Politicians demand mental health leave.

Politicians throughout the world are demanding fully-paid mental health leave after learning that they cannot attend the Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games due to COVID-19 restrictions. Politicians are distraught that they cannot enjoy free holidays to attend the games, as strict bio-security protocols restrict entry into Japan of non-essential personnel.

Politicians the world over are demanding at least one month paid mental health leave to recover from the distressing news that they cannot enjoy the quadrennial junket.

“Politicians need support and understanding at this difficult time,” read a statement form the International Organisation for Politicians (IOP).

“Their worlds have been turned upside down by the news that they cannot attend the Olympic Games or Paralympic Games and enjoy free travel, accommodation, dining and tickets to witness the world’s best athletes. This is a very trying time for politicians and they ask for their subjects’ understanding and support in this hour of need. That support includes paid mental health leave.”

The IOP explained that the Olympic Games are not just a free holiday for the world’s leaders, but a rare and important branding exercise.

“Only every four years (in this case five) do politicians enjoy such an opportunity to bolster their personal brand in such a manner. Only every four years can they photograph and associate themselves with the world’s greatest athletes in order to raise their own standing in the eyes of the public – whether the athletes like it or not.”

“Only every four years can politicians align their brand with principles of dedication, perseverance, sacrifice, discipline, honesty, teamwork and success. Consequently, politicians order their staff to seek out any photo opportunity with a gold medallist from their own country, or a respected athlete from any country. Political staff are also instructed to scour social media for all and any opportunity to like, tag or link to any athlete displaying the founding principles of the Olympic Games. Of course, social media links can be created from anywhere in the world, but a live photo opportunity with a newly-minted national hero offers much greater benefits to the politician, and it is impossible to find so many elite athletes all in the one place except at an Olympic event.”

The IOP also explained that leaders will miss more than just the photo opportunities.

“Networking is another important role of the Olympic Games. IOC sponsors include some of the world’s largest and most wealthy corporations, and the games provide countless functions at which politicians can secure lucrative post-political consultancy roles.”

“Furthermore, they will miss out on the first-class flights and luxury accommodation. They will miss out on dining at the finest restaurants and being chaperoned from one glamorous function to the next during their stay. They will be denied the chance to feel important, and to collect an assortment of gift bags containing so much swag they need another taxpayer-funded jet just to carry it all home.”

Free show bags at the Easter Show.

How much have you spent on show bags at the Sydney Royal Easter Show? How much are you planning to spend, or how much do your kids expect you to spend?

What if those show bags were free?

In the early days of the Easter Show, show bags were all free.

In the good old days the show was held at the Royal Agricultural Society grounds at Moore Park, in what is now Fox Studios and the EQ complex beside the SCG, and show bags were sample bags. The bags were distributed by various companies and were originally quite useful. They included products like food staples, soap and laundry liquid, and allowed families to stock up on essential items for free.

Realising the popularity and the potential of the bags, confectionary companies began to offer a sample of their existing products, or a new product, in the hope that crowds would enjoy their products then rush to stores to buy more in the weeks that followed. It was also effective PR for the companies.

The bags themselves were much smaller, and were paper bags which carried the logo of the company. They contained a limited number of products which guests normally snacked on as they wandered the agricultural displays or admired the prize winning cows. They did not hang heavily off the handles of prams while burdened parents lumbered from ride to ride behind children high on sugar.

At one point, the samples were given out for free in the mornings, then sold at a small cost in the afternoon.

It is a stark contrast to the show bags of today. Companies from a diverse array of industries compete with each other to outsell their rivals, in a massive hall that could house an entire airline fleet. Bags are now predominantly plastic, as are many of the contents. Food and confectionary companies still dominate the selection, but pressured parents can now splash out on bags from football clubs, Hollywood movies, toy companies, lifestyle programs, cartoon characters and even Aussie rock legends. In the high-tech present, bags are listed online with a description of their contents, and sell for as much as $30.00.

Show bags can even be ordered online and delivered to your door. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Isn’t the show bag part of the grand experience of attending the show, negotiating the crowds, seeing the livestock and fruit stands, watching the woodchopping, eating dodgy takeaway and vomiting on the pirate ship?

The sample bags belong to an era when the Easter Show was more focussed on the agricultural aspect. It was dedicated to bringing together farmers from across the state to socialise, network and compete for best in show, and to educate and entertain city-slickers about life on the land.

Scott Morrison gives one family a $30m Christmas present.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, has surprised a family of four with a Christmas present of $30m. Morrison offered the gift to the Murugappan family as well as granting them asylum in Australia after holding them in immigration detention for more than 1000 days. The Christmas blessing will see Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharunicaa return to Biloela immediately with Australian residency.

Morrison claims he made the decision to exercise his executive powers after communicating with God during a religious experience at the Horizon Church in the Sutherland Shire.

“It was during the second rousing rock song that God spoke to me,” explained Morrison, before recounting the divine conversation.

“G’day Scotty”

“G’day mate”

“Hey, what about freeing that family on Christmas Island?”

“Oooh, I don’t know about that mate, it’s a big call. A lot of Aussie racists won’t be happy, and don’t forget who voted me in at the last election.”

“Yeah, but it’s Christmas, and remember all of those teachings that my son imparted to Christians like you, about morality, compassion, forgiveness and helping the less fortunate…”

“Yeah, what about them?”

“Well, what about you put them into practice?”

“Huh?”

“Apply the teachings in a practical way and free the family, let them go back to Biloela.”

“Ummm, sorry mate, I’m still trying to get my head around what you just said – applying the teachings of the church in a practical way…that’s news to me”

“Yes, but that was the original intention of the teachings”

“Hang on, I love this part of the song…(Morrison sings a few lines). How good…yeah, go on”

“Well, I recommend you free the family and let them go back to Bilo”

“Back to Bilo – I don’t like the policy, but I do love the slogan – great ring to it. Back to Bilo, Back to Bilo…”

“And all that money, you could give to the family, to help them set up a new life.”

“The $30m, but that’s a lot of money, plus I was gonna give that to Foxtel.”

“Well, Rupert will have to wait – let me have a word to him. Anyway, I strongly recommend you apply the underlying principles of your Christian faith and free the family in detention, and do it in time for Christmas”

“Yeah, righto mate – but only for you”

“You’re a great bloke Scotty”

“I know”

Morrison then explained that after deliberation with colleagues such as Peter Dutton, and after discussing it with Jen and the girls, he made the decision to free the family and reward them with a substantial yuletide gift.

“It’s great PR too, isn’t it,” said the man dubbed Scotty from Marketing, “you know, Christmas Island and a Christmas present, I thought of that myself, how good is that!”

Image: Chad Madden