Flat White

Morality drones

18 February 2018

11:11 AM

18 February 2018

11:11 AM

The young receptionist in her Minister’s office was momentarily taken aback.

The PM’s office? God, it’s heavy. And something rattles.

The Department of the Parliamentary Services delivery person smiles as he got back into his motorised delivery vehicle.

“You’ll need assistance to put it together, taken some people over an hour. It’s a drone.”

“A drone?” She wished her voiced hadn’t sounded so much like a squeak. She was working on a calm, authoritative telephone manner.

“Orders from the PMO. Everyone’s to have a drone, Ministers, that is, to make sure they’re not having a naughty during the dinner break. Or any other time. Like I said, PM’s orders.”

Oh God, if this isn’t the worst that can happen, the young receptionist stared at the cardboard box she’d managed to get open, at the expense of three false fingernails, and examined the multitude of ironmongery inside. The delivery person smiled as he exits the office. “Somebody kicked it down the corridor. Took his staff ages to find the Allen key.”

“There’s an Allen key?” Now she was really perplexed. “Like Ikea stuff?”

“PM’s idea. Everyone has to have a drone, if they leave the building. Or if they go to the gym. And after hours. Remember that Labor sports minister, during Hawkie’s time, what was his name, Brown wasn’t it, who had sex with his wife on his desk in his office?” Wouldn’t have happened if there was a drone, now would it?”

The young receptionist was joined by her colleagues. An adviser stared at the unassembled drone and bravely voiced everyone’s thoughts. “This is crap. Absolute crap.”

The delivery person is unfazed.

“P.M’s orders, miss. Now, I’ll get on, got a few more to deliver to those Green and crossbench senators. Mind you, they can’t be forced to fly the drones, only the Liberals, least for now. Cross bench, it’s voluntary.”

Down the corridor he drove his delivery vehicle, to the accompaniment of muffled oaths and exclamations of amazement as the delivery of the drones – unassembled- continued to be actioned.

“What’s that noise?”

The Member emerged from his office, almost tripping over the contents of the cardboard box, the unassembled drone. “And what the bloody hell is that?”

The whirr of an assembled drone past the window made them all look at what was passing in the courtyard garden. Leader of the House Christopher Pyne walked, head bowed, beneath his assembled, working drone on his way to a press conference, given by the Prime Minister to announce the new morality drones initiative.

As the Gallery journalists pushed and jostled and news camera focussed on the drone hovering a few feet above the Prime Minister’s handsome head, he announced, smiling,

“As a government, and personally, we were deeply, deeply shocked by the lapse in standards of public morality. And we think it befits a nation, a moral nation, to show that we put our words into actions, and we’re doing this with our new drone leadership initiative.”

He paused. The assembled media drew a collective breath. The most agile and innovative policy this year. The visuals would be amazing.

“ We would like to offer this new program to all workers in Parliament House – including of course, you, the ladies and gentlemen of the media, your very own drone, a 24/7 moral guardian. Even the Americans haven’t thought of this.”

A small ripple of alarm raced through his audience. The cameras stopped flashing. A sudden appalled silence enveloped the media pack. Could they be forced to be accompanied everywhere they went by a camera-loaded mechanical eye-in-the-sky?

Led by a grizzled veteran cameraman the journalists moved away, ignoring the nearby table, set up with the cardboard containers holding the new morality drones.

The PM watched the media melt away with his charming, boyish, quizzical smile.

It had been such a good idea. But maybe not for Australians. The Chinese, now. He would mention it the next time he met Mr Xi.

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