Yes Minister - The Mean Situation - Australian Version

Set in Australia, this take off the BBC 'Yes Minister' series features Julia Gillard as she plots her take over from Kevin Rudd.

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1. The Mean Situation

 

Scene One:

JULIA GILLARD AND BERNARD ARE IN HER OFFICE.

BERNARD: You have a meeting with Sir Humphrey at 10, at 10.30 you have a cabinet meeting, and you have a meeting with the Prime Minister at 2 o’clock.

JULIA GILLARD: Very good – and what about the meeting with the media I asked you to arrange?

BERNARD: Oh yes, well... [pause] they didn’t name a time. They just said they’d be here sometime during the day.

JULIA: Very good. Just be sure to arrange a meeting when they arrive.

BERNARD: Oh, I will.

ENTER SIR HUMPHREY

SIR HUMPHREY: Good morning, minister. How are you today?

JULIA GILLARD: I’m alright, thank you, how are you?

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, I’m quite well, minister. Now, what is it you wish to speak to me about today? Economical reforms? [smiles] Environmental taxes?

JULIA GILLARD: No, I wish to discuss a far more serious matter.

SIR HUMPHREY: [amused] Oh?

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, quite serious.

BERNARD: Of the up-most seriousness.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, do you know what the minister wishes to speak to me about?

BERNARD: [pauses] No, sir.

SIR HUMPHREY: Then kindly stay out of our conversation. [Turns back to Julia] I’m sorry minister. What was it you were saying?

JULIA GILLARD: The party has run into a few problems recently...

SIR HUMPHREY: [acknowledges statement]

JULIA GILLARD: ... and has been discussing what to do with the Prime Minister.

SIR HUMPHREY: [bored] oh.

JULIA GILLARD: We have reached a decision.

SIR HUMPHREY: Wonderful! And what is this marvellous conclusion?

JULIA GILLARD: I am to replace Kevin Rudd as Prime Minster.

SIR HUMPHREY: [panics] What?!

JULIA GILLARD: You see that as a problem?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes! It is most problematic! It is a problem of the highest problematic probability to be preposterously problematic!

JULIA GILLARD: What?

BERNARD: I think what he’s trying to say is: it’s a problem.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, thank you, I understood him perfectly well. [to SIR HUMPHREY] And why is it a problem, Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Because! You cannot discharge the Prime Minister!

JULIA GILLARD: Why not?

SIR HUMPHREY: Because! [CALMS DOWN] If you proceed with this proposition, you may cause severe governmental instability, as well as economic and political instability, and the country may suffer most grotesquely!

JULIA GILLARD: Since when did you care about the country, Sir Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister! I never said I was concerned for the country! I care for you... and stability [looks a little sick]

JULIA GILLARD: No, the people are agitated. If we are to make it through the next election, we must have a new leader. This country needs me... the Labour party... if it is to be successful and profitable. The current Prime Minister will throw all that away!

SIR HUMPHREY: But minister! [SYLY] Surely, politically, it is like putting one’s neck in a noose and running!

BERNARD: Ah, with respect sir, if one put one’s neck into a noose they could not run, due to the noose holding them back.

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, thank you, Bernard. [pause] You assume the noose is attached to something. Anyhow, minister; I cannot let you commit political suicide. I beg you to rethink this matter. You must not accept the offer.

JULIA GILLARD: You still haven’t given me any convincing reasons not to, Sir Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, I can give you three good reasons.

JULIA GILLARD: Go ahead.

SIR HUMPHREY: One: To overthrow the Prime Minister would cause nervousness in the public realm, and soon all would be pondering the question of whether or not the government can really be trusted. Two: To be seen overthrowing the Prime Minister would put a very dark stain on your public imaged, something I’m sure you wouldn’t want.

JULIA GILLARD: It would not stain my image, as the people are already very unhappy with Kevin Rudd.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, I wouldn’t say very unhappy.

JULIA GILLARD: What would you say?

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiling] Marginally displeased.

JULIA GILLARD: Well that could cost us the next election – marginal or not.

SIR HUMPHREY: You don’t understand! Certain members of non-political society are susceptible to observe the behaviour of ministers such as yourself, as well as others, in regards to the current ministerial leader, and conclude it is an act of pure, hateful mutiny, done not for the benefit of the country, but for personal gain!

BERNARD: But doesn’t meeting occur only on ships?

SIR HUMPHREY: That is not the point!

JULIA GILLARD: I’m sorry, I lost interest after ‘you don’t understand’. Could you please summarize the argument?

SIR HUMPHREY: People will view you as a Judas Iscariot! A Brutus! A tyrant, and will fear a following implementation of nothing less than Draconian law!

JULIA GILLARD: Why are you so concerned, Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Because – my job is all about preserving stability... not destroying it!

JULIA GILLARD: [smiles] Really? So is my job!

SIR HUMPHREY: [frustrated]

JULIA GILLARD: Didn’t you say you had three points?

SIR HUMPHREY: Hmm?

JULIA GILLARD: Your points. You said you had three.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, yes! [thinks] Ah: three. It is true that the current Prime Minister is favoured by those in oriental countries geographically situated in Eastern Asia, due to his ability to converse in the mother tongue, so by over-riding him in his position which he currently holds, you may be unconsciously biting your thumb at his oriental allies, which may in turn result in an international argument, resulting in their withdrawing the sale of their manufactured goods, resulting in the country having to rely on its own manufacturing abilities. Of course, it is no secret that Australia’s products are not necessarily produced by the latter; no indeed, they are produced by the former, which would mean – if manufactured goods were withdrawn – that our good nation would see an economic crisis as well as the destruction of an increasingly, influential and powerful alley!

JULIA GILLARD: [blinks]

SIR HUMPHREY: We may lose the support of China!

JULIA GILLARD: Oh! No, I don’t think we need to fear that. The Chinese don’t like Kevin that much. In fact, I’d be surprised if they liked him at all. [laughs]

SIR HUMPHREY: [angry] This is no laughing matter, minister.

JULIA GILLARD: Then how come I just laughed, hey? [pause] Oh, do loosen up! Everything will be just fine! [stands up] Now unfortunately I have a meeting to attend, which really is a shame, as we were having such a lovely conversation.

SIR HUMPHREY: [rises] What will you be discussing?

JULIA GILLARD: My becoming my Prime Minister, of course. [exits]

SIR HUMPHREY: [stands very pale]

END OF SCENE ONE.

SCENE TWO.

SIR HUMPHREY AND SIR ARNOLD IN SIR ARNOLD’S OFFICE.

SIR ARNOLD: You’re being most quiet, Humphrey. Is there a problem?

SIR HUMPHREY: [no reply. Preoccupied]

SIR ARNOLD: Humphrey? Humphrey!

SIR HUMPHREY: Mmm?

SIR ARNOLD: Whatever is the matter?

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh yes, wonderful.

SIR ARNOLD: Humphrey! [slyly] Answer me now or I may be forced to counsel you!

SIR HUMPHREY: [snaps to attention] Yes, Arnold?

SIR ARNOLD: [pleased] That’s better. Now – for the third time – do tell me what your problem is. Is it your minister?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes.

SIR ARNOLD: [waits. Then, angrily] Well?!

SIR HUMPHREY: She wishes to be Prime Minister...

SIR ARNOLD: [laughs] What’s new? [sips drink]

SIR HUMPHREY: ... now.

SIR ARNOLD: [chokes on his drink] What?!

SIR HUMPHREY: That’s exactly what I said.

SIR ARNOLD: Wherever did she get a notion like that?

SIR HUMPHREY: In my personal opinion, it is a notion all politician have. The only difference between her and the next minister is her lack of stupidity.

SIR ARNOLD: You commend her?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes. She’d make a brilliant predator.

SIR ARNOLD: Oh. Going in for the kill is she?

SIR HUMPHREY: Gone. She’s in a meeting discussing the matter now.

SIR ARNOLD: Well, let’s think this through. If she does overthrow my minister and is successful, she will be my minister and... [face drops]

SIR HUMPHREY: And I will have a new minister. [looks worried]

SIR ARNOLD: Humphrey, does that bother you?

SIR HUMPHREY: [no reply]

SIR ARNOLD: [furious] Humphrey!

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, yes! It does! Because, you see, I don’t think she particularly likes me... [voice trails off]

SIR ARNOLD: No! She wouldn’t!

SIR HUMPHREY: She would. And if you don’t help her, I’m sure she’ll do the same to you.

SIR ARNOLD: I can’t aid her in her attempt to overthrow the Prime Minister! [pause] He’s the best minister money could buy! [hint: he’s bribing him]

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes. Which is exactly why Julia must be stopped.

SIR ARNOLD: But how? I don’t want to lose my job.

SIR HUMPHREY: Nor do I.

SIR ARNOLD: But from what I’ve heard, you’ve as good as lost it.

SIR HUMPHREY: [insulted] I may convince her to change her mind yet!

SIR ARNOLD: [ignores him] We need a plan...

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes... [smiles slyly] We have a plan. [The two chuckle]

END OF SCENE TWO.

SCENE THREE.

BERNARD: IN HIS OFFICE. ENTER SIR HUMPHREY.

SIR HUMPHREY: Good afternoon, Bernard.

BERNARD: Oh, hello again Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: We need to talk.

BERNARD: With respect sir, we are.

SIR HUMPHREY: [glares] I need to discuss an incredibly serious matter with you...

