Gillard's game of thrones


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. 

The acclaimed HBO fantasy drama series Game Of Thrones returns to Foxtel's Showcase channel this weekend.

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



submit a comment

Existing comments

Brilliant and funny. Maester Pyne indeed!
Barbara H. | 28 March 2013

A wonderful and painful parody, Jim. There is some semblance to that other great ruler of Welsh ancestry, Elizabeth 1, in our PM. Fortunately we have freedom of choice in our rulers (except for the figurehead).
Edward F | 28 March 2013

I'm astonished that Eureka Street would publish this blatantly biased rubbish. Jim McDermott is clearly an avid reader of the Murdoch press, and obviously not one to question what he reads.
Kate Ahearne | 28 March 2013

Like Kate Ahearne, I was astonished to find this piece at Eureka Street. I never thought that Eureka Street would take the mickey out of Julia Gillard like this. Unlike her, I found it to be very witty and entertaining. I had a good laugh. The more I find Eureka Street willing to publish a wider range of opinions, the more I find it a good read. More of this please, whether comical or serious.
MJ | 28 March 2013

The onlooker sees most of the game. I've been in the USA during the Primaries of both US political parties. How either party ends up with a candidate capable of leading the country escapes me and yet the system works. It gets a result. Looks like Jim McDermott has been impressed by the theatre of Australian politics, especially the part played by the Labor Party. He reminds me of GB Shaw's remark: "An all-night sitting in a theatre would be at least as enjoyable as an all-night sitting in the House of Commons, and much more useful." (St Joan, Preface) The ALP provides theatre for the people and more importantly for the mass media. The Liberal-National Party coalition may get a run on stage every now and then, but they are boring.
Uncle Pat | 28 March 2013

congratulations on publishing diverse views, especially clever and witty ones. Should this be censored and the writer sent to the gulag?
Peter | 28 March 2013

Clever? Witty? I think not.
Frank | 28 March 2013

At least it's original, I suppose. But how about a parody on Abbott and his henchmen and women as well, to show 'balance'. Based perhaps on one of the comedies; 'Much Ado About Nothing', or 'The Comedy of Errors' say.
Ginger Meggs | 28 March 2013

Thank goodness for a sense of humour and making us laugh at the folly of our government. Well done!
Penny | 28 March 2013

Funnily enough the only real politician laughing at this time it seems is the PM herself. Just about in every media event with the people, no matter where, she seems to be able to really enter their world and enjoy the moment of really engaged people. What a relief from the actors on stage she's having to deal with. We have come a long way from Elizabethan politics where a minor slip of the tongue can mean off with your head or being hung by your thumbs a la Sir Rodney. But behind the cannon ball smoke I find your piece cynical and sickening.
Peter Hardiman | 28 March 2013

Like Peter Hardiman, I find this piece cynical and sickening. The Guild of Faceless Men - no show heroes.
Pam | 29 March 2013

This piece helps one understand how dramatists and some writers of opera scores in the past became influential and even feared political commentators. It would be interesting to see a similar lens focussed on the Opposition.
Paddy Byers | 26 April 2013


Subscribe for more stories like this.

Free sign-up