DEEP DOWN UNDER

by John Laing

Short Film
Email: Jo[email protected]

The world is in turmoil both in the Middle East and Asian and the dogs of war are seemingly gathering. There is an element of panic amongst the people of the world, with the most likely outcome being a horrific Armageddon waged throughout the planet. In this environment people are preparing themselves for the inevitable, which with there overwhelming resources includes the governments. In Australia the Government is preparing for the worst by putting in place plans to keep in tact the governments of Australia (both federal and State) (and of course various friends?) via already constructed bunkers in which the parliaments and government infrastructure can be maintained during the ensuring cataclysm, safe in the knowledge that when the effects of the radiation have been dissipated then the government can return to create order from the Chaos. The Governments would be maintained within secure bunkers underneath the separate parliaments, communicating only amongst themselves, avoiding contact with the outside, which would mean having to help others. The Government and opposition parties agreed to form a state of emergency government deep under the parliaments until the next election in ten years, when the impacts of nuclear war had subsided. During this ten year period, parliament would sit and pass legislation on what they thought would be needed when they emerged and the insuring speeches, protocols and monuments etc that would mark their triumphant return, or will it?

Deep Down Under






            by


            John Fraser Laing
 







            DRAFT STAGE
           
            April 2001
            © COPYRIGHT John Laing, 2001
                   28 Grevillea Road
        Ashgrove Qld
Australia 4060
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Deep Down Under

By

John Fraser Laing


What would happen if people found themselves without politicians, would they notice?



Synopsis: The world is in turmoil both in the Middle East and Asian and the dogs of war are seemingly gathering. There is an element of panic amongst the people of the world, with the most likely outcome being a horrific Armageddon waged throughout the planet. In this environment people are preparing themselves for the inevitable, which with there overwhelming resources includes the governments. In Australia the Government is preparing for the worst by putting in place plans to keep in tact the governments of Australia (both federal and State) (and of course various friends?) via already constructed bunkers in which the parliaments and government infrastructure can be maintained during the ensuring cataclysm, safe in the knowledge that when the effects of the radiation have been dissipated then the government can return to create order from the Chaos.

The Governments would be maintained within secure bunkers underneath the separate parliaments, communicating only amongst themselves, avoiding contact with the outside, which would mean having to help others. The Government and opposition parties agreed to form a state of emergency government deep under the parliaments until the next election in ten years, when the impacts of nuclear war had subsided. During this ten year period, parliament would sit and pass legislation on what they thought would be needed when they emerged and the insuring speeches, protocols and  monuments etc that would mark their triumphant return, or will it?
















Scene 1:    News footage of conflicts in the middle East and Asia, potraying a inevitable  escalation to all out war, with numerous commentary dramatizing the importance of the conflict.
 
Scene 2:    Pans to Prime Ministers Office in Canberra, which includes PM, his deputy and various colleagues.(smoke filled, looks as if they have been there all week)

Deputy:    Doesn’t look good Bob, I think we are going to have to act mate, where going to have to be seen to be acting.

PM:    What do something……like what?

Deputy:    You know, the usual…..like

PM:    like what, this thing doesn’t usually happen

Deputy:    We could ummm… you know…
Minister 1:    We could make a press statement

PM:    About What for Christ sake
Minister 2:    That plans are being put in place

PM:    Yeah go on

Minister 3:    (lounging on sofa with a beer) that we are um …. Mobilising the defence force.

Minister 1:    Yeah and the State Emergency

Minister 4:    (from behind sofa with a bottle of vodka) what about a tax rebate for getting your house blown up?

Treasurer:    (completely deadpan) We will have to raise a levy through the taxation system to do that, we need to maintain our fiscal responsibility.

PM:    (behind desk with look of despair) For heaven sake is this the best we can do, don’t we have any plans for something like this?

Dr Hemp:    (A dark figure who appears from the shadows slowly appears) (Tall thin, with a pale complexion, dark black hair and a scar down his cheek, with leather gloves and a cigarette)
    Wombat

PM:    What have fat furry marsupial have to do with all out nuclear war.

