Parliament House is under siege by what have been described as the most aggressive magpies in Australia. The birds are savagely bombarding politicians and staff as they roam the lawns, stroll the gardens, and eat their lunches, forcing officials in Canberra to install alarms and fake hawks in an attempt to ward off the assailants.
The vicious attacks have struck such fear into the hearts of the nation’s parliamentarians that senators raised the issue with the Department of Parliamentary Services yesterday, The Age reported. Fiona Knight, one of the department’s executives, admitted that magpies around the building were a “serious issue” and that there had been “a number of attacks on people by magpies here while people have been eating their lunches.”
"It's not just the magpies,” she said, “it's also the ducks, the pigeons—they’re a nuisance."
Labor MP Kimberley Kitching confirmed that a number of people had complained about the “incidents of magpie attacks”, and asked: “What happened to the fake hawk?” She was referring, of course, to a dummy hawk that had been deployed by officials—along with a sound-emitting device—in order to scare off the savage birds. Neither seems to be having the intended effect, and Kitching suggested that maybe there needs to be another hawk to put an end to all this senseless violence, SBS reports.
"There's a conspiracy theory about the magpies being incredibly aggressive just at Parliament House—more aggressive than anywhere else in Australia," she said.
It's all getting very serious down there in Canberra. And while no one wants a pollie to lose an eye to a magpie, there is something fitting—maybe even a little poetic—about Australia’s 2017 Bird of the Year dishing it out to the country’s politicians in a time when the public sentiment is one of such venomous discontent. Just marinade, for one second, on the image of Peter Dutton power-walking nervously across the lawns of Parliament House; or Scott Morrison dropping his quiche and scrambling as a warbling magpie buffets on his scalp.
The people’s bird indeed.