Tuesday 19th of November 2019

howard of the overflow .....

I had written
him a letter, which I had, for want of better

Knowledge, sent
to where I met him at the wheat board, years ago.

He was chairman
when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him

Just on spec, to
make the point that "Howard doesn't want to know".


And an e-mail
came directed, not entirely unexpected

(And I think the
same was written in some Middle Eastern bar).

'Twas his CEO
who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:

Flugge's gone to Baghdad, and we don't know where he are.


"But when
he left Australia, he was going to meet with Alia,

"A trucking
mob in Jordan, who were keen to grease the wheels.

"For 10
percent commission, they could swing Saddam's permission

"To get our
wheat accepted; it's the mother of all deals.


"But I
guarantee, Prime Minister, that there's nothing at all sinister.

"The chaps
at DFAT told us that the sums looked quite okay.

you're selling wheat in billions, what's a quick 300 million?

"If it
keeps the Nationals happy, it's a tiny price to pay."


Sitting here at
Kirribilli, I've been thinking, willy-nilly,

That it's
somehow reminiscent of the children overboard:

But I can handle
Rudd and Beazley, as I always do, quite easily

By endlessly
protesting that there's nothing untoward.

I'll tell Bush
next time I meet him at The White House, when I greet him,
That I'm sure
he'll understand about the wheat board's quid pro quo.
He'll forgive
this minor error in the global war on terror
When I look him
in the eye and tell him Howard didn't know.
Mike Carlton

John, did you write this?

It's spread is becoming quite prolific.. Hamish received it as anonymous.. it's now been posted on Webdiary twice.  I just had it sent to me from a bloke I had lunch with today, attributed to you.



sadly no Gus .....

Hi Gus.

If you are talking about "Howard of the overflow", it was signed "Anon" when it first came to me & I circulated it exactly as I'd received it.

Shortly thereafter, Alan Ramsey told me that Mike Carlton was the author &  that it was originally published in the SMH in early February. I immediately let Hamish know that.

It's still going..

Today I was given my third hardcopy of the poem.  This must be the most widely read piece of "Australiana" that's been written in a very long time.

Hey John, how hard would it be to set up a verse section?  You never know what might turn up over time.

a verse or adverse section .....

Hi Gus .... checking, checking .....

Nothing to do with me

Check with Richard... John. The original poem is "Clancy of the Overflow". Rhyming verse by AB Paterson of an older Australia. It tells of a city slicker's nostalgic view of the freer life he might have had... etc...

gosh darn ....

Sorry Richard & Gus .... too much of a hurry!!!.

I'll check & advise.