In the city of Canberra, of roundabout fame,
Lived a strange little man with a clergyman’s name;
He wasn’t a cardinal, though there was one he knew,
And he wasn’t a bishop, although he had two;
He wasn’t nun in a gown and a habit,
And he wasn’t a pope – he was only an Abbott.
Now at Christmas the Abbott was a nasty old soul,
In his revenue stocking he only got coal;
He crashed the gay weddings, kept bitches in line,
Chopped down the trees but refused to chop Pyne;
He said “Giving’s for humbugs and Christmas is too,
It’s as shitty as Manus, or even Nauru.”
On the night before Christmas he lay in his bed,
When a coughing sound woke him from over his head;
There a goblin was floating, pudding-headed and old,
With mistletoe eyebrows, dressed in all green and gold.
He said “Tony, my boy, it’s just me – don’t you worry!
It’s a pity to wake you this late – I am motioning a statement of deep and sincere regret.”
“John?” said the Abbott, wildly rubbing his eyes,
“Did Janette lock you out? What a bloody surprise.”
“No,” said the creature, “I’ve come with a warning,
You’ll be visited by three ghosts by the morning;
I shall decide (for I’m sprite Number One)
Which visions, and the circumstance in which they come.”
Then the Abbott was standing on the prow of a boat,
Packed with poor huddled families and barely afloat;
“How do you do your magic?!” he asked in a bellow,
The gnome muttered “China, and partly Costello.
We’re in 2001, back when carbon was free,
And I claimed that these kids would be thrown in the sea.”
“So what?” said the Abbott, voice riddled with doubt,
“You shut up the commies and kept terrorists out.”
The goblin sighed sadly. “It was glorious, my friend,
But know that each golden age comes to an end;
For just as I am fallen, you shall be felled too –
By your Brutus, your Mordred, your Maxine McKew.”
Ghost, boat and ocean dissolved into gloom,
And the Abbott returned to his opulent room;
A face grinned before him, a Cheshire spud,
The folds of it’s toga all ruddy with blood;
“You!” sneered the Abbott, “I beat you, you peasant,
How could you be the ghost of Prime Ministers Present?”
“Moriarty,” the ghost said, “I think that you’ll find,
Blind Freddy could see I’m PM in my mind;
Kevin ’13 forever – the only damn reason…”
“Just get to the lesson,” “I will, in due season;
…That they claim that I lost are your lies and division.
Let’s cook with gas. Here’s the next apparition.”
The Lodge was replaced by a cliff clad in snow,
And the Abbott looked down on the sea ice below;
It was cracked and collapsing in grim locomotion,
As each piece detached and dissolved in the ocean;
He felt icy and asked, contemplating his daughters,
“Are emissions the cause of rise of these waters?”
“No,” said the spirit, “It’s much worse, enemigo,
This frosty expanse is my own melting ego;
My vast self-regard survived treachery and crime,
But you know something mate? It couldn’t beat time;
Your programmatic hubris shall too be laid bare.
Look on this sauce bottle, ye fool, and despair.”
The phantom itself was beginning to drip,
It gave him the finger and said “Gotta zip!”
Before the Abbott could utter a single harsh word,
He was back in his boudoir beholding the third;
It had robes made of shadow, a head like a beet,
A glistening crown and a bushel of wheat.
The stale stench of liquor revealed it was Joyce,
It spoke to the Abbott in a thunderous voice.
“Tony! You dickhead. You legend. You bum.
I’m the ghost of Prime Ministers still yet to come.”
The room disappeared and he blinked to survey,
Capital Hill on a dry Summer’s day.
Parliament House was encrusted with ads,
For News, Shell and Maccas, tequila and pads;
Cacophonies burst from each huge neon screen,
While guard drones flew past painted bright gold and green;
“Welcome to the future, a few votes down the track,
After you’ve copped a bicycle spoke in the back.”
“It was you?” said the Abbott, expecting the worst,
Barnaby chuckled and said “Not at first;
When it went to hell Joe and Mal each took a shot,
But the budget went batshit and things got too hot;
At least Labor got shortened by their own sword,
I picked up the gig after Palmer got bored.
But the bastards are circling like flies around mutton,
I’ll soon be replaced by Prime Minister Dutton.”
“No!” said the Abbott and fell to his knees,
“How did it come to this? It can’t be true! Please!”
Then he noticed a shadow, black as a tuxedo,
Thrown by a statue in a very tight speedo.
It was a gangly old man with preposterous ears,
He crawled to the plinth and read through his tears;
“Anthony Abbott – the sexist who taught us
The importance of having not bad looking daughters.”
The ghost hovered closer, touched his hand lightly
and said “That’s enough”, still hiccuping slightly.
They returned to the Lodge and Joyce left with a kiss,
Then Tony woke Margie, asking “What day is this?”
“It’s 3am darling. Please go back to bed.”
But the Abbott ran off to find needles and thread.
He wove, sewed and stitched through the dregs of the night,
Till the family awoke to the warm Christmas light.
They sat round the Abbott, who was glowing with vigour,
For his old Bolt-sized heart had grown three sizes bigger;
He smiled and said, “Bridget, Frances and Louise,
I want to say sorry for the electoral sleaze;
I used you and your faces to clutch at my goal,
But a Christmastime blessing has shifted my soul!
I was wrong to hate Muslims and give sheilas short shrift,
But I’m generous now, and I’ve made you a gift.
Now you’ll never be flaunted to creepers and lurkers.”
They opened the box and found three shining burqas,
Each cut from the cloth of an Australian flag;
And as the girls smiles were starting to sag,
He flung open the window to let in the sun,
And shouted “God help us, every one!”