Have a hug. Read Atlas Shrugged.

Take the money!

PRODOS and BARBOO dance the night away at Hearts of Oak Lodge (Freemasons, Australia)
Barboo and Prodos grabbing a dance at the Hearts of Oak
(Freemasons) Christmas Party (Photo by
Tim Warner)

No sooner had we arrived at the Hearts of Oak (Freemasons) Christmas Party this evening, than a fellow Freemason walked by, pressed me on the shoulder, and said with a smile and some emphasis, “Take the money!”

“Ha! Right! The money??” I replied. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. But he winked at me, smiled, and walked off to greet others.

It had been a night of cryptic puzzles. Travelling with Tim Warner is like that. I was still trying to work out what “E.V.O.” stood for. And there was some other conundrum that Timothy had thrown at me with his usual cruel intellectual abandon. I couldn’t remember what it was. About a movie? A musician? Now, he’d mentioned that Gold 104 FM was originally an AM station, run and financed by the Union movement. Union movement … I sensed I had just bumped into an important piece of information. But it wasn’t about “E.V.O.” It was about something else.

I remembered Gerry Jackson’s article about the history of the Union movement. He was criticising Ray Evans of the H R Nicholls Society for claiming the Union movement had Marxist origins. I started telling Timothy about this, but he already knew it. How annoying.

Then a couple of other senior Brethren, as politely as they could muster, tried to let me know I wasn’t dressed appropriately. Of course, as I well knew, my “third degree” was coming up soon, they said.

Had I been practicing for it? To some I said I had. To others I said I hadn’t, but always added that I had now bought a new regulation jacket, and needed to sew some buttons on it.

This wasn’t strictly correct, however. A friend had shouted me the white summer jacket which our Lodge wears during the summer months, as a birthday present, a few weeks ago. Or was it a Christmas present?

Is that what “Take the money!” was about? Was it some sort of obtuse code for: “Get yourself the proper attire man!” Could I be expelled for not dressing correctly? Surely not! I felt a stir of outrage.

I was vaguing out. I needed food. It was already 7.30 PM. Man, is anyone going to feed us?

Tim’s brother, Andy, was there at our table. A hell of a nice guy. Not a cruel bone in his body. Perfect. So I told that oh so mighty Timothy I think I’d finally worked out what “E.V.O.” meant! Really!

“Oh?” Tim didn’t actually say that. But his look suggested it. With a touch of soft disdain, or pity or something – I’m sure I detected something.

I went up to Andy Warner and asked him in a clear, loud voice, did he know what “E.V.O.” stood for? He paused, considered for a moment, and then told me! And so I of course told Tim! Not that I needed to, because we were all sitting at the same table within easy earshot of each other. Well, that was that!

Now another chap comes up and says, “Take the money!” Or was it the same fellow? Then a woman tells me she’d seen me on TV. Oh, when will there be food?!

No refund for the man with the flag
By Lawrence Money and Suzanne Carbone, The Age

ON THE face of it, you’d say $1900 would be more useful to Prodos Marinakis than most other folk.

The defeated and somewhat eccentric candidate for Albert Park is a busker. He earns most of his income from “donations” and from performing in the street. Neither he nor his American artist wife, Barboo, has a regular job. They live “week by week” and share a house in Richmond with two others.

But after Marinakis threw his hat into the ring in the state poll, vexed that the Libs were not standing, he was as surprised as anyone else that he got 4.8% of the votes.

His 1422 votes entitle Marinakis, who has carried an Australian flag with him for the past 18 months, to a payment from the Victorian Electoral Commission of $1918.24. But he won’t take it. Says he’d be robbing the public purse.

“I know,” said Marinakis when Diary asked yesterday, “my friends say I’m a f—ing idiot. To be honest, I had every intention of taking the money. I wasn’t comfortable but I did the paperwork. But when it came to the moment, I said: ‘I can’t do it.’ ”

And the lovely Barboo? “She just told me: ‘Do what your conscience tells you.’ ”

Odd enough to find a political player swayed by the C-word but there’s a further twist to the tale: Marinakis was first urged to pick up his dues by the Labor bloke who won the seat, Martin Foley.

Martin Foley, ALP, Member for Albert Park

“I got on well with Martin during the campaign,” says Marinakis. “I found him to be a very competent and nice guy. I know I’ve heard other things — that he’s bastard and things like that — but we got on great. Labor ran a very powerful campaign. I disagree with his views because I’m a free marketer, but he deserved to win.”

So, that’s that!

[Update: Cryptic, yet impeccable, sources inform me that Gold 104 FM, was previously 3 KZ AM. It was owned by Trades Hall – a powerful Australian trade union body based in Victoria – but sold off around 1990.]

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  1. ralph


    I think you should adopt a completely cynical atitude: If the government is stupid enough to give you the money you should be smart enough to take it.


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    Greetings ralph.

    I don’t hold it against anyone for accepting such money.

    For me, however, when it came to the crunch it felt like I was about to be initiated into the fraternity of those who could be bought.

    I had a similar annoying “attack of conscience” when the possibility of doing a preference deal with The Greens arose.

    At first, I went along with the idea. But after two sleepless nights (literally) I decided to put them in the lowest position – 9th – on the PRODOS How To Vote flyer. Then I felt at peace.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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