Swan in. Says someone tried to hack into budget speech and add “frills”. Rudd's Press Secretary (RPS) subtly closed laptop. Maintained shocked expression very well.
RPS great actor.
Swan delivered budget. “Here here” rehearsal was well worth it.
Watched Swan on 7:30 Report in office. Many rounds of applause. Kerry asked Swan about indigenous affairs. Everyone quiet and looking at floor.
Rudd gave speech. Thanked Swan for great effort on big surplus in 2013 Federal budget. Swan thanks Rudd, but said we should not sit on laurels pre-emptively, has already begun work on 2016 budget.
RPS proposed PM go on 7:30 Report. PM said he could not go to “7:30 report land” because he had lined up a phone interview with Cooma-Monaro Express for the same time. PM angry at mainstream media - would rather talk to real Australians.
RPS politely noted that the 5 million or so people who read the nationally syndicated press and watch ABC are not ‘imaginary’. RPS also noted that the 6 people who read the Cooma-Monaro Express wouldn’t vote for PM anyway. RPS said PM could pave main street of Cooma with gold and build beer fountain and people there would still think his name was Krudd.
PM asked for cost estimate of beer fountain.
Evening – 7:00pm
RPS told PM to make sure he acts "natural" on TV. Said he should pretend Kerry O’Brien is real person and not a “massive mate”.
I accompanied the PM to the ABC studio. PM reading the Glen-Rowan Gazette - is concerned at implications of local Post Office moving streets. Wonders if “we have policy options on Post Office issue”.
One Hour Later
Interview did not go well. PM used line about “7:30 Report land” to suggest O’Brien was out of touch. PM said 7:30 Report viewers are out of touch with fair-dinkum Australians anyway.
One Minute Later
RPS called. Said PM needed to watch use of word “mate”. Said there is a risk that people will work out “mate” doesn’t mean mate. While O’Brien is a “total mate”, if people work out that PM called O’Brien a “mate”, female voters will think PM is a “mate”.
10 Minutes Later
Anthony Albanese, Lindsay Tanner and Tania Plibersek in office waiting for PM. Tanner had run to Parliament from function at National Museum. Albanese in dressing gown. They're all extremely unhappy about the interview.
Tanner did most of the talking, Plibersek did most of the conciliation and Albanese did most of the swearing.
- Albanese told PM he had no idea where the borders of "7:30 Report land" began and ended but that he’s pretty sure his “entire fucking electorate is right in the middle.”
- Plibersek suggested to the PM that his inflammatory language and dismissive attitude was risking their seats and he had to ask himself: could he afford to replace Ministers?
- Albanese said that most of the back bench consists of “second-rate ball sacs”, and that a majority of the backbench would struggle to tie shoelaces if their seats depended on it.
- Tanner asked PM who’ll look after Swan if Tanner loses seat. Tanner understood how annoying latte left can be but says, unless government is willing to support any of their agenda, we should probably avoid insulting them directly.
- Albanese said it would just be great if in interviews, PM could stop being such a “total mate”.
PM said he knew he should have done the interview with the Cooma-Monaro Express.
Keating called. Infuriated that none of his suggestions were included in budget. Keating raised 7:30 Report interview, asked if PM is losing it. Said if PM needs help on how to lose it properly, Keating happy to help train him.
Keating thought it is a bad idea for the PM to talk about staying up all night at international conferences. Said it doesn’t demonstrate good grasp of policy. Pointed out that Churchill stayed up all night planning Gallipoli invasion and “we all know how that turned out.”
Love Keating. Wish he would run again.
Disaster! Email from Jean accidentally leaked to media. Email discussed border-protection measures government was taking. RPS came out and told Jean to fire herself because he’s “too busy working on the PM’s facial expressions for tonight’s budget reply”. Jean pointed out that firing her would look like a backflip. Jean asked RPS if he thought government could afford anymore backflips. RPS repeatedly banged head on table but agreed with Jean.
RPS also tired of boat people and it’s worth quoting him:
“Do we need to make it any clearer? I get that the Taliban are the biggest "mates" this side of North Korea, and the American army isn’t much better, but don’t they get it? Can’t they stay oppressed until after the election? My compassion levels will be off the charts around Christmas, but the only arrivals I want to welcome to Australia in the next six months are record-breaking 16 year olds.”
Think RPS has heart in right place.
RPS makes PM wear ear piece for budget reply so he can provide PM with real-time directions about facial expressions.
RPS relieved. PM not aware of leak. Apparently, not covered in Cooma-Monaro Express.