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YARN: Let's dance - with Julia, Stephen, Michael … and Barnaby

YARN: Let's dance - with Julia, Stephen, Michael … and Barnaby

The moves that defined a nation as Coach Gillard, Twinkletoes, Quiggers, and Straightshooter took to the floor

What a week it was. Channel 10 may be considering canning the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance but our polis and associated employees showed they can put on a show of their own.

The star was, without doubt, Twinkeltoes Conroy, the newly-minted superman of Labor. Twinkletoes was everywhere. Sydney, Melbourne, this presser, that launch. Coach Gillard, who is showing an ability to create new moves for dodging-the-bullet and deflaming-the-situation, both critical performance pieces for Labor, has managed, in a short space of time, to make Twinkletoes appear almost human. He's dancing with confidence and actually speaking in public. This new found ability must be a dream to his PR team which until now never really needed to brief him on anything. At press calls his question time would be over with the speed it takes Liberal leader, Tony Abbott, to replace the number on his tally board of asylum seeker boats that have entered Australian under the Labor government. Actually faster than that.

In fact, ARN's chief political writer, David Ramli, couldn't believe it when Conroy (and his highly paid buddy, NBN Co's Mike Quigley) took questions for 40 minutes at one presser. 'The press actually ran out of questions' mused Ramli on his return. He was checked for illegal substances and found to be clean and in full control of his faculties (he hadn't even had a drink and a sleeping tablet the night before like poor old Ben Cousins). We can only believe him.

So having rid Labor of the vexatious mining tax (change its name, take less money) and attempting to sink the asylum seeker problem (stick them on East Timor and forget about them - oops, tripped up there by not asking the East Timorese about that first), Gillard had Twinkletoes moving smoothly early in the week. First, he and Quiggers made the National Broadband Network look good by announcing 14 new mainland sites and expanding five already noted. There were coloured maps aplenty as unbound excitement engulfed every IT news site.

It was during this broadband lovefest that Ramli forced a stunning move out of Twinkletoes. Earlier in the week, our man had managed to grab some time with Nationals leader in the Senate, Barnaby 'Straightshooter' Joyce, a man not known for mincing his words. Straightshooter fired from the hip when asked about Quiggers $2 million salary: "Holy shit, well wouldn’t we all like a job like that? I’ve got no doubt that you are just as capable as Quigley because this is bullshit that you just give jobs to your mates." Earlier he had decreed: "The Labor Party is the philosophical brothel of ideas". He makes a tango seem tame.

Anyway, Ramli decided he'd step on Quiggers' toes and bring Straightshooter's comment to his attention. It went something like this: 'Mike, what do you think about Barnaby Joyce calling your $2 million salary "bullshit".' Silence. The music stopped. The carnival seemed almost over. Then up stepped Twinkletoes: 'I'll take this one.' Deploying several previously unseen rumba moves he deposited Straightshooter in a corner of the room where bad dancers are made to stand and face the wall. Heartily entertaining stuff this. The judges loved it.

If the week had stopped then it would have been just fabulous - but there was more. Coach Gillard having eased a forthright Twinkletoes into the political river of life then told him to get on with it and go for the master move, the audience pleaser, the bullet-dodger. And Twinkletoes did it. zzhe shimmied on stage, looked out at the masses and with a quick battement booted the loathed (by at least 10 per cent of the community) mandatory Internet filter back to 2011, and probably beyond. Even the judges rose to give Twinkletoes a standing ovation for this one. Bravo, bravo, they cried as Twinkletoes scooped up the odd rose thrown in his general direction.

Only questions - and the odd crushed petal - remain: Will Twinkletoes continue to display his new found ability to … communicate? Will Quiggers donate next year's salary to another good charity? What will Straightshooter fire at next? And does anybody care? And, finally, does Coach Gillard have any other moves up her much-discussed sleeves? The election announcement looms. You can just smell it amidst the hair oil and sweat on the dance floor.

Mike Gee is the acting managing editor of ARN and old enough to have covered too many elections to own up to


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Tags Stephen ConroyMandatory Internet filternbn coNational Broadband Network (NBN)Julia GillardCommunications MinisterSenator Barnaby JoyceMike Quigley

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