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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.
TUESDAY 22/11/2011

Met with PM, Albanese, and Swan. Have opportunity to secure an extra vote on the floor - cannot afford to pass it up. Peter Slipper has agreed to take speaker’s chair.

PM insists we use code name she came up with: “Operation Make Slipper Speaker”. Really need to work on Gillard’s style.

PM asks how I think it’ll play in the media.

Say it will look dodgy. Everyone agrees. Say it probably is dodgy. Everyone agrees. Say “probably still worth it though”. Everyone agrees.

This is most difficult piece of political theatre I’ve ever had to produce.

Make list of pros and cons.

1. Need to convince Jenkins to pretend that he has taken $100,000 pay cut, given up best office in parliament, and surrendered the job he always wanted, because of the "exciting policy opportunities" on the back bench.
2. "Slipper" is dreadful name for a polly. May as well be Mr. “I enjoy misusing the public’s funds”.

1. Slipper’s vote a few billion cheaper than Oakeshott and Windsor.
2. Voters don’t know or care who the Speaker is.
3. Christmas is coming - happiness and alcohol will sweep voters memories clean.

WEDNESDAY 23/11/2011


Meet with Slipper at Parliament. Suggest we walk to nearby cafe to discuss details of swap. Slipper calls a cab.

3 Minutes Later

Arrive at cafe. Slipper is already inside. His cab is waiting at the kerb, engine running. Ask Slipper if he’s in a rush? Slipper says no.

Slipper prefaces meeting by stating he “agrees to all conditions”. Ask Slipper if changing his name by deed poll is an option. Slipper totally agrees. Explain to Slipper I was joking and that it would look incredibly bad if he changed his name. Slipper totally agrees. Wish Labor backbenchers were this easy to deal with.

Walk back to Parliament. Slipper says he’ll see me there tomorrow. Says he’s taking cab to airport. Flying to Sydney to pick up some dinner tonight at his favourite spot.


Go with Albanese to inform Jenkins that the PM will accept his resignation tomorrow morning.

Jenkins agrees to resign. Is happy to declare he is doing so for good of party and to ensure stability of government.

Thank Jenkins for those “thoughts” but explain we need him to resign for “the love of public policy” and due to his “burning desire to re-engage with the Party”.

Jenkins suggests we be honest because “the people will see right through this”.

Agree with Jenkins, but explain that the most important part of modern politics is knowing that when you have to do something really dirty you should at least have the decency to try to look ashamed about doing that really dirty thing by covering the dirty thing up.

Jenkins doesn’t think anyone will buy it. Quotes Lincoln “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

Agree with Jenkins: “Lincoln had some cracker quotes but what he didn’t have is the marginal seat voting data we’ve got. All we need to do is fool some of the people in some of the places at a very specific time.”

Jenkins signs up. Instruct Jenkins that Gillard will expect to be surprised by his resignation at 7:30am. Sharp.

THURSDAY 24/11/2011

What a day. Really proud of party.

Sat in on Gillard and Jenkins meeting. Gillard pulled great surprise face. Jenkins’ performance was a little underwhelming, but his resignation speech was work of art. By the end even I believed he was interested in public policy.

Have a drink with Jenkins at the end of the day. Jenkins confides that he is looking forward to contributing to housing policy.

Tell Jenkins no need to stay in character.
Press Release - Monday 31 October 2011

Qantas is pleased to announce that the Flying Kangaroo has been granted its wings once again.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce declared that "Last night's decision by Fair Work Australia to terminate all industrial action was a great victory for the right to take, and the enduring power of, industrial action."

The victory was met with delight in the Qantas Boardroom, with chants of "the Directors United Will Never Be Defeated" filling the air.

The Government body will provide a binding determination to Qantas and the unions as to the best way forward. Qantas is delighted that the State is finally intervening in a dispute that the free market was clearly incapable of resolving. It is of considerable regret to Qantas that this did not occur earlier.

Mr Joyce went on to say that "Anyone who finds that their cries for justice fall on deaf ears today knows that if they stand by their principles, have the courage of their convictions, and control one-half of Australia's airline market, they will be heard. Specifically by Fair Work Australia, even after midnight on a Sunday." Mr Joyce urged ordinary people to follow the example set by Qantas and stand up for themselves, unless of course they work for Qantas.

Qantas would like to clarify that the closing of the airline was an absolute last resort. The Board considered various alternative actions including:
  • occupying the offices of the Transport Workers Union;
  • negotiation; and
  • an indefinite hunger strike.
The Board concluded that these options failed to provide Qantas' loyal customers with the same level of certainty that a sudden, total shut down of the airline would.

Qantas appreciates the loyalty of its customers, and we were touched by the solidarity many displayed when they spontaneously occupied Qantas terminals for extended periods of time over the last 48 hours.