BERNARD: Oh, have you forgotten the present active indicative conjugation of loo-oh again?

SIR HUMPHREY: No, Bernard! [defensively] I remember that quite well.

BERNARD: [smiles. Sings] Loo-oh, loo-ice, loo-eye.

Both: Loo-omen, loo-ate, loo-ow [here HUMPHREY DROPS OUT] si...

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard!

BERNARD: [jumps]

SIR HUMPHREY: You have distracted me!

BERNARD: Sorry, sir. What is it you wish to discuss sir?

SIR HUMPHREY: The minister.

BERNARD: Oh, of course.

SIR HUMPHREY: You must do everything in your power to stop her from becoming Prime Minister.

BERNARD: yes, sir, I’ll do my best.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard!

BERNARD: [scared and surprised]

SIR HUMPHREY: Is that all?

BERNARD: What else can I do?

SIR HUMPHREY: You can do it.

BERNARD: Do it?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, Bernard.

BERNARD: [smiles] oh, I see!

SIR HUMPHREY: Hmm... now I have something to get you started.

BERNARD: Yes?

SIR HUMPHREY: [hands over a file] The minister has been avoiding this for a long time.

BERNARD: What is it?

SIR HUMPHREY: A supposedly small matter, focusing on the issue of broadband in rural areas of Australia. Of course, to improve the broadband would cost a fortune. But to ignore it will stir quite an annoyance among the public.

BERNARD: [smiles] Brilliant, Humphrey! [serious] How will it work?

SIR HUMPHREY: [frowns] Isn’t it rather obvious?

BERNARD: [shakes his head]

SIR HUMPHREY: [takes the file back] The minister will be so preoccupied attempting to fix the problem that she will be unable to devote any time to her current ignoble fantasy of rising to status of Prime Minister. Another benefit of this is that it is an issue nearly impossible to settle while pleasing both parties, so with any luck she’ll lose the next election. [ hands file back to BERNARD]

BERNARD: [laughs] If she has any luck there won’t be another election – ever!

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, do concentrate. [Turns to leave.]

BERNARD: Yes, sir. But sir?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, Bernard? [Turns back, rolling eyes]

BERNARD: Aren’t there more important matters she could be dealing with?

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles] Exactly. [leaves]

BERNARD: [turns. Working. Sings.] Lemon tree very pretty, and the flower is very sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat...

ENTER KEVIN RUDD.

BERNARD: [turns around] Oh, hello, Prime Minister.

KEVIN RUDD: Hello, Bernard. Is Julia in yet?

BERNARD: No. She’s still in her meeting.

KEVIN RUDD: [raises an eyebrow] Without me?

BERNARD: [stammering] Um... yes... ah...

ENTER JULIA

BERNARD: Oh! Here she is now!

JULIA GILLARD: Prime Minister! Good afternoon [shakes hands]. How are you?

KEVIN RUDD: I’m very well, thank you. How was your meeting?

JULIA GILLARD: It was lovely, thank you.

PAUSE
BERNARD: Are you sure you don’t have any back pain, Prime Minister?

JULIA GLARES AT HIM

KEVIN RUDD: No. Why would I?

BERNARD: Oh... no reason.

JULIA GILLARD: Do come into my office, Prime Minister.

KEVIN RUDD: Bernard, would you take the minutes?

BERNARD: Why yes, of course.

ENTER JULIA’S OFFICE. SIT.

KEVIN RUDD: As you well know, the party has run into a bit of trouble recently...

JULIA GILLARD: You mean you have.

KEVIN RUDD: [taken back] Oh. Well, admittedly I am the central figure in all of this...

JULIA GILLARD: Perhaps even the problem.

KEVIN RUDD: [silent]

JULIA GILLARD: Do continue.

KEVIN RUDD: The miner’s tax is met with hot opposition. What do you suggest I do?

JULIA GILLARD: Isn’t that up to you, Prime Minister?

KEVIN RUDD: Yes – and I’ve decided to ask you for advice. I still have to decide whether or not to follow it.

JULIA GILLARD: [sweetly] What’s the point in me giving you advice if you’re not going to follow it?

KEVIN RUDD: [face falls]

JULIA GILLARD: Fine. I suppose one should help the less informed. My suggestion to you is: keep pushing it forward. Eventually the people will listen.

KEVIN RUDD: But won’t that lose votes?

JULIA GILLARD: For whom?

KEVIN RUDD: The party!

JULIA GILLARD: Probably not...

KEVIN RUDD: For me!

JULIA GILLARD: Maybe.

KEVIN RUDD: No, I think I should drop it.

JULIA GILLARD: Fair enough. We cannot all be grand rulers I suppose.

KEVIN RUDD: [blinks] So I should drop it?

JULIA GILLARD: That really depends. If you drop the discussion on the mining tax, you may keep your seat but lose your current position. If you continue the discussion, then you will have the full support of the party behind you.

BERNARD: [under his breath] With a knife.

KEVIN RUDD: What?

BERNARD: [smoothly – doesn’t even look up] For life.

KEVIN RUDD: Oh. [smiles. Face drops.] Julia, what are you scheming?

JULIA GILLARD: [smiles] Do I look like a schemer?

KEVIN RUDD: You’re a politician.

JULIA GILLARD: Do I look like one?

KEVIN RUDD: Yes.

JULIA GILLARD: Then I guess I must be scheming something!

KEVIN RUDD: Yes, what is it?

JULIA GILLARD: You’ll find out by the end of the day.

BERNARD: [shocked] The end of the day!?

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, the end of the day. One cannot waste time in politics.

BERNARD: But minister, there are procedures to follow... paper work to fill...

JULIA GILLARD: Bernard.

BERNARD: Yes, minister?

JULIA GILLARD: I appreciate your concern, but let me assure you, everything has been taken care of.

KEVIN RUDD: [frustrated] What has been taken care of?!

JULIA GILLARD: I told you, you’ll find out.

KEVIN RUDD: Is it good or bad?

JULIA GILLARD: [thoughtfully] That depends which way you look at it.

KEVIN RUDD: From my point of view?

JULIA GILLARD: I cannot possibly begin to imagine what things look like from your point of view.

KEVIN RUDD: [smiles. Then drops] oh. [pause] Well, I suppose I’d better be off.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes... [thinks he’s already been sacked] What, already?!

KEVIN RUDD: Huh?

JULIA GILLARD: Oh, nothing. Yes, it was nice having a chat with you.

KEVIN RUDD: Thank you for your advice. Have a nice day!

JULIA GILLARD: [with confidence] I will!

KEVIN RUDD: Good bye!

BERNARD: Good bye!

JULIA GILLARD: [when door closes] That really depends on which way you look at it.

ENTER SIR HUMPHREY

SIR HUMPHREY: Hello, minist...

JULIA GILLARD: Excuse me. [turns to BERNARD:] What do you think you were doing?

BERNARD: Taking the minutes, minister.

JULIA GILLARD: Talking about my affairs as if they were public knowledge!

BERNARD: But the paper work...

JULIA GILLARD: Has already been done!

BERNARD: [looks guilty for some reason]

SIR HUMPHREY: You mean you are going to be Prime Minister?

JULIA GILLARD: By the end of the week at least.

SIR HUMPHREY: [sinks into chair. Smiles] Minister, I have some issues that – if dealt with – would greatly increase your popularity.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes?

SIR HUMPHREY: Well, as Bernard may have shown you, there is the issue of broadband...

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, what else?

SIR HUMPHREY: And you know that tax you wished to pass and I wouldn’t let you?

JULIA GILLARD: Yes?

SIR HUMPHREY: Despite all my objections it is still a great vote-winner. A tax on carbon!? The environmentalists will love you. 70% of the population is for it.

JULIA GILLARD: Really?

BERNARD: [hands file to JULIA]

JULIA GILLARD: Oh. So they are. Very well, I shall take on your ideas. [stands up] I must go. I have a meeting with a journalist.

SIR HUMPHREY and BERNARD: You do!?

JULIA GILLARD: yes. [slyly] Would either of you care to come?

Both: Yes! [SIR HUMPHREY ALREADY HAS HIS COAT ON]

THEY EXIT.

END OF SCENE THREE.

SCENE FOUR

BERNARD: IN HIS OFFICE. LOOKS UPSET. IS WORKING.

BERNARD: [sighs bitterly]

ENTER REPORTER

REPORTER: Hello! I’m from the ABC.

BERNARD: Oh [cheers up a little] are you here to talk about a meeting with the minister?

REPORTER: Yes.

BERNARD: In that case, you can come back tomorrow at about 10 if that’s alright with you.

REPORTER: That’s perfect! Thanks – see you tomorrow!

BERNARD: Yes – ah – goodbye!

EXIT REPORTER.

BERNARD: [gets sad again]

ENTER SIR HUMPHREY AND JULIA GILLARD.

SIR HUMPHREY: [laughs] Oh that was a fine meeting, minister.

JULIA GILLARD: [laughs too] Yes, it was quite, wasn’t it? Now if you don’t mind, I have some paperwork to take care of. [She enters her office]

BERNARD: [looks at Humphrey, a little angry]

SIR HUMPHREY: And how are we, Bernard?

BERNARD: [does not reply]

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, it’s going to be like that, is it? [sighs]

BERNARD: You could have at least stood up for me.

SIR HUMPHREY: I did! I let you past!

BERNARD: [shocked] Not literally stand up! I mean defend me!