Dr Hemp:    (slight German accent appears)(moves closer, with lighting focusing on him)
    I think that you will find that all the contingencies for this type of situation have been allowed for in “Operation Wombat”
Minister 4:    Who’s batting?

PM:    Shut up…(after shooting evil glare at minister 4.) go on Dr.

Dr Hemp:    You might remember that when we built our new parliament contingencies where made to provide the survival of the government throughout a prolonged period in a bunker below the building.

Minister 4:    yeah once the ball gets in a bunker, you might as well give it away…. What? (fakes hitting golf ball)(looks around at the entire room looking at him, the realisation that he hasn’t fully grasped the situation sinks in) … Oh

PM:    Goose  (mutters under breathe) you can’t pick you relatives. Right Doctor.

Dr Hemp:    Arr were was I…… oh yes, we have enough provisions in the bunker for the government and others to survive for ten years, after which the effects of the cataclysm will have dissipated and we can return to our rightful place and government.

Minister 1:    What about the opposition? (looks around to find everyone agreeing)

PM:        It would do us all a favour if they hang around up here, or preferably
Close to the bloody targets (stares up at no where) maybe they could be human shields?

Dr Hemp:    I think you’ll find that they are part of the plan, and I think its best that we leave as few people up top that know about operation wombat as possible as we will be totally isolated from the outside world…..we don’t want to have to contend with the horror on the surface do we
    (all nod sheepishly)
   
PM:    How long will it take to get Wombat going?

Minister 4:    The Wombats are on me (as he grasps onto back of sofa)

PM:    Will someone shut him up (Minister 1 thumps him behind sofa)

Dr Hemp:    I would say about twenty four hours if everything runs smoothly.
    ……um by the way I think that the plan allows for the female to male ratio to be 2:1, you know to assist in repopulating

PM:    (PM has dazed look which he suddenly breaks) Right … (picks up phone) Ilga can you ring my wife and tell her I won’t be home tonight and can you and Helga come into my office I need to discuss some overtime (beaming smile)
    I think gentlemen that we put into place operation Wombat.

Minister 4:    I’ll drink to that ( and falls down on sofa)(all make cursory glance)

Scene 3:    (The lodge Canberra) The PM wife (welled dressed) is busily packing some belongings assisted by staff as she talks to her children(TV in background showing escalating violence in middle east and Asia with indications of mobilisation of armies in those regions)

PM Wife:    I am sorry your father has spoken, he is the Prime Minister you know.

Son:    But mum why do we have to go to Tasmania for, its boring down there.

PM Wife:    Because its safer (struggles with suitcase) …. They have a specially built bunker there for the wives and families of the politicians….(struggles some more, this time maid helps but bounces off suitcase and falls onto floor, PM wife’s looks down, shakes head and continue conversation) Its all part of what’s it called …… um Wombat that’s it operation wombat.
    (stops to think) What silly name.

Son:    But Mummm

PM Wife:    (struggling to carry the suitcase) I am sorry buts it is our best interest, your father doesn’t even know if he will make it out of Canberra
    (stops and smiles) But we get those delightful body guards to look after us just in case.


Scene 4:    More news footage of escalating violence(increased army mobilisations).


Scene 5:    The PM’s office, 24 hours later, with the same people, only more haggered and with a greater mess.


PM:    Well how is everything going Doug, are we making any progress.

Deputy PM:    Bob everything is going smoothly, I have released a press statement… which I think went down really well.
    (All nod and mutter agreements)

PM:    Is that all Doug, Is that all you’ve done (raised tones)….geez what about some action…..(shakes head) what about some communication, ads, action programs?

