A cargo cult is based on the belief that if the right rituals are followed, goodies will magically come.
They’re not regarded as good things because they tend to make the natives restless.
There have been some notable cults in Papua New Guinea and now one has emerged much further south.
It’s called the Carbon Tax Repeal Cargo Cult and it has the natives of Parliament House not just restless, but shouting and whooping.
There were signs the cult was emerging last week as Tony Abbott started talking about all the good things that would come if Labor’s toxic carbon tax was axed.
The cult gained momentum on Monday when legislation to repeal the tax was introduced, for the second time.
On Tuesday morning the government cultists had some preliminary skirmishes with their Labor and Green enemies over how the first stage of the ritual should be conducted.
The government wants a short and sharp debate on Thursday in the lower house. Labor and the Greens want to talk and talk and talk. As the government has more followers, it got its way.
Tuesday’s question time made the enormous dimensions of the cult clearer.
Abbott was asked what axing the tax would mean for the Queensland seat of Capricornia.
He happily obliged. It would help the miners, the truckies, the cattle industry. Above all, it would give households a $550-a-year bonus.
The tax, Abbott explained, was a $9 billion handbrake on the economy. Dump it and the aluminium industry would be 60 per cent bigger, the iron industry 20 per cent bigger. By 2050 the cumulative GDP would be $1 trillion greater.
Abbott ended with a strange incantation which was presumably part of the ritual.
He looked straight at Bill Shorten and ordered: “Be the terminator. Don’t be the vacillator, don’t be the procrastinator, don’t be the fabricator.”
Shorten failed to shrivel.
There was more about the evils of the tax and the bounty that will flow when it goes.
Warren Truss took both the macro approach; with the tax adding $500 million to transport costs across Australia; and the micro, with it meaning two aged hostels in bush Queensland will have a power bill of $127,000.
Greg Hunt reckoned Victorians would save $1.3 billion on their power bills.
Of course, this cult differs from its Melanesian counterparts in one important way.
Everyone knows what the ultimate ritual is – a simple majority in the Senate.
Getting it may not be so simple.