SIR HUMPHREY: Defend you? What from?

BERNARD: [angry] From ridicule!

SIR HUMPHREY: [thinks hard] No, Bernard, I really don’t know why you’re angry with me.

BERNARD: Think – hard.

SIR HUMPHREY: [sighs and thinks harder] Let me recall the meeting. It began – as it turns out it wasn’t about the Prime Minister at all, it was about the miner’s tax – and you were very quickly noticed. The minister of education then cried out that you should leave the room because you were a personal secretary, and personal secretaries can’t keep a secret to save their life... [he pauses and looks at BERNARD]. You stood up to leave, I stood up to let you past, and the ministers continued to ridicule personal secretaries as you left.

BERNARD: They weren’t mocking personal secretaries, Humphrey. They were mocking me. The minister included.

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles] Surely the fact that the minister turned against you does not surprise you?

BERNARD: [dismayed] No.

SIR HUMPHREY: Besides, Bernard, they weren’t attacking you personally. It was a generalisation.

BERNARD: [looks up] ‘They all have names starting with B, ending with D, and containing the letters E, R, N, A, and R in between – in no particular order of course.’ Does that sound like a generalization?

SIR HUMPHREY: [not sure] A specific generalization.

BERNARD: Let’s face it, Sir Humphrey; I’m the worst personal secretary in the building. Even Jim got to stay in, and he doesn’t even know how to file documents!

SIR HUMPHREY: He doesn’t know how to file his nails either [chuckles]

BERNARD: [even more upset] I do know how to keep a secret, Sir Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: Then why don’t you?

BERNARD: [angry] Maybe I just don’t think your secrets are worth keeping.

SIR HUMPHREY: Well, be careful, or the minister may think you’re not worth keeping.

BERNARD: [stands up] Would she!?

SIR HUMPHREY: Rotten wood cannot be carved.

BERNARD: I would if I could. I just need a little more time...

SIR HUMPHREY: You may end up like a Moor yourself...

BERNARD: [distracted] I can’t possibly – I’m not an Arab.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, you really are beginning to grate on me...

BERNARD: Great! You bothered me by laughing at me along with everyone else in the building.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, if you continue to feel this way, the tension will only build!

BERNARD: Oh, so I’m a builder now am I!? Well, let me assure you, the building I build will be jerry-built!

SIR HUMPHREY: Why? Can’t you even hold a grudge properly?

BERNARD: Yes, because I begrudge a grudge!

SIR HUMPHREY: What is there to envy?

BERNARD: [calmer] No, not envy, resentment.

SIR HUMPHREY: Do you realise it can mean envy too?

BERNARD: Really?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes.

BERNARD: Oh. No, I didn’t actually.

SIR HUMPHREY: So you used a word and you didn’t even know what it meant?

BERNARD: I know what it means now. [chuckles.]

SIR HUMPHREY: Remind me, Bernard, one day I mean to teach you how to keep a secret.

BERNARD: To make up for being mean to me today?

SIR HUMPHREY: That’s not what I meant.

BERNARD: Maybe it’s what you should mean.

SIR HUMPHREY: No, Bernard, that’s not what I meant and I mean it!

BERNARD: Well I appreciate the offer all the same. It will mean a flood of humiliation on my behalf, and a whole lot of condescending on yours.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, you know I mean well! [angry] You’re really mean sometimes, Bernard.

BERNARD: [Smiles] Why thank you.

SIR HUMPHREY: What do you mean?

BERNARD: You didn’t happen to say a word without knowing what it meant, did you?

SIR HUMPHREY: [pale]

BERNARD: Well, look who’s living among the mean now.

SIR HUMPHREY: [under his breath] Well, this is a mean situation.

BERNARD: Look, Humphrey, I understand you couldn’t make a fool of yourself today. But couldn’t you have found the means between the two extremes?

SIR HUMPHREY: Within mean time of .5 of a second!? Bernard, I can be well balanced, but you really gave me no time to figure out where the means lay!

BERNARD:  You had no time to figure it out, so you just sent me out!?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, you’ve worked it out!

BERNARD: You know what, at this rate I don’t care if the minister kicks me out.

ENTER JULIA

JULIA GILLARD: Excuse me, could you not shout?

BERNARD: Yes, of course minister. Which file did you find that in?

SIR HUMPHREY: What?

BERNARD: To shout – in typing, it’s to type everything in capitals. It represents shouting. I’ve done it in a few minutes.

JULIA GILLARD: No, I meant for you two to stop shouting.

BERNARD: Oh. Right. I’m sorry. But I thought you were all rather cruel today.

JULIA GILLARD: [false humility] It’s nothing to shout about!

BERNARD: I wasn’t praising you!

JULIA GILLARD: [smiles]

SIR HUMPHREY: [to BERNARD:] Have you had dinner?

BERNARD: No. I’m going now.

SIR HUMPHREY: Wait – I’ll shout you.

BERNARD: [smiling] Really?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes – to make up for before.

BERNARD: [is happy again] No need. I’ll shout you.

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles as the two walk off] Why don’t we find the means?

BERNARD: Yes, that sounds like a mean idea!

JULIA GILLARD: If you see Wayne Swan, give him a shout for me, would you!

Both: Yes minister! [from the distance]

END OF SCENE FOUR.

SCENE FIVE.

THE NEXT DAY.

IN JULIA’S OFFICE. BERNARD: AND SIR HUMPHREY.

BERNARD: I can’t believe the minister actually took your advice yesterday.

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles] It just goes to show that even the wildest of beasts can be tamed.

BERNARD: There’s just one problem...

SIR HUMPHREY: Mmm?

BERNARD: Everyone hates the idea of the carbon tax. What if the minister finds out?

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, in our line of work there must be no what ifs.

BERNARD: Oh. [pause] But what if there are?

SIR HUMPHREY: [glares at him]

ENTER JULIA

JULIA GILLARD: Good morning, gentlemen.

SIR HUMPHREY: Good morning, minis...

JULIA GILLARD: I wasn’t talking to you, Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh.

BERNARD: [tries not to laugh]

JULIA GILLARD: I was practicing my speech for later today. [pause] Of course, even then, the title’s only flattery. [laughs. Sits down]

BERNARD: [jumps to defend Humphrey] With all due respect, minister, Sir Humphrey wasn’t addressing you.

JULIA GILLARD: Then who was he addressing, Bernard?

BERNARD: [pauses] He was addressing himself I suppose – quoting Shakespeare. ‘Good morning, my fair lady!’ The fair lady being the sun of course.

JULIA GILLARD: And that is from...?

BERNARD: A work of Shakespeare.

JULIA GILLARD: In particular?

BERNARD: [thinks] Julius Caesar.

JULIA GILLARD: Very good, Bernard. [slyly] You are an honourable man.

BERNARD: ISN’T SURE WHETHER IT’S AN INSULT OR NOT.

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister, if you would kindly not address poor Bernard in that way.

JULIA GILLARD: Fine. Bernard was just trying to be a good friend I suppose. He is altruistic... and for that matter, so is Tony Abbot.

BERNARD: [horrified]

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles] Do you suppose I don’t know what that word means?

JULIA GILLARD: I did not not not not not know.

BERNARD: Oh, so you didn’t.

JULIA GILLARD: No, I did.

BERNARD: Oh, then it should be I did not not not not not not not know.

JULIA GILLARD: [pause] I do not not not not not not not not care!  

BERNARD: Do not not not not not not not not not care. Unless of course you do care, which would make you right, and [BOTH ARE GLARING AT HIM] I’ll just stop talking...

SIR HUMPHREY: Thank you, Bernard.

BERNARD: Wait, what does altruistic mean, Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Well, you pull it apart, Bernard. Altruistic is built around the Latin word ‘alter’, which means other.

BERNARD: Oh, I see. So then you’re left with ‘istic’, a suffix which means to display the characteristic of, etcetera, etcetera.

SIR HUMPHREY: So then you just put the two together.

BERNARD: [pause] Displaying the characteristics of others... is she saying I’m a mimic?

SIR HUMPHREY: Of course not! [pause] Are you?

JULIA GILLARD: You have no idea what it means, do you?

BERNARD: No! [pause] And might I say you are unusually benign today.  

SIR HUMPHREY: [actually laughs]

JULIA GILLARD: What does that mean?

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister, we have business to discuss.

JULIA GILLARD: Fine.

SIR HUMPHREY: I thought your interview went very well yesterday.

JULIA GILLARD: They seemed to like the idea of the carbon tax very much.

SIR HUMPHREY: Especially well. I have heard a number of people say you are very rapacious to come up with such an idea.

BERNARD: [snickers] As lovely as Clytaemnestra herself!

JULIA GILLARD: [raises an eyebrow]

SIR HUMPHREY: Agamemnon’s wife? Aeschylus’ play?

JULIA GILLARD: [shakes her head]

SIR HUMPHREY: [thrilled] Wonderful woman, Clytaemnestra! A most marvellous politician.

BERNARD: Of course, she wasn’t, because Greek women couldn’t have anything to do with politics.

SIR HUMPHREY: Exactly. Now, business.

JULIA GILLARD: What is there to discuss?

SIR HUMPHREY: Ummm....

JULIA GILLARD: Oh, of course. What will happen to you when I become Prime Minister?

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister, you cannot usurp the Prime Minister-ship.

