Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

18.12.09

Conversation on a plane.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER (WAKES, YAWNS): What day is it?

ADVISOR: Tuesday.

KEVIN RUDD: So we must be … where are we?

ADVISOR: Several miles above quite a lot of water on a very fast aeroplane.

KEVIN RUDD: On our way to what?

ADVISOR: Denmark, Kevin. The climate change conference. Remember? Like your ‘best and brightest’ conference in 2008. Except this one’s about the weather.

KEVIN RUDD: Weather? That’s all we discussed at that one as well. The rest was all bullshit. Christ, what a bunch of rubbish actresses talk about. Can’t imagine why I invited them.

ADVISOR: You didn’t. I did. If you don’t have actresses at conventions, the media and the photographers don’t turn up. And if the photographers don’t turn up, you don’t get your face in the paper next morning.

KEVIN RUDD: Is that why I had to cosy up to Cate Blanchett every five minutes?

ADVISOR: Yes. Don't complain. Better than cosying up to Barry Jones.

KEVIN RUDD (LAUGHS): He was there, still trying to flog that Knowledge Nation diagram that nobody understood. It was looking a bit tattered. By the way, where’s my lunch? It better be hot today or I’ll hit the fucking roof. (LEANS ACROSS THE ADVISOR AND INTO THE AISLE) Meanwhile I'll see how Penny's going with my proposal. Hey Penny, come over here.

PENNY WONG, CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTER (BLEARY): For God’s sake, Kevin! What do you want now? Could we just let it rest for ten minutes? I had just drifted off. I haven’t slept for three days trying to word this climate change draft in a vain attempt to please everyone from Bob Brown to the Coal Coalition. Not to mention you.

KEVIN RUDD: Good luck with that, by the way. It’s all in the language, Penny. Just bluff them with double speak. Add the words 'moving towards' before every definitive statement, then you never have to actually do it. A bit like the frog progressing with 50% shorter successive hops to the edge of the pond. He never gets there. It's a great out. Without bureaucratese, nothing would get done. (LAUGHS AT HIS OWN JOKE) I had an idea, Penny.

PENNY WONG (SIGHS): You really are not going to let me rest are you?

KEVIN RUDD: The world depends on it, Penny. And so does Gracie.

PENNY WONG: Gracie is a six-year-old girl, Kevin. To introduce a six-year-old girl into an international conference to score political points is cynical populism of worst kind. Apart from that, my world depends on me having a sleep right now, Kevin.

KEVIN RUDD: I won’t keep you long. It’s about the Chinese.

PENNY WONG (SLIGHT PAUSE) What about the Chinese, Kevin?

KEVIN RUDD: I thought I might get you to deal with them at Copenhagen, Penny. After all …

PENNY WONG: After all what, Kevin? And don’t say because I’m Chinese.

KEVIN RUDD: Well you are.

PENNY WONG: You’ve spent the last two years since you became Prime Minister spouting off in gratuitous Mandarin to anyone who would listen - and millions who wouldn’t – and now when it comes to the real crunch - the most difficult international negotiating position we’ve ever been in - you hand the hard ball to me. Because I had a Chinese parent. Christ.

KEVIN RUDD: Well, you are the climate change minister as well.

PENNY WONG: As well? As well? You patronising bastard!

KEVIN RUDD: Settle down Penny. You know what I mean. I mean you have the clout.

PENNY WONG: You have all the clout when the cameras come out, Kevin.

LATER. AROUND A BIG DANISH TABLE IN A MEETING ROOM IN COPENHAGEN. A TEA LADY IS SCURRYING AROUND WITH A COFFEE POT AND BISCUITS ON A TEA TROLLEY ALMOST THE SIZE OF A TOYOTA PRIUS.

CHINESE ENVOY: Good morning. The answer is no.

PENNY WONG: What was the question?

CHINESE ENVOY: Whatever you asked.

PENNY WONG: I haven’t asked it yet.

CHINESE ENVOY: Doesn’t matter. I read it in the paper. Don’t get fancy with me.

PENNY WONG: I have to abide by the rules of the convention.

CHINESE ENVOY: We don’t. And we’re not cutting our emissions. So pick on someone else.

PENNY WONG: You’re the biggest.

CHINESE ENVOY: You’re the richest.

(DRAMATIC PAUSE)

And we might be big, but back home right now I have 150 billion people in rural villages scratching out a living in the dust and in the mountains tending goats and by the sea putting out their grandfather’s leaky boat each morning to catch fish to eat and above the rivers where they reap barely enough rice in the terraces to feed their families and teeming millions in the factories on the outskirts of the big cities working seven days a week for a bowl of rice a day and soy sauce on Sundays to make air conditioning ducts that get shipped across the ocean to keep your people cool while they dine out on thirty buck steaks and fifty buck bottles of pinot in fancy restaurants that are lit up like Christmas trees. And as your Kevin says, ‘guess what?'

PENNY WONG: What?

CHINESE ENVOY: They get cold at night.

(LONG PAUSE)

CHINESE ENVOY: And if you think I’m leaving here and going home and telling them to turn off their heaters you’re wrong.

(PAUSE)

PENNY WONG: I’ll get Kevin.

3 comments:

A Melbourne Girl said...

Words fail me. Still laughing

Lesley

Dr. Alice said...

BEAUTIFUL. I'm sure you've been following Tim Blair's coverage of Copenhagen as well. He's done a great job.

This whole "carbon credits" thing... words fail me. In essence it means you pay people to enslave themselves to Stone Age technology. I'd call it a crime if it weren't so pathetic.

kitchen hand said...

And on a global scale, who gets to enforce it? Welcome to the European Union on a world scale: government by unelected officials.