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Comedians Toby Halligan and Mathew Kenneally reveal the internal workings of Federal Parliament with their exclusive access to diary entries from within the halls of power.
Bronyn Bishop has come under serious criticism for taking a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser. Even Joe Hockey has said it “instinctively” fails the sniff test, but that Ms. Bishop should have the chance to explain.

It’s important not to judge. Maybe Bronwyn is trying to give the helicopter industry a leg-up. Maybe she saw an episode of the Jetsons and thought we should all have flying cars, starting with her.

In the spirit of empathy and understanding we have tried to think of those situations where all of us could use a helicopter.

1. You want to pick your daughter up from her Indonesian lessons and take her straight to Bali.

2. You want to avoid the rabble: unlike Parliament you cannot eject other motorists off the highway for breaking road rules.

3. You're worried about your health: commercial airflights involve sharing air with hundreds of people and with recent cuts to health you can't be too careful.
4. You forgot to book flights to a wedding on the Whitsundays.

5. You want to pick the kids up from child care without the hassle of city traffic

6. Traveling in Melbourne from the north side of the river to the south side.

7. Traveling across the harbor in Sydney - why pay for the tunnel?

8. You want to travel between Canberra and Sydney without being confronted by wind farms.

9. It's 840am on Monday morning and you feel a little too fragile to squeeze on the train.

10. Your car has broken down and the government has failed to deliver the promised train line to your outer suburban development.

11. It's 43 degrees in Melbourne and you cannot afford to be delayed from your gin & tonic.

12. Flying is statistically a far safer mode of travel than driving, and there are no commercial airlines that fly direct from Melbourne to your favourite Geelong country club. What choice do you have?

Over to you commercial airlines, lets get Helicopter fares down from $5000. I’m sure Tiger could get it down to at least $500, although it may require passengers to fly the choppers themselves!


Arrive at Parliament House. Concerned about this “payments for people smugglers” issue. As Minister for Values, journalists are likely to ask me questions. Call Abbott’s office to arrange lunch briefing.


Arrive to lunch. Abbott not here, only Credlin.

Ask where Abbott is. Credlin refuses to discuss “operational matters”.

Ask if I can have meeting with Abbott to discuss smuggling issues.

Credlin says I do not have clearance to discuss operational matters with PM. Operational matters include location of PM and people smuggling.

Clarify how I should answer questions from press.

Credlin would prefer all press requests go through her, but if I am slow-witted enough to get trapped, I should say I cannot discuss operational matters. If they repeat the question: run.



Bishop drops in. Has heard I had met with PM on payments to people smuggling. Bishop says it sounds like absolute nonsense, and has confirmed with Dutton and Department, but needs to talk to PM. Asks if I know anything. Tell Bishop I cannot discuss operational matters. Bishop nods. “Right, so she hasn’t let you meet with him either.”

Really hope this is just a “routine” blocking of access and not a “covering up a secret” blocking of access.


PM does Neil Mitchell; does not deny we are paying people smugglers. Is it true? Has Credlin not given PM same line?

Must ensure I do not get ambushed by press.


Bishop back in, looking for PM.

Ask why?

Bishop insists that it is “operational”.

Suggest she call Abbott.

Bishop has tried, get’s Credlin. Suggest we ambush him on his morning ride.

Bishop has tried that. Credlin changes the route every day. She’s harder to crack than the Enigma code.



Morning papers are chaos. Dutton & Bishop denying people smuggling story. Morrison and Abbott not denying.

Journalists calling.

Call Chief of Staff. Ask what to do. Chief of Staff says she will call Credlin.


Chief of Staff cannot get a hold of Credlin for clarification. Can only get through to Credlin’s secretary, who says Credlin’s location is an operational matter. Advises me to turn my phone off and not leave the house for the weekend.

What am I meant to do?

Chief of Staff advises I catch up on season 4 and 5 of Game of Thrones.


God. This is awful. So much gratuitous sex and violence.



Still watching Game of Thrones. Should sleep, but need to know who will rule Westeros.