We were there with you in spirit, for we are the Spirit of Australia.

This entry also published at thepunch.com.au.

MONDAY 22/08/2011

Return from question time. Paul Howes (AWU) is sitting in my office chair. Says he's checked my office and has found no less than 8 items that were manufactured overseas. As a representative of the manufacturing sector he feels I owe him an explanation for my unAustralianness. Ask Howes if I could have my chair back. Howes says he'll do better than that, he'll replace it with an Australian made seat. Will invoice my secretary.

TUESDAY 23/08/2011


Met with Same Same (marriage equality group) and GetUp to discuss same sex marriage.


Receive call from Joe De Bruyn, member of Labor’s national executive and also head of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association. Asks why I've been meeting with anti-marriage groups, especially at a time like this when the morality of the party is in question?

Enquire how De Bruyn knows who I've been meeting with? De Bruyn says he could tell me, but then he'd have to expel me from party.

Say I was just trying to consult members of my electorate on gay marriage. De Bruyn says my electorate doesn't support gay marriage. Australians don't support gay marriage and retail workers especially don’t support gay marriage. If I want to do any further consultation on the issue I should call him.

WEDNESDAY 24/08/2011


Back really sore. Not sure about chair, feels like it's almost designed with kidney damage in mind.


Arbib calls me into meeting to discuss “Thomsongate”.

Ask why I am needed? Arbib says I know Thomson.

Tell Arbib I don’t know Craig that well. Just know him through caucus and have had a few beers with him. Arbib says Thomsom identified me as one of his closest friends.



Albanese, Shorten, and Gillard Press Secretary (GPS) in meeting.

Albanese expresses curiosity as to how the NSW Right and Arbib preselected Thomson.

Arbib admits that with the benefit of hindsight, Thomson was less than ideal, but resents implication that that's Labor Right's fault.

Albanese agrees we can’t make this a factional issue. “Your fuck up is now everyone’s fuck up, and so I just want to know how your fuck up came to be so totally fucked up. I hate to say I told you so, but I thought he was a useless prick even before there was a paper trail that suggested he was officially a useless prick.”

Point out that charges haven't been laid, and we just have to weather the storm until it's off the front page. It's not like we were winning on the issues of asylum seekers or the carbon tax anyway.

Albanese agree there's nothing we can do now. But suggests that part of pre-selection process should include "Have you ever slept with a prostitute and, if so, did you pay for it using other people's money?" Of course Albanese would like things to be even more thorough but he'd hate to overtax the hardworking Labor Right.

Arbib unhappy but agrees.

Late Afternoon

Fiddling with seat adjustment levers. Accidentally drop a foot in height just as Arbib storms into office. Towering above me, he angrily exclaims that the Health Services Union (HSU) has launched an attack on Labor movement.

I ask what they've done?

They've surrendered documents regarding Craig Thomson to police.

Genuinely shocked. I thought I knew the HSU better than that. Makes me feel low.

THURSDAY 25/08/2011


Another meeting re: Thomson.

GPS says this union squabble is going too far. Last night someone left a dirt covered shovel outside the National Secretary of the HSU, Kathy Jackson’s, house.

Arbib outraged as well. Can’t believe Jackson reported this to police.

Arbib insists Unionists have a long proud tradition of leaving garden implements outside one another’s houses. Says he’d have a pretty bare shed if his factional opponents hadn’t been so ferociously generous over the years. Says he once found his front door hacked apart and a hatchet on the doormat. He was alarmed until he learned that a factional opponent was sending a message that he just wanted to “bury the hatchet”.

GPS understands that he’s not fully conversant in “unionese” traditions. But if all the people in the room could tell all their people to not leave objects that could be construed as murder weapons anywhere, that’d make media management a lot easier.

Arbib nods. He’ll get onto it. Will leave symbol for silence, a roll of duct tape, outside all his associate’s houses.

FRIDAY 26/08/2011


Decide to get rid of Australian made chair. Back pain so severe am struggling to walk.

Secretary received invoice from Howes for $2500. Sigh.


Discover chunk of steel outside office with "Australian Made" imprinted on it.


Howes calls. Asks if I got his message?

Thank him for his views. Have decided to sit on Australian made medicine ball to deal with back problems. Howes asks if any Australian steel was used in construction of medicine ball?

Says I have two choices, one: support Australian manufacturing, or two: have my preselection challenged by a candidate backed by Howes and Joe De Bruyn.

Tell secretary to get chair back.

SATURDAY 27/08/2011

Cancelled all my consultations with gay marriage advocates after I discovered a smashed wedding cake on my door step. Have arranged to meet with Australian Christian Lobby and George Pell on Monday morning.

This entry also published at thepunch.com.au.

