Best of 2013: Gillard's game of thrones

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Cartoon depiction of Julia Gillard in medieval armour standing over conquered Kevin RuddThe place: Parliament House, Canberra

The Time: The Present

The Inhabitants: Soon to be History

Queen Julia struts into her office, blood dripping from her battle axe. Within, she is met by her aide-de-camp, diminutive Lord Tyrian Lannister.

Julia: Moving forward ...

Tyrian: Tell me you did not dispatch all of the rebels.

Julia: Would you have your queen consort with liars?

Tyrian: I wasn't aware there were other choices. And among these were some of your best and brightest. Lord Albo alone —

Julia: Oh of course I've kept Lord Albo. He emits the best of zingers.

Tyrian: And Lord Carr?

Lord Carr steps from behind the Queen's throne.

Lord Carr: I was grossly misrepresented.

Tyrian: And the Lad Butler?

Sitting beside Queen Julia the lad Butler shakes his head, quivering.

The Lad Butler: I love my queen with all of my heart. I cannot wait to see her win reelection.

Out of sight of the Queen, the Lad Butler mouths PLEASE. KILL ME.

Julia: See? All one happy family.

Tyrian: Milady, your people loathe you, and the court still comes for your head.

Julia: Who? Who dares come for my head?

The clang of steel on stone as a dagger slips from Lord Carr's pocket.

Lord Carr: So that's where that got to! Sorry, go on.

Julia: In point of fact I have put down two rebellions already.

Tyrian: Milady, what transpired last week was less a rebellion than a mass-immolation.

Julia: Did I not stand against enemy forces? Did I not prevail, unopposed?

Tyrian: Yes, because the Lord Rudd did not run against you. But even now, he stands alive outside your gates, doing an interview for the ABC.

Lord Carr: Indeed, milady, he has given me this note for you: 'Sorry about the trouble last week. No rebellions to come, promise. I'm sure the polls are wrong, I can't imagine you not winning the next election. KRudd 2016.'

Julia: See?

Tyrian: The point is not that Lord Rudd might come for you. The point is, you've won nothing. The people despise you.

Julia: The same people who condemned Lord Rudd for backing down on the ETS, and then opposed my carbon pricing? The ones who call me fiscally irresponsible, but are more than happy to take the money I've offered for education, mental health, disability and our endless natural disasters? Or the ones who claim my government is an embarrassment, and ignore the jobs and benefits they've kept throughout the GFC? Are those the people whose opinions you would have me trust?

Enter the Ranger Windsor, bruised and battered, his black jacket torn.

Julia: My Lord Windsor, what news?

Windsor: I come from the Wall, milady. Whilst you fight amongst yourselves, forces gather in the North, mighty forces, led by the White Walker.

Julia: The White Walker?

Windsor: Aye, a pale, stiff-walking fellow with his eyes ever on your throne. He surrounds himself with the fiercest of warriors — Maester Pyne, whose very presence overwhelms his enemies with annoyance; Lord Robb, Master of Comments No One Can Understand; and Lady Bishop, the Woman of Strange Gazes.

Julia: How could the Australian people ever elect the likes of them?

Tyrian: Trust me, they're looking better and better.

The ring of steel on stone again. All turn to see Lord Carr, directly behind the Queen, hands coming around her neck, his dagger having slipped out again. He picks it up.

Lord Carr: My kingdom for breeches with proper pockets!

Julia: Lord Windsor, we have no time for fear. We are getting on with the business of government.

Windsor: Rushing a new communications plan through the Parliament without allowing time for debate or compromise — is that the business of which you speak? Or creating a mining tax that yields no revenue? Or blowing a dog whistle against foreign workers when much of our population comes from abroad?

Julia: Mind your tongue, Windsor, lest you find yourself without protection!

Windsor: Milady, at this rate it is from your protection that I shall need protection.

Windsor leaves.

Julia: Clear thinking, nothing to tie them down — independents are such bastards.

Tyrian: Indeed.

Julia: Now, enough with dire warnings.

And enough of this insistence that my policy decisions should make sense to the rabble, Lord Tyrian. Were you not there when I appointed Lord Slippery to the most honourable office in the land? Were you not present when I announced an election eight months from now and believed no one would see that we were going to spend the whole time campaigning? Were you not there when I traveled to Western Sydney to be with my people and then did only carefully controlled media events? I do not need to make sense. I am Queen! Now, send me my Guild of Faceless Men.

Tyrian: Milady, they appear to have vanished.

Metal on steel. All look to Lord Carr, whose knife has somehow gotten stuck in the throne, just missing the Queen. He smiles and shakes his head, embarrassed.

Lord Carr: So clumsy today!

Tyrian: Egads, what does it take to stage a proper coup around here? Someone, get me back to Westeros!

The Lad Butler: [whispers] Take us all with you. PLEASE. 

Jim McDermott headshotJim McDermott SJ is a former associate editor at America Magazine. He is currently studying screenwriting at the University of California in Los Angeles. He completed the final phase of his Jesuit training in Australia. This article was first published on 27 March 2013.

Topic tags: Jim McDermott, Julia Gillard, Bob Carr, Tyrion Lannister, Tony Windsor, Julie Bishop



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Existing comments

The White Walker, Maester Pyne, Lord Robb and the Woman of Strange Gazes are now in power. Gulp. And the game remains unchanged. Unfortunately, we are not connected to Foxtel so I can't follow "Game of Thrones". I guess there's only one thing for it - keep watching "Playschool" and "Ben & Holly's Kingdom" on ABC (recommended by three savvy granddaughters and an outnumbered grandson).
Pam | 15 January 2014


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