Friday 31 May – A Bird in the Hand

by Emilie Collyer

It’s the office of a big energy and infrastructure company.

A projection shows an image of a bird – a black-throated finch.

Next to that, a white board is divided into two sections.

One half is titled: Black-throated finch habitat & Mining site

The other half is titled: Area proposed for protection of black-throated finch

Two staff members are meeting.

ONE:    It’s a cutey, isn’t it.

TWO:    Sure is.

ONE:    Great we’ve got a plan.

TWO:    So great.


ONE:    Just run me through the plan one more time.

TWO:    Okay. So. This little guy is the black-throated finch.

ONE:    Super cute.

TWO:    So cute.

ONE:    Endangered?

TWO:    Sad face – yes.

They both make a sad face.

TWO:    (continues) According to there used to be a subspecies in New South Wales but they haven’t been seen there since 1994. There’s a northern subspecies⎯

ONE:    Up north?

TWO:    Bingo! Around Cape York. And this guy (they both look at the cute bird on the screen) is the southern subspecies mostly found here (points to the white board habitat section) around the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland.

ONE:    Around the mine site.

TWO:    Around the mine site. That’s where they eat and hang out. That’s where this particular grass is that they get right into.

ONE:    Amazing.

TWO:    So amazing. But sad.

ONE:    So sad?

TWO:    There’s been an estimated 88% decrease in the range of the species in the last few decades.

ONE:    (whistles with concern). So sad. It’s so good we have a plan.

TWO:    Right?

ONE:    And um … how will that work exactly? Keeping their habitat safe. Will we be really careful about where we put the boring equipment for the mine?

TWO:    Ah. Not exactly.

ONE:    Oh right. Can you just … sorry, you’ve gone to all this trouble with the diagram and everything. I just want to make sure I understand it properly for when we speak to the government about it all.

TWO:    Sure, sure! Good to check in. So important. So, what we WILL do is establish monitoring protocols.

ONE:    Right …

TWO:    And we will manage the area.

ONE:    I see …

TWO:    And of course we’ll engage appropriately qualified ecologists.

ONE:    Right.


ONE:    And the actual … birds? Our friend here, the cutey black-throated finch?

TWO:    Yes.

ONE:    Yes, what?

TWO:    Exactly.

ONE:    I’m sorry, how is it … protected here (points to the habitat side of the diagram) if all the protective measures are put in place … over here (points to the planned protection area side of the diagram)?

TWO:    Yes.

ONE:    Yes, what?

TWO:    Exactly.

ONE:    I’m just wondering if there’s one little part of the plan yet to fall into place.

TWO:    Oh. Yes. (frantic, thinking, searching … aha) Yes! Of course there’s more.

ONE:    (relieved) Of course!

They laugh at their silly miscommunication. Of course there is more to the plan.

TWO:    So I thought, that we could get some volunteers …

ONE:    I don’t think we have clearance for that.

TWO:    … or you and I …

ONE:    Um, I’m pretty flat out.

TWO:    … or me. Yes, me. Of course. Me. I. What I will do is simply, gently, go around this area (points to the habitat) and simply, gently, take each cute little black-throated finch and carry them⎯

ONE:    Simply, gently.

TWO:    ⎯you got it! Over to this area (points to the planned protection area). It shouldn’t take long. I mean there’s not many of them left.

ONE:    So you’ll take them OUT of their actual habitat⎯

TWO:    Well because that’s where the mine will be, a lot of activity, it won’t be safe for them there.

ONE:    ⎯and you’ll put them in an area where they have no natural food sources and where they’ve never lived and never bred, not for thousands of years.

TWO:    Yes but you see they’ll be safe.

ONE:    Safe.

TWO:    Yes. Undisturbed by the mine.

ONE:    And this is our plan.

TWO:    This is the plan.

ONE:    Um … (starts to pack up their things, get ready to make a quick getaway) actually you know what, I just remembered I have a … a thing, a meeting thing and I … I’m not sure I can stay for the presentation .. what time are they …

TWO:    Oh there’s no presentation. The plan’s already been approved.

ONE:    Oh.

TWO:    I just did this for you. So you could see for yourself.

ONE:    Aha.

TWO:    Now THAT’s sorted, let’s get onto this pesky groundwater management issue. We’ve got a couple of weeks to pull a plan together and I’ve got some great ideas.

TWO rubs the diagram off the white board and draws some blue lines with the word: WATER and some brown squiggles with the word: GROUND.



Thursday 30 May

by Keziah Warner

Thursday 30th May 2019

Annie is in her kitchen at home. She stands at the counter cutting up a lemon, with her mobile cradled between her ear and shoulder. A pot of soup is on the stove. On the table, there is a bottle of olive oil and some recently-unwrapped wrapping paper. She talks on the phone whilst occasionally tasting the soup.

