Joining the dots

Blogging and coughing and postponing starting the day’s renovations. I see from a comment by Tex that he’s from Darwin. He probably won’t thank me for this, but the penny’s finally dropped. Tex is the brother of Mark Textor, senior federal Liberal Party pollster and John Howard’s guru/architect of wedge politics strategies.

It’s a small world really. Mark is married to Davida Walker, a good friend of ours when she lived in Darwin. In fact her son Lindsay was Rebecca’s very best friend when they were small children. Lindsay was Davida’s child by her then long-time partner John Stirk, a lawyer colleague who now runs a firm in Alice Springs. When Jenny and I first arrived in Darwin at the end of 1982, John and Davida found us our first accommodation, in a granny flat under the house of their next door neighbours Russell and Mary Gluck. And that’s a story in itself.

Mary was a long-suffering Kiwi, while Russell was a recently born-again Jew and public servant. Picture a slightly anorexic Joseph Gutnick (although Russell supported Footscray as it then was). Russell was also a weekend neo-hippie, who’d decided to turn his yard into a productive suburban ecosystem. The family attempted to live entirely on what they produced in their own garden. Russell and Mary and their 4 year old son Sam were the most malnourished middle class people I’ve ever seen.

Russell had turned their swimming pool into a self-sustaining aquaculture system. As far as I could see, it only bred mosquitos, frogs and noxious green slime.

He also chainsawed all the mature palms in the garden and replaced them with exotic tropical fruit trees. Unfortunately Russell decided to leave the fallen trunks in place to rot down and provide mulch, or so he claimed. What he failed to realise was that this simply attracted white-ants, who didn’t differentiate between the palms and fruit trees, and also began munching happily on the main bearers of the house.

Russell also kept free range chooks, ducks and geese, most but not all of whom became quite adept at avoiding the local dogs. He fed them on kitchen scraps, which attracted free range rats who roamed at will through our granny flat every night. Jenny and I quickly found other accommodation. Russell and Mary divorced soon after. Mary and Sam returned to New Zealand, and Russell was transferred back to Canberra.

I bumped into Russell a few months ago, at a Greek restaurant in Manuka. He looked much the same, but considerably better fed. He’d wisely decided that neo-hippiedom wasn’t for him.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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mark
2022 years ago

Footscray as it then was? What are they now?

Tys
Tys
2022 years ago

Western Bulldogs I think.

Tex
Tex
2022 years ago

“Well, that certainly explains a hell of a lot about Tex”

Including why I voted Labor in the last ACT election? You twat.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

You’re right, Tex. He is a twat. I knew I’d get others using that word eventually.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I suppose I should explain that last comment. First, assuming anyone’s political views are the same as those of a sibling is silly. My views, for instance, are quite different from those of my brother, who’s a management consultant and has never voted Labor in his life.

Secondly, I wouldn’t have thought you could draw any conclusions at all about the views of Tex’s brother from his occupation. The skill of a pollster (especially a qualitative one who runs focus groups) lies in identifying what the public are thinking, and translating that into saleabe messages and strategies, not imposing one’s own opinions on the group. Thus, the fact that Textor has come up with some fairly potently divisive strategies over the years doesn’t necessarily say anything at all about his own political views (although I suppose it’s reasonable to infer that they’re probably right of centre).

BTW If you want a preview of Labor’s wedge messages for the next election, read this speech by Mark Latham posted on Margo Kingston’s Web Diary. These sorts of messages are every bit as divisive as any of John Howard’s propaganda, so let’s not get too sanctimonious. Politics, whether we like it or not, is inherently an amoral game: “whatever it takes”, as Richo once famously said.

Jason Soon
2022 years ago

Ken
has it taken you this long to figure out that Mark Textor might be Chris Textor’s brother? (same age group, same surname, looks roughly the same)

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Tex, is is true that your father was the Northern Territory policeman who took the call from Lindy Chamberlain about the dingo and her baby? I heard this rumour a long time ago but have never been able to check it.

mark
2022 years ago

Ah, but Tex, *anyone* would’ve voted Labor in the last ACT election after the way the Libs ran things. (Can’t say I’ve any opinion of Labor’s job one way or the other, but at least there’s no major disasters this term).

Must confess my reaction was initially the same as Niall’s — “ah, so *that* explains it!” — then I thought for a while and realised what a stupid reaction that was.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Jason,

It’s true it hadn’t occurred to me before. A bit thick I guess.

Tex
Tex
2022 years ago

“Since when is voting labor in the last election any qualification for anything in life? For that matter, so did I…..big deal!”

You must be part of the secret Liberal cabal too then.

What a knob.

pim hendrix
pim hendrix
2022 years ago

Hi,

I was a friend of Davida’s in the 1970’s when we both attended Darwin High School. I would love to know how to contact her (e-mail address) so I could just say hi. Can anyone help me?