Comedy //

The Master Budget and the Margarita

Nick Gowland witnessed a most unusual exchange.

Artwork by Madeleine Pfull.
Artwork by Madeleine Pfull.
Artwork by Madeleine Pfull.

A sharp knock rang against the door of Tony Abbott’s private Prime-Ministerial office.

“Go away, I’m busy Prime Ministering,” said Tony, as he frantically minimised NeoPets browser tabs. “You’re going to want to meet this person,” said attractive young secretary and Minister for Education Christopher Pyne as he opened the door and ushered in a shadowy figure.

“Chrissy, are you serious? Is this one of those Q&A hooligans?” exclaimed Tony as he eyeballed the stranger’s swishy hemp robe and Pantene commercial hair. He began to reach for the button under his desk that would send $12 billion of publically funded joint strike fighter pain screaming in through the windows of Parliament and into the kale-smattered beard of this smelly ideologue. But before he could press the button, his eyes popped out like moles in a Whack-a-Mole.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaw, mate!” said Tony.

“Please allow me to introduce myself,” said the stranger.


It was Jesus.

“Look, Tony, I’ll cut to the chase,” said Jesus as he took a chair and struck a match to a slender cigarillo which appeared between his lips out of nowhere. “I’ve come directly from Moscow to talk about your new budget.”

“Oh, Jesus, of course mate!” gushed a near-hysterical Tony, as he scrambled through a pile of Sudokus and Paint-by-numbers for the right document. “Oh my gosh, you have no idea what an inspiration you’ve been for me! You are like…” Tony paused as he handed a file to Jesus. “Jesus, you are my muse.”

“Riiiiiight…” said Jesus as he pressed the beige envelope to his forehead and absorbed its worldly knowledge. He sucked deeply on his cheroot. “Tony, what’s going on here?”

“Oh, Jesus, you’re going to love this. The other night I was in the tub and I thought, ‘Not once in the Bible does Jesus ever attempt to redistribute limited resources to support society’s most vulnerable and oppressed.’ So we’ve given welfare a kick in the teeth…”

“Um, actually I did…” began Jesus, but it was no use, because Tony had entered full fan-boy mode.

“Of course, we couldn’t have pulled it off without softening everyone up with the Commission of Audit report, which was TOTALLY inspired by the whole Bad-Cop Old Testament, Good-Cop New Testament deal. And then I plonked an extra few million into Operation Sovereign Borders, because after all, neither you nor your family ever benefited from strangers who were willing to offer what little they had to desperate foreigners with no place to go.”

“Look, Tony…”

“Also, we’ve revamped universities to reflect how you charged your disciples, so debt now kicks in at minimum wage. Which we’re lowering, because like you told the Pharisees,” – and here Tony placed palm on beating breast – “Let he who is without sin have the courage to do whatever he wants by oppressing the fashionable minorities of the moment through neoconservative economics.”

“Okay, that’s just a garbled mix of Ayn Rand and yourself.”

“So did I do well, Jesus?” Tony’s ears wiggled like a giddy puppy. “Are you happy with me?”

Jesus sighed. Were times really so bad that his only choice was between THIS and Cory fucking Bernardi? “Well, I guess paid parental leave is hard to fault…”

“$50,000 to eastern suburbs yummy mummies!”

“Oh for fuck’s sake… Look, fine, whatever, if this is what you want to do after everything I went through, then go for it. I just can’t anymore.” Jesus stubbed out his cigarillo on a mountain of tax cuts for the rich.



Tony began spinning in gleeful circles. Round, and round, and round he went! By the time he slowed down, Jesus had already vanished into thin air. “Just like in the book!” thought Tony. This was the happiest day of his life.