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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.
MONDAY 22/02/10

Early Morning

Family living in motel. Wife insisted insulation was not safe after watching news. Wife waiting for handyman to investigate if roof is electrified.

Wife extremely angry at Garrett. Quite a relief. Was not enjoying wife being off Liberal bandwagon – hope Abbott does not mention virginity ever again.

Arrive at Parliament

Secretary says Abbott, Minchin and Hunt all sent presents, Gin, Whiskey and work of art (bloody Hunt). Very suspicious.

Abbott jogs into office. Asks if I like gin. Thanks me for taking one for party. Says no time to talk, he’s mid time-trial and needs to keep heart rate up.

Not sure what Abbott is talking about.

Five Minutes Later

Abbott’s Press Secretary (APS) in. Gives me new phone to replace the one that he threw at the wall. Ask why everyone is giving me gifts. Says that party needs the support of Greens for Senate censure motion, and that everyone agrees I am best man for negotiations. Offer Press Secretary phone back. He refuses.

Ask why me.

Says I’m good at not offending people and least likely to assault Greens.

Ask APS if need to get across Minter Ellison report. APS says all I need to do is read The Australian’s summary of report.

Five Minutes Later

Read The Australian’s report on report. Horrified. Vote in favour of removing Garrett in online poll.

Lunchtime - Meeting with Greens

Greens negotiating party arrived. Hanson-Young and child.

Asked Hanson-Young if she is aware of child-care centres in Parliament House.

Hanson-Young asked me why I hate women so much. Did not respond.

Asked Hanson-Young if Greens will support censure of Garrett.

Hanson-Young said no Green support for censure motion unless Liberals support gay-marriage.

Asked how issues are connected. Hanson-Young said cannot negotiate with sexist and homophobic bigot.

Asked Hanson-Young if something other than gay marriage will lead to Greens supporting censure motion.

Hanson-Young explained history of sexism and homophobia and demanded apology. Long speech!

Asked Hanson –Young to please support censure motion.

Baby began crying. Hansen-Young became irate. Suggested to Hanson-Young that Secretary could take care of baby.

Hansen-Young became extremely irate.

Bob Brown arrived. Demanded to know what I did to Hanson-Young.

Hanson –Young demanded I apologise.

Brown seconded apology motion.

Apologised (uncertain why?)

Asked if Greens support censure motion.

Brown says yes.


Wife calls. Handyman says roof could be electrified.

TUESDAY 23/02/10


More gifts. Shit.

Vintage port from Pyne, Tuckey sent hunting rifle, Julie Bishop sent autographed copy of her book.

Abbott jogs into office, gives thumbs up, jogs out.

APS in. Happy with censure motion negotiations. He had just been to doctor. Very relaxed. Says houses being electrified has done wonders for his blood pressure.

Ask why there are more gifts. Tells me as Minister for Future Building I must consult with environmentalists over climate change policy.

Thought we already had climate change policy. Also did not know we talked to environmentalists.

APS says it is important to consult with both sides.

Ask if I should report environmentalist’s views. APS says absolutely must not report environmentalist’s views. APS suggested I bring a book to “consultation”.


Hanson-Young glared at me for whole of question time.

Garrett censure motion passed!


Receive letter from Hanson-Young. She says she will take me to Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission for my comments at meeting yesterday.

Write to Hanson-Young. Apologise again. Wish I knew what for. Offer to press for extra child-care facilities in Parliament.

WEDNESDAY 24/02/10

Morning - Party Meeting

Party room buoyant after Senate censure motion.

Still not enough chairs for everyone. Joyce said we can’t afford them. Hunt sitting next to Abbott now. Dutton sitting on floor.

Joyce says election will be won and lost on insulation.

Bronwyn Bishop proposes Royal Commission into Batt-gate.

Tuckey demanding police investigate Garrett for murder.

Turnbull reading Fahrenheit 451.

Abbott thanks everyone for suggestions. Asks everyone to calm down and leave fate of Garrett to The Australian.


Just finished meeting with climate change youth activists.  Youth activists expressed views in 30 minute interpretative dance. Quite enjoyable. Think people may have been drowning with large mammal (moose?).

Told them I liked music. Apparently by Lady Gaga. Activists said she is feminist icon. Surprised that British peer is feminist icon. Told activists Queen is becoming more and more open minded. Activists confused.

Asked what they wanted specifically. Activists want all coal power-plants shut down immediately.

Promised to think about it.

THURSDAY 25/02/10


Handyman fell off roof and broke leg while checking insulation.  Wife wants personal apology from Garrett for handyman. Demands I ask question in Parliament.

Meeting with second group of environmentalists not very productive. Five activists in polar bear suits. All refused to speak. Read Dan Brown novel.