MONDAY 11/07/2011


Had to spend weekend in Canberra. Was unclear on how carbon tax fell within ambit of my Future Building and Values portfolio, but then Abbott issued edict that tax on everything touches every portfolio. Says it is a threat to our way of life.

Had to cancel golf game. Who announces a tax on a Sunday?


Met with Abbott and Abbott Press Secretary (APS).

Abbott has me rostered on for first week of “Carbon Tax Crusade”. APS furious – insists we call it “campaign”. “Crusade” is on list of never-ever phrases along with “workchoices", "domestic duties" and "virginity”.

Ask if this campaign can’t wait till election?

Abbott shakes head. Declares we must kill tax before it eviscerates economy. APS says there is serious risk that if people don’t hate the tax now, they may learn to live with it. Consumer confidence could return and THAT would be disastrous.

Abbott says message is simple: prices will rise on everything.
Ask if it includes fuel.

APS says do not sweat the detail, just stay consistently on message: PRICES WILL RISE ON EVERYTHING.

At least I won’t have to think this week.


Booked flight home to Melbourne. Did not off-set carbon emissions. Need to be consistent.

TUESDAY 12/07/2011


Cannot believe I have to spend whole day campaigning. I ran for safe seat on understanding only had to see constituents once every three years.


Attended community forum. Have never before received multiple standing ovations prior to even making it onto the stage!


Second community forum at Bowls club. They sang “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” as I walked on stage. They did not know my name - still great fun. Sang God Save the Queen. Organiser of forum said club members refuse to adopt “Whitlam’s anthem”.


Delightful day. Have never been hugged by so many pensioners. Reminds me of the Tampa election – so much good will in the community.

WEDNESDAY 13/07/2011


Went on shopping centre walk with Abbott.

Found old lady stockpiling canned goods, bottled water and batteries in Aisle 3. Declares she’s terrified of the Carb-pocalypse.

Try to calm her. Abbott stops me. Instructs me to assist her. Abbott explains panic buying is good for economy.


At Frankston shopping mall. Meet young mother in food court. Abbott lets me take lead.

Mother refuses to discuss carbon tax. Caught COMPLETELY off guard – throws me off my rhythm.

Wants to know what we are doing about bullying in schools.

Abbott cuts in. Tells young mother carbon tax is bullying on a grand scale. It’s like the Government taking lunch money from Australia’s 500 best corporations.

Mother dissatisfied.

Say something about pink batts.

Mother remains unimpressed.

Abbott pats me on the back: “Way to stay on message.”


Arrive home after tough day.

Wife watching SkyNews. Glares at me as I sit on couch. Asks me if intimidating women is an acceptable price to pay to defeat the carbon tax.


Wife explains that Liberal party apparatchik Declan Stephenson harangued and then stalked a Greens supporter after the meeting, only leaving when police were called.

Explain to wife that Stephenson is just emotionally overwhelmed by the threat this tax poses to his way of life.

Wife says people can discuss carbon tax without being anti-social. Says book club will be debating Tim Flannery’s book tomorrow night, politely.

Call APS. Volunteer for community forum on Thursday night. APS agrees – also asks me to deal with this Stephenson prick.

THURSDAY 14/07/2011


Meet Stephenson. Kept notes of conversation as insurance policy.

Me: Hello Declan.
DS: Hello Shadow Minister.
Me: I’m sorry about the harsh words said about you in the media.
DS: I understand you guys have to say that so I can keep doing my work.
Me: Your work?
DS: I’ve put together a crack team of local Libs to patrol Frankston.
Me: I absolutely do not want you to do that work.
DS: Okay [winks]
Me: Why are you winking?
DS: I’m not winking [winks]
Me: It looks like you are winking.
DS: That’s just what it looks like [winks profusely]
Me: Just so we’re clear you get it, no more stalking Greens
DS: Sure “I get it.” 
[DS winks – shows me crossed fingers]
Me: That’s that then… I suppose the meeting’s over.
DS: Yep.
Me: …
Me: You can leave my office now.
DS: You leave the office…”

Two hours later

Stephenson still following me while insisting he isn’t following me. Insists he is just making sure I am not a Green spy sent to sabotage his community.

30 minutes later

Escape into mens toilets. Stephenson says he’ll wait outside.

Call APS. 

APS says “I don’t know why you’re calling but Joyce is planning to ride a bull through Indooroopilly Westfield, to prove he’s not afraid of a fight. If you’re not calling about an equally calamitous event, please explain. Otherwise, PLEASE GO AWAY.”

Hang up. Call wife.

15 minutes later

Wife picks me up. Wife furious she had to leave book club in the middle of civil and intelligent conversation about the carbon tax. Wife says the men in the Liberal Party could learn a lot from her book club.


