly. 'Common sense says they should all go with Crabbe, but I think they're looking for any reason not to, because he's, well, Crabbe. How are we on the remaining seats?'

'Not good, one's gone to a Liberal, at least he's an Aboriginal, so that's something, even if it's no good for us. We've got another independent, and one who says he's an independent.'

'Oh yes?' Hermione picked up her bag, prepared to go out and be charming again.

'Yeah, he's actually a West Australian National.'

'Did you speak with him?'

'Yep. He said he planned to sit on the crossbenches and be impartial and unaligned.'

Hermione nodded. It sounded reasonable. 'Did you ask if we could talk with him about forming government?'

Ron winced. 'I did. He told me to fuck off, Commie.'

'Right. Well, who's the last actual independent?'

Ron read from his notes. 'John Dawlish. Was a Young Liberal, stood for the Greens, now he's taken a formerly safe Labor seat.'

'Will he meet with us?

'In a few days, he's busy outlining his platform to the nation at the moment, it's 1800 pages long. Oh, and Crabbe's released his budget to treasury.'

Hermione sighed. 'Of course he has.'

'He's addressing the media at the moment,' Ron said, turning on the telly.

There, Crabbe spoke sincerely into the camera: 'I think we can have a kinder, gentler polity ... I think the spirit of parliament has been needlessly confrontational …'

Hermione waited until Crabbe had left the press conference before calling him.

'Do you really believe that?' she asked. 'Is Lovegood right? Could we possibly work together?'

After a few minutes, behind the peals of laughter, she could hear one of Crabbe's staffers asking if he was all right or if he should slap him before the phone was cut off. Ron passed her a cup of tea. She looked at him, her eyes speaking volumes. From his pocket he pulled out a flask, and poured a Queen Motherly measure of gin into her cup.

And so Australia entered its second week without a proper government, and all was quiet, and unusually peaceful. So much so, that the populace began to entertain a tiny little hope ...

... that they might get a third week before the circus started up again.

* The Country Party was the punchline in a (probably) apocryphal tale involving Dumbledore. The Great Man was in full oratorical mode in parliament and took to abusing a member of the coalition opposite. His victim stood up, and protested. 'I'll thank you to pay some respect, I am a Country Member!' 'Oh, I remember,' replied Dumbledore.

** Mad-Eye Moody is played by Bob Katter. Do look him up, you won't regret it, especially if you watch some of the videos! I have a strange and slightly twisted love for the Akubra-wearing Katter, he's just so perfectly himself. Of course, we agree on very little, so it could never work between us.

*** Xenophilius Lovegood is played by Rob Oakeshott. I wish I could tell you something useful about him, but he is hard to get a handle on! The quotes attributed to him are reasonable paraphrases of his actual quotes!

**** Dirk Cresswell is played by Tony Windsor, who is one of the most straightforward figures in politics that I have ever seen.

17catherines on August 30th, 2010 08:10 am (UTC)
Yes, to all of that.