JULIA GILLARD: Legally I already have. Now, Bernard, you will continue in your current position. Sir Humphrey... [pause. SIR HUMPHREY IS PALE] I’ll consider your position. Okay, you may leave now.

SIR HUMPHREY: [leaves]

BERNARD: If I may say, minister...

JULIA GILLARD: Of course you may say minister. By the way, the you in ‘you may leave now’ was plural.

BERNARD: Yes, well the ‘if’ in ‘if I may say, minister’ was unnecessary, and there was a comma before ‘minister’, making minister an object of address and not an indirect object.

JULIA GILLARD: Is it an indirect object?

BERNARD: Yes, I’m fairly certain. At any rate, I must say that I think it would be wiser of you to listen to Sir Humphrey then to your peers.

JULIA GILLARD: Fifty-million Frenchmen can’t be wrong, Bernard.

BERNARD: Yes, but your peers aren’t French. Besides, what do you intend to do with Kevin? The public is sure to feel sorry for him.

JULIA GILLARD: He’ll get a job.

BERNARD: Yes, what job?

JULIA GILLARD: Foreign minister, of course. What other job would keep him quiet?

BERNARD: Still... imagine what Andrew Bolt will say!

JULIA GILLARD: Andrew Bolt is one man.

BERNARD: So was Macbeth.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, but Andrew Bolt isn’t Scottish.

BERNARD: So you refuse to listen to him then?

JULIA GILLARD: Andrew Bolt or Sir Humphrey?

BERNARD: The latter.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes.

BERNARD: The former?

JULIA GILLARD: I never listen to that man.

BERNARD: But Bolt is...

JULIA GILLARD: Doltish. [ long pause] I am going to ignore you, Bernard, so you may as well leave.

BERNARD: Fine, minister. But I leave lugubriously!

JULIA GILLARD: You leave me blithe.

BERNARD: LEAVES. TURNS TO HUMPHREY.

BERNARD: Did she just day I left her blithe?

SIR HUMPHREY: [nods]

THE TWO MAKE FACES AS IF TO SAY ‘OUCH’ AND TIPTOE AWAY.

END OF SCENE FIVE.

SCENE SIX.

IN SIR ARNOLD’S OFFICE. SIR ARNOLD AND SIR HUMPHREY.

SIR ARNOLD: How are you going with your minister?

SIR HUMPHREY: Not so well. It turns out – legally – she’s as good as Prime Minister.

SIR ARNOLD: Oh. [pause] But surely you are ensuring she will not win the next election?

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh yes. Between the carbon tax and broadband she should never get in.

SIR ARNOLD: Wonderful. [pause] Have you ever met Tony Abbot?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes. Once, very briefly.

SIR ARNOLD: What is he like?

SIR HUMPHREY: For a politician... [smiles] he is an honourable man.

SIR ARNOLD: [raises an eyebrow] I see.

SIR HUMPHREY: He is, as he likes to say, a ‘conviction politician’.

SIR ARNOLD: Oh dear me. Still, I suppose he’s better than her.

SIR HUMPHREY: Hmm. Anybody with convictions is bad in government.

SIR ARNOLD: Yes. Far better have robotic clones than convicted individuals.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh well. I suppose that’s what public servants are for – passing a veto on everything.

SIR ARNOLD: Yes, I quite see your point. [pause] I say, doesn’t civil servant sound so much better than public servant?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, but no one uses the word ‘civil’ now days. When was the last time you used it?

SIR ARNOLD: Oh, I suppose so. [sighs] Ehue!

END OF SCENE SIX.  

SCENE SEVEN.

BERNARD: IS IN HIS OFFICE. ENTER REPORTER.

REPORTER: Hello, I’m here for the interview with Julia Gillard.

BERNARD: Oh yes, of course. Just one moment. [picks up phone] Hello, minister, the reporter’s here. [pause] Yes. [hangs up phone. Looks up] You can go in now. [shows her to the office]

JULIA GILLARD: Hello [very sweetly]. Do you mind being brief? I have another meeting to get to.

REPORTER: Certainly. I only have a few questions to ask you.

JULIA GILLARD: [to BERNARD] Thank you, Bernard.

EXIT BERNARD:

IN BERNARD:’S OFFICE. ENTER SIR HUMPHREY.

SIR HUMPHREY: Hello, Bernard. Is the minister busy?

BERNARD: Yes, she’s in an interview.

SIR HUMPHREY: [panics] Without me?! [rushes in]

JULIA GILLARD: Sir Humphrey, if you don’t mind? I’m in the middle of an interview.

SIR HUMPHREY: [quite panicked] Oh, sorry. It’s just... [desperately] it’s Wayne Swan. He wishes to speak to you.

JULIA GILLARD: Made another miscalculation has he?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes [squeaky], perhaps that’s it. He wouldn’t say.

JULIA GILLARD: [smiles] Still, I suppose if he were good at maths he wouldn’t be the treasurer. I’ll talk to him after the interview.

SIR HUMPHREY: He said it was urgent!

JULIA GILLARD: Sir Humphrey, I’m busy!

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, I know but...

JULIA GILLARD: How urgent, Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, very urgent!

JULIA GILLARD: Urgent enough for you to retire early over?

SIR HUMPHREY: [pales] Oh no! [nervously] When then, I suppose I shall go.

EXIT HUMPHREY.

SIR HUMPHREY: [to BERNARD] This is worse than when Howard passed the work safety laws!

BERNARD: You’ve done your best, sir. It would have worked with any-one else.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, do you know what this means?

BERNARD: What?

SIR HUMPHREY: It means she’s been working behind our backs for weeks!

BERNARD DROPS EYE CONTACT.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard?!

BERNARD: She may have mentioned the idea once or twice...

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard!

BERNARD: What minister doesn’t sir?!

SIR HUMPHREY: That’s not the point! What else did she mention?

BERNARD: Meeting – I wasn’t to tell you about.

SIR HUMPHREY: And you didn’t?!

BERNARD: [annoyed] I would have thought that was obvious.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard!

BERNARD: [sighs] No, sir. But you know what she’s like! I was frigh...

SIR HUMPHREY: Frightened!? Bernard, what can she do to you?

BERNARD: [defiantly] If she’s so harmless, how come you’re not in there?!

SIR HUMPHREY: [quiet] I have an idea. On the count of three let’s both go in, tell her she’s breached due process, and order her to re-do all the paper work.

BERNARD: Good idea. You first.

SIR HUMPHREY: Together, Bernard.

BERNARD: Oh, alright.

SIR HUMPHREY: One, two, three.

THEY GO IN. JULIA GILLARD GLARES AT THEM. THEY EXIT, SCARED.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh well. At least there’s the carbon tax. That’s sure to lose votes.

BERNARD: Exactly. We haven’t won the battle, but we will win the next one! [frowns] How does that saying go again?

SIR HUMPHREY: It has to work.

BERNARD: Well, sir, to be honest, it doesn’t but...

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, be quiet and console me!

BERNARD: [smiles] I can safely say, that the minister stands absolutely no chance of winning the next election.

SIR HUMPHREY SMILES. EXITS.

BERNARD: I could tell you the truth, but it would be dangerous. [shrugs].

END OF SCENE SEVEN.

SCENE EIGHT.

JULIA’S OFFICE. BERNARD.

BERNARD: Humphrey, come and see this!

SIR HUMPHREY RUNS IN. BERNARD HANDS HIM A NEWSPAPER.

SIR HUMPHREY: [reading] Julia Gillard new PM... over thrown Kevin Rudd, who is now the Foreign Affairs Minister. Gillard promises if she is elected... [horrified] there will be no carbon tax, and broadband in rural Australia will be improved! [Shocked] Bernard, she used everything I gave her against me!

BERNARD: Cut off your head with your own sword.

SIR HUMPHREY: Exactly! Of course she’ll win the election now! [angry] Bernard, I am furious at you for not telling me of her plans as soon as you knew of them!

BERNARD: I’m sorry sir. [pause] I think I hear Sir Arnold coming... [hurries off]

SIR HUMPHREY: [looks around to hide]

SIR ARNOLD: Humphrey!

ENTER SIR ARNOLD.

SIR ARNOLD: I am furious with you! How could you fail so miserably!

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, I’m sorry...

SIR ARNOLD: If I don’t fire you, you must be the luckiest man on earth!

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh. What’s the date today?

SIR ARNOLD: February 13th I believe.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh. [gulps]

ENTER JULIA

SIR ARNOLD: Woman, you are simply preposterous! You are nothing short of a tyrant!

JULIA GILLARD: [doesn’t even look up]Get out or get fired.

SIR ARNOLD EXITS.

JULIA GILLARD: [sits] Bernard!

ENTER BERNARD.

BERNARD: [timidly] Yes, minister?

JULIA GILLARD: I am Prime Minister, and I want you to help me pack my things. As for the two of you, you will remain in your current positions.

SIR HUMPHREY: [relieved] Oh, thank you, Prime Minister!

JULIA GILLARD: Don’t thank me, thank yourself. Without you I wouldn’t have any policies to win me the next election.

SIR HUMPHREY: [face falls]

JULIA GILLARD: I want the two of you to do one more thing for me before I move.

THEY PAY ATTENTION

JULIA GILLARD: Frame the front page for me, would you?

BOTH: Yes, Prime Minister.

