Works in the Bulletin 1909
There's been fierce argument of late
   In my vicinitee,
Between the Commonwealth and State,
   For I fell out with me.

I am a sturdy Federalist, A staunch Australian; And I have waved an angry fist At me, the States' Rights man.
The argument began like this: I to myself one night Remarked: "There's something sore amiss That cries to be put right.
"This argument 'twixt Commonwealth And State must cease, 'tis plain. 'Tis interfering with my health And rending me in twain."
"Then, as a free," myself replied, "Elector of the State, I hold my Rights can't be denied, And I've been wronged of late.
"The Commonwealth's extravagance" - "Hold on," I said, "hold on! A fool could tell you at a glance Where all the money's gone.
"Of late the States' expenditure Has risen high and higher." "What rot," me thought. "That's pretty pure!" Then shouted, "I'm a liar!"
I rose to smite the Fed'ralist And - what do you suppose? - I found, with my avenging fist, The States' Rights person's nose.
And yet, it did seem strange, because Though, truly, as I've said, I hit the State elector, 'twas The Federal nose that bled.
"See here," I said, "this game won't do. We'll have to stop and think. There's something wrong with me and you. Let's go and have a drink."
We entered, without further hitch, A pub across the way, And had a single drink, for which We both appeared to pay.
"Enough of this!" the States' man brayed. "You asked me over here To have a drink, and when I've paid, You drink the bloomin' beer!"
"Nay," quoth the Fed'ralist, "I think You err. To me 'tis clear I paid the money for the drink, And you consumed the beer.
"I don't know what you are to me, A foe, or friend, or brother. To settle it I think I - we - YOU better have another."
We had another. Then we sat Awhile, morose and mute; Then drifted into friendly chat About our late dispute.
"I think I see a point we've missed, And that suggests a plan." At length said I, the Fed'ralist, To Me, the States' Rights man.
"It may seem strange to you at first; We both wear one same hat, We have one coat, one shirt, one thirst; Why should we stop at that?
"To buy two drinks to quench one thirst Is utterly absurd; Unless, of course, you're on a burst Or jag (excuse the word).
"But, since, we're one in thirst and dress Why not be one in view? I can't see why we don't possess But one opinion too.
"For I begin to think 'tis true, Whatever else we be, That while I'm virtually you You're practically me.
"We're both one man. It's all a fake! You're me, and I am you; Though politicians try to make Us think that we are two.
"And if a thing suits one it should, Quite clearly, suit the two. And if this Federation's good For me, it's good for you.
"'Tis folly that we two should fight, And wrangle, and abuse; So, seeing things in this new light, It's up to us to fuse."
We fose forthwith, I'm pleased to say, We're now a single man. And that man is, from now, alway, A good Austral-i-an.

The Bulletin, 4 November 1909, p7

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002