ANNIE:    Friday, yeah.

We just had some drinks.

Yeah it was alright. I can’t drink so…

I got her a spa voucher.

Yeah. I thought… I don’t know. It’s been a big few months. Something relaxing.

Thank you, I thought so.

It was actually only when I went to get her the present that I realised I don’t really know anything about her. I mean, I know she has a daughter and she cares about fast rail and I think I heard her mention mini golf once but…

Annie accidently cuts herself.

Oh ow.

She sucks her finger where the cut is.

Sorry. Yeah, yeah mum I’m fine. Just cut myself.

A lemon.

So anyway I got a spa voucher in the end.

Olive oil.

Yes, just a bottle of oil. She wrapped it so

I know.

Well it doesn’t really matter now

She’s running for the senate.

She hasn’t asked me, but I’m not sure…


Oh soup.

Well it’s cold outside and I’m on a, you know, a health thing.

She squeezes the lemon into the soup.

Because it’s too sweet. Yeah.

Pumpkin, sweet potato and onions and zucchini, but I caramelised the/

Courgette yes. I know. Well I live here, mum.

No. I don’t know if the senate is what I want. I don’t know if politics is really

I know but it’s just a degree. Everything’s real life experience now and I’m sure my skills are transferable anyway. I mean, of course they are, right?


Oh. I remember. From school.

Is she?

Yeah maybe.

She tries the soup.

I said maybe! It’s still sweet.

Already tried tomatoes.

No it just tastes like sweet tomatoes.

Yes… I think I have dried chilli

She looks in the cupboard.

Yeah I could get in touch with her but

She finds the chilli.

Well mum she lives in England and we haven’t spoken since high school so we’re not exactly going to raise our kids together are we?

I’m not/

Is she?

Well I’m happy for her

Why would I know about parental conditions for archivists?

I’m not being/

I want to hear about it! What does she archive?

Why would I know?

We’re not friends on Facebook.

She adds the chilli, stirs, tastes.

Oh chilli helps.

Yeah. Thanks.

I don’t know what I’m gonna do, mum.

I know I have a child.


I know I need a job. I’m going to start looking

I’m not avoiding

Look it’s fucking scary ok? There’s this whole new person in the room, in my life and it’s like my brain has changed. Like how I’m seeing things is different now and I’ve been thinking about my career and everyone I’ve worked for and I don’t know if I’ve made the right choices and I just feel really kinda fucking scared about the world. Like it’s kind of terrifying actually and maybe this was all a stupid mistake and I’m sort of pretty fucking worried I’ve been fighting on the wrong fucking side.

I know. I’m not. I know you are.


It’s nine o’clock.

I know, well, the soup took longer than I thought.

Yeah, maybe.

I don’t know if I’m hungry.

Tuesday 28 May – A Drowning Man

by Amelia Evans

To sin: a verb meaning: “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law”. Derived from the Biblical Greek hamartia and Hebrew hatar : “to miss the mark” – or the point maybe?

OUR LEADER: Oh god! What a day – another miracle. I was sworn in and I said, like we discussed – that I would govern with humility, compassion and for all Australians.  I mean – I know you were there, you saw it but, you were proud of me weren’t you?

    He waits for an answer…

We’ll talk about it later. I’m so grateful for everything you’ve done! Miracle after miracle after miracle. AH! I did have one question though. Tiny… but… ahh…what should I do now?

    He waits…

You there? I mean I know you’re the one with the plan I’m here to do your work but if you could give me a sign of what that is exactly

A knock on the door and in walks a staff member

STAFF MEMBER: Um Mr Leader hello hello so sorry to interrupt but we’ve had another I’m afraid, just attempted, on manus. Set themselves alight but survived thank god

OUR LEADER: Oh for crying out loud. How many’s that? No – no don’t tell me. Listen, I’m in a very important chat right now and I’m

STAFF MEMBER: So sorry, of course, of course it can wait no hurry

    They exit, Our Leader resumes prayers

OUR LEADER: Sorry about that! So as I was saying I’m not sure what do so if you could give me a sign


OUR LEADER: Well if it isn’t my little miracle. What’s up?

LITTLE MIRACLE:. I was watching TV and there were thousands of kids not going to school all across the world in protest. They said there its because there is an ecological crisis

OUR LEADER: Well that’s silly – can’t be prime minister if you don’t go to school now can you?

He taps her on the nose, she looks a bit worried.

OUR LEADER: Darling, you’re not worried are you? What do I always say?

LITTLE MIRACLE: Gods got a plan

OUR LEADER: That’s right – God’s got a plan and right now I’m talking to Him about it so don’t you worry about a thing. Daddy’s got this.


