The Informant's favourite department head, Mike Pezzullo, gave a colourful and widely reported speech last year to the Trans-Tasman Business Circle. He spoke of the pressing need to create the home affairs portfolio so as to better protect Australia from the "dark universe" and to smash various evils who wished to assail us.
Now, I apologise for failing to draw this to readers' attention earlier, but the following exchange between Pezzullo and Greens senator Nick McKim during a later estimates hearing was even better than the speech.
McKim: ... Understood. But you've said in your speech that the hobbits – after saving Middle-earth by casting the ring into the fires of Mordor ...
Pezzullo: The One Ring.
McKim: Yes, thank you, the One Ring. They come back and you said: "The comfortable hobbits who stayed behind looked at them suspiciously. 'These fellows are a bit above themselves.' " I think you're paraphrasing there, which is fair enough.
Pezzullo: The movie – I was trying to be very clear.
McKim: Alright, thank you.
Pezzullo: I thought someone would pick me up on this. The book version has a different ending.
McKim: It does, but you're talking about the book here. We've established that.
Pezzullo: I'm talking about Tolkien's work as interpreted by Peter Jackson.
McKim: Yes, but you've said here that the hobbits go back into their gardens: "They go back into their very beautifully kept hobbit holes not knowing the sacrifices that have been endured to keep them safe." But in fact, that wasn't the end of the book, was it? What actually happened was the hobbits came back. The four protagonists of Lord of the Rings came back and they actually scoured the Shire themselves, didn't they, without help from Gandalf or anybody else? In fact, they took care of their own problems without compromising their freedoms and their liberties and their values, didn't they?
Pezzullo: Well, they took on Saruman– that is right.
McKim: And beat him.
Pezzullo: Indeed. The book ending is very different from the movie, but I was very clear to the trans-Tasman circle ...
McKim: I guess my point: who were the hobbits, in your analogy, Mr Pezzullo?
Liberal senator Scott Ryan: [Chairman] Senator [Ian] Macdonald, I'm wondering if this is more appropriate for the Arts Council section in another committee.
McKim: Who are the hobbits? Are the hobbits the Australian people? In this fantasy, are you Gandalf, Mr Pezzullo?
Pezzullo: I think we're over it – I think we're overextending the analogy here. I think the use of the analogy, in my remarks to the trans-Tasman circle, was self-evident. I don't wish to extend the metaphor or the analogy. Could I ask, senator, are you a fan as well?