END OF EPISODE.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Characters:

Julia Gillard – Alycia

Sir Humphrey Appleby – Lachlan

BERNARD: – Camden

Sir Arnold – Camden

Kevin Rudd – Lachlan

Reporter – Cassandra

Scene One:

JULIA GILLARD AND BERNARD ARE IN HER OFFICE.

BERNARD: You have a meeting with Sir Humphrey at 10, at 10.30 you have a cabinet meeting, and you have a meeting with the Prime Minister at 2 o’clock.

JULIA GILLARD: Very good – and what about the meeting with the media I asked you to arrange?

BERNARD: Oh yes, well... [pause] they didn’t name a time. They just said they’d be here sometime during the day.

JULIA: Very good. Just be sure to arrange a meeting when they arrive.

BERNARD: Oh, I will.

ENTER SIR HUMPHREY

SIR HUMPHREY: Good morning, minister. How are you today?

JULIA GILLARD: I’m alright, thank you, how are you?

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, I’m quite well, minister. Now, what is it you wish to speak to me about today? Economical reforms? [smiles] Environmental taxes?

JULIA GILLARD: No, I wish to discuss a far more serious matter.

SIR HUMPHREY: [amused] Oh?

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, quite serious.

BERNARD: Of the up-most seriousness.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, do you know what the minister wishes to speak to me about?

BERNARD: [pauses] No, sir.

SIR HUMPHREY: Then kindly stay out of our conversation. [Turns back to Julia] I’m sorry minister. What was it you were saying?

JULIA GILLARD: The party has run into a few problems recently...

SIR HUMPHREY: [acknowledges statement]

JULIA GILLARD: ... and has been discussing what to do with the Prime Minister.

SIR HUMPHREY: [bored] oh.

JULIA GILLARD: We have reached a decision.

SIR HUMPHREY: Wonderful! And what is this marvellous conclusion?

JULIA GILLARD: I am to replace Kevin Rudd as Prime Minster.

SIR HUMPHREY: [panics] What?!

JULIA GILLARD: You see that as a problem?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes! It is most problematic! It is a problem of the highest problematic probability to be preposterously problematic!

JULIA GILLARD: What?

BERNARD: I think what he’s trying to say is: it’s a problem.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, thank you, I understood him perfectly well. [to SIR HUMPHREY] And why is it a problem, Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Because! You cannot discharge the Prime Minister!

JULIA GILLARD: Why not?

SIR HUMPHREY: Because! [CALMS DOWN] If you proceed with this proposition, you may cause severe governmental instability, as well as economic and political instability, and the country may suffer most grotesquely!

JULIA GILLARD: Since when did you care about the country, Sir Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister! I never said I was concerned for the country! I care for you... and stability [looks a little sick]

JULIA GILLARD: No, the people are agitated. If we are to make it through the next election, we must have a new leader. This country needs me... the Labour party... if it is to be successful and profitable. The current Prime Minister will throw all that away!

SIR HUMPHREY: But minister! [SYLY] Surely, politically, it is like putting one’s neck in a noose and running!

BERNARD: Ah, with respect sir, if one put one’s neck into a noose they could not run, due to the noose holding them back.

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, thank you, Bernard. [pause] You assume the noose is attached to something. Anyhow, minister; I cannot let you commit political suicide. I beg you to rethink this matter. You must not accept the offer.

JULIA GILLARD: You still haven’t given me any convincing reasons not to, Sir Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, I can give you three good reasons.

JULIA GILLARD: Go ahead.

SIR HUMPHREY: One: To overthrow the Prime Minister would cause nervousness in the public realm, and soon all would be pondering the question of whether or not the government can really be trusted. Two: To be seen overthrowing the Prime Minister would put a very dark stain on your public imaged, something I’m sure you wouldn’t want.

JULIA GILLARD: It would not stain my image, as the people are already very unhappy with Kevin Rudd.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, I wouldn’t say very unhappy.

JULIA GILLARD: What would you say?

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiling] Marginally displeased.

JULIA GILLARD: Well that could cost us the next election – marginal or not.

SIR HUMPHREY: You don’t understand! Certain members of non-political society are susceptible to observe the behaviour of ministers such as yourself, as well as others, in regards to the current ministerial leader, and conclude it is an act of pure, hateful mutiny, done not for the benefit of the country, but for personal gain!

BERNARD: But doesn’t meeting occur only on ships?

SIR HUMPHREY: That is not the point!

JULIA GILLARD: I’m sorry, I lost interest after ‘you don’t understand’. Could you please summarize the argument?

SIR HUMPHREY: People will view you as a Judas Iscariot! A Brutus! A tyrant, and will fear a following implementation of nothing less than Draconian law!

JULIA GILLARD: Why are you so concerned, Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Because – my job is all about preserving stability... not destroying it!

JULIA GILLARD: [smiles] Really? So is my job!

SIR HUMPHREY: [frustrated]

JULIA GILLARD: Didn’t you say you had three points?

SIR HUMPHREY: Hmm?

JULIA GILLARD: Your points. You said you had three.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, yes! [thinks] Ah: three. It is true that the current Prime Minister is favoured by those in oriental countries geographically situated in Eastern Asia, due to his ability to converse in the mother tongue, so by over-riding him in his position which he currently holds, you may be unconsciously biting your thumb at his oriental allies, which may in turn result in an international argument, resulting in their withdrawing the sale of their manufactured goods, resulting in the country having to rely on its own manufacturing abilities. Of course, it is no secret that Australia’s products are not necessarily produced by the latter; no indeed, they are produced by the former, which would mean – if manufactured goods were withdrawn – that our good nation would see an economic crisis as well as the destruction of an increasingly, influential and powerful alley!

JULIA GILLARD: [blinks]

SIR HUMPHREY: We may lose the support of China!

JULIA GILLARD: Oh! No, I don’t think we need to fear that. The Chinese don’t like Kevin that much. In fact, I’d be surprised if they liked him at all. [laughs]

SIR HUMPHREY: [angry] This is no laughing matter, minister.

JULIA GILLARD: Then how come I just laughed, hey? [pause] Oh, do loosen up! Everything will be just fine! [stands up] Now unfortunately I have a meeting to attend, which really is a shame, as we were having such a lovely conversation.

SIR HUMPHREY: [rises] What will you be discussing?

JULIA GILLARD: My becoming my Prime Minister, of course. [exits]

SIR HUMPHREY: [stands very pale]

END OF SCENE ONE.

SCENE TWO.

SIR HUMPHREY AND SIR ARNOLD IN SIR ARNOLD’S OFFICE.

SIR ARNOLD: You’re being most quiet, Humphrey. Is there a problem?

SIR HUMPHREY: [no reply. Preoccupied]

SIR ARNOLD: Humphrey? Humphrey!

SIR HUMPHREY: Mmm?

SIR ARNOLD: Whatever is the matter?

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh yes, wonderful.

SIR ARNOLD: Humphrey! [slyly] Answer me now or I may be forced to counsel you!

SIR HUMPHREY: [snaps to attention] Yes, Arnold?

SIR ARNOLD: [pleased] That’s better. Now – for the third time – do tell me what your problem is. Is it your minister?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes.

SIR ARNOLD: [waits. Then, angrily] Well?!

SIR HUMPHREY: She wishes to be Prime Minister...

SIR ARNOLD: [laughs] What’s new? [sips drink]

SIR HUMPHREY: ... now.

SIR ARNOLD: [chokes on his drink] What?!

SIR HUMPHREY: That’s exactly what I said.

SIR ARNOLD: Wherever did she get a notion like that?

SIR HUMPHREY: In my personal opinion, it is a notion all politician have. The only difference between her and the next minister is her lack of stupidity.

SIR ARNOLD: You commend her?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes. She’d make a brilliant predator.

SIR ARNOLD: Oh. Going in for the kill is she?

SIR HUMPHREY: Gone. She’s in a meeting discussing the matter now.

SIR ARNOLD: Well, let’s think this through. If she does overthrow my minister and is successful, she will be my minister and... [face drops]

SIR HUMPHREY: And I will have a new minister. [looks worried]

SIR ARNOLD: Humphrey, does that bother you?

SIR HUMPHREY: [no reply]

SIR ARNOLD: [furious] Humphrey!

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, yes! It does! Because, you see, I don’t think she particularly likes me... [voice trails off]

SIR ARNOLD: No! She wouldn’t!

SIR HUMPHREY: She would. And if you don’t help her, I’m sure she’ll do the same to you.

SIR ARNOLD: I can’t aid her in her attempt to overthrow the Prime Minister! [pause] He’s the best minister money could buy! [hint: he’s bribing him]

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes. Which is exactly why Julia must be stopped.

SIR ARNOLD: But how? I don’t want to lose my job.

SIR HUMPHREY: Nor do I.

SIR ARNOLD: But from what I’ve heard, you’ve as good as lost it.

SIR HUMPHREY: [insulted] I may convince her to change her mind yet!

SIR ARNOLD: [ignores him] We need a plan...

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes... [smiles slyly] We have a plan. [The two chuckle]

END OF SCENE TWO.

SCENE THREE.

BERNARD: IN HIS OFFICE. ENTER SIR HUMPHREY.

SIR HUMPHREY: Good afternoon, Bernard.

BERNARD: Oh, hello again Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: We need to talk.

BERNARD: With respect sir, we are.

SIR HUMPHREY: [glares] I need to discuss an incredibly serious matter with you...

BERNARD: Oh, have you forgotten the present active indicative conjugation of loo-oh again?

