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The fable of the frog and the federal election

  • 21 March 2022
There was once (as always, upon a time) a luckily amphibious beastie dubbed Australis. Australis was evolution’s champion, adaptable if oblivious to climate change. He was big of heart, if small of brain; hardworking but a tad(pole) lazy on strategic thinking. Nonetheless, this triathlete of the animal kingdom could leapfrog over others. He was a real goer; a green and gold swimmer of currents extraordinaire and mercurial hopper of bandwagons.

Long accustomed to making do whatever the eco-system afforded, splashing around in liquidity and lying low in dry, dusty times, Australis was also used to ferrying less evolved creatures through troubled waters.

One fine day the waters were rising, rising, rising and rising fast. As our hero prepared to take a dip, a loud and proud scorpion, the chief office bearer in the land, rushed up crying out for a lift.

‘Come on mate, give me a dink? You back me and I’ll be there for you when the waters go down,’ he pledged sharply. ‘I’ll drought proof you and protect you from all comers, you can trust me.’

‘Fair crack of the savoir faire,’ retorted Australis, ‘I know you and your kind. If I’m silly enough to let you lord it over me, blind Freddy knows I’ll pay for it – you’ll sting me and we’ll both croak.’

‘No mate, no way, I reject the premise of your statement — that’s not our policy,’ the scorpion huffed. ‘Think about it, why would I do that, we’d both go under.’

Australis mulled it over as the floodwaters rose even higher. ‘Fair enough mate,’ he ribbited, ‘I s’pose that make sense. Hop on and we’ll get through this, easy as.’

They embarked with hope and webbed aplomb, with office bearer regally posed on the broad back of constituent. As proverbially happens though, midway across the river, which was rising, rising, rising and rising still, the scorpion reverted to his nature, cruelly skewering Australis and putting paid to their aquatic proceedings. ‘Ouch! You bugger — why?’ cried the hapless good Samaritan, his trust fatally misplaced.

‘It’s just the way things are going,’ the scorpion insisted, paddling in panicked circles. ‘It’s who I am and what I do; I don’t hold a pose.’

'Is it wise for an electorate us to expect any different in future? Is it wise to expect anything different from his slimmed-down, small target opponent?'

Variously attributed to Aesop, to Persian and Russian fables, the tale of the frog and the scorpion is