Healthy Harold, the adorable funding-saving mascot!
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Healthy Harold, the adorable funding-saving mascot!

The nation was plunged into panic yesterday with the news that Life Education Australia was losing its federal funding and thus the ability to feed, much less hose out the stable of, Healthy Harold: Australia's favourite emptily-grinning anthropomorphic health promotion giraffe.

As social media roared into spirited outrage, Education Minister Simon Birmingham took the giraffe by the little nubby horns and tweeted: "We support #HealthyHarold & will work with Life Education Australia to ensure the funding & the program continues". And they say clicktivism doesn't get results!

Kids love Healthy Harold's trendy bandana-and-no-pants look!

Kids love Healthy Harold's trendy bandana-and-no-pants look!

Photo: Eddie Jim

And while this is a good thing for school children facing a terrifyingly ungulate-free educational future, the lesson here is clear: if you're a body facing punitive cuts, then you need only one thing: a large adorable mascot!

With this in mind, here are some suggestions for colourful characters to protect specific organisations which have been of particular interest to the government in recent times.

Clive, the Centrelink Cassowary!

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Clive might look big and cuddly – but don't get too close, or attempt to cut another tranche of staff from the nation's welfare co-ordination body, or he'll eviscerate you with his mighty claws!

Clive isn't at all pleased about how long people have to spend on hold listening to that endlessly looping Theme From Centrelink, especially when they're querying non-existent debts over which they're being threatened.

Also, he'd very much like to know more about the legal basis for Alan Tudge's refusal of a Freedom of Information request over his release of personal details to the media regarding a Centrelink client earlier this year. He's such a curious cassowary!

And, since cassowaries are exclusive to far north Queensland, Clive is pretty much the only way Centrelink can ever guarantee any kind of support from the Nationals.

Behrouz, the Human Rights Commission Bilby!

The government has had all sorts of problems with the Human Rights Commission over the last few years, principally because the commission has been weirdly and provocatively obsessed with various abuses of human rights.

But not when Behrouz is on hand to remind everyone of Australia's human rights obligations and to dismiss cynical scare campaigns about refugees being terrorists or hate speech being very important cartoonery!

Also, with his fluffy belly and huge, enveloping ears, Behrouz can give Senator Ian McDonald the big warm hug he so desperately needs.

Catherine the Community Legal Centre Currawong!

That mighty caw from aloft is Catherine, warning that anything the government says about stopping domestic violence is cynical lip service if there's no way for those trying to escape to access legal advice in a timely fashion!

And that furious shriek that follows is Catherine pointing out that you can't bring in arbitrary deadlines for asylum seekers to complete their applications for refugee status when you've systematically removed any legal aid for the people affected to complete the deliberately-complex paperwork. Caww!

Watch out, Department of the Attorney General – she's not afraid to swoop! And she's already pecked a few heads, it would appear.

Melanie the Medicare Manatee!

So far the government has struggled to convince the public its not secretly planning to cut our national safety net – not helped by leaks of internal departmental proposals to cut hospital funding, admittedly – but nothing will reassure the public that our enviable public health system is safe like keeping it under the steady, baleful gaze of Melanie.

It'd be a brave government to do anything but support Melanie and Medicare: after all, manatees can only live in semi-tropical coastal waters, so any "freeze" would be deadly – and they're also less than impervious to "cuts" (most often from recklessly driven speedboats).

Hector, the Giant Lump of Coal

Well, that one's already working a treat. Remember when Treasurer Scott Morrison brought his Hector action figure into parliament to have a bit of a play? Adorable!

And what's that, Hector? The PM wants to use the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund coal projects by pretending coal is in some bizarre way a "clean" energy source? You're a miracle worker!

You're clearly doing a bang up job, Hector. Go show that reef who's boss!

The Double Disillusionists are live at Giant Dwarf on Tuesday, June 6 with Andrew P Street and Dom Knight joined by Dee Madigan (Gruen) and Osman Faruqi (Junkee).

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