ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A bead-wearing public servant who once upon a time either took the light rail or a BMW to work has suggested that people of her age and sense of entitlement could do the back-breaking work of a fruit picker.

Out-of-work city dwellers and grey nomads are to be ‘drafted’ into a ‘land army’ of people assembled to pick fruit and do other extremely low-paid and manual jobs around the country as the labour shortage grips primary producers.

Speaking from the heart, Penelope Susan from the Department of Agriculture explained that citrus farmers especially are missing the planeloads of ‘seasonal serfs’ that come over to pick the fruit each year.

“We were thinking about how we, the senior public servants, could help farmers,” said Penelope.

“So we came up with the idea of getting Grey Nomads and obese, former city workers out to do the job! To fill the gaps! To get this Aussie fruit and veg to market! Bending is good exercise!”

However, some local primary producers have their doubts.

Waldo Ryan, of Ryan Citrus out on the River Road near the bypass turnoff to Windorah, said the work that his seasonal workers do is ‘extremely physical’ and the work conditions are ‘unfavourable’ – on top of the minimum wage.

He cites recent encounters with Grey Nomads as part of the reason why he’s formed the opinion that they aren’t up to the job.

“Mate, they don’t even pay for their own toilet paper. Anything you don’t bolt down in a public shitter, they’ll fucken pinch,” he said.

“They’re the most entitled people in the bush. Coupled with being physically useless, what makes you think they’d be any good picking fruit? Fuck me, can you imagine the whinging? I mean, even some fat young Londoner with nipples the size of pikelets can pick six bins a day. These old bastards wouldn’t even be able to do one!”

“This is just more pollie bullshit, mate. I might as well pick the fucken things myself.”

More to come.


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