First published in Time Out Sydney 15 May, 2014. Art by Robert Polmear
Dear the Internet,
You’ve probably watched with excitement as the all-dancin’, all-smokin’ treasurer handed down his budget earlier this week and thought “heck, I like the sounds of this massively inequitable and unsubstantiated cut-fest!”
Well, we have some great news: you can bring down your own unnecessary and nationally-damaging budget in the comfort of your own home, simply by playing the Department of Treasury’s exciting new spin-off product: the 45% interactive Diamond Joe Hockey Federal Budget and Class War 2014 game!
Using the same cardboard and string technology that’s now being rolled out to replace the National Broadband Network, you can recreate all the manufactured panic and pious condescension of your federal government in the comfort of your own home! The rules are below, so don’t wait for the Senate to ratify it: start playing today!
1. The aim of the game is to fix the nation by owning as much of it as possible.
2. Every player starts with $200. That sounds socialist, actually. Scrap that.
3. With the richest person choosing first, every player selects their piece: Mining Magnate, Media Mogul, University Professor, Nurse, Manufacturing Worker, Single Mother, Unemployed Person, and Pensioner. On the box it will say there should be a Disabled Pensioner figure in there, but that’s now been deliberately left out.
4. Mining Magnate and Media Mogul take $5000 each. Everyone else gets $40, except for the pensioner who should have acquired their money before the game began, and the Unemployed Person who has to wait six rounds before getting whatever the Mining Magnate determines is fair ($5 maximum). Single Mother also has to pay a $5 “wanton harlot” levy (not a tax).
5. Everyone gets their wage each time they pass Go (although this requires a $7 co-pay).
6. At the beginning of the game every piece has the choice of paying a $100 upfront education levy (not a tax), or paying 15% of their salary every round. Similarly, there’s a first round $200 “private health cover” payment, or a 30% health levy (not a tax) per round for any player that chooses not to pay.
7. By landing on a property the player has the chance to buy it, although the Mining Magnate can block any purchase by playing her unlimited supply of “fracking” cards.
8. Any purchase must be negotiated with the Bank, except for Mining Magnate or Media Mogul, who can take unsecured no-interest, no-repayment loans from the Bank at any point.
9. Landing on a Utility requires the payment of a $5 fee, unless the utility has been privatised in which case it’s $20, plus a $20 late fee.
10. Every 12th round requires all pieces to pay a flat 30% Contribution Levy (not a tax) for being part of the game. Except for the Mining Magnate and Media Mogul pieces, which for tax purposes are based in Connect Four.
11. The winner is the first person to own the country and become King Patriot. Unless it’s not Mining Magnate, in which case the result will be challenged and Mining Magnate will be declared King Patriot.
RRP: $12 billion (plus $12 billion in operating costs). However, you’ve already paid for it via your forthcoming temporary board game levy.
NOTE: It’s not a tax.