It's now the hot shoe scuffle
NEGOTIATORS have been called in to secure the release of the Prime Minister's shoe after it was captured and held hostage by protesters late last week.
A police spokesman said there was a long standing policy not to pay ransom for captured shoes.
"If we start giving in to shoe ransom demands, before we know it there will be a run of stolen hats, thongs and undergarments," the spokesman said yesterday.
The incident followed a nasty Australia Day protest in which Prime Minister Julia Gizzard and Opposition Leader Tony Abshot had to be rescued when protesters surrounded a Canberra restaurant.
The police spokesman said both leaders were successfully whisked into waiting armoured cars.
"But unfortunately the shoe didn't make it."
Sources close to the Prime Minister said she was particularly attached to the navy blue suede shoe that she had bought on a whim in 2009 while walking past a 30% off sale.
"We instructed authorities to do whatever it takes to get the shoe back," the source said.
"In the meantime we are working on emergency shoe safety legislation.
"The government is determined to again make Australia a safe place for shoes."
The Australia Day protest was believed to have been sparked by misleading comments by Mr Abshot and the naming of Oscar winner Geoffrey Rusher as Australian of the Year.
"We think quite a lot of them don't like the Opposition Leader," the police spokesman said.
"The rest just really hated The King's Speech."
Mr Abshot said he was not upset at being trapped in the restaurant.
"Frankly I was pretty hungry and it gave me some time to secure an extra bread roll and a lemon gelato," Mr Abshot said.
He urged Australians to stop taking notice of anything he said.
"It seems that pretty much every time I open my mouth I say something wrong and spark protests," he said.
"In the past week alone I've backflipped on coal seam gas, made a really bad taste joke about boat accidents and upset most of the indigenous population.
"In light of this I intend to just nod in the future. But I will have to nod carefully because sometimes my nods are misinterpreted."
Ms Gizzard said she was unperturbed by the incident despite pictures that made her look like the female lead in an Alfred Hitchcock film.
"I would like to praise the police for their swift action in getting me out of there," she said.
"I might also say that it is the best hug I've had in a long time."
Thirsty Cow is fiction. People, events and comments depicted in this column are figments of your imagination. No shoes were injured in the writing of this column.