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Saturday, 28 August 2010


Getting from point A to point B by air used to be easy; whether it was Brisbane to Sydney, or New York to London. You went to a travel agent, they gave you this lovely old-fashioned thing called a ticket (remember, they came in triplicate?), which you safe-guarded until departure day.

You’d waltz into the airport and light up a fag while your baggage was being checked. Well, of course you could – your hands were free because you weren’t digging around looking for your drivers licence so you could prove you were the person listed on the ticket.

There’d be a few ratty old plastic chairs to sit on while you waited for your flight to be called. Maybe there was a bar – bonus points if so – or maybe you snuck a few voddies into your bag to make the wait more fun.

Either way, nobody minded.

Then off you went, scampering across the tarmac, umbrella aloft if it was raining, and into your plane, where you could continue smoking and drinking again. In those days, you were offered beer long before you were offered food. The seats had tiny ashtrays built-in. Anything that makes the long haul to Heathrow bearable.

Then somewhere between the launch of the world wide web and the terror of September 11, it all changed.

Bookings must be done online. Travel agents, the human ones, don’t want to talk to people. They want to talk to computers. Ditto the airlines. “People!” they bray, “those funny things that pay us lots of money so we can hold them up at horrible airports? Arrggghh shudder.”

You must print out your own ticket at home, memorise your booking reference number and do your own check-in. That’s if you can find your way through the hordes of smokers gathered around the doorway.

Today’s airport security means you need to allow at least another hour to your travel itinerary. I don’t fly all the time, but I fly enough to know a few simple rules:

1) Remove all solid gold jewellery prior to passing through security. Extend this to belts with a solid buckle. Which was ok for a number of years until I put on weight and now I have this one gold bangle which I can’t get off. It upsets officers in airports all around the world. I think they would rather have me amputate my own arm than pass through their detectors while wearing the offending item.

2) Wear thongs or slip-on sandals, heel optional. Never boots, never strappy shoes with a hundred buckles. They’re too hard to get off. Even if I am getting straight off the plane and commencing my walk up Everest, I will wear thongs. Even if I am getting straight off the plane and going to dinner with George Clooney, I will wear thongs.

When it first became essential for footwear to be removed before passing through detectors, the airport geniuses declined to provide seating. It took a number of times of me leaning against Lover Bloke while fumbling about trying to undo my shoes to realise that, much as I love looking glamorous in the air (and leaning against Lover Bloke), it’s not worth the pain of unbuckling strappy shoes in a vertical position. And putting them on again.

3) Don’t wear any form of metal hair clip. This one time I was off to Melbourne for something fabulous, getting a morning flight with a view to arriving at Lygon Street, dragging my hot pink hold-all, with that air of “Hey I do this all the time, just like my good friend Paris”. I’d spent ages that morning twisting my hair into this messy knot, secured with a hideously expensive diamante clip, only to have the security officer shug and say, “Sorry love, it’s gotta come out.” Do they think I have half a kilo of explosives in that clip? Where? Imbedded in the fake diamonds?

Last Easter, I was fortunate enough to spend the break in Perth. Being totally clued up, I made sure I had cleared my bag of anything that might eventuate with me in a maximum security facility. I had my thongs on. I had an elastic to hold my hair back. I wasn’t wearing a belt. I declared my laptop as they like us to do and I was jewellery free (save what I affectionately call the fat bangle). Couldn’t have planned it better.

Except the security fraternity still wasn’t happy with me. They wanted to get a little more up close and personal.

“Where are your little hand-held detectors?” I asked, as I watched some frighteningly overweight lady with frizzy red hair and one-inch fake fingernails begin to descend on me.

“Qantas now does initial body searches by hand,” she smiled. “Have you had a pat down before?”

“No!” I say. “Even that one time when I didn’t have sex for ages did I never went so far as to have a pat down.”

So right there, in the middle of the security quadrant she’s got her hands all over me, pat pat pat – ooh that’s some nice fat on your thigh – pat pat pat – ooh and some more around your tummy – pat pat pat.

Go near my boobs lady and I’m clocking you.

I eventually got to Perth. But clearly it is not where my bag wanted to go for Easter, since it ended up in Melbourne. Probably because the shopping is better.

For all the security in the world they still couldn’t get the luggage manifest correct.

I wonder how my bag fared at check-in?