Treasurer:    Its not fiscally sensible at this stage Bob, not without some additional taxation measures..which I don’t

PM:    (interrupts Treasurer) I am I missing something, shouldn’t we being taking action.
Minister 1:    Yeah we’ve all been doing something
    (all mutter agreement)
Minister 1:    I ve cancelled all the orders for Toilet paper for all government offices

Treasurer:    We’ve made huge savings in toilet paper alone..(all agree)…imagine when we cut off all the power to the hospitals and schools.(further murmurs of agreement)

Minister 4:    Yeahhh what about (loud thump on head followed by thud)

PM:    Are you all mad

Minister 2:    Not completely

Minister 4:    Yeah, we can’t be, we wouldn’t get our super if we where.

PM:    For heavens sake, has no one done anything.

    Shadow appears from curtain behind PM (Dr Hemp) with a cigarette balanced in a limp hand)

Dr Hemp:    Well I was wondering when you would get onto operation Wombat…you might be interested to know that every detail has been taken care over….I have personally overseen the operation my self and have no doubt of being able to act a moments notice.

PM:        Thank goodness someone is doing something

        All look down at feet to hide
Phone rings at PM’s desk ..PM’s answers after looking at all the people in the room, who are all trying to not look at PM.
PM:    Yes…what (looks worried)  are you serious, what know…has it been confirmed yet…as soon as you can……oh shit
        The room looks anxious


Scene 6:    The Jindalee over the horizon radar control room. (red lights, lots of panels, beeping and pinging noises) the operator is huddling over the panel with two onlookers (all in uniform) one with a phone in his hand.

Operator 1:    (Talking on phone huddled over console, with look of despair) Yes that’s right PM it looks like it has started…yes we have just picked them up know on the Radar…..no I haven’t contacted the US yet……I think they might be busy at the moment….ok I will let you know straight away PM…..ok (hangs up)

Operator 2:    Oh shit

Operator 1:    That’s just what the PM said

Operator 2:    Oh shit……Oh shit….Oh Shit
    (operator 3 hits screen,beeps stop and everything on screen disappears)
Operator 3:     Bloody useless pile of rubbish (Walks away)

Operator 2:    Ohhh Shittt

Operator 1:    What have I done (Gets on phone and dials PM office)


Scene 7:    Empty rubbish strewn PM’s office, with chairs and tables turned over and door swinging. With sound of phone ringing on PM’s desk, pan to desk and phone (still ringing) and then back to swinging door.


Scene 8:    Obvious bunker with PM and staff plus opposition in similar office to PM’s above ground office. (jovial mood)(all with drinks)


Opp Leader:    Well Bob it seems that all that investment in those nuclear warheads hasn’t gone to waste after all.

PM:    (mumbles) why didn’t I use you as a target……(in a normal voice) Yeah that right Trev I am certainly glad they got to use those terribly expensive nuclear devices to destroy civilization….just think they could have just sat there collecting dust.

Minister 4:    (In a drunk slurr) Shouldn’t we have cleaners to dust?

PM:    How on earth did he get in …. (nods head, loud thump followed by thud) … Well I am glad we could all make it fellas..but
Minister 1:    Well all except our wives

Minister 2:    Lucky they made it to that other one in Hobart

Minister 1:    It’s a pity they couldn’t be here with us

Opp 1:    Yeah sad ….. Its funny how they all ended up in the same place (puzzled look)

Opp 2:    That’s right Sid it is funny …. Oh well its lucky we’ve got all those secretaries to do all our typing and filing.

Minister 1:    Mine don’t know how to type (mumbles from others to suggest that these can’t either)

PM:     (mumbles) is this our gene pool … heaven help us.

Opp leader:    What now Bob

PM:    I am not sure

Dr Hemp:    (again appears from shadows holding a limp cigarette in one hand and a cocktail in the other) I think you’ll find that operation wombat requires the government to continue to function with the assistance of the opposition, until a fresh election can be held.

Opp leader:    That’s not for another bloody ten years …. Shit

Deputy PM:    No probably more like 12 years, we would need to update the electoral roles, there most likely be a great deal dead.

Minister 2:    And don’t forget we would need to redistribution of electoral Boundaries, the remaining people will most likely be trying to avoid the high radiation areas.

Dr Hemp:    Operation Wombat has foreseen this issue and outlines the method of swapping governments every 3 years, with the current incumbent regaining government just prior to re entering the surfaces.