That’s it???? 9 months til next season. Can’t believe I got so addicted. Have not enjoyed callous brutality so much since first episode of The Killing Season.



Preparing for Parliament. Chief of Staff has advised me that I must avoid press pack. Has advised me to wear comfortable shoes.

Proposes I make my break for it when Joyce arrives. Must not get asked people smuggling question.


Got ambushed. Journalist did not ask me about smugglers. Asked if I had read legal advice on stripping citizenship. Assured journalist there was no advice.


Credlin is sitting in my chair. Furious at me for revealing I had not seen cabinet advice.

Remind Credlin I am in cabinet, and have not seen advice.

Credlin says that with that attitude I won’t be allowed to see it. Until I learn to answer questions about national security with “operational matters”, I cannot be trusted with sensitive material.

Need to talk to Abbott.


Get to chamber early. Tried to make my way over, but Credlin cut me off.


Amazing question time! Bishop, Dutton now not denying people smuggler payments. It’s true. We did it. Not sure if this is bad or good. Pro: it stops boats; con: is a crime. Get Chief of Staff to do research.


Chief of Staff says strictly speaking it’s a crime under Australian law, international law, and Indonesian law.


So Bishop did not know, or did know and was lying.
Dutton did not know, or did know and was lying.
Morrison knew, but did not tell Dutton.
Abbott knew.

This could bring down every leadership contender, just leaving….Turnbull or…me.

Open drawer, pull out draft of leadership speech. Get to work on opening line.

“A good government that lost its way at sea” – No
“A government brought down by nay-sayers and human right’s lawyers” – true, but too negative.
“A great Prime Minister who sacrificed himself to protect the nation from boats. I will honor his legacy.”  - Yes that’s it.

Call wife. Suggest we start looking at schools in Canberra.


Watch advance copy of Episode 2 of Killing Season in office with staff. Good laugh. Cannot trust Shorten. Ha ha ha! I can totally take him.



Abbott in!

Ask where he has been.

Abbott said Credlin had to put him in lock down. Needed to control information. Crisis is over, turns out Labor might have paid people smugglers.

What a relief. Thank goodness we both did it.

Abbott corrects me. First rule of operational matters, we do not talk about operational matters, even in quiet.

Apologise. Ask if I can see Solicitor General’s advice.

Abbott says he cannot confirm existence of any such advice, but if I prove I can maintain operational secrecy I can see new documents.

Abbott leaves.

Burn victory speech. Next time.

Catch writer and performer Toby Halligan at this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Check out his fantastic new solo show Toby Halligan - The Bad Gay on this week and next.

Also see him host an amazing lineup of topical comedy talent at Political Asylum - Late Night Riot this Saturday night - one show only!

Joe Hockey, Treasurer, cigar smoker, ordinary guy, added another string to his bow on Monday: futurist. His prediction that we need to plan for a world in which people live to 150 has sparked ridicule, comparisons to Sarah Palin, and some support.

Artist's impression of Futurist Hockey
Secret documents leaked to us show that Hockey is an avowed futurist. That many of his public policies are not informed by neo-liberalism but rather his far sighted eyes on the future. Below are Joe Hockey’s personal jottings on the future:
  • Wind power is ugly and pointless, there is no wind on our new home, the moon.
  • Gen Y needs to stop whining about housing affordability. They'll have over 100 years to pay off mortgages. Here's a tip: collect rent from your great great grand children.
  • We must introduce a price signal to Medicare now. Otherwise we’ll have people coming in to get life extension pills, for any old reason.
  • We must build Melbourne's East-West Link road tunnel. It is foolish to build another train line that will certainly be destroyed when the asteroid collides with Earth. The survivors of this inevitable catastrophe will be unable to commute between underground bunkers without the East-West Link.
  • If we allow gay marriage what next? People marrying their clone?
  • Extinction of Great Barrier Reef is sad but ultimately a great opportunity to build future city, Oz-Lantis, in the coral graveyard. Robo-fish will also be more welcoming than actual fish. Could even provide tourists with beverages.
  • Obviously it would be better if the Chinese did not know about our Robocop program. Also, probably better if we not tell actual cops.
  • Yes, robots should run nursing homes. Sooner, rather than later.
  • Housing affordability for the young is unlikely to remain an issue as the generation born today are likely to ascend to be beings of pure consciousness that live in the cloud.
  • It's foolish to invest in the NBN. It's only a matter of time before tech wizs learn how to communicate telepathically. Which will also make Facebook, Twitter and Instagram redundant. Thank god.
  • Kangaroos should be bred either so they're big enough to ride or small enough to have as pets. My kids really want a Kangaroo. If the CSIRO were working on useful stuff like this, they might deserve more funding (hint hint).
  • The Chinese are fools to buy Australian farms. Food is a dying industry. Everybody knows the future is in the weekly sustenance pill.

