Ken Baxter on Bert Kelly, The Bulletin, December 27, 1983 / January 3, 1984, p. 84.
A Sydney group this year gave me a testimonial dinner which destroyed some of my well-known modesty. Sir John Crawford apologised for his unavoidable absence. One speaker was Ken Baxter, now managing director of the NSW Egg Corporation, who delivered his message with the plummest High Anglican intonation. Here it is, in an abridged form:
Sir John and, in absentia, your Grace — Kelly, that is — my Lord Bishops, High Priests and ‘umble parishioners — let us pray.
(The congregation shall kneel)
1: I waited patiently for Kelly and sometime he inclined unto me and I heard his calling;
2: He brought me also out of the horrible pit, out of the mine, and set my feet upon the rock and ordered my goings;
3: And he hath put a new song in my mouth; even a thanksgiving, unto the IAC;
4: Many shall hear it, and fear, and hath put their trust in Fraser while others hath resorted to idols and birds of the air;
5: Blessed is the man that hath set his hope in Kelly; and turned not unto the proud, to such as go about with lies.
(The congregation shall rise)
Here beginneth the Epistle:
With rigor and enthusiasm Kelly sought to interpret the Gospel according to St John, as against Sir John. It is in much contrast with the Gospel now being written according to Sir William.
It is appropriate that the scripture appointed for the Epistle is written in the first chapter of the Gospel according to Sir John beginning at the second verse:
“In the beginning was the word and the word was with Adam Smith. All things were said by him and without him there was not anything worth saying. In him was the truth and the truth was the light to all men. And the light shineth brightly in the darkness. The people and the governments asked him: Who are thou and what sayest thou?”
“He said, I am the voice crying in the wilderness. I and my disciples and those that follow me shall say unto you, turn away from the truth and thou shall suffer war, plague, the pestilence, budget deficits and other sundry ailments. Some came and listened. Who is this man that we should abide by his law? And they mocked him.”
“And the tribes of both the Left and the Right turned from his way and mocked him. And many false prophets arose. Lo and behold the darkness descended and war, plague, pestilence, budget deficits and capital outflows struck the unbelievers and they were in grievous pain.”
“The money changers in the temples trembled with fear as M3 sought them out and multiplied and the Treasury officials were upon them and the tax gatherers lurked in alleys and other dirty places. Have mercy upon us, they cried. But they were not truly repentant. They listened to false prophets and went the way of all flesh.”
“And the prophet Kelly and his disciple Hyde said: Hear what we say lest the plague and the budget deficit visit you get again. Heed our words. But they were not faithful and took their shoes and shawls to hear the comfortable words of the false prophets.”
Here endeth the Epistle.
The holy Gospel is written in the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to Sir John beginning at the sixth verse:
“There is a country with one steelworks and three motor manufacturing plants — but what are they among so many? And McEwen said, those of you who have been dealing with cotton we shall make work for the men. And they sat down and listened. Those nearest to him sat on pillows and feather beds and were much comforted.”
“At the back of the crowds were the hewers of wood and the drawers of water and many sheep and much coal. The hewers of wood and drawers of water sat among the dung of their sheep and the slag of the coal and were not much comforted. They had been exporting for many years and were heavily burdened with much protection. They sat on the grass and not the feather beds and were sore in sundry parts.”
“The high priest McEwen said unto the steel and car makers: Hear well what I say for thou shalt profit by my words and my deeds, and they drew nearer. We shall multiply your goods and your profits shall flow thereto. In order to heal their wounds and give them cover, steelworks begat foundries, foundries begat engine plants, engine plants begat refrigerators, refrigerators begat singlets and singlets begat shoes. And Walford, one of the disciples of McEwen, was much pleased and sang the praises of the high priest and was cheered by the tribes of Judas.”
“Then out of the south from the deserts of Adelaide in and around the mount known as Gambier came the true prophet Kelly. Open up your borders, reduce your tariffs, multiply your trade and be of the world. The high priest and his disciples were struck asunder. Cast out this heretic, they cried.”
“Thence appeared the great emperor who stood like a mountain among men with a face likened unto stone and he chastised the disbelievers. The government was upon his shoulders and righteousness was with him because he had just cast out the devil from among the tribes and he was much pleased with himself: I have listened well to the words of the prophet Kelly and believe. I have preached his gospel to the tribes of Africa, to the tribes of Europe and unto the heretics of the plains of America and to all others who hear my words.”
“But hear ye! So fearful was he of the disciples of the high priest McEwen that he said nought in his own land — and was stoned for it.”
Shall we pray.
Give we thanks that Kelly was on our side and not theirs; give we thanks that Kelly begat Hyde, who begat Shack, and Shack begat Sainsbury and someone begat Walsh and the tribe out of and with Kelly multiplieth.
We beseech thee to give us further tariff reductions and prevent us heaping quota upon quota. We duly pray for the sick and infirm, for the IAC and for all who labor under her. We pray that if any false prophet shall preach or print anything other than that which Kelly has established he or they, the offenders, shall be liable to our displeasure and we will see there shall be due execution upon them.
Well, that was the Baxter message and I will never be quite the same again. I hope all my readers, even including Neil Walford of Repco, have a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Now I must go and polish my halo.
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