Monday, 23 August 2010


** this is a story I wrote about three years ago, when my daughter was 16. It is based on fact. At the time, I didn’t publish it because I didn’t want to incur my daughter’s wrath. Now she’s an adult, she can cope, can't you darling? It's too good not to share. So if you’re a parent of a teenager, or know a teenager, read on! x

The phone call came about 10.45pm on Friday night. My girlfriend and I were slothing it on the lounge, just like we did when we were in high school. Except now that we're in our 40s we have better accessories to sloth with. No Fanta bottles or large bags of Samboy chips. Nor for that matter black and white television and The Young Doctors.

We had Colin Firth and Love Actually on the wide-screen plasma, a Pamela's Pantry tray of nibbles, Belgian chocolate, a NZ Sauvignon Blanc and Chanel nail polish.

Even our bottled water came from France. But then again, it is cheaper these days to buy water from France than from the Brisbane City Council.

We had dropped our 16 year old daughters off at a party at Kenmore after we had watched them apply an unhealthy amount of black eyeliner and cheap bling. Kinda like Joan Jett meets Liberace. Or Frank-N-Furter meets, well, Frank-N-Furter.

We knew there would be boys at this party. We knew there would be alcohol at this party. But we'd checked in with the host parents and established that they were responsible and watchful and keen to have it all over red rover by midnight. So we scuttled back to switch on Colin and start painting our toes.

We had got through Bridget Jones's Diary 1 and 2, replayed the fight in the fountain scene four times, eaten all of Pamela's offerings and had started on Love Actually when the phone rang.

Dammit. Colin was just moving to Portugal to write his book.

"Mum, can you come pick us up? Nicola doesn't feel very well."

Helen and I looked at each other. Helen being the mother of Nicola. I mean, it's not like we weren't 16 once. It's not like we didn't go to a party and decide we didn't feel very well halfway through it. It's not like our parents ever refused to come get us.

We collected the girls and we're on Kenmore Road, sort of about that spot where you turn off to Lone Pine, when Nicole goes, "Stop the car, I'm going to be sick."

Helen and I looked at each other. Helen being the mother of Nicola. I mean, it's not like we weren't 16 once. It's not like we didn't sneak copious amount of alcohol when we should have stuck to the Fanta. It's not like we didn't throw up every now and then. Hell, we still do it now sometimes.

While Nicola was, I am sure, garnering the interest of the animals five kilometres away at Lone Pine with her squawking and heaving, I turned to my daughter.

"Darling, what were you girls drinking at the party?"

"Oh, like, you know, just some Midori," she says.

My stomach heaved. It took me back to my days of Peach Cooler and West Coasts. I thought these drinks were fabulous until one day I turned 24, discovered wine and really, my liver and I haven't looked back since.
"What were you mixing it with?" I continued.

She looked at me perplexed. "What? You're supposed to mix it?"

I will never wear green again. Not even eye shadow. Even if Jennifer Hawkins says to.

Semi-formals are another story where teenage daughters rival Britney in terms of attention stakes. Yes, I said SEMI-formals. We haven't even reached the real thing yet. This is just the dress rehearsal, the warm-up, the barrier trial. Sort of like your first marriage really.

By the time she had the spray tan, the upstyle "do", the acrylic nails, the facial with extractions, the eye brow wax, the Elizabeth Arden make-up, the gel toes, the car hire and the massage because of the stress of it all, her bank account was depleted and I was hiding my Visa.

It's a tough spot for me to be in though - she's my only child; a daughter at that, and I'm young enough to remember how wonderful yet how shitty it can be when you're 16. My gorgeous yet practical mother had purchased me a very serviceable dress for my semi-formal and did my hair herself. I'm still in therapy. I didn't want that for Jade.

So we're on our way to the semi. Ever driven in a car with four hyper-excited teenagers? Ever driven in a car with four hyenas in full make-up and heels? That's why nothing frightens me anymore. I have a teenager.

They said "oh my God" so many times, I started to think that our good Lord was in their midst. I blessed myself just to be on the safe side.

Listening to their chatter whilst desperately trying not to comment was about as challenging as having a cleared credit card and not buying the Nine West boots that were on sale.

They go to an exclusive all girls school for the chronically Catholic. The teaching staff still boasts a handful of nuns (hey sista) and the past students boast more than a handful of OP1s. Which is why I'm amazed at their perceived wisdom and interpretation of the important matters in our world.

Such as ...

