[Editor: A poem by “Kookaburra”. Published in The Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser and Diamond Creek Valley Advocate, 6 April 1917.]
The Fusion Age
What’s come over the “Age,” John?
What’s come over the “Age”?
It’s just as still as a country mouse,
And don’t fly into a rage.
In the days of Whigs and Tories,
Ere the Labour Leagues were strong,
There dare not live a Conservative,
For it sang a Liberal song.
But as Labour made great headway,
And would Australia rule,
The Whigs and Tories must combine
If they wished to win the duel,
Then the “Age” did cry Confusion
To that Whig and Tory band.
To perdition with the Fusion
Was the “Age’s” loud command.
Now, there’s a Fusion in the House,
But I’m sure the “Age” don’t know,
So why don’t somebody tell them,
And get them on the go.
In the good old days of long ago,
Whigs did with Tories fuse,
’Twas then the “Age” was Liberal
With pages of abuse.
But whatever’s gone wrong with the “Age,” John.
Has it surely changed its views?
It’s meek enough to lace the boots
Of Cook and Billy Hughes.
It does seem so uncanny
When there’s a Fusion here,
That our dear old Melbourne granny
Will not now provide a bier.
There’s the poor old country farmer now,
Who holds a neutral view
Of politics in this fair land,
For he’s got his work to do.
On him old granny vents her rage,
And abuses him full sore
Upon her foremost leading page.
Now who’s to pay the score ?
The Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser and Diamond Creek Valley Advocate (Evelyn, Vic.), Friday 6 April 1917, page 3
bier = a stand upon which a coffin is placed prior to burial
Cook = Joseph Cook, federal parliamentarian 1901-1921, who served as Prime Minister of Australia during 1913-1914
Fusion = an alliance of federal parliamentarians created in 1909, the result of the joining together (i.e. fusing together, or “fusion”) of the non-Labor parties in the Australian parliament (mainly the Free Traders and the Protectionists)
granny = a nickname for the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper (Sydney, New South Wales); although in this instance it is being used in a Victorian context and is thus being applied to The Age (Melbourne, Victoria)
Hughes = William (“Billy”) Hughes, one of Australia’s long-serving federal parliamentarians (1901-1952), who served as Prime Minister of Australia during 1915-1923 [the poem as originally published made reference to “Huges”, which presumably was a typographical error, being a misspelling of “Hughes”, as – in the context of rhyming with “views” and relating to the then political scene – it would be referring to Billy Hughes, who was Prime Minister at that time]
[Editor: Corrected “Huges” to “Hughes”]