Arrive home. As we walk in a plate is thrown against the wall. Screaming emanates from the living room.

Two women are fighting, rest of book club is trying to break them up.

Run upstairs.

Half an hour later

Wife comes up. Turns out women were mother and daughter. Mother is against carbon tax and thinks Julia Gillard is a liar. Daughter thinks Abbott’s a liar and that carbon tax is vital for future. Mother said she regrets having daughter. Daughter accuses mother of wanting to slowly murder her own grandchildren so she can have another Porsche. Went from there.

Each had mild injuries, nothing requiring more than 12 stitches. Fortunately both are married to doctors.

Wife asks me to go downstairs and speak to them. Refuse. Tell her that mediating carbon tax conflicts poses a threat to my way of life.
MONDAY 23/05/11


Joyce and Bernardi waiting in my office.

Joyce says that everything we've achieved in the last millennia of western civilisation is under threat, if we don't act to stop Sharia Law in its tracks. Bernardi adds "We didn't go to the moon in burkhas, and Jimi Hendrix could not have played the guitar if his hands had been chopped off”.

Ask Joyce who's been supporting Sharia law?

Joyce says Labor MP Maria something-or-other was endorsing the position of Sheik Mohammad-whatsama-call-it.

Find it hard to believe that Labor Party is actually considering introducing Sharia Law. Would require existance of backbone, for starters. Suggest that Joyce and Bernardi are overreacting.

Both pull pebbles out of their pockets and start throwing them at me. Joyce says that's the impact of Sharia Law, and that I'm lucky my daughter isn't here.

Note to self: never bring children to Parliament during sitting week.


Abbott Press Secretary (APS) has sent around memo telling everyone to stop leaking to the media about internal bickering.

Think this is risky move by APS - have always found memo referring to internal bickering is first thing to get leaked.


Memo leaked.


APS in. Is convinced that Hockey leaked her memo, and is worried that he's on a crusade to destabilise the Party. Thinks he's trying to set himself up for a leadership challenge by coming up with popular policy positions that defer from party line. Last thing she needs right now is another Turnbull.

APS demands I follow Hockey and find out what he's up to. She's busy trying to get Turnbull and Minchin to follow Coalition position on climate science.

Surprised to hear we have position on climate science. Ask APS if she could explain it to me.

APS tells me Coalition position on climate science is the price of cabbage is going to rise. End of story. The only person who should be contradicting Abbott on climate science is Abbott.

Orders to me to stick to Hockey - says if he appears on Sunrise, she wants to see me in the background of the shot.


Head over to Hockey's office.

Ask Hockey what he's up to.

Hockey is wrestling with really tough decision. Looking for new issue to make statement on this week to keep himself in leadership frame. Is thinking of making comment on beauty pageants and slut walk, as a father. Not sure what to say though, slutwalk is confusing - seems demeaning to women, but also seems to be women doing most of the demeaning. What’s with that?

Joyce charges into Hockey’s office. Throws pebble at Hockey and shouts “That’s for every rural family’s trust fund!” Storms out.

Hockey asks what Joyce is doing?

Tell Hockey I think Joyce thinks that he is preserving western civilisation?

Hockey looks sad: “Everyone has a cause but me".


Report back to APS.

APS pleased. Is fairly certain only person Hockey will be hurting is Hockey. Asks me to go talk to Turnbull - suss out if he’s through undermining climate change policy


Meet with Turnbull, say I just came in for chat.

Turnbull asks what specific aspect of his comments on climate change APS wants to know about. Turnbull harder to spy on.

Relay APS’ desire that Turnbull stop actively attacking Coalition climate change policy.

Turnbull says he has been not been “attacking” policy rather he has been “describing” policy. He is not responsible for the quality of what he is describing.

Suggest to Turnbull that maybe he could just not speak out on the issue.

Turnbull: “I have been not speaking out, but journalists keep asking me questions. Refusing to answer the questions would be impolite, and if I must answer them my golden rule comes into play: never answer any question in a way that makes me sound like a f*#!ing moron. People know where I stand on climate change, and they expect me to say intelligent things. That’s the Turnbull brand. I don’t want to be one of those plain packaging politicians like Gillard.”

Bernardi bursts into room. Says “This is for undermining the whole party...”. Goes to throw pebble.

Turnbull glares at Bernardi.

Bernardi scurries out.

Turnbull asks if I want to come to the Government’s climate science forum.

Say I appreciate the invite, but listening to a scientist on climate change feels a little bit like crossing the floor, which, has never been my thing.


Check in on Hockey, not to spy, just to see if he is okay.

Hockey even more stressed. Does not know whether to go to the climate science forum or not. On one hand would like to know about the science, on other hand does not want to be seen to be following Malcolm.

I suggest that if he turned up really early, it would look like Turnbull was following him. Of course, Abbott might see that as a challenge by Hockey.

