"It was the right thing to do," says former Australian Prime Minister John Howard

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA ( a move unprecedented in history, the governments of Australia and New Zealand handed power back to their indigenous populations yesterday.

Said Helen Clark, New Zealand's former Prime Minister: "We sort of figured we should be pre-emptive and not wait for what happened in South Africa. I can only hope that the Maoris will follow in the glorious example of Nelson Mandela."

It appears, however, that the indigenous populations, although elated, were not as forgiving as Ms Clark had hoped.

"Nelson Mandela? Never heard of him," said Irihapeti Morehu, the incoming Prime Minister. "But I've heard of Stalin--and Attila the Hun."

Similar sentiments were observed in Australia. Marion Scrymgour, until then the first Aboriginal female cabinet minister, was sworn in as Prime Minister instead of John Howard. Within seconds, Prime Minister Scrymgour was seen pummelling Mr Howard relentlessly with a didgeridoo.

"I've been waiting to do that for a long time," she explained unapologetically. "You didn't really think that thing was a musical instrument, did you?"

Overall, the handover was a relatively peaceful affair.

Not everyone was pleased though. Derek Smythe, a recent immigrant from South Africa, said: "I escaped just this sort of thing back home. When I moved here, it was a great place, maybe more Asians than I expected, but ok. And now this. It's absolutely horrible. I predict that within five years, Australia will be like Zimbabwe. I just don't know where to go from here."

In the United States, the Indian tribes were restless. Black Thunder, a Sioux Indian, said the government should immediately follow suit. Asked if he'd be magnanimous once in power, he replied: "Oh, sure. But I think that the whites should be required to live on reservations for a couple of years, just to see what it's like. But don't worry, there'll be liquor stores everywhere, and they'll be able to run casinos."

President Bush has adopted what he calls a "wait and wait" attitude. "The Indians can wait," he explained, "and then they can wait some more."

Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw


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