The headlines you wish you had seen (or heard) this year. A short review of the news no one reported (because fiction is sometimes
stranger than truth).
In January this year top US health expert Dr. Timothy Smeeding called for the Federal government to introduce means testing for people over the age of 65 who need health care.
Dr. Smeeding, whose visit to Australia is being sponsored by the Loving Funeral Homes group, said that old people with lots of money should be allowed to go away and die peacefully.
Quoting recent US figures, Dr. Smeeding said that many young people were being deprived of their rightful inheritance by old people who could afford to be kept alive in private hospitals.
In response to Dr. Smeeding's claims, the federal treasurer, Peter Costello, in a joint statement with the Minister for Health and Aging, Senator Kay Patterson, said it was a great idea as old fogeys had enjoyed a good innings and should let the younger generation have a go.
In February the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, revealed his stars were not helping.
The embattled British Prime Minister revealed that his personal astrologer predicted that weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq once Uranus was embedded in the black hole of the Andromeda galaxy.
Mr. Blair, whose repeated and passionate claims have been criticised as being too emotive and based on little evidence, said in the House of Commons that once Sagittarius had proceeded to the rise of Jupiter, Mars would prevail and Scorpio would be stung into action.
He warned, however, that Aquarius was looking rather dusty and that unless the house of Leo moved quickly there would be chaos in the vector of Pisces.
Sources within the government have revealed that Mr. Blair, whose personal astrologer, Ms. Placed, was recently implicated in a series of out of body xperiences brought on by a strange spirit she referred to as Vail-E-AUMMMMMMMM, was seeking further advice from his other advisors, Dr. Spock and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In March this year the leaders of the coalition of the willing were in strife over their dossier.
In a shocking revelation in The Hague, lawyers for the US administration admitted that the so-called "sexed up" dossier was, in fact, airbrushed.
The revelation comes after weeks of speculation that the portraits of US
President George Bush, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, had been airbrushed to, "enhance their
The lead lawyer for the US team said that the un-named artist who had been commissioned to capture the preferred images of the, "todger trio" had acted unilaterally and had gone beyond all known legal and ethical boundaries.
In an anonymous response to the claims, delivered to news rooms around the world, the artist denied he had acted without authority and stated that the leaders had all told him how proud they were of the way their manhoods had been depicted.
In a related development the original copy of the centerfold, dubbed "dongers of death", was immediately put up for auction by Christi's who expect furious bidding for, what experts have described as, a remarkably small portrait.
In April US secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld admitted to having a secret affair with one of Saddam Hussein's top science advisors.
The US Defense Secretary, speaking on late night television, revealed that for almost 20 years he had been having a secret affair with one of Saddam Hussein's science advisors.
Mr. Rumsfeld's revelation sent shock waves through the Bush administration in Washington who were now distancing themselves from him.
In one of his last press conferences, Presidential spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said the President was shocked to find out that one of his closest friends and confidants had been carrying on in this manner.
Mr. Fleischer said that although no one in the White House suspected Mr. Rumsfeld of such a traitorous act, there had been questions as to how he had received the nickname, "Boom Boom" from the kitchen staff.
Sources within the White House had stated that "Boom Boom" would have his security clearance revoked and that his close ties to the Hussein family would be investigated.
Turning to May this year, the United States 'Top Gun' President flew into a storm after hitching a ride on a US navy S-3B Viking jet.
In another of his embarrassing gaffs, US President George Bush, was issued with a parking fine after illegally landing a plane on a US aircraft carrier.
The President, whose flying license was nothing more than a replica cut from the back of a promotional pack of Oreos, was found to have breached a number of US Naval codes dealing with illegally piloting, pretending to land and parking on US Naval property.
JAG spokesperson, Harmon Rab, said that his office had done a thorough check of the President's background and found that he had never served a day of his Texas Air National Guard duty.
Mr. Rab said that because the President had also donned a US Navy flying suit without proper authorisation, and the fact that the President admitted to a prior history of smoking marijuana, he could face a fine of up to $US10.00 or have to write out 100 times "I will not parallel park my jet on
an aircraft carrier in the future".
The President is also under investigation for impersonating a military
officer and making false claims to US troops.
While still serving as minister for immigration Philip Ruddock found himself dubbed "the Man of Wax" in June this year.
Sources within the Howard government revealed that the Immigration Minister had actually passed away almost 2 years ago.