OUR LEADER: So where was I? Oh yes… a sign

Anxiety bursts in   


OUR LEADER: Um – who are you?

ANXIETY: Your anxiety!

OUR LEADER: What? No. I don’t have anxiety

ANXIETY: You do now!!! Da ta da da ta da RAHARAHARAHAH

Anxiety starts a song and dance number, perhaps with an entourage of bright and manic in tow.

OUR LEADER: No – No – get out! God?! Have you forsaken me? And Jesus Christ – you’re not much better. I asked for a sign and this malarkey is all I get! What the hell, mate? What the hell

    Anxiety and its song and dance drowns him out.

Monday 27 May – A Wrap Up

by Ben Ellis

A classroom, emptied, 4pm. Sketchley is the teacher. Bobbi is the student.

S. I had to fail you

B. Okay

S. I understand if that upsets you

B. It’s the end of everything, it /really is

S. I wouldn’t put it that way

B. But you did put it that way. Fight for your life, you said. I did the little things. I had the affirmations on my mirror. I made myself attractive to the examiners. I was worthy of love. I was ready to top the year. You’ve ruined it

S. You ruined it

Continue reading “Monday 27 May – A Wrap Up”

Saturday 25 May (2) – How Good is Good

by Vidya Rajan

How good is good and and how good is Australia!

A preacher on stage – a robust man in a suit. He has the gestures, pace and presence of a TV personality (like a cheap game show host, or well, a tv preacher).  He beams at us, eyes filled with fervour. A deep breath and he begins, direct to the audience.


I am good. I am good. And how are you? Are you good? Are you good? Yes. You ARE good. Say it with me – you ARE good. I AM good, and so ARE you. How good are you! How gooooood are you! How good are all of you!  All of you! So good. SO GOOD. Give it up – give it up for all of you. Seriously. For your goodness. Cause you are. Okay? You are. Mmhmm. You may not think it. You may not feel it.  But you are. We are. We are good. We are good. Yes. So please. Please put your hands together now –

He clasps his hands together, interlocking the fingers and begins to move them up and down, emphasising the words even more.

Put your hands together now with me, and give it up! Give it up for the good inside you. Inside aaaallll of you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – don’t let all the nonsense from the outside ruin what you know about yourself. What you’ve always known.

He starts to choke up, maudlin. Hands on heart.

We read things and we see things and we hear things and these things that we see and we read and we hear, so often they are trying to take away what we already know and should believe about ourselves that we are good. Because we are –

A deep breath in –

BLESSED. Yes we are. Yes we are. We are blessed to be the good ones. You and I. So why hide this, why not take charge of our own blessed power, and by god – by god –

He thumps his chest.

Feel it. We need to feel it and we need to know that it is OURS. And we need, we need to know how good we all are. Yes, and we need to own the –

He is interrupted by the sound of angelic music. A beam of light flashes onto the stage blinding and stopping him.

Tracing the path of the beam, a figure walks out. It is a woman. She is in Virgin Mary blue robes. But her bottom half is a kangaroo suit -we can see the tail and legs poking out.

The preacher kneels, astonished. Mother Kangaroo Mary looks around, pretty non-plussed. She has a beer in one hand and takes a sip. When she speaks, she has an extreme ocker voice.


U alright mate? What you doing on the floor hey?

The preaches rises up, trembling. Looks out at the audience. He speaks, near crying.


My – my god. We are so – so blessed with your – by your visitation.


Ah yeah – no dramas. No worries hey.


If everyone could just, just join me in a round of…a round of applause for this truly goodly vision.

He starts to clap, encouraging the audience to join in.


Aw shit. Didn’t mean to cause a fuss mate.


Truly powerful words.



She skulls her beer. The preacher watches and turns back to the audience.


As I was saying, my fellow – my fellow good souls – when we are good, look what we bring upon ourselves.

Mary burps.

The angelic music starts again and another beam of light pierces the space.

The preacher starts.


What – what could this be?


Ah yeah nah, probably my son hey.


Your – your son?

Another figure enters the space. A man with a beard in a white picnic at hanging rock dress.

He comes and stands by his mother. He waves shyly.

Preacher gets back on his knees, teary.


I wasn’t – I wasn’t expecting.


(to son) Go on.

Son shakes his head, covers his face.


Sorry, he’s always been a bit shy. Doesn’t like crowds.


That’s so understandable. We are just honoured with his presence.

Son looks alarmed at these words.


Aw now you’ve wound him up.


Sorry, what?

Son shrieks and runs off stage. Preacher gets up and starts to go after him.


Nah let him go. It’s best this way.


Will he return?


Duno. He can be a bit skittish hey. He’s probably eating a biccy to calm down.