Hockey sighs.


Report to APS and Abbott:

Hockey is depressed but inert, Joyce and Bernardi are launching crusade against Sharia Law by stoning moderates with pebbles, and Malcolm is being Malcolm.

APS looks distraught - has no idea how to unify this stupid party.

Abbott not at all worried about unity in party. Points out that we went through three leaders and four leadership candidates in last electoral term. As long as we are unified on night before election she’ll be right.

APS asks how we will get message back on track.

Abbott says he will have a chat to Turnbull during their weekly bike ride. Will call Joyce and Bernardi and ask them to work with Pyne to produce a 20,000 word report on value of western civilisaton and threat Sharia Law poses to it - that’ll totally put them off the idea. As for Joe, Abbott’s not worried. He’ll vaciliate, capitulate, and apologise within the week. Abbott exits.

Comment to APS that Abbott really thrives on chaos.

APS agrees, makes him perfect leader for modern Liberal Party.
Amongst the rubble of the Abbottabad compound, US Forces discovered a diary, which they have leaked to diaryleaks.com.au after Julian Assange rejected it due to “quality” and “veracity” issues. Read on for selected excerpts.

3 February 2002

Have decided to keep diary to ensure world has record of important post 9/11 career.

October 2002

So far contribution to global jihad has mainly been hiding in caves. Somewhat out of touch with day-to-day Al Qaeda operations. Number 2 is running things from Yemen in my absence.

20 March 2003

Great news! Invasion of Iraq has begun. Heard on radio I am in league with Saddam. Wish it were true; he could probably supply substantially better accommodation than the Taliban – pretty tired of cave life. Difficult to plan Next Big Strike against the West in such damp conditions.

1 May 2004

Still cave hopping. Wish I could stay in one cave long enough to make it worthwhile adding some paint.

November 2004

Caves are depressing. Courier suggests I make video for US election, to cheer me up.

2 days later

Courier says I’ve gone viral. Howl in praise! Did not realise we had biological weapons!

Courier says he is referring to the spread of my video on youtube.

Ask whether we can transport viruses through these giant tubes?

Courier says “This will be really confusing but the answer is yes and no.”

27 March 2005

Have bought a new home in Abbottabad. Military base 800 metres away. Good place for family: nice, secure neighbourhood. Can now start serious planning for Next Big Strike against the infidels!

8 April 2005

Pakistani intelligence services (ISI) bring house warming gifts: home bomb making kit, collection of jigsaw puzzles, and book of Bushisms.

Inform me that they are very happy to help but must set some limits to deceive Americans. Are only able to support Al Qaeda on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

9 April 2005

Book of Bushisms is a great read. "Is our children learning?" Classic.

Book was wrapped in old copy of New York Post. Opinion piece says that Al Qaeda has the A-bomb. Great news! I can use this in my Next Big Strike! Why did Number 2 not tell me about this? Not sure I can trust him.

14 December 2006

Planning big party to celebrate 5 years of evading George W Bush. Send Courier to ISI to retrieve party supplies.

15 December 2006

Courier returns without supplies and missing hand! ISI cut it off because "the days switched”. ISI now supports Al Qaeda on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays. Courier says they apologised for keeping me out of loop, but did I not get the email?

1 January 2007

Very small party. Number 2 says affiliates and allies wanted to be there, but compound is secret location and many of them are unable to travel because they also live in secret locations. Very hard to invite people in secret locations to party at secret location without giving away secret location. Also, many of them are dead.

Number 2 keeps telling me: “Yemen is where it’s at”. Ask Number 2 if the USA or the Soviet Union have invaded Yemen recently. Number 2 says the USA have dropped some bombs. Big deal - USA drops bombs on everyone.

Number 2 says I’m kind of out of touch, should come to Yemen to get back in game.

Tell Number 2 I’m quite settled in Pakistan and don’t really know anyone in Yemen.

28 January 2008

Have finally completed new plan: Will blow up Beijing Olympic Games with the A-bomb! Send for Number 2 to discuss details.

2 February 2008

Number 2 arrives. Ask him to join me in yard for my daily walk.

Number 2: Alas great leader, we merely “kind of” have the A-bomb.
Me: Kind of?
Number 2: We have the components of an A-bomb.
Me: So assemble those components and strike!
Number 2: Well, you see those components are in many different countries and in some cases still in the possession of infidels.
Me: So we don’t have the A-bomb?
Number 2: That depends on whether you are an ammunition magazine half full or ammunition magazine half empty kind of guy.

Back to drawing board.

4 October 2008

US election coming up. Time for a new video to put down the tube. Send Courier to request multimedia equipment from ISI.