PM:    Yes but what do we actually do.

Dr Hemp:    Well we continue parliament, our debates etc, without the needs to consult the general public, they will of course be trying to survive in a horribly devastated world.

PM:    What about the State Governments

Dr Hemp:    They of course are involved in Operation Wombat, in their own state bunkers, which off course we can communicate with.

PM:    Bugger (all murmur Bugger)


Scene 9:    Scenes of Boring Parliamentary debate in bunker equivalent to House chambers (with shots up to gallery with all the young secretaries)


Scene 10:    Scenes of Boring Parliamentary debate in bunker equivalent to House chambers only ten years on (with shots up to gallery with all older secretaries, with young children)(Continuation of scene 9 debate)Debate Concludes, with speaker and a number of members awaking from there dozing etc.

Speaker:    Thank you to the member for Higgonbottom, …. Right er is there any (yawn) further items for discussions (begins to look around in a lazy manner)

PM stands up slowly yet with presence and clears his throat

PM:    Thank you Mister Speaker (pauses for effect) I have perhaps have the most momentous announcement to made in this parliament for some 10 long but fruitful years (pauses, looks up to the public gallery winks, secretary winks back, turns to begin)

Minister 4:    What the grogs run out

PM looks up minister who is now a back bencher looks sheepish and takes a sly swig from a small hip flask)

PM:    (Mumbles) If it does will you leave (recomposes, straightens himself proudly) 10 fruitful years … in which we the parliaments of Australia have worked together to rebuild this fine nation

Unknown:    (call from unknown member) if there is anything bloody left.

Speaker:    Order Order

PM:    (returns composure) A nation which has had to endure untold hardships, showing all the

Unknown    (another unknown member calls out) how would you bloody know

Unknown2:    You could have bloody stayed on  surface ya mug

    Shouts of yeah, here here etc.

Speaker:    (after being rudely awaken from his slumber) Order Order

PM:    (with smile) If the honourable member had made his feeling known earlier, we could have accommodated his need to be with his comrades above (shouts of he he and laughter, shouts)….(pauses, looks back to his fellow members behind him (front Bench)).  The honourable member should consider himself lucky this is not being televised
   
    (Minister 4 moves to PM, taps on shoulder and whispers in his ear)
Minister 4:    Excuse me PM, but it is being Televised…you remember you wanted to keep a record of our tireless efforts in maintaining stable government….you know for future generations (stops and looks at PM, PM looks stumped..pauses again and looks up with confidence)

PM:    As I was saying while this nation has had to endure untold hardships, we have been (pauses to collect thoughts) able to er maintain a record of our ten long years working for the people of Australia (mumbles to himself) if there is anyone bloodywell left…Each and every parliamentary session, policy announcement and major function has been recorded for prosterity ..(interrupted)

Unknown:    What about the porn and prawn night (great laughter)

Unknown 2:    The toga party without the sheets (even greater laughter)

Unknown 3:    Yeah and the nude indoor bowls comp (even greater laughter)

Treasurer:    (turns to minister next to him) When did we have these functions, was Invited
    (minister looks up in air)

Speaker:    (shoot of speaker cleaning indoor bowls) … Oh um order (softly) Order (louder) Order you lot (says softer) I want to get out of here by 5 its bowls night tonight.

PM:    (Waits for Silence) As I was saying… (stops and looks at Speaker) Is it really indoor bowls tonight (speaker nods head)(PM looks up a secretaries, smiles) Well well um, to cut to the chase my fellow members, the time has come to open the doors at two pm following the Friday lunchtime BBQ, so I will see all at the main entrance tomorrow at 5 to 2 and we can send someone out to have a look before we make our somewhat triumphant return and I would like to move that we adjoin parliament till tommorrow..so we can get our balls (stops) sorry I mean investigate some important issues (spoken very quickly)

    (entire parliaments nods in agreement), next scene is of an empty parliament (as in a wild west ghost town) with a lone swinging door)


Scene 11    An assembled crowd at the Great Door (Just like the entrance lobby of parliament), Prime Minister move to Front wearing a Bowls hat (a flunky points this out and he quickly removes it and brushes his hair with his hand smiles at secretaries)

Minister 1:    Has anyone got the key (looks around, the crowd looks blank and starts to murmur)

Minister 2    I thought it was Reg’s job to look after the key, after all we are paying him an allowance to look after it….where is Reg anyway.