SIR HUMPHREY: No, Bernard! [defensively] I remember that quite well.

BERNARD: [smiles. Sings] Loo-oh, loo-ice, loo-eye.

Both: Loo-omen, loo-ate, loo-ow [here HUMPHREY DROPS OUT] si...

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard!

BERNARD: [jumps]

SIR HUMPHREY: You have distracted me!

BERNARD: Sorry, sir. What is it you wish to discuss sir?

SIR HUMPHREY: The minister.

BERNARD: Oh, of course.

SIR HUMPHREY: You must do everything in your power to stop her from becoming Prime Minister.

BERNARD: yes, sir, I’ll do my best.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard!

BERNARD: [scared and surprised]

SIR HUMPHREY: Is that all?

BERNARD: What else can I do?

SIR HUMPHREY: You can do it.

BERNARD: Do it?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, Bernard.

BERNARD: [smiles] oh, I see!

SIR HUMPHREY: Hmm... now I have something to get you started.

BERNARD: Yes?

SIR HUMPHREY: [hands over a file] The minister has been avoiding this for a long time.

BERNARD: What is it?

SIR HUMPHREY: A supposedly small matter, focusing on the issue of broadband in rural areas of Australia. Of course, to improve the broadband would cost a fortune. But to ignore it will stir quite an annoyance among the public.

BERNARD: [smiles] Brilliant, Humphrey! [serious] How will it work?

SIR HUMPHREY: [frowns] Isn’t it rather obvious?

BERNARD: [shakes his head]

SIR HUMPHREY: [takes the file back] The minister will be so preoccupied attempting to fix the problem that she will be unable to devote any time to her current ignoble fantasy of rising to status of Prime Minister. Another benefit of this is that it is an issue nearly impossible to settle while pleasing both parties, so with any luck she’ll lose the next election. [ hands file back to BERNARD]

BERNARD: [laughs] If she has any luck there won’t be another election – ever!

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, do concentrate. [Turns to leave.]

BERNARD: Yes, sir. But sir?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, Bernard? [Turns back, rolling eyes]

BERNARD: Aren’t there more important matters she could be dealing with?

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles] Exactly. [leaves]

BERNARD: [turns. Working. Sings.] Lemon tree very pretty, and the flower is very sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat...

ENTER KEVIN RUDD.

BERNARD: [turns around] Oh, hello, Prime Minister.

KEVIN RUDD: Hello, Bernard. Is Julia in yet?

BERNARD: No. She’s still in her meeting.

KEVIN RUDD: [raises an eyebrow] Without me?

BERNARD: [stammering] Um... yes... ah...

ENTER JULIA

BERNARD: Oh! Here she is now!

JULIA GILLARD: Prime Minister! Good afternoon [shakes hands]. How are you?

KEVIN RUDD: I’m very well, thank you. How was your meeting?

JULIA GILLARD: It was lovely, thank you.

PAUSE
BERNARD: Are you sure you don’t have any back pain, Prime Minister?

JULIA GLARES AT HIM

KEVIN RUDD: No. Why would I?

BERNARD: Oh... no reason.

JULIA GILLARD: Do come into my office, Prime Minister.

KEVIN RUDD: Bernard, would you take the minutes?

BERNARD: Why yes, of course.

ENTER JULIA’S OFFICE. SIT.

KEVIN RUDD: As you well know, the party has run into a bit of trouble recently...

JULIA GILLARD: You mean you have.

KEVIN RUDD: [taken back] Oh. Well, admittedly I am the central figure in all of this...

JULIA GILLARD: Perhaps even the problem.

KEVIN RUDD: [silent]

JULIA GILLARD: Do continue.

KEVIN RUDD: The miner’s tax is met with hot opposition. What do you suggest I do?

JULIA GILLARD: Isn’t that up to you, Prime Minister?

KEVIN RUDD: Yes – and I’ve decided to ask you for advice. I still have to decide whether or not to follow it.

JULIA GILLARD: [sweetly] What’s the point in me giving you advice if you’re not going to follow it?

KEVIN RUDD: [face falls]

JULIA GILLARD: Fine. I suppose one should help the less informed. My suggestion to you is: keep pushing it forward. Eventually the people will listen.

KEVIN RUDD: But won’t that lose votes?

JULIA GILLARD: For whom?

KEVIN RUDD: The party!

JULIA GILLARD: Probably not...

KEVIN RUDD: For me!

JULIA GILLARD: Maybe.

KEVIN RUDD: No, I think I should drop it.

JULIA GILLARD: Fair enough. We cannot all be grand rulers I suppose.

KEVIN RUDD: [blinks] So I should drop it?

JULIA GILLARD: That really depends. If you drop the discussion on the mining tax, you may keep your seat but lose your current position. If you continue the discussion, then you will have the full support of the party behind you.

BERNARD: [under his breath] With a knife.

KEVIN RUDD: What?

BERNARD: [smoothly – doesn’t even look up] For life.

KEVIN RUDD: Oh. [smiles. Face drops.] Julia, what are you scheming?

JULIA GILLARD: [smiles] Do I look like a schemer?

KEVIN RUDD: You’re a politician.

JULIA GILLARD: Do I look like one?

KEVIN RUDD: Yes.

JULIA GILLARD: Then I guess I must be scheming something!

KEVIN RUDD: Yes, what is it?

JULIA GILLARD: You’ll find out by the end of the day.

BERNARD: [shocked] The end of the day!?

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, the end of the day. One cannot waste time in politics.

BERNARD: But minister, there are procedures to follow... paper work to fill...

JULIA GILLARD: Bernard.

BERNARD: Yes, minister?

JULIA GILLARD: I appreciate your concern, but let me assure you, everything has been taken care of.

KEVIN RUDD: [frustrated] What has been taken care of?!

JULIA GILLARD: I told you, you’ll find out.

KEVIN RUDD: Is it good or bad?

JULIA GILLARD: [thoughtfully] That depends which way you look at it.

KEVIN RUDD: From my point of view?

JULIA GILLARD: I cannot possibly begin to imagine what things look like from your point of view.

KEVIN RUDD: [smiles. Then drops] oh. [pause] Well, I suppose I’d better be off.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes... [thinks he’s already been sacked] What, already?!

KEVIN RUDD: Huh?

JULIA GILLARD: Oh, nothing. Yes, it was nice having a chat with you.

KEVIN RUDD: Thank you for your advice. Have a nice day!

JULIA GILLARD: [with confidence] I will!

KEVIN RUDD: Good bye!

BERNARD: Good bye!

JULIA GILLARD: [when door closes] That really depends on which way you look at it.

ENTER SIR HUMPHREY

SIR HUMPHREY: Hello, minist...

JULIA GILLARD: Excuse me. [turns to BERNARD:] What do you think you were doing?

BERNARD: Taking the minutes, minister.

JULIA GILLARD: Talking about my affairs as if they were public knowledge!

BERNARD: But the paper work...

JULIA GILLARD: Has already been done!

BERNARD: [looks guilty for some reason]

SIR HUMPHREY: You mean you are going to be Prime Minister?

JULIA GILLARD: By the end of the week at least.

SIR HUMPHREY: [sinks into chair. Smiles] Minister, I have some issues that – if dealt with – would greatly increase your popularity.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes?

SIR HUMPHREY: Well, as Bernard may have shown you, there is the issue of broadband...

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, what else?

SIR HUMPHREY: And you know that tax you wished to pass and I wouldn’t let you?

JULIA GILLARD: Yes?

SIR HUMPHREY: Despite all my objections it is still a great vote-winner. A tax on carbon!? The environmentalists will love you. 70% of the population is for it.

JULIA GILLARD: Really?

BERNARD: [hands file to JULIA]

JULIA GILLARD: Oh. So they are. Very well, I shall take on your ideas. [stands up] I must go. I have a meeting with a journalist.

SIR HUMPHREY and BERNARD: You do!?

JULIA GILLARD: yes. [slyly] Would either of you care to come?

Both: Yes! [SIR HUMPHREY ALREADY HAS HIS COAT ON]

THEY EXIT.

END OF SCENE THREE.

SCENE FOUR

BERNARD: IN HIS OFFICE. LOOKS UPSET. IS WORKING.

BERNARD: [sighs bitterly]

ENTER REPORTER

REPORTER: Hello! I’m from the ABC.

BERNARD: Oh [cheers up a little] are you here to talk about a meeting with the minister?

REPORTER: Yes.

BERNARD: In that case, you can come back tomorrow at about 10 if that’s alright with you.

REPORTER: That’s perfect! Thanks – see you tomorrow!

BERNARD: Yes – ah – goodbye!

EXIT REPORTER.

BERNARD: [gets sad again]

ENTER SIR HUMPHREY AND JULIA GILLARD.

SIR HUMPHREY: [laughs] Oh that was a fine meeting, minister.

JULIA GILLARD: [laughs too] Yes, it was quite, wasn’t it? Now if you don’t mind, I have some paperwork to take care of. [She enters her office]

BERNARD: [looks at Humphrey, a little angry]

SIR HUMPHREY: And how are we, Bernard?

BERNARD: [does not reply]

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, it’s going to be like that, is it? [sighs]

BERNARD: You could have at least stood up for me.

SIR HUMPHREY: I did! I let you past!

BERNARD: [shocked] Not literally stand up! I mean defend me!

SIR HUMPHREY: Defend you? What from?

BERNARD: [angry] From ridicule!