New letter from Hanson-Young. Upset about latest apology. Says call for extra child care shows I do not understand importance of mother-child time. Demands new apology.

Phone Wife about Hanson-Young. Wife offers to call Hansen-Young to clear air. Wife sure she can smooth things over.

30 Minutes Later

Christine Milne on phone. Says not appropriate to get wife to call female MPs. Accuses me of avoiding responsibility. Say very little. Greens like yelling, almost as much as Tuckey.

Question Time

Hanson-Young and Milne both glaring. Brown also looking angry. Feign illness and leave question time early.


Third environmentalist is older than other activists, dressed in snow goose suit.

Secretary offers to call security before meeting. Say should be okay, but if she hears goose noises must interrupt meeting immediately.


Meeting with Gooseman surprisingly enjoyable. Gooseman wears suit to highlight threat posed to wildlife by warming.

Gooseman actually top scientist. Gooseman was at Copenhagen as media advisor to President of Maldives.  Chatted to Gooseman about animal documentaries. Very interesting!

Ask Gooseman about Polar Bear guys. Gooseman says Polar Bear outfits are hack.

FRIDAY 26/02/10


Many gifts in office. Consider taking sick day.

Abbott arrives, still wearing abseiling harness (weirder then lyrca – less revealing though). Says party is very grateful I dealt with greens. Says dealing with Greens now part of my portfolio.

Offer Abbott resignation. Abbott refuses.


Wife calls. Has received bill from handyman – comes to $9675. Wife furious at Garrett – asks me again to ask question in Parliament about bill.

Wife also wants apology from Hansen-Young for calling wife “collaborator in misogyny”.

Promise to raise question about Garrett in party room meeting. Tell wife would rather sleep on couch for rest of life then demand apology from Hanson-Young.

Wife understands.


Garrett has been demoted but not sacked. Garrett now Minister with no responsibilities. Envy Garrett.

MONDAY 01/02/10


Arrived at parliament for first time in 2010. Loved Hawaii, haven’t read newspaper in 2 months.

Weirdo just called. Wanted to know what I thought of daughter’s virginity. Called him freak for asking and hung up.

Abbott in, fresh from ride up Mt Ainsle, still wearing fluro yellow lycra. Will struggle to forget.

Wants me to join Shadow Cabinet. Offered new portfolio “Shadow Minister for Future Building and Values”. Says he thought up title while walking to office. Says I’ll need to hire more staff. Will send through some names.

Ask if I’ll have Department. Abbott asks if I want one. Declare that Department is deal-breaker and absolutely DO NOT WANT Department. Abbott impressed at anti-bureaucratic zeal, leaves to tell Hunt what climate change policy will be.


Wife calls. Demands to know what business Abbott has telling our daughter what to do with virginity. Tell wife daughter is 10 and would prefer subject never be raised again.

Abbott’s Press Secretary (APS) arrives. Asks what Abbott said. Told him I’m in Shadow Cabinet. APS appears to have stroke. On way out says that I should on no account answer any questions about daughter or virginity. Wonder if he’s been making prank calls.


Joyce dropped by to ask if Values Department could handle spending cuts. Tell Joyce yes, big cuts to be made. Joyce excited.

Another weirdo just called. Fourth conversation about daughter’s virginity today. Tell Secretary to call police.

Moments Later

Secretary apologises. Forgot to show me New Idea’s Abbott interview. Secretary explains party line – says Brandis came up with it.

Call wife. Deliver line “Abbott was expressing a personal view as a father. Besides, what would Gillard know anyway? She doesn’t have any children!” Wife extremely lukewarm on line.

TUESDAY 02/02/10

Greg Hunt drops in –– asks if I know what climate change policy is? Tell Hunt “climate change” is not a part of my future building portfolio.

Ask Hunt what he thinks it should be. Hunt suggests I read his PHD on ETS. Promise Hunt I’ll check it out.

Feel bad about lying to Hunt, feels like lying to sick child.

Party Room Meeting

Abbott explains climate change policy.

Tuckey unhappy with tree planting but will support if only native trees are included.

Turnbull asks why Hunt not explaining policy. Abbott says Hunt has sore throat. Hunt nods.

Dutton arrives late. No seats left for him. Dutton goes to other room to find seats.

Turnbull asks where money is coming from. Abbott looks at Hockey. Hockey asleep. Abbott looks at Joyce. Joyce promises to reveal all in Press Club address tomorrow.

Turnbull says he will not support current policy but might support whatever Abbott’s position is next week.

Dutton back, no seats in other room. Abbott insists Hunt let Dutton sit down. Hunt agrees.

Abbott tells everyone to make list of things that will be more expensive under Great Big Tax on Everything.

