The first two bills to be introduced after the opening of the Victorian State Parliament were the Unemployment Insurance Bill and Totalisator Bill.
It is not strange that people speak of this our country as unique, considering the countless laws, the legislation without pause, the hub-bub vast that represents our seven restless parliaments. With fourteen Houses in debate to govern Commonwealth and State, enacting this, enacting that, with many a contradictory Act: with nothing static, nothing fixed, what wonder we're a little mixed. What stranger can appreciate our very sadly muddled state? Mayhap 'twill help you if you will consider this sad case of Bill.
Bill is a man who all his days was bitten with the gambling craze. When Bill came to the betting ring, joyous bookmakers rose to sing songs of thanksgiving for the gift that heaven sent, their gloom to lift. Mid-week, week-end found William there, with all the cash he had to spare; he wasted time, he wasted cash in hopeful speculation rash; till in the end, now past his prime, he had no cash but heaps of time.
For having gambled every bob, Bill, through his folly, lost his job.
And there are many like to Bill -- bodies to clothe and mouths to fill; but what's a Government to do for all this workless hapless crew?
For days poor Bill has walked the street on ill-shod and uneasy feet, seeking a job that he may get more ready cash to make a bet. But Bill gets neither work nor fun; so clearly something must be done.
"Ha," say our rulers, "Here are facts! Now, let us introduce two acts: One to give Bill a few odd pence that he may meet the day's expense; and then another that he may the easier gamble it away. Who knows? Bookmakers may not last; and a machine is twice as fast. Let's gave the two together so that Bill may have a willing go."
Let's hope Bill won't be such a fool as again to be Folly's tool. But why, since times are out of joint, make Folly easier? That's the point.
So let us then not take offence when strangers joke at our expense; nor wonder much when people speak of our law-making as unique.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002|