My battle cry for my foray into State politics was "The People's Voice not the Party's Puppet" and it was very
effective. My endorsement of the Beattie Labor Government handed me the balance of power in this State, but I realise
that in general Independent politicians are in the political wilderness. I therefore fully endorse Mr Cole's idea of an
Independent Party comprising politicians who truly represent their constituents on all matters and vote accordingly in
PETER WELLINGTON MLA
Member for Nicklin (Queensland State Parliament)
With the rifle cradled in his arms he sat on top of the high ground alongside the highway where it ran through the
cutting two hundred metres from the bridge across Scrubby Creek.
Hidden behind a low sparse bush he was invisible to motorists. His slouch hat had twigs and leaves stitched to
it. His face and hands were streaked with dirt. The rifle had been painted in irregular stripes with non-reflective paint,
light brown and grey green, the colours of the Australian bush. Hanging from his belt was a mobile telephone.
The time was six forty-two and according to the call two minutes earlier he should have less than a minute to
He settled into a comfortable shooting position, eased off the rifle's safety catch and stared intently down the
road to the bend five hundred metres distant.
The seconds ticked slowly away as he waited. The increasing warmth of the sun brought beads of perspiration
to his forehead and to the palms of his hands. He dried his forehead under the brim of his hat with his shirtsleeve and
wiped his palms on his trouser legs.
The car came round the bend, travelling fast.
He raised the rifle immediately but unhurriedly, knowing that the vehicle would take eleven seconds to travel
the three hundred metres to the bridge. He watched it through the telescopic sight, checking description, registration
plate and the driver's features.
Lining up the sight on his target he held his breath for steadiness and softly took up the slight slack of the
When the car reached the thin guide post thirty metres from the bridge he gently squeezed the trigger.
As the red On Air light in the Channel Five studio lit up, Christine Jordan looked straight into the eye of the central
"Good evening," she said. "I'm Christine Jordan and my first guest tonight is the Prime Minister of Australia,
The Right Honourable Rex Marlow." She turned towards Marlow, her long, raven-black hair swirling lightly around
the tops of her shoulders. "Welcome to Question Time, Prime Minister," she smiled, masking her loathing.
"Thank you, Christine. It's a pleasure to be here," Marlow replied, feeling perspiration starting to form on his
forehead but not wanting to reach for his handkerchief straight away. Already he could feel the back of his shirt
becoming clammy under his coat. God, how he hated these TV studio interviews, with the heat generated by the stage
lighting enveloping him. He should have pleaded a prior engagement because, apart from the heat and the physical
discomfort, it was almost certain this tricky bitch would try to stick a knife or two into him.
When she'd made her request for the interview she'd said she wished to discuss the settlements for the Voyager
disaster victims which the Attorney General's department had announced the previous day, but he knew from past
experience that once these TV interviewers had you live on camera in front of an Australia-wide viewing audience,
they could ask you anything they liked and pin you to the wall with embarrassing questions. He'd been foolish to
agree. A weak performance tonight could drop him four or five points in the opinion polls and he couldn't afford that
during the run down to the approaching election.
Well, she wasn't going to get the better of him. No smartypants female was going to make him look like a fool.
Certainly she was very astute and on top of the TV ratings at present but she was still new in her job whereas he'd been
in Federal Parliament for twenty-five years, a Cabinet Minister for nine of them and Prime Minister for these last two.
Christine noticed his uneasiness. That's good, she thought. I love it when they sweat. Well, suffer you swine.
Tonight is for me. Tonight is retribution time. "Prime Minister," she said, "yesterday afternoon your Attorney
General's department announced that a total of eighty-eight claims for damages arising out of the Voyager disaster
were to be settled out of court for some forty-five million dollars. Is that correct?"