A Mixed Crew by C.J. Dennis

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As I say, it all depends upon policies, and policies must be dealt with first.  At the same time we may be pulling in the same boat when our boat is threatened from the same quarter.  There are various kinds of combinations, from alliances based on principles to fusions of temporary unions and understandings. - Somewhat cryptic utterance by ALFRED DEAKIN.

      Tho' it sounds a trifle mystic,
      Somewhat vague and cabalistic,
When you come to analyse the inner side
      Of political alliance
      You will find it is a science
That embraces matters delicate and wide.
It involves the close cohesion of the faction or cabal,
And the very fleeting friendship of the temporary pal.

But pull for the shore, lads, pull for the shore.
Never mind wot boat yer in, struggle at yer oar.
Cook is on the gunwale, cursin' us fer cows;
Deakin's in stern-sheets. Mauger's at the bows;
The stormy winds are blowin' an' the enemy's at hand;
We must settle it among us when we're safely on the land.

      There's the Temporary Fusion;
      Which is mainly an illusion
When you view it in the light of ev'ry day.
      But politically? -- truly
      'Tis a state in which, unduly,
You are never pledged or promised either way.
An ideal party union, where a man may trim his sail;
Though vulgar folk allude to it as "sitting on a rail."

But pull for the shore, lads, pull for the shore.
We'll settle in the harbor when the hurricane is o'er.
Quick is partly inside; Irnine's partly out;
Willie Kelly's overside, flunderin' about;
Forrest's at mast'ead, letting out a roar.
Never mind who owns the boat.  Pull for the shore.

      Then there's the Coalition,
      Which is entered on condition
You can swallow certain principles with ease.
      'Tis corruption sugar-coated;
      And no matter how you've voted
In the past, you may change it if you please.
Though the common crowd may scoff at the reversal of your vote,
If you murmur "Coalition" you may safely turn your coat.

But pull for the shore, lads, pull for the land.
Never mind who owns the craft, lend a willin' hand.
Smith is on the bowsprit, yellin' "Anti-Sosh"!
Reid is on the towline, draggin' in the wash;
Jawbone Neild is founderin', shoutin' for a rope;
But pull, lads, pull, for the shore's our only hope.

      Note you now the Understanding,
      Quite devoid of party branding,
Where the parties undertake to understand
      That, in certain set conditions,
      They'll consider their positions,
And reach out for what they want with either hand.
And for the country's welfare and the nation's lasting good,
They agree to understand that they are all misunderstood.

But pull for the shore, lads, pull for the shore.
Groom is on the fore'atch with 'arf a dozen more;
Knox is in the chart-room makin' up his mind;
Wilks is on a hen-coop, draggin' on behind.
Never mind the company; only keep afloat.
You can't be too particular who's mannin' of the boat.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 May 1909

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 27, 2013 7:18 AM.

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