Cap’n. There be barnacles.

“Cap’n.  There be barnacles.” said galley cook Julie B.

“Get back to the kitchen Julie.  A woman’s role is not to tell the Captain his bottom needs cleaning.  It’s to work in the kitchen and have babies.”

“Sorry Cap’n.  Just ran into pirate Andrew the Robber.  He told me we have had barnacles for years and nobody was game to tell you.”

“First mate Pyne.  How is the bottom?”

“Has seen better days Cap’n.  Best we set the crew to work with scrapers and paint brushes to restore it’s former glory.”

So the wise Abbott, Captain of the ‘Ship of State’, contacted the Australian Submarine Corporation about putting the good ship into dry dock.

“Your call is important to us.

  • If inquiring about building a canoe, press 1.
  • If you would like to buy a Collins Class submarine press 2.
  • If you would like us to fix your tinny, press 3.
  • If you are the Minister of Defence, hang up.
  • For all other enquiries, send us a letter.”

“Maybe we should sail to Nauru and get some of those boat people to fix it.” said the Captain.

“Great idea” said the First Mate, “but for one thing.  They can’t work.  We would need to get them a 457 visa.  That could be tricky given we are trying to get them to go away.”

“When we said ‘Stop the Boats’ we didn’t mean the ‘Ship of State’.”

“Ask Chief Purser Hockey if we have enough to pay for someone to remove the barnacles.” said the Captain.

“Not a cent in the bank.  We have a treasure chest black hole.  We have tried to save money by cutting back on water for the galley slaves, and not giving them any for the first six months.  That big bloke who keeps beating the drum is standing in our way. ”

“Then let’s get the leaners and lifter to get the boat out of the water.  Team  Australia will get rid of the barnacles.”

So they ran the boat aground.  Teams of people wearing traditional seaworkers uniforms of thongs and singlets dragged the boat over the rocks and onto dry land.

“Cap’n.  They got the barnacles off, but found everything underneath was rotten.  Not only that, but the boat is rudderless.  We will not be able to get it afloat again.”

“Not to worry.  Everyone get into your Speedos.  That includes you galley slave Julie.  We will tell everyone the ship is not rocking any more.  We are pointed in the right direction.  It is only a matter or time before we reach our destination.  Just don’t tell them what the destination is.”

“Captain.  A word if I may.”  “Petty Officer Morrison.  I know you are an expert at stopping the boats.  Do you know how to start the boat?”

“Not a problem Captain.  We just tell everyone it is called ‘Operation Crustacean Removal’ and we don’t comment on operational matters.”

“Well done Morrison.  If I have to talk to Leigh Sales, I just say ‘Beam me up Scotty’, and do a Clive Palmer walkout.”

“Where is Chief Steward Corman?  He is such a fun guy.  Maybe he can provide some entertainment to amuse the crew.”

“Mathias the ‘fun-meister’ here Captain.  What would amuse you tonight?  A bit of readings from ‘Bicycle Monthly’?  How about we get Peta Credlin to do her imitation of Nelson Mandela?  She is a hoot when she acts so humble.”

“Mathias, what about a game of monopoly.  We could get the banks and mining companies to play again.  Last time was the most fun I have had since I trained to be a Jesuit.   Love that card that says ‘Visit your financial adviser and loose everything’.  Fe Fi Fofa Fum.  I smell the blood of a super dum-dum.”

“Captain, Captain, we are afloat again.  The tide has turned and we are heading for the rocks.”  shouted the only Able Seaman on board.  One Taffy Turnbull.

“Let me see the periscope.  It was installed by a team from the Australian Submarine Corporation as a gesture of appreciation after Minister’s canoe comment.”

“Up scope.” shouted the ambitious deck scrubber David Johnson – also known as ‘DJ’ to the music lovers on the voyage.

It was at that point the crew discovered the periscope actually went down instead of up.  It also pointed backwards and gave a clear view of where you had been 16 years before.  Of course the view was of the ship’s wake .. unless of course it was travelling backwards at the time.  The installers considered it was much more likely to be of use pointed in that direction.  The ship more often than not, traveled in a direction that was not intrusive on the future.  The fact it was underwater was to prevent the occupants of the ‘Ship of State’ from seeing the horrors being experienced by those still above water.

And so, free of barnacles, the good ‘Ship of State’ steamed backwards.  No mention could be made due to ‘Operation Crustacean Removal’.  We should all be reassured that Captain Tony, resplendent in red budgie smugglers, has the tiller tightly in his grasp – at least we assume it is the tiller.  He holds a press conference to tell everyone they are not budgie smugglers.  They are pelican smugglers.  A chill goes through the press gallery.

Everyone knows their place.  Galley wench Julie is cooking up scones and tea under the watchful eye of the famous pirate Andrew the Robber.  First Mate Pyne is having a hair perm administered by the by chief Baabaa Warren Truss. Safety officer Bronwyn is practicing man overboard with anyone who speaks to her. Navigator Greg Hunt, plots the path through the treacherous environment.  He passes helmsman Abetz the new course.  “Back to 1951 he shouts.”  A cheer goes up from the whole crew.

Miles away in a dark and eerie graveyard somewhere in Victoria, the earth moves ever so slightly.  Could it be Menzies turning in his grave?

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