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THE PUB TEST

I've been a publican my whole life. In fact, next year marks a quarter of a century. In 1997, I used left over savings and a loan from my parents to acquire a 50% share in the leasehold of the Golden Gate Hotel. The hotel has a brilliant history. It was built in 1858, houses ghosts and provided an attic hide out for the one and only Squizzy Taylor.


In those days, there was no internet, no telecommunications and no traceability. Squizzy crossed town from Carlton and 'hid out' in South Melbourne. One curious day I went into the roof cavity to see for myself. Sure enough, there were the remains of an apartment. Wallpaper, a bedroom and 2 ways out. The story goes, that there was a string and a bell that alerted old mate if the 'Jacks" arrived. A bride on her wedding night hung herself in the stairway. I felt her chill pass through me. I shit you not, I shit myself.


In my 25 odd years (include an additional decade of running night clubs) I have matured. Maybe it's the fact that I have forfeited my drivers license twice. Maybe it's the fact that I'm getting old. Maybe I'm finally growing up. Kids and a Pandemic will do that.


When I lost my license for the second time (4 years) I sold the Porsche 993, bought a vintage Mercedes S500 (2 door gangster) and resigned to a full time driver. The driver was a semi-retired actor called Max Fairchild.


Max was an actor, but he was so much more. Yes, he was in Mad Max (1 and 2) but he was well respected in political circles. He used to tell me that he would visit pubs in Australia to test sentiment. He was good at meeting people, but better at reading people. Kelty and the heavy hitters would send the 'Big Fella' out to conduct testing. That meant, every pub between Melbourne and Alice Springs.


The 'Pub Test' is a real thing. Governments still rely on it. You can stick all the polls up your lemon. The Pub Test will ultimately decide what happens in this country. Dictator Dan has failed us. He risks personal harm if he walks into any pub.


I know my old mate Max would be turning in his grave. Even though he was staunch Labour, I reckon he would give Dan a fail mark.


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