A Done Deal?


"In a way it is," Ballantyne agreed. "But she was only there because some of her mates reckoned they needed a black woman on the ticket. Didn't really want to go to Canberra, and knew there was bugger all chance of getting there anyway. But she reckoned I had a good chance, so she was withdrawing to make it easier."

Ballantyne paused for a few seconds to let that sink in.

"So while you're going to tell me that this is all too convenient," he went on, "in reality, you've ended up with the outcome you wanted. Your mate's safe in Number One. Should hold the seat. No damage to the campaign if the allegations about Bugalugs come to the surface. Which they will if he's silly enough to try to run for anything."

Moran was rarely lost for words, but this seemed to be one occasion where he was.

"So you've got what you wanted. More or less. And you know what I want."

"Which we can't give you. Not as a cast iron guarantee."

"But we do have an understanding, right? I get the nomination, but I don't draw on party resources, correct? I pay for my corflutes and printed material. I run that stuff past you and the others on the Executive to make sure you don't have any violent objections.No guarantee that I'd change anything if there are objections, but I'll listen to reason. From people who I think know what they're talking about."

"Sounds fair. More or less what we'd expect."

"But I won't necessarily change anything unless it's a genuine problem. Number One gets something out of it too. I assume that after the first preferences have been counted and they start working up from the bottom, provided the two of us are both ahead of the Tory those votes are all effectively in the same pile. And the job is to get that pile over 67%. At that point, we're both off to Canberra."

"So now all you need to do is to make sure that's how it works out," Moran responded.

© Ian Hughes 2017