SIR HUMPHREY: [thinks hard] No, Bernard, I really don’t know why you’re angry with me.

BERNARD: Think – hard.

SIR HUMPHREY: [sighs and thinks harder] Let me recall the meeting. It began – as it turns out it wasn’t about the Prime Minister at all, it was about the miner’s tax – and you were very quickly noticed. The minister of education then cried out that you should leave the room because you were a personal secretary, and personal secretaries can’t keep a secret to save their life... [he pauses and looks at BERNARD]. You stood up to leave, I stood up to let you past, and the ministers continued to ridicule personal secretaries as you left.

BERNARD: They weren’t mocking personal secretaries, Humphrey. They were mocking me. The minister included.

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles] Surely the fact that the minister turned against you does not surprise you?

BERNARD: [dismayed] No.

SIR HUMPHREY: Besides, Bernard, they weren’t attacking you personally. It was a generalisation.

BERNARD: [looks up] ‘They all have names starting with B, ending with D, and containing the letters E, R, N, A, and R in between – in no particular order of course.’ Does that sound like a generalization?

SIR HUMPHREY: [not sure] A specific generalization.

BERNARD: Let’s face it, Sir Humphrey; I’m the worst personal secretary in the building. Even Jim got to stay in, and he doesn’t even know how to file documents!

SIR HUMPHREY: He doesn’t know how to file his nails either [chuckles]

BERNARD: [even more upset] I do know how to keep a secret, Sir Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: Then why don’t you?

BERNARD: [angry] Maybe I just don’t think your secrets are worth keeping.

SIR HUMPHREY: Well, be careful, or the minister may think you’re not worth keeping.

BERNARD: [stands up] Would she!?

SIR HUMPHREY: Rotten wood cannot be carved.

BERNARD: I would if I could. I just need a little more time...

SIR HUMPHREY: You may end up like a Moor yourself...

BERNARD: [distracted] I can’t possibly – I’m not an Arab.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, you really are beginning to grate on me...

BERNARD: Great! You bothered me by laughing at me along with everyone else in the building.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, if you continue to feel this way, the tension will only build!

BERNARD: Oh, so I’m a builder now am I!? Well, let me assure you, the building I build will be jerry-built!

SIR HUMPHREY: Why? Can’t you even hold a grudge properly?

BERNARD: Yes, because I begrudge a grudge!

SIR HUMPHREY: What is there to envy?

BERNARD: [calmer] No, not envy, resentment.

SIR HUMPHREY: Do you realise it can mean envy too?

BERNARD: Really?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes.

BERNARD: Oh. No, I didn’t actually.

SIR HUMPHREY: So you used a word and you didn’t even know what it meant?

BERNARD: I know what it means now. [chuckles.]

SIR HUMPHREY: Remind me, Bernard, one day I mean to teach you how to keep a secret.

BERNARD: To make up for being mean to me today?

SIR HUMPHREY: That’s not what I meant.

BERNARD: Maybe it’s what you should mean.

SIR HUMPHREY: No, Bernard, that’s not what I meant and I mean it!

BERNARD: Well I appreciate the offer all the same. It will mean a flood of humiliation on my behalf, and a whole lot of condescending on yours.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, you know I mean well! [angry] You’re really mean sometimes, Bernard.

BERNARD: [Smiles] Why thank you.

SIR HUMPHREY: What do you mean?

BERNARD: You didn’t happen to say a word without knowing what it meant, did you?

SIR HUMPHREY: [pale]

BERNARD: Well, look who’s living among the mean now.

SIR HUMPHREY: [under his breath] Well, this is a mean situation.

BERNARD: Look, Humphrey, I understand you couldn’t make a fool of yourself today. But couldn’t you have found the means between the two extremes?

SIR HUMPHREY: Within mean time of .5 of a second!? Bernard, I can be well balanced, but you really gave me no time to figure out where the means lay!

BERNARD:  You had no time to figure it out, so you just sent me out!?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, you’ve worked it out!

BERNARD: You know what, at this rate I don’t care if the minister kicks me out.

ENTER JULIA

JULIA GILLARD: Excuse me, could you not shout?

BERNARD: Yes, of course minister. Which file did you find that in?

SIR HUMPHREY: What?

BERNARD: To shout – in typing, it’s to type everything in capitals. It represents shouting. I’ve done it in a few minutes.

JULIA GILLARD: No, I meant for you two to stop shouting.

BERNARD: Oh. Right. I’m sorry. But I thought you were all rather cruel today.

JULIA GILLARD: [false humility] It’s nothing to shout about!

BERNARD: I wasn’t praising you!

JULIA GILLARD: [smiles]

SIR HUMPHREY: [to BERNARD:] Have you had dinner?

BERNARD: No. I’m going now.

SIR HUMPHREY: Wait – I’ll shout you.

BERNARD: [smiling] Really?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes – to make up for before.

BERNARD: [is happy again] No need. I’ll shout you.

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles as the two walk off] Why don’t we find the means?

BERNARD: Yes, that sounds like a mean idea!

JULIA GILLARD: If you see Wayne Swan, give him a shout for me, would you!

Both: Yes minister! [from the distance]

END OF SCENE FOUR.

SCENE FIVE.

THE NEXT DAY.

IN JULIA’S OFFICE. BERNARD: AND SIR HUMPHREY.

BERNARD: I can’t believe the minister actually took your advice yesterday.

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles] It just goes to show that even the wildest of beasts can be tamed.

BERNARD: There’s just one problem...

SIR HUMPHREY: Mmm?

BERNARD: Everyone hates the idea of the carbon tax. What if the minister finds out?

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, in our line of work there must be no what ifs.

BERNARD: Oh. [pause] But what if there are?

SIR HUMPHREY: [glares at him]

ENTER JULIA

JULIA GILLARD: Good morning, gentlemen.

SIR HUMPHREY: Good morning, minis...

JULIA GILLARD: I wasn’t talking to you, Humphrey.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh.

BERNARD: [tries not to laugh]

JULIA GILLARD: I was practicing my speech for later today. [pause] Of course, even then, the title’s only flattery. [laughs. Sits down]

BERNARD: [jumps to defend Humphrey] With all due respect, minister, Sir Humphrey wasn’t addressing you.

JULIA GILLARD: Then who was he addressing, Bernard?

BERNARD: [pauses] He was addressing himself I suppose – quoting Shakespeare. ‘Good morning, my fair lady!’ The fair lady being the sun of course.

JULIA GILLARD: And that is from...?

BERNARD: A work of Shakespeare.

JULIA GILLARD: In particular?

BERNARD: [thinks] Julius Caesar.

JULIA GILLARD: Very good, Bernard. [slyly] You are an honourable man.

BERNARD: ISN’T SURE WHETHER IT’S AN INSULT OR NOT.

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister, if you would kindly not address poor Bernard in that way.

JULIA GILLARD: Fine. Bernard was just trying to be a good friend I suppose. He is altruistic... and for that matter, so is Tony Abbot.

BERNARD: [horrified]

SIR HUMPHREY: [smiles] Do you suppose I don’t know what that word means?

JULIA GILLARD: I did not not not not not know.

BERNARD: Oh, so you didn’t.

JULIA GILLARD: No, I did.

BERNARD: Oh, then it should be I did not not not not not not not know.

JULIA GILLARD: [pause] I do not not not not not not not not care!  

BERNARD: Do not not not not not not not not not care. Unless of course you do care, which would make you right, and [BOTH ARE GLARING AT HIM] I’ll just stop talking...

SIR HUMPHREY: Thank you, Bernard.

BERNARD: Wait, what does altruistic mean, Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Well, you pull it apart, Bernard. Altruistic is built around the Latin word ‘alter’, which means other.

BERNARD: Oh, I see. So then you’re left with ‘istic’, a suffix which means to display the characteristic of, etcetera, etcetera.

SIR HUMPHREY: So then you just put the two together.

BERNARD: [pause] Displaying the characteristics of others... is she saying I’m a mimic?

SIR HUMPHREY: Of course not! [pause] Are you?

JULIA GILLARD: You have no idea what it means, do you?

BERNARD: No! [pause] And might I say you are unusually benign today.  

SIR HUMPHREY: [actually laughs]

JULIA GILLARD: What does that mean?

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister, we have business to discuss.

JULIA GILLARD: Fine.

SIR HUMPHREY: I thought your interview went very well yesterday.

JULIA GILLARD: They seemed to like the idea of the carbon tax very much.

SIR HUMPHREY: Especially well. I have heard a number of people say you are very rapacious to come up with such an idea.

BERNARD: [snickers] As lovely as Clytaemnestra herself!

JULIA GILLARD: [raises an eyebrow]

SIR HUMPHREY: Agamemnon’s wife? Aeschylus’ play?

JULIA GILLARD: [shakes her head]

SIR HUMPHREY: [thrilled] Wonderful woman, Clytaemnestra! A most marvellous politician.

BERNARD: Of course, she wasn’t, because Greek women couldn’t have anything to do with politics.

SIR HUMPHREY: Exactly. Now, business.

JULIA GILLARD: What is there to discuss?

SIR HUMPHREY: Ummm....

JULIA GILLARD: Oh, of course. What will happen to you when I become Prime Minister?

SIR HUMPHREY: Minister, you cannot usurp the Prime Minister-ship.

JULIA GILLARD: Legally I already have. Now, Bernard, you will continue in your current position. Sir Humphrey... [pause. SIR HUMPHREY IS PALE] I’ll consider your position. Okay, you may leave now.

