“Malcolm, that woman in PMC’s Hospitality and Protocol has sent over a Note reminding your office Ramadan has begun. She wants to know, do we want to repeat the iftar dinner at Kirribilli, and if so we should think about it now. She sent us a suggested guest list.”
“Gosh, time flies, doesn’t it, Iftar dinner. I was just thinking about that dinner Trump gave us. I was wishing I could say something in Russian, I’m sure he’d have appreciated that…”
“Malcolm, the dinner. She’s also suggested menus – no alcohol, of course. And she’s whittled it down. She’s dropped that girl with glasses and the turban thingy…”
“Yassmin? They didn’t spell her name right on the place card, the other time either. That Anzac tweet, very insensitive, not diplomatic at all, but we should have Susan Carland and her husband, Aly Waleed, isn’t it ?”
“Waleed Aly, dear. The names can be difficult, all those Mohammads, Muhammads, Mahmuds and Mehmets. Protocol must be tearing her hair. Waleed isn’t related to that Labor parliamentarian Anne Aly, is he? Only the names are spelt the same way. Perhaps I should tell Protocol to seat him next to her, they can talk theoretical politics to their heart’s content.
“That nice PhD student from Middle Eastern Studies at ANU, is he on the list?”
“ No, it seems he was arrested in Cairo. I was reading about it. Apparently, he had a copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and pictures of his girlfriend in a bikini on his phone. DFAT is arranging consular assistance. And Malcolm, Protocol’s also suggested perhaps another venue, somewhere less historical, more authentic, perhaps a mosque somewhere.”
“Lucy, I don’t know of any mosques in the Eastern Suburbs or lower North Shore. We can’t invite imans and mullahs to the Rose Bay synagogue or St. Euphemia’s, that’s taking inclusiveness a bit too far. And I don’t think Security will like the idea of Lakemba mosque. They’d have to take the sniffer dogs around and Muslims aren’t keen on dogs. Not Labradors anyway, I think they’re alright with Salukis.”
“Lakemba’s Solid Labor. Jihad Dib’s electorate. Tony Burke’s about the only blond they tolerate there these days. No votes for Liberals in Lakemba. But Protocol should put Dib on the list, though he’ll probably have his own iftar dinner to go to. “
“Lucy, while I think about it, Susan Carland, I think she’s disappointed her book about –whatwasit, feminist Islam, Mslam in Islam, something like that. It didn’t make the Premier’s Awards. I told her that was a State consideration and Gladys would be really annoyed if she thought I was trying to intervene in any way.”
“Quite right, dear. I was thinking, we need a few more Anglos. What about Niki and Vince from your office? She’s Greek heritage, should get on fine with the others – journalists love getting invites to Kirribilli and he can keep an eye out for good media pics.”
“So we’ll use Kirribilli House again. If there’s an issue about costs, we should give that new Turkish takeaway place a try. They’re more expensive than Maccas, but you have to consider cultural sensibilities, of course. I’ve heard they do a very nice kofta kind of thing that way we can let the kitchen staff go before midnight.”
“Good idea, darling. Lucy, you’re just brilliant. You should run the country.”
“I do, dear, I do.”
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