Op-Ed: Aussie Liberal leader lost in bush as mate finds ‘bush narcotic’

Posted Mar 2, 2010 by Paul Wallis
Opposition leader Tony Abbott found himself lost in the bush for nearly a day. According to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, the person leading Abbott’s party went looking for a bush narcotic, leaving them stranded 350 km west of Alice Springs for a while.
You’d think being lost in the bush with a politician was sublime narcosis enough for anyone. Maybe they meant “analgesic”.
The epic started at about 5 PM, and lasted until 10:20PM, when Abbott and party made it back to the King’s Creek Station.
Getting lost in the Australian outback can be problematic enough, even without press coverage. After dark in the bush is a great place to break something stumbling around in unknown country, so the risk was real enough.
The Daily Telegraph says that the guide went off with his quad bike, leaving Mr. Abbott and some Aboriginal elders to spend a pleasant time wondering what was going on for a couple of hours. A satellite phone they had with them didn’t work, and it took a while for Ian Conway, a local pastoralist whom Mr. Abbott was visiting to discuss economic options for Aboriginals, to return, with or without the ‘bush narcotic’.
I’d like to explain this point: Australian pastoralists need all the medication they can get, for economic reasons. Even the Opposition leader, despite no doubt good intentions and a reassuringly sedative, Panadol-like nature, isn’t really a surrogate.
Nor is it explained what the ‘bush narcotic’ was. We will assume for the sake of argument that it wasn’t a copy of Malcolm Turnbull’s life story, Alexander Downer, or a How To Become Peter Costello CD or chemically altered Kim Beazley T shirts, or anything illegal and addictive like that.
The lost and found aspect, however, leaves something to be desired. After all, this is Oz. There should be a Yellow Brick Road or something…