He gazes at Mary then back at the audience.


(to Mother Kangaroo Mary)

Would – would you like to say a few words to everyone today? We would be honoured.


Thought I just did.


About -about – our shared goodness?


Our what now?


How good we are!


What’s that?


How good we are! How good are we! Just talk about that!


Oh. Right.

Nah, I’m alright.

Preaches is very agitated.


It’s really quite simple. I could show – I could show you if you wanted. You just have to say the words.


Yeah. Yeah nah.

She looks for a spot to put her beer but there isn’t any. She shrugs and tosses it lightly on the ground.

Seems a bit much.

It’s a nice arvo to just do nothing and watch the telly actually.

Might do that.

She shuffles, maybe hops off. As she does The Deal or No Deal theme song/intro starts to play loudly “26 cases! etc.”. The preacher blinks. He picks up the can. He looks at the audience blankly. The theme song continues. He shrugs too and walks off in the opposite direction.

Saturday 25 May (1) – One Week In

by Ross Mueller

(A and B are in bed watching Sky News on TV. A is on the laptop and B is drinking whiskey. It is at least midnight)

A    People who post threads on Twitter.

B    Oh fuck off.

A    I know.

B    They can fuck right off.

A    Take it easy.

B    If you wanna write an essay, get on Facebook, you narcissistic pricks. It’s a micro-blogging site.

A    People forget that.

B    Well, people are fucked.

A    Not all people.

B    Yes. This week. All people. (beat) Just – don’t – okay?

A    Suck it up, Princess.

B    I am not a bad loser!

A    Yes, I can see that.


B    I actually feel sorry for her.

A    I know.

Continue reading “Saturday 25 May (1) – One Week In”

Friday 24 May – Baby Steps

by Emilie Collyer

The last time we were here, the babies were discussing child care packages, gold plated sipper cups and the vulnerabilities of their parents.

Today they are on the move. The child care centre has closed and they need to fend for themselves now.

B4:    reading from The Age: ‘Under Mr Albanese, the Labor Party is expected to dump or significantly alter its policy platform, including up to $20 billion in proposed taxes on retired shareholders and property investors in its first four years. The changes would have paid for all of Labor’s cancer treatment, affordable housing, TAFE, pensioner dental and child care plans.’

B3:    Shit, dude.

B1:    Did you have to?

B4:    What? We need to know what we’re up against.

B5:    And hang on, those guys aren’t even in power. They lost. Why do we care about what they won’t be doing?

B4:    The other mob don’t even mention us.

B3:    We’re not even a football to them, hey.

B5:    So maybe they’ve got heaps of good plans, they just haven’t announced them yet.

B3:    (as if) Dude.

B5:    Okay. Sorry.

B4:    Like I said, we need to know the lay of land.

Continue reading “Friday 24 May – Baby Steps”

Thursday 23 May

by Keziah Warner

In the campaign office, Sara and Annie are stress-eating bread and olive oil. Sara is tugging nervously at her trench coat.

The phone rings. Annie answers it.

ANNIE:    Yes.


Thank you.

She hangs up.

SARA:        How much now?

ANNIE:    Eighty percent.

SARA:        And still behind by/…?

ANNIE:    A lot. Yes.

SARA:        Fuck.

ANNIE:    It’s only eighty.

SARA:        How good is your maths?

ANNIE:    What?

SARA:        Numbers.

ANNIE:    Ok.

SARA:        It’s been five days.

ANNIE:    It’s not impossible.

SARA:        But not probable.

ANNIE:    It’s a lot to take in.

SARA:        Concedere.

ANNIE:    Consider…?

SARA:        The Latin. Con, completely. Cedere, yield.

ANNIE:    It’s not over till it’s over.

SARA:        You’ll be ok. I expect you’ve had phone calls already.

ANNIE:    I haven’t.

SARA:        I’ve heard your phone ringing.

ANNIE:    I have a job.

SARA:        We’re going to need some more bread.

ANNIE:    Yes.

Annie gets up. She stops at the door.

We still think every community matters, don’t we?

SARA:        Maybe some more than others.

ANNIE:    Latin, really?

SARA:        Yes.

ANNIE:    Don’t be such a wanker.

Annie leaves the room.

Sara sits for a second then takes a few sharp breaths in, like when you’re trying not to cry.

She composes herself.

She picks up the phone and dials.

SARA:        Hi, it’s mum.

I’ll be home soon, darling. Is Dad home?

Ok can you tell him I’ll be there in half an hour?

Thanks darling. I love you too.

Bye. Bye.

She hangs up. Dials again.


Hi. It’s Sara.

Yes. May I speak with/

Thank you.

Hi. It’s Sara.

I’m calling to say… congratulations.