"Oh my God, like, that lip gloss you're wearing, like, it's just totally the most fabulous thing. That, like, colour, man it's fully amazing. You really, like, know how to pick the best quality make up. Is it from Groove? They so have the best stuff."

And ...

"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!!! Turn it up, turn the radio up! This is like the best song eva. Like eva. I love this song. I love this song. This is so my favourite song. I am so downloading this from iTunes when I get paid."

Then ...

"You know Angelique, right, well, you know that guy from Terrace that she likes from the train, right, well, oh my God, but she like so went to second with him."

Teenagers can be very nice; but they recover quickly.

If you've got one, you'll know exactly what I mean. If you've had one, please accept my sympathy and commiserations. If you're grooming one, be prepared. Like, oh my God, be just totally prepared, k!

Thursday, 19 August 2010


“I’ve seen this done on TV.”

“This doesn’t taste quite right.”

“Which wire was I supposed to cut?”

“Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s dead by now.”

“No, those windows are ok to lean on."

”I wonder where the mother bear is?”

”You look just like Ivan Milat!”

”Let it down slowly.”

”I can make this light before it changes.”

”I can do that with my eyes closed.”

”Don't be so superstitious.”

”Now watch this.”

“Hey what’s that buzzing noise?”

”Don’t worry it's not that deep.”

”Nice doggy.”

"Nah, I don't think we need to go to the hospital."

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Growing up in the 1970s, my lunch was a squashed Vegemite sandwich, an apple, and a cordial bottle. I got tuckshop every second Friday, and bought a cream bun, a sausage roll and a Sunnyboy iceblock (remember those? They were in those little frozen pyramid shapes and you sucked all the flavour out?)

Breakfast was porridge, boiled eggs, toast and a cup of Bushells tea. Dinner was rissoles, sausages or chops with mashed potatoes and some token green. Dessert, weekends only, was ice cream.

That was it.

Fast food? I think there may have been a pizza joint about three suburbs along, and some rogue Chinese establishment that smelled suspiciously like somebody had died in there the week before and was still decomposing in a wok.

My mum was a midwife, so sometimes she’d have to work Saturday nights. We loved those nights. Dad would ring up and order pizza and my brothers and I would pile into the Falcon 500 to pick it up. We had two choices: supreme or ham and pineapple. Of course we only ordered ham and pineapple. Supreme was waaaay to avant-garde in the 70s. Salami? Mushrooms? Get out! I’m not eating that!

Fast forward 30 years. I see people starting their day with a can of Red Bull and a take-away double shot latte. And these are the 15 year-olds. The 30 year-olds are a bit more hard-core. They skip the latte in favour of a V-shot chaser. They do the lattes later.

Some people drink so much coffee their eyes stay open when they sneeze. They can type 60 words a minute with their feet. They channel surf faster without the remote.

Now it’s common to eat Nandos, Aportos, KFC, McDonalds. To buy pre-packaged pasta and prepared sauces, then chuck it all in the microwave on high for three minutes while you grab your 3rd can of Diet Coke. Frozen dinners, frozen spring rolls, frozen meat pies. Packets of chips, packets of biscuits, packets of fat.

Just personally, I think fast food is the nutritional equivalent of pornography.

No need to make breakfast at home! Grab a bacon and egg muffin or a savoury bread roll on your way to the office. Please, at lunch time come and buy our salad. Salad, my arse. If you look closely enough, you may spot a lettuce leaf drowning forlornly in some tangy creamy dressing. For dinner, shovel up some half-price Chinese from the all-you-can-eat buffet in the food court. I’m sure this food is still ok, even though it has been sitting under the lamps since 7am.

The factors that make fast food so popular still seem to be powerful enough to make the majority of the population ignore the obvious risks of poor nutrition and weight problems. Fast food is easily available, relatively cheap, most people find it tasty and filling and it can be purchased fast.

Although, sometimes I think it’s called "fast" food because you're supposed to eat it really fast. Otherwise, you might actually taste it.
According to a recent article I just read on nutrition, they said eating right doesn't have to be complicated. Nutritionists say there is a simple way to tell if you're eating right. Colours. Fill your plates with bright colours, it chorused. Greens, reds, yellows.

A friend of mine says she does that every day, by eating an entire packet of M&M's.

The big problem with "fast" food is that it slows down when it hits your stomach. And it just parks there and lets the fat have time to get off and apply for citizenship.

