Let’s all hope the brilliant performance I took in at the Sydney Opera House main concert hall on Sunday afternoon gets an immediate reprieve from its “once and once only” promotional advertising.
Four PMs @ 4pm deserves an extended run in this and other major Australian centres. It really made me think about Australia and where it’s headed.
Who would have known that when the curtains drew back at 4pm to reveal a bare stage with four simple fold-up metal chairs at its centre, the audience were about to be treated to two and a half hours of biting satire and superb humour.
After an agonising and teasing two-minutes’ silence and no activity, out walked – two from each wings – our four living Sydney prime ministers: the old and the simple in John Howard and his “political lovechild” Tony Abbott from the right; the silver-spooned toff and the boofy bloke next door in Malcolm Turnbull, and Scott Morrison from the left.
And the format was brilliant. Similar to a rap-off from 8 Mile, these four much-admired Australian political leaders took turns to riff merrily on pithy and insightful observations that held the capacity audience in their thrall.
And the aim? To see who could get the best audience reaction. Talk about The Egos Have Landed! What an afternoon that made me laugh and cry!
And who won? I’ll let you be the judge but these were my stand-out moments. Lordy, my sides are still as sore as billy-o. If this show is on again, take it in and bugger the cost! It’ll be worth it.
John Howard: The last thing you could ever say about Scott Morrison is that he lacks compassion and empathy.
Tony Abbott: Giving that Australian knighthood to Prince Philip was probably the best thing I ever did as PM.
Malcolm Turnbull: I would have won the last election in a landslide if I had remained leader.
Scott Morrison: My government has always believed that climate change is responsible for the horrible fire season we are now facing.
Howard: I do not believe Mr Morrison made any mistakes in his response to the fire crisis.
Morrison: I said I’d burn for Australia. Okay, so I got that the wrong way around.
Abbott: I think it’s now commonly accepted political wisdom that my 2014 Budget was perfectly framed for the times.
Howard: Morrison dealt with the issue of his holiday and since he’s been back he’s hardly drawn breath.
Morrison: My Cabinet is as one on the need to combat climate change.
Turnbull: Sure, I had ditched the only two major policies I had ever stood for but Morrison also won standing for practically nothing.
Morrison: I accept now that going on holiday to Hawaii was a mistake and for that I apologise to anyone who still doesn’t think I deserved a holiday whenever I wanted after the amazing yet demanding year I had.
Turnbull: As I showed in 2016, I exhibited a natural warmth on the hustings and people were drawn to me like moths to a flame. The same would have happened during last year’s federal election.
Morrison: I can’t hold a hose or command a fire control centre but if Australians felt less anxious if I was here then that was worth breaking a dad’s promise to, and also the hearts of, my two gorgeous daughters for.
Turnbull: I also could have pulled off the “bloke next door, bogun boofhead that can cause you no harm” routine. Anyone can throw a cricket ball, kick a footie, skol a beer and pretend to drive a truck, shear a sheep or toss a hay bale.
Morrison: Yes, Malcolm, but could you have character-assassinated Shorten with such single-minded viciousness and lied as effortlessly and as seamlessly as I did? You can’t learn those sorts of things. They are God-given gifts and, sorry mate, but I don’t think you have them in you.