It’s happened before, and it happened again this year. In the weeks leading up to the federal election, there was a surge of job applications from MPs suddenly uncertain about their futures. We knew how they felt.
Traditionally, of course, when MPs enter the job market, they seek familiarity. Ex-defence ministers, for example, often apply for jobs on the boards of bomb manufacturers, or working with subs, either as an employee or sometimes as the actual owner of a Subway franchise.
This year it was a bit different. Here at the Hansard of the Hospitality Industry (Liquids and Glassware Division), we were inundated with applications from Canberra to join our expert tasting panel. Which I personally found a cheek as I’ve had my application in for years (OK, in my case it’s more of a begging letter).
Some of these hopeful honorables had entirely the wrong attitude and were, I’m pleased to say, weeded out. The group of senators, for example, who wanted to aggressively question winemakers each month after forming a Sediment Estimates Committee.
And the large number of backbenchers who refused to taste any sparkling wine from the ACT because, they claimed, they were trying to escape the Canberra bubble.
As I’d suspected, it was the shortcomings of the tasting notes that disqualified many others. “With regard to the Residual Sugar Act (1957) Sub-section 11b (As Amended), Mr Speaker,” isn’t the best way to start a review of a cool-climate riesling, especially if you can’t be bothered actually tasting it and have taken its cellaring potential on advice from your department.
Others, wary of the risk Labor was taking with its bold policy positions, went too far the other way. “Made from four clones, this classic single-clone blend of two clones with a third clone contributing to the creamy high-acid core of characteristic Coonawarra mint shows dominant non-minty overtones, bold fruit shyly withholding its charms, and all the opportunities and challenges of veteran new French oak cleverly highlighted by steel tank fermentation in clay amphorae.”
The number-crunchers, of course, just couldn’t drop their old habits: “82.5% shiraz, 13.5% cabernet, 47% merlot after preferences”.
Despite all this, I was getting nervous. Politicians are extremely good with jargon. Once this lot got the hang of descriptors, my dreams of joining Huon, Nick, Peter and the gang would be swept away by a tidal wave of ex-honorables who knew exactly how to use phrases like post fermentation (which I think means it’s been raining and unwanted mould has developed on the mail).
Then I spotted one more application, with tasting notes attached, and suddenly I knew everything was going to be OK.
“How good is wine? How good are wine glasses? How good is putting wine into wine glasses and drinking it? Bottles, how good are they? How good are corks? How good are corkscrews? How good is screwing corkscrews into corks in the bottle?”
Readers of this magazine are renowned for their generosity and broad-mindedness, but I know you’d never put up with that sort of carry-on, no matter how much the bloke wanted the job.