THE Federal Government has launched a special investigation after an external audit found that its popularity had completely disappeared.
Pollsters raised the alarm after weeks of polling ordinary Australians failed to show any hint of government popularity.
"At first we thought it was a technology glitch but we are now convinced that the popularity is actually missing," pollster Mark Monitor said.
The missing popularity has thrown the whole polling industry into crisis.
"The government's popularity is so low that it doesn't show up on any of our charts now," Mr Monitor said. "If this doesn't turn around soon, we will need to get new charts. We suspect new charts may be expensive."
Police described the situation as "baffling" and have put together a special team to try to track down the missing popularity.
"We are calling on members of the public who may have seen any suspicious popularity behaviour or any popularity in unexpected places to come forward," a spokesman said. He warned that popularity should be approached with caution.
Prime Minister Julia Gizzard said she had last seen her personal popularity a few weeks after she politically knifed former PM Kevin Rutt in 2010.
"I just turned my back for a minute and it was gone," she said. "I appreciate I was a bit careless with it and if I get it back I will be a lot more careful in future. That is a promise, and I always keep those."
Mr Rutt denied he had stolen the government's popularity but admitted he may have borrowed it a few times in recent months and could have broken it while it was in his possession.
"Fair shake of the sauce bottle," he said. "Basically I have been saying all the right things with a straight face even though deep down I am hurt and embarrassed and I want someone to pay. Hang on, did I say that out loud?"
Opposition Leader Tony Abshot admitted to having some of the government's popularity but he denied he had stolen it. "I just woke up one morning, opened the paper and it was there," he said.
Mr Abshot said his increased popularity may be due to his 17 different positions on carbon emissions, including yes, no, maybe, I don't know and can you repeat the question.
"Basically I have a position that suits every population group, every industry and every branch of the debate," he said.
"All I have to do is say big, fat, new, ugly, hideous, giant tax a few times and suddenly the popularity flocks to me like flies on manure."
Thirsty Cow is fiction. Any similarity between its content and real life is purely coincidental.
Thirsty Cow is a weekly humour column.