We phoned Mr Hockey's office for comment, but were informed that the Treasurer now only communicates via Google Glass.



Off to ODI between Australia v. England at the SCG with the Prime Minister. Looking forward to relaxing day of cricket, beer, and bitching about the Senate.


Arrive at Sydney Cricket Ground Members. Abbott pleased to see me, needs to discuss Medicare policy.

Insist to Abbott it is a new year; no need to beat himself up about co-payment failing.


Abbott explains new Medicare policy that his office has worked up.

Is it a good idea to bring co-payment back, even if just for short appointments?

Abbott explains it is not a co-payment, but measure to encourage Doctors to spend more time with patients by reducing the rebate for short appointments by $20.

So it is a cut?

Abbott insists it is not a cut. It's an incentivisation measure that just happens to yield savings of $1.3 billion.

Hockey calls. Needs me to pass on message. Backbench is against new $20 co-payment policy. Try to explain Abbott's position that it's not a co-payment but an incentivisation measure.

Hockey takes exception to me trying the "calling taxes and cuts other words" strategy on him. Hockey warns that opponents of "Credlin’s plan" are willing to make public their threats to go public with opposition.

Does this mean MPs are threatening to go public with opposition?

No, Hockey says MPs would never go public, this is merely a warning that MPs will go public with details of warning to go public unless the policy is dumped.

Ask Hockey how he can even consider this? Hockey says it was either communicate with one another through media or go through PM's office.


Pass info on to Abbott.

Abbott says it is not $20 co-payment, but $20 cut to rebate.

I thought it was not a cut?

Abbott: this is just the point. There is a lot of confusion. Backbench needs more time to absorb and understand Prime Minister’s policy.

Wonder if this would have been easier if we'd told them about policy before telling The Australian?


Match started. Mitchell Starc takes two England wickets in three balls.

Abbott inspired by Starc bowling, coming back from Shane Warne’s criticism calling him “soft”. Maybe Coalition should stick to $7 co-payment plan rather than incentivisation co-payment plan.


Abbott goes to get beers. Has been thinking it would actually be soft to back down from incentivisation plan and go back to $7 co-payment. Policy is now to stick to incentivisation.


England on top. Abbott feels weakness in Australian attack is lack of variety. Thinks this might be weakness in Medicare policy. Decides new policy will be to implement incentivisation-measure, AND $7 co-payment. Abbott calls Credlin, asks her to brief cabinet on new policy.


Hockey calls me. Asks if PM has changed mind.

Confirm that PM has changed mind.

Hockey asks what policy is.

Explain dual-co-payment policy.

Hockey says he is coming to the cricket to discuss.



Backbenchers have seen me at cricket with Abbott. Constant phone calls. Very angry they have not been consulted. Demands from many backbenchers that Abbott kill policy before end of Australia’s innings.


Just finished dinner with Australian team.

Abbott spent time with David Warner. Abbott believes Warner is archetypal Australian. Has new quote “so goes Warner, so goes the country”. Warner is against idea of $20 co-payment and thinks “incentivisation” sounds like “fucking Hindi”.

Abbott thinks he should take the advice. Plans to talk to Warner further after innings.


Hockey calls. Refused entry to SCG on the basis of dress code: jeans had a hole.

Told Hockey relax; David Warner has almost talked Abbott out of new policy.