The source made the revelations as some coalition backbenchers spoke out about the Ministers lack of emotional appeal and seemingly unhumorous demeanour.
One backbencher, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he could recall the old days when Ruddock was a newcomer to parliament.
The backbencher said that, back then, Ruddock was one of the funniest men he
He recalled one particularly memorable stunt in which the young Ruddock had tied up two junior staffers and flogged them with a phone book.
The backbencher said, "He did that as a joke because one of them said he
needed a personality bypass. What I didn't realise was that after the joke was over, he took their advice".
A Labor spokesperson said she had noticed how Mr. Ruddock, who had once been lauded as a future Prime Minister, was always unavailable for comment on hot days.
Now that the true state of Mr. Ruddock's health has been made clear it is certain to bring on a cabinet reshuffle.
Late in the month government sources were saying that a new portfolio would be created especially for Mr. Ruddock.
The sources were coy about telling the media what the portfolio would be
called but did say that it involved keeping cool and staying away from sub tropical islands off Australia's northern coast.
In a reversal of government policy Alexander Downer apologised to the Hicks family in July this year.
The Foreign Minister apologised to David Hicks and his family for being, "a bum".
Mr. Downer's apology came hot on the heels of the US Military releasing Hicks after keeping him in custody for almost two years.
Mr. Hicks, who was accused of being a Taliban soldier, was one of the first
detainees in the US controlled Guantanamo Bay detention center to be released after a US court found it was illegal for the US military to
detain, without charge, foreign nationals.
In a statement to a joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives, Mr. Downer, said that he was sorry for being "a bum" and not doing more for Hicks and his family.
Mr. Downer said that he had been under a lot of stress recently and that the small white patch in his hair was not caused by a brain tumour as some had hoped.
Mr. Downer wished the Hicks family a happy reunion but said, "that other guy with the funny name" would not be reunited with his family until December at the earliest.
Israeli Prime Minister and war criminal, Ariel Sharon, said in August that, "All I wanted was a picket fence around my cubby house!"
Mr. Sharon told the International War Crimes Commission that the reaction to the so called "apartheid wall" being built across Israel was overstated.
Mr. Sharon was responding to questions from the Chief Prosecutor who alleged the former war criminal and provocateur had destroyed the property of Palestinians and had refused to decorate the Israeli side of the wall in appropriate colours.
Mr. Sharon had told the court that when he was a child his parents had
refused to put up a small picket fence around his cubby house and that he had been traumatised after being bullied by, "fat, white guys in little cap
Mr. Sharon said that as he had the full support of the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, France and Germany he was only doing what he had always wanted to do and that was to protect his cubby house from bullies.
When questioned as to who these bullies might be, Mr. Sharon said that they were from the slum areas on the other side of the wall.
It is understood Mr. Sharon is receiving trauma counselling. His trial continues.
In September this year New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr, admitted that he likes Lebanese food but dislikes scary Lebanese blokes.
The New South Wales Premier told radio personality John Laws that he often dined out on felafel and baklava but that he harboured a real loathing of Lebanese men.
Talking on Laws' popular radio program, Mr. Carr told the audience that a school ground incident when he was 13 had left him embittered and with a lifetime dislike of Lebanese youths.
Mr. Carr told Laws that now he was Premier and referring to the "fact" that, "everyone knows Lebos are violent, untrustworthy and hairy", he would do all he could to make sure they felt unwanted in his state.
In order to inject some rare balance into his program, Mr. Laws had secretly arranged for Mr. Carr's nemesis to ring in during the program.
When the Premier was confronted by his boyhood assailant he became enraged and threatened to sue Laws and his station for creating unnecessary and unprovoked angst for him and his family.
It is understood premier Carr's lawyers are preparing writs.
And turning briefly to the first of our sports reports, October saw a Scrum in Parliament as Pollies show some balls.
Wild scenes erupted on the floor of the Federal House of Representatives in late October as Coalition members demonstrated the Wallabies rugby style in an attempt to send a message to visiting US President, George Bush.
Leading the coalition scrum was wild card recruit, George Brandis who crash
tackled greens Senator Kerry Nettle while stealing the leather from Tasmanian Senator Bob Brown.
In a display of incredible dexterity, Senator Brandis, whose team name is "Bruiser", made the tackle to intimidate the US President in the hope he
would tell the US World Cup rugby team not to bother.