Personally, I can’t do it. I can’t even use a jar of spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I even struggle with tinned tomatoes. I’m not sure these days whether the fresh fruit and vegies I buy are in fact fresh fruit and vegies, or if they’ve been sprayed with nitrogen or some other chemical and stored in the back of a shed in Stanthorpe since 2004.

1970s food, for all its scary apricot chicken and beef Wellington carry on, was made the way nature intended food to be made. From scratch. In those days, milk lasted three or four days. Now, I can buy milk with a two-week fridge life. So exactly how much of the white liquid in that carton is milk from the cow, and how much is additives and preservative crap?

I think it would be nice if the government mob who monitor warnings about toxic substances just gave me the names of one or two things that are still safe to eat.

Saturday, 14 August 2010


Let me tell you about my new pashmina. It's pure wool, pale pink, big enough to wrap all around me when the wind is blowing cold down George Street. Yet equally small enough to twist fashionably around my neck.

For weeks it accompanied me to work. It also came to a Broncos game at Suncorp, enjoyed a long weekend at Mooloolaba, met the girls for lunch at the Regatta and had a plane ride to Sydney. It got a bit cranky at me when I left it in my car overnight. But we made up.

Then I washed it. Now, I'm pretty fastidious about washing. Well, about cleaning really. I've had lots of practice. Usually because I'm the women behind the successful man who cleans up all the shit he's too full of himself to notice.

When I wash, I separate, separate, separate. Soak anything even remotely white. Hand wash all delicates. Warm water for towels, cold water for jeans. Hang everything in the shade.

So what made me throw my treasured pashmina into the same load as my gym clothes and then chuck the whole damp mess into the dryer, I've no idea. I wasn't drunk at the time. I wasn't particularly time-poor. It wasn't raining.

The next morning I opened the dryer and yanked out this pathetic little square that in a former life used to be my BFF pashmina. Needless to say, it now fashions itself as a table napkin, although not very absorbent. And I'm down $85 and back to being cold at work and lonely on plane flights.

If you wash delicate items without paying attention, you're a bloody idiot.

Here's another bloody idiot example. One Saturday afternoon, I was mooching around DFO and happened upon a pair of hot pink stilettos. And not just hot pink. Patent leather hot pink. Couldn't you just die!!

That night, I had a party to go to and these shoes wanted to come with me. Except it was a stand-up cocktail party type party. And those shoes really hurt. They pinched on my little toes and the strap dug into the side of my foot. Ooouch!

I stood against a wall, eased one sandal off, tried to massage my aching toes on the carpet and then like the bevan I can be, hurriedly shoved it back on when someone came over to say hello.

A gorgeous friend, who was midst break-up with her fella, wanted to have a chat. Should she sell her half of their house back to him or should she fight to maintain the property? Who should get the carving they bought together in Prague? Did I think he was sleeping with their neighbour?

I wanted to support her, be there for her, advise her. But the throbbing pain emanating below my ankles deafened me to anything but the screaming need for my slippers.

If you buy stilettos and wear them to a stand-up party without first breaking them in, you're a bloody idiot.

How about the time another adored gal-pal was on the cusp of her five-minutes-of fame? So what if it was as an extra in a Toyota Corolla television commercial which probably constituted four seconds of exposure? Publicity is publicity.

I invited the gang over to my place for dinner to share her moment of glory. And went ahead and broke my own golden rule of never cooking anything for company that I haven't cooked before. I mean, how hard can Moroccan spiced eggplant in a lamb tagine with cinnamon and sweet potato be to cook?

It resembled an autopsy. We ended up eating loads of cheese and a frozen Sara Lee dessert. Thank goodness I had enough wine to compensate.

Don't ever be a bloody idiot and fake an orgasm simply as a means to get a new bloke off the top of you. He'll think he's so spectacular in the sack he'll spend weeks interpreting your being unavailable as a come on.

Don't ever be a bloody idiot and buy that Alannah Hill dress in a size 10 because you have a plan to ditch seven kilos. That same Alannah Hill dress will be hanging in your wardrobe five years from now, when you've probably added another happy three kgs to your beautiful frame.

Don't be a bloody idiot and wear any form of complex buckle-up sandals on any form of aircraft. Today's post 9/11 security checks will see you sitting on your arse undoing 15 buckles per shoe whilst your rock-bottom ticket price plane blithely leaves. Does security think I'm going to stash a set of box-cutters into a stiletto heel measuring half a centimetre diameter? Probably.

