“…getting underway now. There are eight debaters in all – two each from Labor Left and Right, and four vaguely humanoid beings on the Liberal side. The question: ‘The Abbott government is right to stop the boats’. The crowd has the usual contingent of student-political muskrats, but there are enough first-years and average citizenry to give this thing some potential. There’s also a table in the corner where you can buy tickets to Future, staffed by some deadset legends who look fuckin’ pumped to be witness to this experiment in democracy.”
“Fifteen minutes in and campus security’s shown up. The heckling began soon after the first Liberal speaker took the podium – a middle-aged woman in the front row started screaming about Manus Island. We all thought she’d just gotten lost on her way to the supermarket until her friends arrived, blowing whistles and chanting. They unfurl banners on the stage – ‘Socialist Alternative’, ‘Stop the War On Refugees’, ‘Liberal and Labor Have Blood On Their Hands’. One of the Liberal speakers, who looks like he bought his jawline with Dad’s rainy-day hedge fund money, is asking the protestors loudly what time they’re getting to Centrelink tomorrow. One of them responds by screaming ‘GET FUCKED!’ into his face at point-blank range through a megaphone. It takes the eloquence of the debate to heights hitherto unseen.”
“One of the Liberals just straight-up claimed that asylum seekers throw children overboard. Twice. Considering the hazing ritual to join the Young Libs involves eating an infant whole, I don’t see why he’d find that objectionable. Somewhere, the unquiet demon wearing John Howard’s skin just got a semi.
The former Prime Minister’s wrinkly half-erect member aside, the speaker’s comments have riled the protestors up something fierce. Some USU Board Directors in the front row are getting in on it, yelling ‘Shame!’ at the stage. I ask two first-years, Juliet and Georgia, why they’ve come. ‘Shade’, Juliet says. When asked what she thinks of the debate so far, Georgia replies: ‘It’s like a YouTube comments section’. They are wise, these young ones.”
“…people are screaming, running. A Young Labor supporter in the audience falls from his chair, insects pouring from his mouth. Hundreds of blackened, smoking hands erupt from the earth, grabbing people by the ankles. ‘We’re for budgie smugglers, not people smugglers!’ shrieks the speaker, clawing at his face. Light spills from his eyes. A rumbling fills the air, as though a building is falling far away, and a strange door that was not onstage before swings open –
“–BLOOD BLOOD BILL SHORTEN LIBERTY EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY DOG WHISTLE PEOPLE SMUGGLERS THE UNIONS SIGN OUR PETITION DEATH DEATH AND NOTHINGNESS WE ARE ALL HIS CHILDREN–
[English symbols replaced at this point by pictograms, language unknown]
[END OF TRANSCRIPT]