SIR HUMPHREY: [leaves]

BERNARD: If I may say, minister...

JULIA GILLARD: Of course you may say minister. By the way, the you in ‘you may leave now’ was plural.

BERNARD: Yes, well the ‘if’ in ‘if I may say, minister’ was unnecessary, and there was a comma before ‘minister’, making minister an object of address and not an indirect object.

JULIA GILLARD: Is it an indirect object?

BERNARD: Yes, I’m fairly certain. At any rate, I must say that I think it would be wiser of you to listen to Sir Humphrey then to your peers.

JULIA GILLARD: Fifty-million Frenchmen can’t be wrong, Bernard.

BERNARD: Yes, but your peers aren’t French. Besides, what do you intend to do with Kevin? The public is sure to feel sorry for him.

JULIA GILLARD: He’ll get a job.

BERNARD: Yes, what job?

JULIA GILLARD: Foreign minister, of course. What other job would keep him quiet?

BERNARD: Still... imagine what Andrew Bolt will say!

JULIA GILLARD: Andrew Bolt is one man.

BERNARD: So was Macbeth.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes, but Andrew Bolt isn’t Scottish.

BERNARD: So you refuse to listen to him then?

JULIA GILLARD: Andrew Bolt or Sir Humphrey?

BERNARD: The latter.

JULIA GILLARD: Yes.

BERNARD: The former?

JULIA GILLARD: I never listen to that man.

BERNARD: But Bolt is...

JULIA GILLARD: Doltish. [ long pause] I am going to ignore you, Bernard, so you may as well leave.

BERNARD: Fine, minister. But I leave lugubriously!

JULIA GILLARD: You leave me blithe.

BERNARD: LEAVES. TURNS TO HUMPHREY.

BERNARD: Did she just day I left her blithe?

SIR HUMPHREY: [nods]

THE TWO MAKE FACES AS IF TO SAY ‘OUCH’ AND TIPTOE AWAY.

END OF SCENE FIVE.

SCENE SIX.

IN SIR ARNOLD’S OFFICE. SIR ARNOLD AND SIR HUMPHREY.

SIR ARNOLD: How are you going with your minister?

SIR HUMPHREY: Not so well. It turns out – legally – she’s as good as Prime Minister.

SIR ARNOLD: Oh. [pause] But surely you are ensuring she will not win the next election?

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh yes. Between the carbon tax and broadband she should never get in.

SIR ARNOLD: Wonderful. [pause] Have you ever met Tony Abbot?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes. Once, very briefly.

SIR ARNOLD: What is he like?

SIR HUMPHREY: For a politician... [smiles] he is an honourable man.

SIR ARNOLD: [raises an eyebrow] I see.

SIR HUMPHREY: He is, as he likes to say, a ‘conviction politician’.

SIR ARNOLD: Oh dear me. Still, I suppose he’s better than her.

SIR HUMPHREY: Hmm. Anybody with convictions is bad in government.

SIR ARNOLD: Yes. Far better have robotic clones than convicted individuals.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh well. I suppose that’s what public servants are for – passing a veto on everything.

SIR ARNOLD: Yes, I quite see your point. [pause] I say, doesn’t civil servant sound so much better than public servant?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, but no one uses the word ‘civil’ now days. When was the last time you used it?

SIR ARNOLD: Oh, I suppose so. [sighs] Ehue!

END OF SCENE SIX.  

SCENE SEVEN.

BERNARD: IS IN HIS OFFICE. ENTER REPORTER.

REPORTER: Hello, I’m here for the interview with Julia Gillard.

BERNARD: Oh yes, of course. Just one moment. [picks up phone] Hello, minister, the reporter’s here. [pause] Yes. [hangs up phone. Looks up] You can go in now. [shows her to the office]

JULIA GILLARD: Hello [very sweetly]. Do you mind being brief? I have another meeting to get to.

REPORTER: Certainly. I only have a few questions to ask you.

JULIA GILLARD: [to BERNARD] Thank you, Bernard.

EXIT BERNARD:

IN BERNARD:’S OFFICE. ENTER SIR HUMPHREY.

SIR HUMPHREY: Hello, Bernard. Is the minister busy?

BERNARD: Yes, she’s in an interview.

SIR HUMPHREY: [panics] Without me?! [rushes in]

JULIA GILLARD: Sir Humphrey, if you don’t mind? I’m in the middle of an interview.

SIR HUMPHREY: [quite panicked] Oh, sorry. It’s just... [desperately] it’s Wayne Swan. He wishes to speak to you.

JULIA GILLARD: Made another miscalculation has he?

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes [squeaky], perhaps that’s it. He wouldn’t say.

JULIA GILLARD: [smiles] Still, I suppose if he were good at maths he wouldn’t be the treasurer. I’ll talk to him after the interview.

SIR HUMPHREY: He said it was urgent!

JULIA GILLARD: Sir Humphrey, I’m busy!

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, I know but...

JULIA GILLARD: How urgent, Humphrey?

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, very urgent!

JULIA GILLARD: Urgent enough for you to retire early over?

SIR HUMPHREY: [pales] Oh no! [nervously] When then, I suppose I shall go.

EXIT HUMPHREY.

SIR HUMPHREY: [to BERNARD] This is worse than when Howard passed the work safety laws!

BERNARD: You’ve done your best, sir. It would have worked with any-one else.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard, do you know what this means?

BERNARD: What?

SIR HUMPHREY: It means she’s been working behind our backs for weeks!

BERNARD DROPS EYE CONTACT.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard?!

BERNARD: She may have mentioned the idea once or twice...

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard!

BERNARD: What minister doesn’t sir?!

SIR HUMPHREY: That’s not the point! What else did she mention?

BERNARD: Meeting – I wasn’t to tell you about.

SIR HUMPHREY: And you didn’t?!

BERNARD: [annoyed] I would have thought that was obvious.

SIR HUMPHREY: Bernard!

BERNARD: [sighs] No, sir. But you know what she’s like! I was frigh...

SIR HUMPHREY: Frightened!? Bernard, what can she do to you?

BERNARD: [defiantly] If she’s so harmless, how come you’re not in there?!

SIR HUMPHREY: [quiet] I have an idea. On the count of three let’s both go in, tell her she’s breached due process, and order her to re-do all the paper work.

BERNARD: Good idea. You first.

SIR HUMPHREY: Together, Bernard.

BERNARD: Oh, alright.

SIR HUMPHREY: One, two, three.

THEY GO IN. JULIA GILLARD GLARES AT THEM. THEY EXIT, SCARED.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh well. At least there’s the carbon tax. That’s sure to lose votes.

BERNARD: Exactly. We haven’t won the battle, but we will win the next one! [frowns] How does that saying go again?

SIR HUMPHREY: It has to work.

BERNARD: Well, sir, to be honest, it doesn’t but...

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh, be quiet and console me!

BERNARD: [smiles] I can safely say, that the minister stands absolutely no chance of winning the next election.

SIR HUMPHREY SMILES. EXITS.

BERNARD: I could tell you the truth, but it would be dangerous. [shrugs].

END OF SCENE SEVEN.

SCENE EIGHT.

JULIA’S OFFICE. BERNARD.

BERNARD: Humphrey, come and see this!

SIR HUMPHREY RUNS IN. BERNARD HANDS HIM A NEWSPAPER.

SIR HUMPHREY: [reading] Julia Gillard new PM... over thrown Kevin Rudd, who is now the Foreign Affairs Minister. Gillard promises if she is elected... [horrified] there will be no carbon tax, and broadband in rural Australia will be improved! [Shocked] Bernard, she used everything I gave her against me!

BERNARD: Cut off your head with your own sword.

SIR HUMPHREY: Exactly! Of course she’ll win the election now! [angry] Bernard, I am furious at you for not telling me of her plans as soon as you knew of them!

BERNARD: I’m sorry sir. [pause] I think I hear Sir Arnold coming... [hurries off]

SIR HUMPHREY: [looks around to hide]

SIR ARNOLD: Humphrey!

ENTER SIR ARNOLD.

SIR ARNOLD: I am furious with you! How could you fail so miserably!

SIR HUMPHREY: Yes, I’m sorry...

SIR ARNOLD: If I don’t fire you, you must be the luckiest man on earth!

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh. What’s the date today?

SIR ARNOLD: February 13th I believe.

SIR HUMPHREY: Oh. [gulps]

ENTER JULIA

SIR ARNOLD: Woman, you are simply preposterous! You are nothing short of a tyrant!

JULIA GILLARD: [doesn’t even look up]Get out or get fired.

SIR ARNOLD EXITS.

JULIA GILLARD: [sits] Bernard!

ENTER BERNARD.

BERNARD: [timidly] Yes, minister?

JULIA GILLARD: I am Prime Minister, and I want you to help me pack my things. As for the two of you, you will remain in your current positions.

SIR HUMPHREY: [relieved] Oh, thank you, Prime Minister!

JULIA GILLARD: Don’t thank me, thank yourself. Without you I wouldn’t have any policies to win me the next election.

SIR HUMPHREY: [face falls]

JULIA GILLARD: I want the two of you to do one more thing for me before I move.

THEY PAY ATTENTION

JULIA GILLARD: Frame the front page for me, would you?

BOTH: Yes, Prime Minister.

END OF EPISODE.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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