The tackle was watched closely by the Democrats team manager as they contemplated a strategic reprisal in the Senate later in the year.
When asked why that was so, a Democrat's spokesperson said, that they were jealous the Greens were getting all the rough handling and they were being left on the sidelines.
The Prime Minister was chuffed by Mr. Brandis' moves and said he thought is was a great strategy and provided wonderful publicity and inspirational for the Wallabies in the lead up to the world Cup.
Senator Brandis was being tipped to take on the 5 / 8 role in the Parliamentary team later on that week.
In a turnaround never before seen in Australian horse racing history, the smallest Melbourne Cup purse on record was collected on the 4th November.
TAB's across the nation reported that betting was the slowest they had ever seen and centre managers were at a loss to explain why punters were slow to place bets.
A TAB spokesperson speculated that once it had been made known that Rupert Murdoch owned all the horses in the race and that enigmatic trainer and trackside personality, Bart Cummins had trained all this years entries and that star convert and born again Christian jockey, Darren Beadman would be riding all the horses, support for the "one day in Spring" event had waned.
The Prime Minister, John Howard, said he was in mourning over what he termed "the death" of the Australian sporting tradition.
In a joint statement with the leader of the Opposition, Mr. Howard called on all Australians to "do the right thing" and support this great Australian tradition.
Mr. Howard said that the Melbourne Cup day was established so that punters could get fleeced, pissed and, if lucky laid in the back paddock, without fear or favour no matter what their class position.
A News Corp spokesperson reported that Mr. Murdoch was furious that the Australian public had not supported his latest venture after all he had done for them in the past.
The spokesperson labelled it a Packer plot to steal the nation's traditions for commercial gain.
And to end this "year in review' sports wrap the democrats used the traditional December end of year bar-b-que to reveal their new debating style.
In an incident reminiscent of the George Brandis tackle during George Bush's visit in October, Democrat leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, crash tackled liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris during the Senate's end of year bar-b-que.
A Democrat spokesperson said that after the October incident, in which the Greens had been on the receiving end of a Howard government tackle, his parliamentary colleagues had been studying the video footage of the event.
The spokesperson said that under the guidance of the Australian Institute of Sport the Democrat's parliamentary team had received intensive training in tackling, blocking, refusing and rebutting.
Sporting commentator and rugby world cup expert, Gordon Bray, said that while the tackle was lacking in some of the finer graces, it was a credible start to Bartlett's rugby career.
However, Democrats founder and number one ticket holder, Don Chip, was not impressed and said in a short statement that, "there's always one dickhead at the barby who gets tanked and thinks they're God's gift to sport".
The Prime Minister, John Howard, said he was not impressed with his back rower, Senator Ferris, and would be reviewing her position in the team.
We'll keep you posted on future developments.
And in breaking news hot off the wire.
Laura Bush, Janet Howard and Cherie Blair have formed what is being referred to in the Pentagon as The New Iraqi "Search and Make-Over Squad".
A Pentagon spokesperson said that following the capture of Saddam Hussein, in a hole near a house in the middle of nowhere, the three leading ladies decided it was time to act.
In a joint statement, issued from the recently established "House and Garden WMD Home Make Over" Office, the three First Ladies said that when it comes to finding things, a women is the best equipped to do it.
The statement said, "George, Tony and John were good But they had to wait for a woman to tell them where to find Saddam. Like we always say to the boys; if you can't find the beer in the fridge you need to have a mother's look".
The joint statement went on to state that Mr. Saddam, as the ladies have taken to calling him, should be thankful to the US army doctor who shaved and groomed him.
Costing hundreds of millions of US dollars, the lives of almost 400 Coalition soldiers, not to mention the almost 10,000 wounded in action, and countless Iraqi citizen deaths the "First Ladies of the Collagen" division said that their husbands were extremely pleased with Mr. Saddam's new look and hoped he was too.
Mrs. Bush, Howard and Blair said that their husbands had worked hard to
ensure that Mr. Saddam would look his best for the up coming trial and that, like the effort put into finding him, no future expense would be spared.
Highly placed sources within the television industry have reported that there is intense bidding for the rights to a new TV reality program based on the incident.
The working title for the program is mooted to be "Extremist Eye for a Bad Guy" and will feature extreme invasions followed by a make-over of the deposed leader and his nation. Shooting begins next year.