5 October 2008

Courier returns missing ear. ISI has now narrowed times and places they support Al Qaeda to Wednesdays and Saturday mornings “in the shade”. Courier says he was told by ISI that he was “too sunny”.

Also ISI cannot provide audio or video equipment as “new IT guy is really uptight with loaning equipment to terrorists that won’t come in and sign forms themselves.”

1 January 2009

Watched documentary about Richard Branson’s commercial space flights. Fascinating. Infidels very ambitious.

5 January 2009

New plan: will send Courier to international space station on Branson’s jet and then blow it up!

Nobody will expect this!

18 January 2009

Get postcard from Number 2. Feels he cannot support space station mission. While he admits it is “visionary”, until Yemen has own space program it is slightly impractical.

Idiot has included return address. Write him back telling him he’s fired.

9 February 2009

Number 2 writes back explaining that fragmented nature of Al Qaeda means he’s technically leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen so I can’t actually fire him.

Am starting to feel slightly undermined.

4 October 2010

Courier returns from regular trip to ISI with bullet wound in leg.

Says he made sure he visited them on Wednesday in the shade. Even took own shade cloth. ISI shot him because they thought he was making fun of them.

28 January 2011

Egyptian revolution on news. Send Courier to Egypt with message for Muslim brotherhood that Al Qaeda is with them.

1 March 2011

Courier returns. Had great time in Egypt. Is going to join Egyptian revolution. Says Democracy is really “in” now. Giving me two months notice – last day will be Monday May 2nd.

Consider shooting Courier, but really need his help over next two months. Have come up with best Next Big Strike yet. Am going to blow up The Face Book!
Diary Leaks has a brand new character: the Minister for Community Concerns!

Read it on The Age here: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/diary-of-the-minister-for-community-concerns-20110405-1d1sc.html
WEDNESDAY 23/03/11


Going to be great day! Very excited about No Carbon Tax demonstration; the last time I attended a rally was 1975 to celebrate dismissal. Dreamt last night that today’s rally so big, Governor-General dismissed Gillard!

Staff have been up all night making placards! Some beauties:


Run into Turnbull in corridor. Ask if he is going to demonstration.

Turnbull says, unfortunately, he is double-booked - has set aside two hours to re-read One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.


Abbott’s office brimming with pre-demonstration excitement.

Abbott asks Press Secretary (APS) to clarify what current line is on climate science. APS explains that we certainly accept the science on climate change, and that mankind might well influence global warming, but that we are adamant that a tax won’t save the day, what with China burning coal and Australia being so small - particularly in light of the science being so uncertain.

Tell APS I feel line still lacks clarity.

APS thanks me for my “opinion” but research shows line receives a positive response from 95% of focus group participants. Science on line is settled.

Abbott fine as long as experts are happy.


Bernardi, Mirabella, and Abetz arrive with placards and costumes!

Bernardi wearing winter clothes and balaclava. Wants to highlight that planet is in fact cooling, and also draw attention to how oppressive Burqa is! APS says Bernardi should change outfit, first, because it is quite hot, and secondly, because it will probably scare the protesters.

Mirabella has constructed effigy of Gillard with broomstick.

Ask Mirabella why she has dressed Gillard in middle-eastern clothes.

Mirabella says it is a “Gillard the wicked”/”Colonel Gaddafi-esque” witch from the Middle-east. It’s a double metaphor. Has brought monopoly money to burn with effigy.

Abbott worried burning effigy does not send good message about being carbon conscious. Also, though he hates regulation, pretty sure you need permit to burn stuff near Parliament.

Bernardi worried burning an effigy might be one of the pillars of Islam and thus ‘halal’. Also thinks it’s a shame to waste a good effigy, can reuse later. Abbott proud to see team recycling, thinks it’ll help green credentials.


Wander down to rally. 1500 - 2000 people. Great atmosphere.

Elderly gentlemen comes up to me. Needs to find his grandson, but needs someone to mind his placard. Agree to hold placard for moment. Would not want young child to be wandering Parliament lawns on own; could be picked up by Green.


Stood right behind Abbott for great speech. Real buzz!


Elderly man returns with grandson, who appears to be in mid 30s. Hand back placard.


Wife calls. Has seen nightly news bulletin and is extremely angry.

Asks me why I was holding placard calling PM a “bitch”?

Oh dear.

Wife says she just had great chat with daughters or the “little bitches” about how daddy is a stupid bastard who got misled by hanging with wrong crowd, something they should be wary of. Wife and her book club are organising a petition condemning me which she will be sending to her local member (me) to table in Parliament. Hopes I will do the right thing.


Watch news bulletin. Oh dear indeed. Have been ‘placarded’ into corner.

Secretary says APS is coming over with “scientific proof” that I’m a massive idiot.

Tell secretary to lock door, turn off all lights, computers. Hide under desk.

