To all you bright young things out there, ever thought of a career in politics?
Just join one of Australia's two approved parties and, as you climb to the top of the party tree, you'll start to look so trim, taught and terrific the ABC'll be after you for a regular spot on Q&A!
But more than that, you'll acquire the kind of mental stamina that the rest of us can only dream about.
Take Minister for Whatever Tanya Plibersek, for instance. She was as raw and uncouth as any to begin with, a real wild child. Why, even as late as 2002, firmly ensconced in federal parliament, Tanya thought nothing of shooting her mouth off something terrible:
"I can think of a rogue state, which consistently ignores UN resolutions, whose ruler is a war criminal responsible for the massacres of civilians in refugee camps outside its borders. The US supports and funds this country. This year it gave it a blank cheque to continue its repression of its enemies. It uses US military hardware to bulldoze homes and kill civilians. It is called Israel and the war criminal is Ariel Sharon."
Forsooth she must blush at the very thought of it today!
But all that's in the past. The rough diamond of 2002 has been ground down to the photogenic perfection we see before us today. Now she's cool, calm, and collected, having finally acquired a most remarkable mental discipline and such a capacity for whispering sweet nothings you'd scarcely recognise in the Tanya of today the superbrat of yore:
"Thankyou for your recent correspondence regarding Palestinian statehood. Australia strongly supports a negotiated two-state solution that allows a secure Israel to live side-by-side with a secure and independent future Palestinian state.
"The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, underlined to both sides Australia's strong support for a negotiated two-state solution during his visits to Israel and the Palestinian Territories in December 2010 and March and April 2011, and urged parties to return to negotiations.
"I have raised this issue with the Foreign Minister who assures me that Australia's decision to vote against the Palestinian resolution reflected Australia's strong concern that consideration of Palestinian membership in UNESCO was premature. The matter of Palestinian membership of the United Nations (UN) had only recently been placed before the UN Security Council (UNSC).
"Australia believed we should allow the process of UNSC consideration of Palestinian membership of the UN to run its course, rather than pre-empt it by seeking to address this question in different UN forums. The Foreign Minister assures me that if a Palestinian resolution is introduced to the UN General Assembly the Australian Government will consider it carefully before deciding how to vote.
"The Australian Government strongly supports the aspirations of the Palestinian people for their own state and is providing practical support for Palestinian institution-building in support of a future state"... yadda, yadda, yadda.
So come on boys and girls, whether it's Lab or Lib, why not consider a career in politics today? Oh, and our pollies have just had a wage rise! Tanya, who was getting $243,000 per annum is now getting $319,125 per annum! So there you go...
[* For the letter to which Tanya responded, and for that vital yadda, yadda, yadda, see This is how Australia handles Palestine: contempt with a smile, 6/1/12, antonyloewenstein.com.]