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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 08/03/10 (Labor Day)

Morning

Whole family living in motel. Roof destroyed by hail storm, entire house flooded. Soggy insulation has fallen through roof. Wife very angry at Garrett. At least no risk of roof catching fire anymore.

Afternoon

Very relaxing morning. Check phone, have 58 missed calls. 53 from Tuckey.

Turn phone off.

TUESDAY 09/03/10

Morning

Board plane. Hostess thanks me for support for women’s rights. Thank her for Strudel. Start Stieg Larsson novel, very engrossing.

Parliament

Turn phone on.

100 missed calls. 38 text messages.

First text from Tuckey, did not know Tuckey texted.

Fifteen Minutes Later

Finish reading Tuckey’s 37 text messages. Tuckey texts like he speaks. Very loudly.

Abbott apparently announced maternity leave policy yesterday. Abbott credits me with contributing to policy. Tuckey credits me with contributing to death of party.

Fifteen Minutes Later

Just checked dictionary for terms Tuckey used to describe me. Not looking forward to party room meeting.

Party Room Meeting

Abbott apologises for not consulting with most of party before announcing policy. Says those he did consult were very supportive, looks at me and winks.

Sitting next to Tuckey. Extremely uncomfortable.

Tuckey calls maternity leave policy great big tax on everything.

Abbott says policy not tax, but modest levy.

Tuckey says Macquarie dictionary defines tax as levy on income.

Sharmon Stone calls it “investment in human capital”.

Everyone laughs.

Bob Baldwin says lack of consultation is Turnbullesque. Turnbull briefly looks up, smirks, returns to reading Female Eunuch.

Abbott says sometimes better to beg for forgiveness then ask for permission.

Party accepts apology. Surprised, wife would never have accepted apology of that nature. Did not seem like apology.

Afternoon

Joyce just called. Stuck in Queensland floods. Very angry about policy. Asks why he wasn’t consulted. Points out creation of new tax really part of Finance portfolio, not future building.

Tell Joyce not a new tax but investment in human capital.

Joyce describes several other taxes. Says this very like other taxes. Joyce says he never remembers filing “Investment in human capital” return when working as accountant. Laugh at Joyce’s joke.

Tell Joyce, sometimes better to beg forgiveness then ask permission.

Joyce has to leave. Media about to arrive. Must find flood victims to help

Evening

Call Wife. Wife very proud of policy, assumed Abbott would not take all of her suggestions. Thinks she misjudged Abbott. Says book club very happy too. Monique can now have third child while landscaping water feature at holiday home.

WEDNESDAY 10/03/10

Abbott Press Secretary (APS) in. Says finding job of managing Abbott very difficult. Says most difficult part is keeping track of Abbott’s whereabouts. Gives me timesheet to help him record Abbott’s movements and likely whereabouts.

Also says, Pyne will be visiting me to discuss national curriculum with me. Ask, why me? APS says children are future.

Afternoon

Pyne arrives. Has suitcase and backpack of documents. Says 118 references to Aborigines in curriculum and none to Westminster. Promises to show me graphs.

Pyne has pie charts on parliamentary system and power-point detailing how often each culture is referred to in national curriculum (shit).

Two Hours Later

Secretary brings in water jug filled with gin. Must give her raise.

Pyne almost finished with pie charts on words that appear in national curriculum. Offers to give me break down on foreign syllables used in curriculum. I suggest we focus on his main concerns (must be done soon).

Five Hours Later

Apparently more references to aborigines in curriculum then in Native Title Act. Apparently more references to aborigines in curriculum than in Rudd’s Sorry Speech.

Care very little.

Ask Pyne for alternatives.

Two Hours Later

Pyne just finished explanation of how Westminster system could be incorporated into national curriculum. Says all children must have detailed knowledge of parliamentary process.

THURSDAY 11/03/10

3am

Wake up.

Pyne gone.

Accidentally fell asleep on pie chart. Yellow ink takes long time to wash off face.

Extremely concerned at impact Pyne’s proposals would have on student attendance.

Pyne must be stopped.

Find note from Secretary. Left me camping gear.

Sleep under desk.

Morning - In Senate

Sarah Hanson-Young waves at me on way in. Alarmed…

Turns out Greens very supportive of Liberal party maternity leave policy. Unsettling.

Midday

Call APS, tell him very worried Greens support policy. Tell him Liberal party has proud tradition of adopting policies Greens do not support. Ask if policy can be amended to make Greens oppose. Suggest exempting mining industry from tax.

APS says policy is ‘levy’ not tax. APS also uncomfortable with Green support. Likes exempting Mining company from 'levy' idea. However, APS said Abbott very supportive wife’s maternity leave policy. Must get wife to approve any changes.

Tell APS wife unlikely to change position, book club locked in behind policy.

Afternoon

Hanson-Young glaring at me again. Feel better.

Approaches me and says she is angry that we are supporting Labor’s maternity leave plan. Say politics not about compromise. Says opposition parties, united, will never be defeated.

Offer Hanson-Young explanation of Parliamentary Democracy, say I have 15 years experience and power-points and pie charts that are extremely detailed in my office.

Hanson-Young accuses me of being patronising. Storms off.

FRIDAY 12/03/10

6am

Pyne calls, says he’ll meet me in office at 8:00 am to finish presentation.

7:45am

APS comes in fiddling with gadget. Says it is GPS chip he wants to plant on Abbott. Asks if I can go for lengthy drive so he can test accuracy.
Agree immediately.

Call enthusiastic staffer in (Tamsin). Tell her to apologise to Pyne and ask her to go through presentation with him.

Midday

Wife called during drive. Family moved back into house. Told wife about Pyne. Wife thinks Pyne’s problems bigger than aborigines. Say I should make friends with Pyne. Probably something else that’s bothering him.

Offer to make friends with Pyne, if wife support supports exempting mining companies from investment in human capital. Wife gets angry. Wife tells me to stop getting in way of progress, and support her and Abbott’s policy 100%.

Office 1pm

Check whether Pyne still in. Coast clear.

Tamsin gives me draft of new education curriculum that will ensure kids understand importance of Westminster system, Queen and role of manager of opposition business in process. Pyne must be stopped.

Take wife’s advice and decide to visit Pyne and see if he has anything to get off chest.

Four Hours Later

Pyne had surprising amount to get off chest.

Was playing chess against self when I arrived. Offered to join him. Pyne insisted on playing as White pieces.

Accidentally beat Pyne at chess. Pyne began crying. Spent long time consoling Pyne.

Pyne said only friends are journalists and they only like him for his sound bites.

Pointed out Pyne has friends in Liberal party. Pyne laughed bitterly.

Suggested to Pyne he may have addiction to pie charts and power point. Pyne agrees he has problem and he is trying to cut back.

Gave Pyne hug. Agreed to have fortnightly chess game/counselling session if Pyne dropped national curriculum. Pyne agreed.

Invited Pyne back to office for Friday afternoon gin with staff. Pyne asked if he could drink pineapple juice instead. Agreed.