Secretary asks why.

I’m embracing energy, and self, preservation.

Toby Halligan and Mathew Kenneally are both appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Details for their respective shows can be found at http://tobyhalligan.com/ and http://kenneally.com.au/
SUNDAY 20/03/2011


Rudd summons me to his office on a Sunday. Needs an invite to Prince William’s cocktail party tonight. Also wants an update on the Libyan bombing campaign. Given his advocacy of no-fly zone he's unclear why NATO haven't called him for advice on bombing targets. Rudd believes he should have direct role in negotiating with Gaddafi as he has direct experience of working with a mad man, having served under Mark Latham.


Call British embassy. British Government thanks me for interest, but says they have war covered.

I suggest to Rudd he needn’t worry about no-fly zone anymore.

Rudd says Libyan conflict is greatest moral challenge of this month; needs to make sure NATO properly implements his plan. Says he will call Obama later tonight.


Call Queensland Premier's office: Anna Bligh is attending the cocktail party and feels that she can handle Prince’s visit on own.

Rudd furious - not for himself, but for Queensland media who will all be expecting him at event. Does not want to disappoint.

Demands to speak with Bligh. Get her on speaker phone:

Rudd: Hi Anna.
Bligh: Hi Kevin.
Rudd: Anna I appear to have misplaced my invitation to this evening’s cocktail party.
Bligh: Kevin, it’s just a state event.
Rudd: I am a Queensland politician.
Bligh: Yes but it’s a charity fundraiser so we cannot just give tickets away to every politician.


Rudd: I’m the Foreign Minister of Aus...
Bligh: Kevin this is not about you, it’s about flood victims.
Rudd: I am a flood victim.
Bligh: No you are not.
Rudd: I still have pain in my right foot from the infection I incurred while fighting the floods in my electorate. Every time I put weight on it I feel Queensland’s pain.
Bligh: Maybe you need a quiet night in then.

Bligh hangs up.

Rudd refuses to give in - demands I call Prince William.


Call Prince William's personal assistant (PA).

Ask PA if he can squeeze Rudd into cocktail party. Say it would mean a lot to Rudd. PA is sympathetic but says that would involve bumping someone off the list, like a schoolgirl who has been looking forward to the event all week. PA asks if the Foreign Minister would be comfortable with that.

Declare I am 100 per cent sure Foreign Minister would be comfortable with that.

Awkward silence. I think it was a rhetorical question.


Rudd disappointed, but doesn't look like he's given up yet. Sends me home.

MONDAY 21/03/2011


Rudd bouyant.

Spent whole night on phone with Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy planning NATO’s next move. Rudd says he is starting to feel like an important part of NATO.

Remind him that Australia is not part of NATO - we are nowhere near the North Atlantic.

Rudd scoffs. Feels that he is sort of an honourary member. Is fairly sure he makes bigger contribution to NATO than Holland, Belgium, and Germany combined.

Ask Rudd if he got in to cocktail party?

Rudd dismissive. Says he is not interested in cocktail parties. Prefers flood events where he can get his hands or feet dirty. Cocktail party is just a chance to awkwardly talk to people in areas unaffected by flood. Not really a Rudd thing. Rudd would rather be in Libya.

15 minutes later

Prince William’s PA calls. Says Rudd is welcome to attend event in Victoria.

Rudd grabs his pre-packed William bag and heads out door, excited not to be disappointing Victorian media. Says if Gaddafi calls, take a message.

This entry also published at theage.com.au.

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FRIDAY 11/03/11


Lucas (Mini-Rudd) and I in office.

Ask Mini-Rudd what he is doing on weekend.

Mini-Rudd is spending Saturday morning planting trees for carbon abatement scheme, will work on masters in afternoon, and plans to relax in evening by re-watching An Inconvenient Truth. Asks what I’m doing.

Tell him I have a date with Johnny Walker.

Mini-Rudd asks which Ministerial office Johnny Walker works in.

Reply: “Almost all of them - he gets around”


Rudd and George (National Security Adviser) back from Middle East trip. Believe no-fly zone is only solution to Gaddafi’s brutality. Inform Rudd that Gillard wants UN approval for any military action.

Rudd is sure the UN will set up a terrific war crimes tribunal and superb latrines in refugee camps, but what is needed now is action.

George shakes head, does not believe UN has “war-zone standard”.

George has reached his contacts in Libya using new age technology "Facebook Chat", says they would want no-fly zone, but the USA are wimping out.

Rudd slams his desk and yells that Australia will lead the world down the no-fly zone path. Gillard and Swan got in his way on climate change, they won’t stop him on Libya-change. Besides, if Australia leads it’ll shame the rest of the world to take action, if only to rescue our troops.

Rudd asks me to set up meeting with Stephen Smith. As Defence Minister we will probably need to involve him at some point.