WEDNESDAY 03/02/10


Tell Secretary to make list. Secretary asks if list should include ‘everything’. Tell Secretary to print off credit card statements and office expenses. Secretary asks if she should remove references to gin. Nod.

Joyce storms in. About to go to Press Club. Wants to confirm that costs of Department of Values and Future Building can be kept down. Confirm.


APS in. Looks like he’s run marathon. Delivered list of candidates for staffer position.

Tell APS maybe he should talk to the Doctor. APS says no need, Hunt on tight leash. Joyce on other hand, free in wild.

Got text message, threw phone at wall. Told me if anyone asks, I support foreign aid. Then took my phone.

THURSDAY 04/02/10

Go to supermarket with Abbott. Abbott hasn’t been to supermarket in a while – says wife does shopping.

IGA in Ainslie

Abbott attempts to order food at cash register. Explain that cashiers aren’t like waiters. See Hockey in aisle three – appears to be doing actual shopping. Abbott swaps me for Hockey.

Abbott tells media costs of chops will go up under ETS. Hockey says costs of wrapping on watermelon will go up (not sure Hockey’s heart is in it).

On way out Abbott tips cashier.

FRIDAY 05/02/10

Interview three candidates. Make me worry for future of party.

Tasmin, 19, says her strength is experience. Has been working for party since 14. Ran for state lower house seat when 18 – make a barely legal joke in interview. Does not go down well. Ran on pro-life, pro-family, pro-virginity platform. Attributes crushing defeat to sexism and ageism.

Pro: Committed to party.
Con: Assault charges pending for incident at National Union of Students conference.

Robert, 28, is happy to help ‘deal’ with my enemies. Says when he ‘deals’ with enemy... they stay ‘dealt’ – smiles. Wants to destroy enemies of nation, Labor, Greens and moderate liberals.

Pro: Appears competent.
Con: Possibly homicidal. Charges for branch stacking pending.

Spiro, 25, loves Australian values. Answers most questions by speech about boat people. Supports national draft to protect borders.

Pro: Quite bright.
Con: Likely to do a Jackie Kelly.


Abbott asked if I liked candidates. Lie. Abbott pleased.

MONDAY 08/02/10

Arrive at work. Tamsin, Robert and Spiro in office. Apparently Abbott told them good news on Friday.

Abbott asks if happy with new staff. Says were going to be for Joyce but Abbott didn’t want to cramp his natural charisma.


Joyce in, asks me to check some figures on national debt. Get Tamsin to check figures with Joyce.


Abbott comes in. Asks if I know how to iron. Abbott wants lesson. Ask why me? Abbott says I’m non threatening.

Hours Later

Abbott just left. Note to self: need 5 new shirts – Abbott likes maximum heat.

TUESDAY 09/02/10

Party meeting to compile Great Big List of Everything.

Hockey napping on couch.

Pyne’s list consists of 11 large folders. Offers to read list out (does Pyne have friends?)

Tuckey lists firearms and chainsaws.

Hunt mutters to self. Also did not iron shirt (maybe needs lesson?)

Turnbull reading Great Gatsby.

Joyce been too busy writing own media releases. Lists items he can see in room.


APS runs in. Asks if I’ve seen Joyce. Tell me if I find him to hold him down til he gets there or kill him.

Five Minutes Later

Joyce in. In trouble for “doing the right thing”. Ask for clarification. Says we’re bankrupt. Joyce hears APS running down corridor yelling his name. Joyce dashes for bathroom.

APS says he has intel that Joyce is here. Says he can “smell idiot in the room”. APS Open bathroom door. Joyce not there (?!) tell APS must have escaped through window.


Visit Hunt to offer ironing lesson. Hunt is reading own PHD and occasionally bouncing ball against wall. Keeps repeating “I am a man”.

Back out slowly.

WEDNESDAY 10/02/10

Joyce in. Looks happy. Says Garrett is killing people and media forgotten debt comments. Joyce tests ‘joke’. Sings cover of Midnight Oil song: “How can sleep while our roofs are burning.” Wants to use in question time. Decide should tell APS.

Tell APS. Holds heart for long time. Remind Press Secretary to breathe.


Gave Abbott another lesson. Only burned three shirts this time. He went to gym beforehand, got anger out. Told him he is ready.

THURSDAY 11/02/10


Abbott successfully irons shirt on television. Proud.


Hunt in. Looks happy, shirt ironed. Says everyone speaking to him normally again thanks to Garrett killing people.


Drinking gin with staff. Things looking up!

Twenty Minutes Later

Wife calls. Considering organising ‘Housewives against Abbott’ group. Has asked daughter to start Facebook page.

Tell staff must go home to Melbourne to consolidate wife vote.