Suppose you were an idiot. Suppose you were Bron McClain. But I repeat myself.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


God grant me the senility

to forget the people I never liked,

the good fortune to run into the people I do,

and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


What do you do if you miss your mother-in-law? Reload, and take better aim.


Well, we've all either got one, had one, are one or know one. Like "great-aunt" or "stepmother" it's one of those ambiguous relative categories. Sometimes you hit the jackpot; sometimes the poker machine sucks the very life out of the marrow of your bones and leaves you a heaving, angry, impotent raging mess.

This column isn't about hitting the jackpot. It's more like coming third in the chook raffle at a local RSL.

My own mother-in-law (albeit now ex) had more issues than The Courier-Mail. And was so dumb she wouldn't have passed a blood test. She had the personality of a dial tone. Could have been because she was short, could have been because she was married to a verbally abusive alcoholic, could have been because she ignored her son for his first 20 years of life and right when I married him, she was in the throes of deciding that she needed to make up for lost time.

Her way of doing this was to adopt a fragile, helpless persona and wail away about how she needed things done around her house and how my husband's father was a good for nothing layabout and how her darling boy was the only man she could rely on. Etc.

He could be mowing the lawn, cooking a bbq or watching football and she'd ring, demanding his attention.

"Oh son, I'm just having trouble changing a light bulb."

"Oh son, I can't quite reach the mix master on the top shelf of the pantry."

"Oh son, could you just move Ayers Rock fifty miles closer to the coast."

The dear thing tried so hard to get on with me, but I was having none of it. Not after she cooked my parents a pre-wedding supper at her house and asked them to contribute to its cost. Not after she left my two month old daughter alone on the change table while she went to answer the phone.

My other mother-in-law (interestingly also an ex, but by de facto only) was a nightmare as well. My boyfriend was the youngest of all-girl siblings and he had spent his life being cosseted by females. Until I came along and expected him to pull his weight. He was pretty much incapable of doing this.

And why should he when mummy was always there to rescue him.
She didn't like me one bit. I got in trouble for not making him lunch every day. I got in trouble for not keeping the children quiet when he wanted an afternoon nap. I got in trouble for not bounding to the clothes line to retrieve his work shirts when it started to rain. Etc.

For every great story you hear about a mother-in-law, there is an equal and opposing story.

Things like rearranging of the kitchen cupboards when they house-sit. Feeding children sugar then admonishing you for their hyperactivity. Buying the kids wildly inappropriate outfits but creating the expectation that they should wear them. And then photographing the poor kids in this nauseating get-up. So years later you have huge psychiatrist bills when the kids discover photos of themselves at a school function wearing something akin to the Danish national dress.

Why are mothers-in-law so suspicious of us? Is it because their sons now share all their secrets with us instead of them? Do they not realise that grown men don't usually have thought processes that run that deep? Or that any secrets they have sometimes involve some sort of group lesbian fantasy and frankly we'd rather they kept that secret all to themselves.

Were Adam and Eve the happiest and the luckiest couple in the world, because neither of them had a mother-in-law?


Sunday, 8 August 2010


ATTRACTION... the act of associating horniness with a particular person.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT... what occurs when two extremely horny, but not entirely choosy people meet.

DATING... the process of spending enormous amounts of money, time and energy to get better acquainted with a person whom you don't especially like in the present and will learn to like a lot less in the future.

BIRTH CONTROL... avoiding pregnancy through such tactics as swallowing special pills, inserting a diaphragm, using a condom, and dating repulsive men.

EASY... a term used to describe a woman who has the sexual morals of a man.

EYE CONTACT... a method utilised by one person to indicate that they are interested in another. Despite being advised to do so, many men have difficulty looking a woman directly in the eyes, not necessarily due to shyness, but usually due to the fact that a woman's eyes are not located in her chest.

FRIEND... a person in your acquaintance who has some flaw which makes sleeping with him/her totally unappealing.

INDIFFERENCE... a woman's feeling towards a man, which is interpreted by the man to be "playing hard to get".

INTERESTING... a word a man uses to describe a woman who lets him do all the talking.

IRRITATING HABIT... what the endearing little qualities that initially attract two people to each other turn into after a few months together.

LAW OF RELATIVITY... how attractive a given person appears to be is directly proportionate to how unattractive your date is.

NYMPHOMANIAC... a man's term for a woman who wants to have sex more often than he does.