Unknown1:    He’s in hospital, done his back in

Unknown2:    Yeah playing topless bowls

Unknown1:    Maybe he’s left the key in his trouser pocket…I can go and look if you like (Crowd murmurs in agreement)

Treasurer:    If you find in money in There its mine…(Crowd stares) Well.

Opposition L:    You guys couldn’t run a chook raffle without losing the chook, geez your hopeless (opposition nod in agreement)

Minister 1:    Well when we go to the polls

Unknown:    If there is any left that is

Unknown2:    And we will have to update the electoral roll as well

Minister2:    Don’t forget we will have to get an electoral campaign organised

Treasurer:    And to Governor General will have to issue the writs

Minister2:    What ever happened to the Governor General

Minister1:    I don’t remember him ever coming down

Treasurer:    Come to think of it I don’t remember seeing for over 10 years

    Crowd agrees, much discussion on why he was left up top

Opposition L:    Well we can’t start anything until we find a new Governor General

Unknown:    Can I have a turn

    Crowd stare at unknown

Unknown    Well I’ll give it a go,.. I do have a Top hat and stuff

    Everyone looks at each other.

Minister:    All right I reckon we can give Wal a go, what do ya reckon

    All nod agreement

PM:    Have you lot finished yet, we won’t be doing anything until we get a bloody key to get out, did anyone make a copy…(crowd all say no)
    Geez you think someone would make a copy, for heaven sakes doesn’t anyone think around here….
   
    (all look sheepish)

Unkown:    Can we claim an allowance for thinking

    (some people consult small manuals)

Treasurer:    Not this finicial year, but cabinet will be discussing it next month, I thinks its on the agenda.. is that right stan

Minister1:    Well….

Unknown1:    Here it is…the key… it was under the door mat just at the front here

PM:    Thank heavens I was about commit hare kara or help you guys to give it a go.

Minister:    I think PM that the correct procedure for hoping the door requires the GG to provide an official proclamation and for the official key holder.. that is Reg.. to open the door and be the first one out.

PM:    I think that you'll find that little bit difficult, as someone forgot to tell the GG about our bunker (minister 1 looks down on ground and mumbles “I can’t expected to remember everything you know) and Reg about the danger of 70 year olds of Topless bowls. So in there absence I do hearby bless this door and all that pass through (opens door with a struggle) You first prune (to minister 1)

Minister1:    What me.. but why me

PM:    Perhaps you’ll remember the GG next time

Unkown3:    Are we going to do this again

PM:    Oh shut up


Scene 12:    Parliamentarians filing behind Minister 1 and to a large distance the PM, out into the Bright sunshine, spend and great deal of time adjusting to the light (hint of music eg.2001 space odessy) Sudden jolt when focus is reached and adjusted to light (sound of cars people and city noise)

PM:    What the ….

Minster1:    looks just like we left it, except cleaner… and the flags changed.. what the hells happened.

    Group huddles together in fear.

PM:    Well don’t just stand there find out what’s going on

Minister1:    Why is it always me…I sick of doing all the rotten jobs

    Minister 1 is pushed out by group

PM:    Go on…

Minister1:    Er umm excuse me (to passer by) (spoken slowly) can you take me to your leader

Passerby1:    What

Minister1:    (Slower, with arm gestures) Can…You….take..Meeee…to your….lee der.
Passerby1:    Are you alright

Treasurer:    Let me have a go (to PM), I can speak to the common people..I have that knack you know

PM:    Alright

    Minister 1 is pushed aside by Treasurer

Treasurer:    Hows it going mate (attempt to sound ockerish) We (points to crowd) are your government, the leaders of our great nation who have returned to provide you (points to passerby) with good government and fiscal management.

