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DateCatherine Deveny, Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 9:40AM,

Last night I did a Comedy Debate to celebrate the 150th birthday of Melbourne Zoo 

To be honest I wasn’t thrilled to get the Leadbeater’s Possum.

I thought to myself,  “How the hell is Melbourne’s noisiest atheist going to convince a bunch of inner city, latte drinking, Monthly reading, sarong wearing, ’let’s go out to a debate on a Wednesday night for a bit of culture’ audience to vote for a rat that eats their passionfruit, pees on their wisteria and makes sexy noises in their roof when they are trying to sleep to get a spot on some imaginary arc?”

At least I could comfort myself by with the knowledge at least I didn’t get the Baw Baw frog. Which is what Rusty Berther did. Now he’s not just scared and weird but spewing heaps.

In the spirit of full disclosure I must tell you I am related to such a marsupial. I have a possum cousin. Well his real name is Glenn but we call him Possum because he eats roots and leaves. He’s not a Leadbeater’s possum. More a panel beater’s possum.

So why should the Leadbeater’s possum get a spot on the arc?

Look I could say,

1. The Leadbeater’s possums’ extinction is so inevitable the top scientific authority on the endangered marsupial David Lindenmayer recently quit from a team trying to save it, in protest over forestry policies that will guarantee the animal’s extinction.

2. The Leadbeater’s possum is so endangered there are only 100 of them left. You know Ted Baillieu?  Close the Tafes, open more jails, I hate poor people Ted Baillieu? Not only does Ted Baillieu hate poor people, but he also clearly hates Leadbeater’s possums by allowing the logging of Toolangi state forest, the last remaining habitat of the Leadbeater’s possum.

3. They also go by the common name of fairy possum. ‘Marriage is a mistake everyone has the right to make’ AM I RIGHT?

4. The Leadbeater’s possum is Victoria’s animal emblem.

Which are all adequate reasons why this little creature should be saved a spot on the arc. But the Leadbeater’s possum should not only get a spot on the arc but the first spot.


The possum lives in a matriarchal society.

The male and female bond after they have first given each other a 69.

They are highly energetic, aggressive, territorial and constantly fight with their neighbors.

They sleep for six months a year and when they wake they are incredibly promiscuous, between punch-ups and eating they have children as early as possible.

The Leadbeater’s Possum is the animal equivalent of the Collingwood Supporter.

That’s right. The unfairly maligned, badly treated butt of all Victorian jokes.  I am not a Collingwood supporter but not only do my siblings go for the Pies, so too does my partner making me a sexually transmitted Collingwood supporter.

The Leadbeater’s Possum will chase humans away if they come near their territory. They have no concept of fear. That’s right. NO FEAR.

Collingwood Supporters have No Fear Stickers on their cars.

Leadbeater’s Possums live on Mountain Ash, Alpine Ash and Shining Gum.

Collingwood Supporters also live on fags and chewies.

Like Collingwood supporters, the Leadbeater’s natural enemies are Hawks, Cats, Eagles, and Bulldogs.

The senior female  is the main defender: she is more active in expelling outsiders, and attacks her daughters when they reach sexual maturity, forcing them to disperse earlier than male children. Which proves Kath Pettingill and Judy Moran are both Collingwood Supporters.

The Leadbeater’s Possum is not only so endangered it’s probably lost half it’s population since tonight’s debate began it represents all oppressed minorities brave enough to live a sexy, passionate, vibrant life despite ‘social convention’ or in the case of Collingwood supporters ‘intervention orders’.

Look, I can’t force you to give the Leadbeater’s Possum a place on the arc. But what I will say is if they do get left behind don’t blame me if Chopper Read rocks up to your joint. Not only does he barrack for Collingwood but he really likes Leadbeaters possums. Or perhaps he’s just wants to stay in their good books.