Hockey does not relax.


Warner still batting. Will probably make century.

Inform Abbott that Hockey cannot get in to ground. Abbott laughs. Feels we should conduct more meetings at sporting events, going to tennis tomorrow. Wants to pick Lleyton Hewitt’s brain about submarines.

PM orders another beer. Is that four?
Must save PM from himself.


Call Susan Ley (Health Minister). Ley is on cruise ship. Does not want to talk.

Explain that Abbott wants to ditch new co-payment policy.

Ley did not know we had new policy. Explain policy.

Ley alarmed, but feels this can wait until next week.

Demand Ley calls journalists before end of Dave Warner’s innings, and do press conference tomorrow morning. Abbott is out of control. We need to kill policy without consulting him.


Australia win. Abbott and I join Australian team at post-match drinks in night-club.

Feel too old for this, but Abbott suggests I relax.


Warner and Abbott deep in conversation: mostly discussing sledging. Both agree that while actual prowess at career is important, sledging is just as important.

понедельник 17/11/2014

Dear Tony

Thank you for lovely stay. I very much enjoyed time with Koala. Great to meet pre-sedated animail. In Russia we have to sedate animails before posing with them.

Many apologies for my sudden departure from the G20 summit, like my country I have considerable energy reserves but they must be replenished. I wanted to thank you for our sparring matches. I very much enjoyed them.

I find these summits very dull, being forced to spend time with people I do not know or respect, it's like a family reunion, but with less influential people. And ever since Berlusconi stopped attending I do not have anyone to share stories with!

When I first heard the Australian Prime Minister was going to Shirt-front me I asked my advisor to get me a dictionary and an Atlas. After I learned you had threatened to hit me with an Australian football move of questionable legality, I sent my staff to bring my thinking vodka. I was not afraid, because you are puny country, but I was impressed. I knew you were worthy adversary.

Last week I brought two war ships to International waters, you met them with four. Bravo. Many leaders have ignored my warships, but you Mr. Abbott did not. I hope you appreciate – I only bring warships to international conference when I respect leader. It was my way of saying: “Tony Abbott is tough enough that I need to have military on stand by just in case he has shirt-front”.

We have much in common. Both of us understand how to utilize power even if we use it in different ways that may be hard for the other to understand. You must understand why it was important for me to retake our treasured Crimea, just like I am trying to understand why you declared yourself Minister for Women.

I did want to take this opportunity to give you some advice to help you with your politics. First, never make threat you cannot follow through. This is Barack’s problem. He keeps calling me, Crimea this, sanction that, won’t let you do this. He is weakling. I now have my voice double take his calls.

Allow me to give you advice, you must stand up to your enemies and Obama is clearly yours. Would friend have made you look like fool in your own country? No. If he had started talking about climate change at my summit, I would have turned off mic and instructed interpreter to translate badly.

Second, I understand Australian people are making it very difficult for you to cut useless programs like University and Doctor visits. In my country voters are also very difficult. I tried to abolish election program, but people got so angry, so I had to tinker round edges.

I see great potential in you Tony. Call me on red-phone anytime. It saddens me that you are desperately unpopular and must go to election. I feel to be good leader you need at least 8 years as President, than 4 years as Prime Minister. Only then are you ready for world affairs.

I like you Tony and while we cannot be allies now, I hope one day we can be friends, and go hunting and horse riding together. Or perhaps I can take you on a ride in our submarines, I believe your country has these things but they do not, what is the word? "Work"? Haha - funny joke - I believe I just give you what your people call "spray" you.

Perhaps when you come to Russia next we have a mutual shirt front at my personal dojo?"

Yours in Masculinity
Vladimir Putin

Also published here: http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/the-project/the-side-project/private-correspondence-from-putin-to-abbott

Enjoying delightful mid-winter break. Very quiet in electoral office.

Never thought I’d say this but looking forward to getting back to Canberra. Got Centrelink reform to work on. 



Arrive in Canberra, picked up by regular com-car driver Gaylen. He’s a real character. Classic scot, always joking around.