    Passerby looks blank and walks off

PM:    Well done (PM grabs next passerby) Excuse me Mate, I am the Prime Minister, we've been running the place from a bunker under parliament house after the nuclear attack 10 years ago

Passerby2:    You got to be joking mate, we don’t have a Prime Minster Anymore and what nuclear attack

Minister1:    What you mean the world wasn’t devastated by nuclear war.

Passerby2:    Nope (and walks off)

Treasurer:    Well at least my rental properties will still be intact

PM:    How can there have been no attack

    Crowd all look bewildered

Dr Hemp:    (Dr Hemp appears through crowd holding a cigarette in hand and looking younger) I think you’ll find we made a slight misjudgment as far as the timing and the checks are concerned. It has been noted and won’t happen again.

Unkown3:    I thought you said that this wasn’t going to happen again.



Scene 13:    Scene outside main parliamentary entrance, entire crowd stopped by security guard.

S Guard:    Sorry people, this place is closed

Minister4:    It can’t be… what for.
S Guard:    Its going to be turned into a fun park…so can you move please on

Minister4:    but we are the Government, we run the place, if were not then there would be chaos, there would be riots, bloodshed, it wouldn’t be safe to go out onto the Streets.
S Guard:    Look around you pal

Minister 4:    What

S Guard:    Take a look around, can you see any rioting or bloodshed

    All look around to scenes of idyllic calm and prosperity

All:    No

S Guard:    Well

Opposition    So tell us who’s running the show then

S Guards:    Were the hell have you guys been

    Murmurs

Official:    (Big Women Dressed like parking inspector) What’s the hells going on here George…tell these layabouts to move on…NOW!

S Guard:    They reckon there the government and this is there parliament

Official:    Its not a parliament and  your not the government so Piss off

PM:    Listen lady..can I call you a lady (Stern look from Official)…I take that you are supposedly in charge here at the moment (Stands taller nods)..Well as you may not be aware I am the Prime Minister of this fair land, the elected representative....elected by the people of Australia to govern over all Australian,INCLUDING YOU, which means THAT I AM THE BOSS, IN CHARGE, NUMERO UNO, I AM RUNNING THE SHOW, SO MOVE A SIDE.

Official:    You can’t Be in charge.

PM:    WHY THE HELL NOT!!!

Official:    Its not your turn.

PM:    NOT MY TURN…..SHhhttt…WE DON’T TAKE IT IN BLOODY TURNS…..I I I

Official:    We all take it in turns to run the country on a fortnightly basis, and I happen to know it Graham Thompson Turn…He’s my neighbor you (looks at everyone) a retired butcher.


PM:    WHAT ON EARTH IS A RETIRED BUTCHER DOING RUNNING THE COUNTRY….What next.

    Everyone looks bewildered

Minister 4:    Geez what next a Train Driver….Hey it must be our turn soon (turns quietly to group) and then we can change it back to the way it was..
    (Stands up) Where do we go to put our name down for running the country

Official:    You can’t, its entirely random and beside anyone who wants to do it, aren’t allowed, so you automatically excluded.

PM:    (quietly) So what you are telling us there are now politicians running this country and everything is going alright?

Official and S Guard:    That’s right


Everyone:    So where does that leave us then


Official:    I am afraid there isn’t much need now for ex governments at the moment.

PM:    What are we to Do


Scene 14:    Group of School Children being spoke to by Tour Guide

    Welcome to Parliament would, it one of the strangest places on this earth, and something’s are mysteries and perhaps will defy explanation

Scenes of Boring Parliamentary debate in real Parliamentary chambers (Continuation of scene 9 debate) with the old Australian Government.
    Debate Concludes, with speaker and a number of members awaking from there dozing etc.
    Shoot to gallery were tour guide explain how the actors are reenacting a parliamentary debate.

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© COPYRIGHT John Laing, 2001

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