SOBER... condition in which it is almost impossible to fall in love.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


Arms distance: The distance required between the supermarket aisles so that children in shopping trolleys can't reach anything.

Bottle feeding: An opportunity for Daddy to get up at 2am too.

Defense: What you'd better have around de yard if you're going to let de children play outside.

Drooling: How teething babies wash their chins.

Dumbwaiter: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

Family planning: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.

Feedback: The inevitable result when the baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.

Full name: What you call your child when you're mad at him.

Grandparents: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right.

Hearsay: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.

Impregnable: A woman whose memory of labor is still vivid.

Independent: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.

Look out: What it's too late for your child to do by the time you scream it.

Prenatal: When your life was still somewhat your own.

Prepared childbirth: A contradiction in terms.

Puddle: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.

Show off: A child who is more talented than yours.

Sterilize: What you do to your first baby's pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby's pacifier by blowing on it.

Temper tantrums: What you should keep to a minimum so as to not upset the children.

Top bunk: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman pjs.

Two-minute warning: When the baby's face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.

Verbal: Able to whine in words

Whodunit: None of the kids who live in your house.

Whoops: An exclamation that translates roughly into "get a sponge."

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


In a few weeks, the people of Australia are off for a spot of poll dancing. We should be good at it by then; after all, we’ve been watching our own aspring pollies doing their version of Dancing with the Voters. A few steps forward, a few steps back, then a quick succession of side steps.

We’re going to have to decide who we want to be on top Down Under: a lady who it appears has her roots done every three days (that’s waaaay too much maintenance) or a bloke who isn’t ashamed to flaunt his crown jewels in a pair of budgie smugglers (that’s waaaay too much information).

Why do politicians tell us they represent a party, when there doesn’t seem to be anything akin to a party going on. I don’t see bottles of champagne and Vodka in the press gallery. I don’t hear Abba or the Bee Gees playing in the background of their radio ads. I haven’t even seen Tony Abbott get a bit pissed and sidle up to Julia for a disco pash.

To join one of their so-called parties, you have to pay money. No wonder they don’t have many friends. “Hi, please come to my party, it will cost you $250.” I don’t think so.

Just once, just once, could we please have a prime minister who is a bit of a spunk?

Julia looks just like a man would look if he were a woman. Julia, could we get a frock happening? You’re a chick, you’re running for PM, have some fun with it.

Tony mercifully isn’t carrying an unsightly middle-aged paunch (phew…) but he has that slightly vacant, slightly dumb look about him. Like, if you said something witty, really really witty, you’d just have to explain it to him.

Wayne Swan looks like he should still be wearing a Churchie uniform, or taking a bookkeeping course at TAFE. Joe Hockey needs a week at boot camp.

Now, President Obama is a full-on spunk. Have you seen his arse? He’s fit, smart, articulate, devoted and he gives great speech. And he sneaks out the back for a fag every now and then. Love it.

When Barrack was running for president, he melted the hardened hearts of America by saying, "You came here because you believe in what this country can be. In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope."

What does Julia give us? “I am utterly committed to the service of our people.” Zzzzzz. I feel inspired. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Etc.

Now George W may have been a bit of a fluffer, but he said some highly amusing things. I think this man familiarised himself with military protocol by watching F-Troop re-runs. I wonder if he lampooned for an annual “take your dad to work” day?

What about when he said, “Border relations between Canada and Mexico have been been better.” Skip geography did ya Georgie-boy?

Or, "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."

OK, thanks for that clarification.

I wonder if the days of charismatic presidents died when Ronald Reagan left the Oval Office. His acting skills alone got him through some sticky moments.

The founder of Reaganomics, ender of the Cold War and bomber of Libya said some pretty funny things. Clever things. "I hope you're all Republicans," he asked the surgeons as he entered the operating room following the 1981 assassination attempt.

Or "I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency - even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting."

Imagine Tony Abbott saying that!?

At least here in Australia we’ve got a girl running in the ranks. She's no Maggie Thatcher, but she's a girl. When it was all men, it was frustrating because their campaigns were full of promises and pleadings that never eventuated. As men do.

“Yes darling, I’ll mow the lawn before the weekend.” “Yes honey, I’ll be home in time for the parent-teacher interview.” “Yes, people of Australia, I will fix the public health system.”

Well, we should know who’s our boss by the time we wake up on Sunday 22 August. Let’s just hope whoever gets the top job doesn’t build bridges where there is no river, or confuse free speech with cheap talk.