Ask Gaylen how he’s going.

Gaylen says he’s utterly terrified. Has no idea what he’s doing. After all, as a poor fella, he doesn’t get to use one of these horseless carriage things at home.

Ask Gaylen this is about Hockey isn’t it?

Gaylen dinnae ken what I’m talking about. Asks me what the big circular thing in front of him is for.

Tell Gaylen the Treasurer chose his words poorly…

Gaylen looks down at his feet, tells me he thinks one of the pedals makes it go forward and one of them makes it fly, but he’s not sure.

Gaylen bunny hops the car out of Canberra airport.


15 minute drive takes 2 hours. Dropped off at bottom of hill, have to walk rest of way to office.


Hockey in. Is entirely unapologetic. Says his comments are backed by facts and he’s not afraid to tell harsh truths. Age of entitlement is over, and that includes entitlement to not hear things you don’t want to hear.   

Point out that there’s no proof that the poor actually drive shorter distances.

Hockey not worried, has Treasury guys working on that one. Those stat guys can prove anything with stats.

Concerned Hockey has misunderstood purpose of both Treasury and stats.


Credlin explodes into office. Asks if Hockey’s still being an idiot.

Explain our conversation. Credlin: “Damn it!”

Credlin needs me to talk to Hockey. Tell Hockey if we only voiced opinion backed by facts we'd be voted out immediately! Joe doesn't get to pick and choose which of his comments are backed by facts. What about his comments that the Australian economy is nearing collapse? Or claims carbon tax would destroy small business? Lots of things he's said have been fact free and good for government. No reason to reverse policy on facts now.

Ask Credlin why I have to fix it. Credlin says “You touch it you keep it.”


Trying to read massive Centrelink report before I meet Hockey. It’s scattered all over the office.

Maurice Newman, Chair of Business Advisory Council, comes in with a staffer…

Thank Maurice for his time but insist I’m busy. Newman insists I sit down; needs to talk to me about future building issue: global cooling.

Remind Newman we have already abolished carbon tax.

Newman says he is concerned about Government inaction on global cooling. Clicks his finger. Newman’s assistant carries in large fan. Says he will demonstrate using the power of science. Points it at me. Newman puts in earplugs. Turns fan on. Fan blows everything off my desk. Ask him what he’s doing.

Newman asks me if I am “feeling cooler”. According to Newman “if this little fan could make me cooler what could thousands of giant wind farms do to the planet”. Since his granddaughter showed him how The Google works he's been doing some research. Newman insists his crusade against windfarms is not about him, it’s about stopping an ice age. Wants funding to do a report – needs me to take it to Abbott.

Ask Newman why he wears ear plugs. Says he has read research on The Google that windfarms cause cancer.

Tell Newman that we cannot afford this distraction right now. Promise to think about it provided he does not go to media. Newman says we’re talking about another ice age; he won’t bargain with me. Says he’s going to leave the fan to help me think about it. Tapes buttons so I can’t turn it off.


Finally meet with Hockey. Hockey arguing that he was right. Just because he’s wealthy and likes cigars doesn’t mean people get to push him around.


Hockey still won’t apologise. Trying to argue on technicalities… Hockey’s never good on technicalities.


Hockey now coming up with ideas that’ll make it worse, like expressing regret that people misinterpreted his statement. God this is bad.

Decide there’s only one way to change his mind.

Call Gaylen.


Sitting with Hockey at Civic Bus interchange waiting for night bus. Hockey crying. Cannot believe that Gaylen would call him “a self-entitled, evil, fat cat”. Hockey will apologise tomorrow. If Gaylen’s typical, he’s in real trouble.



Hockey apologises, tells people he is not evil. But doesn’t cry. All in all, a win.

Have cleaners disassemble fan. 


Take Gaylen to lunch to repay him for help with Hockey. Abbott on radio declaring that the Scottish independence movement are against freedom and democracy. Gaylen slowly turns to me…

Aye, so I’m an enemy of freedom am I?

Phone rings… Credlin needs me to talk to Abbott.

Tell Gaylen I may need him to take us for another drive…