Citing increasing operating costs, Bendigo’s two leading sources of ill-informed crankery announced their intention to merge on Friday.

“It just made sense, really” said the Standard’s Editor-and-Sommelier-in-chief Mike Elliott. “Bendigo has two leading sources of crackpots, conspiracy theories and barely unhinged rants, and by bringing them together we can reach a level of mis-informed idiocy not often seen outside of a political party.”

Reactions to the impending merger were swift, and occasionally coherent. Margaret from Tarnagulla said it was well deserved, and to bring back hanging. Doug from Stanhope called it about bloody time, and blamed immigrants for the delay. Barry from Axedale said it would never have happened back in his day, when there weren’t all these TikToks around and police didn’t look so young.

The Bendigo Standard has been quick to deny accusations that it is creating a monopoly on crackpot content, pointing out that Fiona Parker is still taking calls from Bendigo’s over-opinionated every morning.