From Katherine to Canberra: a message

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Tennant Creek earlier this year. Photo: AAP Image/Dan HimbrechtsMemo to Mal – Maaate!

Greetings from the Top End.

Yes it’s hot here (wish those southerners would think of something original).

It’s Michael Gunner, yeah the Chief Minister here.

NT’s chief minister Michael Gunner.

You remember us? Crocs, barramundi, cowboy hats, and yes, it’s still hot.

Up the top – not the pointy bit on the right – that’s Queensland, and the round bit on the left is WA – we’re here in the middle sticking out into the sea.

You had a good belly laugh last time we talked and I suggested we should become a state.

Ahh, now you have it.The Territory.

Before you jump off the deep end today I wondered if you could consider the deal we made.

You threatened to sell us off to Bali unless we agreed to turn the place into Swiss cheese looking for shale gas as if no-one lives here.

Well we did, or intend to, allow fracking that is.

Most people still hate me for it but you reminded me that democracy was not always what people wanted, it was what they needed.

Well I need that cash you promised, cos I’ve sort of made some promises to the folks here.

We’re gunna miss the hat mate, you fit right in – not.

You told me the Northern Territory was basically a basket case, remember?

We receive more loot from Canberra than any other Australian jurisdiction.

About 70 per cent of my budget comes from you guys in the suits, half of it from the GST.

(Memo to self – find out what GST stands for).

So unless you ink some cheques real quick, jumping ship is not really in our interests.

I told the people here this week – yes there’s about 250,000 of us, about the size of Geelong.

Well, I told them I was going to pay them to stay.And I was going to pay them to come up and stay as well.

A bit like a bribe I suppose but we put some thought into it.

I’m just flicking through the beer coasters here – we write our budgets on the back of them, our best thinking is done at the pub, you know that.

We just don’t want anyone – we put some thought into it – we call it preferred professions.

Hairdressers, croc hunters, bartenders and oh yeah, chicks.

Sorry, you call them women down south.

Ahem, females aged between 20 and 39 years.

It’s not a sexist thing there’s just too many blokes up here.

We also want oldies aged between 55 and 65 years, we’ll pay them as well.

Why? Sober Bobs of course, someone to drive us home from the pub.

You’ll like the name – Northern Territory Population Growth Strategy 2018 – 2028, we went through quite a few beer coasters to get that I can tell you.

Anyway it’s probably going to cost us a few bob, and after paying the bar tab, we’re a bit skint.

Deals are deals Mal, maaate.

Cough up before you go, go

Don’t leave me hanging on like a yo-yo.

Hey, they could be good song lyrics.

Quick pass a coaster.

Katherine Times