Human Agro and MacDutton – The Incantations of the Weird Brothers and Sisters of Sky After Dark

Shakespeare never goes away. Ask any English teacher. And he’s appeared again this week, in the ongoing drama of the leadership wild winds in Canberra. Laura Tingle on her first report in the ScoMo Era used lines from Macbeth, mixed with Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet music. The Australian likened Julie Bishop to Lady Macbeth, which showed a deficiency in their understanding of the play – Lady Macbeth egged on Macbeth and then couldn’t cope with the fallout, which is nothing like Bishop’s role. The Oz just seems to like to repeat the same sexist lines as ever. Julia Gillard was also called that, even though she too acted nothing like Lady M.

There is another Macbeth parallel that has been brought to mind by the events this week. I have been watching Paul Murray Live over Thursday and Friday, to see the reactions to the events. My live tweets of Part One is here, Part Two is here. It’s a strange and swirling mist that blows inside that cave of aggrieved ex-insiders, far right axe grinders and Bronwyn Bishop, all led by their host, Human Agro (a nickname invented by the members of The Chaser).

From that cave, and from the other caves of Sky After Dark – Bolt’s, Credlin’s and the rest – there’s been a range of strange incantations, all aimed at the restoration of Their Man, Abbott, or his proxy, Dutton. This week, they played the role of the Weird Sisters from Macbeth, telling MacDutton that he would be King. They frothed and bubbled and boiled with tales of the evils of Malcolm. He was a bully, he was not a Liberal, and the rest. The content is in the live tweetage. The mood of these weird units was of letting the blood of Malcolm at any cost, continuing a theme that has been a key obsession with Murray, including the “That Man” moment from the night of the 2016 election.

The extraordinary feature of this Weird Shouty Ghost Show is that it seems to have influence well beyond its paltry viewer numbers. The ghostly presences on it should have passed into irrelevance years ago – people like Gary “Mr Magoo” Hardgrave from the Howard years, Bronwyn “Gold Helicopter” Bishop, ex ad man Roman Dean, Ross Cameron, Chris “Godwin Grech” Kenny and the like. Yet here they were, suggesting that the Liberals hang on their every word.

Chief among those exhibiting such a “player” attitude is Human Agro himself. His style seems to be taken straight from Phil Gould at the State of Origin broadcasts, striding down the field, speaking slowly, invoking some kind of grand oratory with what is intoned. Seeing him rail and broil, however, reminded us of more of our cat Leopold, who regularly walks into our kitchen at 9pm and starts meowing loudly for no discernible reason. We don’t pay him any attention, just as any serious political party should not be paying attention to these people.

It appears on one level that the party didn’t listen to them, not voting in MacDutton, instead in this version we saw Macduff rise, thankfully with his family alive and smiling in new photos. The would-be Lady Macbeths, Cormann and Cash, seem to have possibly overestimated the force and power of these weird brothers and sisters, though it’s hard to see how they will be damaged. However, it also appears that the crew were more obsessed with vengeance against Malcolm than necessarily pinned entirely with Dutton. Hence, the unusually calm demeanour of Murray (who made two references to him disappointing viewers in depriving them of a meltdown). Also of interest was the appearance of Michael Kroger from his velvet lined coffin, who expressed a business as usual message with ScoMo in charge.

Maybe it was all just about being rid of “That Man” after all. It would not surprise anyone if That Man was relieved to be gone from this place.


For Coles and their Plastic Population, the Only Way is Down, Down


It’s been 30 years since Yazz and the mysterious Plastic Population came and told us The Only Way Is Up, Baby.  The mystery of what happened to that Plastic Population hangs in the air like so much carbon pollution – the question remains as to what to do about it and no matter what people do in order to try to solve the problem, there does not seem to be an easy answer.

But today, we have seen a different type of Plastic Population show their ugly face. These are the people who complained with force about the impost of 15c being made on them as to change their shopping habits and do the simple act of taking a set of reusable bags to the shops.

South Australia has coped, Tasmania has coped, but people in big bad Sydney and Melbourne don’t seem to be able to cope with remembering to put bags in the boot.

Or maybe, more likely, these are recalcitrant reactionaries who hate today’s world and its insistence on protecting the environment and promoting better, sustainable practices. In other words, absolute Chris Kennys, being opposed to something for the sake of getting attention for their petty loathing of everything progressive.

But Coles should have learned from the wisdom of Yazz and her Plastic Population. The first stanza could refer to the poor Coles staff being berated by entitled middle class fools complaining about shelling out money for bags

We’ve been broken down
To the lowest turn
Bein’ on the bottom line
Sure ain’t no fun

I’m pretty sure Coles were not in danger of being evicted because of the rantings of a select few. They would have been fine.  They should also have kept calm and carried on, not given up.

But if we should be evicted
Huh, from our homes
We’ll just move somewhere else
And still carry on

And, most importantly, they needed to listen to the big core of the song.

(hold on) hold on
(hold on) hold on
Ooooh, aah, baby

(hold on) hold on
(hold on) ooh oooh aah

The only way is up, baby
For you and me now
The only way is up, baby
For you and me now

Coles needed to hold on, because if they weathered the confected storm, the only way would have been up.

But now, there is a wave of momentum for reusable bags from every state (except, to its shame, NSW). Woolworths and Aldi have come out of this looking the better global citizens. So if Coles doesn’t relent and be serious about this move to change consumer behaviour, the only way is Down, Down.