Image for Bio-Morph – experiments in simultaneous biography: Mr Aird

Bio-morph – experiments in simultaneous biography
No. 5: Mr Aird

Mr Aird is a former Tasmanian treasurer. As a minister he has served in both Lower and Upper houses. He is 14 hands tall.

Mr Aird (American equine pronunciation “Ed”) was foaled in Melbourne in 1949, sired by Ian Bryan Aird out of Suzanne Mary Aird. As a colt he discovered he could talk, but only expressed his views to the wider world via his friend, a bumbling architect. David Bartlett later adapted this method to express his own views on the failing economy and water reform via his bumbling treasurer.

Starring in a popular black and white sit-com made Mr Aird unable to recognise greens. He moved from community work and retail to become a Labor member for Franklin in 1979. In 1995 he switched to Denison where he won an Upper House seat. A robust stud, he has sired twice.

In 2006 he became Minister for Racing. Nobody raised the issue of conflict of interest. Similarly, few saw the irony when he became Government Whip.

Although manageable and cooperative while Paul Lennon was in the saddle, David Bartlett found it increasingly difficult to wrangle the feisty palomino. When Mr Aird made the famous claim that he would never serve in a government with Greens members Bartlett resorted to horse whispering. According to one source: “You could hear him whispering clear across Murray Street”.

Mr Aird finally accepted the Labor-Green alliance, of course of course. Yet many misconstrued his new fervour: when he spoke of stable government he was referring to an executive that needed regular mucking out.

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As Treasurer he oversaw six state budgets. “People don’t understand how hard it is to sustain an economy over twelve months”, he is reported as saying. “That’s 30 months in horse years”.

In November 2010 Mr Aird revealed a $200 million shortfall in Tasmania’s GST revenue then bolted, leaving David Bartlett and Lara Giddings to struggle with the barn door. Departing during such fraught times caused the opposition to intimate that he was a gelding. He will be spending more time with his family although Mrs Aird will retain control of the household accounts. He bequeathed his four horse shoes to Bartlett, but they don’t appear to have done him any good.

Bound for the knacker’s yard in May, Mr Aird is drawing praise from his colleagues in the party. “As a treasurer he was the glue that held the government together”, enthused one. “Although soon he’ll be the glue that holds our post-it notes together”.