SATURDAY 12/03/11


Meet with Smith. Offer Smith a drink. Smith uncertain whether he wants milk or diet coke. Deliberates for several minutes. Wind up giving him both. Smith sips from one then the other.

Explain plans on Libya. Smith asks what Gillard thinks. Rudd says he’s taking initiative, doesn’t want to put too much pressure on Gillard. She’s had a tough week of elocution boot camp to prepare her accent for the US congress.

Smith not sure where he stands on Libya, thinks Gaddafi is bad, and loss of life is bad. Would really like to avoid both. Looks at us hopefully.

Rudd agrees, thinks Smith is thinking clearly about issue. Asks if he’ll support commitment of Australian fighter jets.

Smith has no idea. Needs time to think about it.

Rudd asks if it would be easier for him if Rudd took lead. Smith needs to think about that too.

Rudd asks if he can take lead while Smith thinks about it.

Smith gives cautious approval. Leaves with milk.

SUNDAY 13/03/11


George has spoken to airforce.

Good news: Libyan airforce totally antiquated, mostly Italian hand-me-downs.

Bad news: Australian airforce only marginally better, mainly American hand me downs. Thinks our planes could probably make it to Libya, but not sure they could carry bombs there.

Also uncertain if it would be worth diplomatic disaster of flying military planes through dozens of other sovereign territories.

Rudd says “This isn’t a fucking diplomatic disaster, a diplomatic disaster was going to an international conference on climate change without an ETS, getting rat fucked by the Chinese and letting the Great Barrier Reef die in 20 years. I’m not making that mistake twice. Australia needs to lead and the Party be damned, I will save those Libyans, especially if it means sacrificing this government.”

Rudd thinks it’s time to call Gaddafi out and give him official declaration of war: tells me to find Gaddafi’s twitter account.


American Ambassador calls. Just wanted to check on a crazy rumour that’s been doing the rounds that we’d declared war on Libya. Gave everyone at Pentagon a good laugh. Thought he’d just check in and make sure we knew.

Thank Ambassador for heads up.

Am quite worried this job is going to make me unemployable in rest of western world.

MONDAY 14/03/11


Bob Brown calls. Wants to meet with Rudd. Rudd decides I should go to meeting, wants to maintain psychological edge over Brown. Besides, Rudd needs to look at maps of Libya to formulate no-fly zone plans.


Brown asks me why Rudd isn’t here.

Indicate to Brown that it is top secret.

Brown wants to know if Rudd will be pushing Japan on whaling in near future. Ask Brown if he’s seen the newspaper. Brown assumes I’m referring to earthquake and he’s glad I raised that. Recent accidents clearly indicate that it’s time for Australia to condemn Japan for use of nuclear power. Wants us to withhold uranium fuel for their own good.

Promise Brown I will arrange for that to happen, if he agrees to be filmed beating a Koala with a didgeridoo. Brown shocked I would make a joke at a time like this. Tell Brown I’m not shocked to see him issue media releases about climate after natural disasters. Browns says he has no choice but to make announcements. He is speaking for the planet and the planet does not care about timing.

Reiterate Koala offer and leave.


In meeting with Rudd, George and mini-Rudd, looking at targets in Libya. I arrive late as George sent me to buy some plastic planes to ensure seriousness of exercise.

Gillard Press Secretary (GPS) storms in. Asks if Rudd is organising coup. Rudd says if she’s referring to Australia, of course not, if she’s talking about Libya, Rudd says that’s classified and he never leaks.

GPS accuses Rudd of coveting leadership of ALP.

Rudd thanks GPS for flattery but says he has less chance of being leader than he does of being captain of the Brisbane Broncos.

GPS warns Rudd not to threaten her, and to stop this no-fly zone nonsense.

Rudd replies “or what!”

GPS says Australia will abandon campaign for security council seat.

Rudd promises to behave. Hands over plastic planes.

GPS leaves.

Mini-Rudd asks how Rudd could abandon Libyan people so quickly.

Rudd says while it would obviously be helpful if we set up a no-fly zone in Libya now, that if Rudd gets to sit on the UN Security Council, he can dedicate his intellect to achieve things for all humankind.


Smith in. Needs more time with no-fly zone question. But definitely thinks milk was the right choice.

See the Diary Leaks authors perform at the Brisbane and Melbourne Comedy Festivals... details here.
Shadow Minister for Future Building and Values

TUESDAY 08/02/11


Enjoying bacon and egg roll for breakfast.

Bernardi bursts in. Enquires if I’m certain that the bacon was not butchered using barbaric 6th century methods in the name of Allah? Can never be too careful when it comes to Halal bacon.

Pretty sure Bernardi has never said “Hello” or “How are you” to me.

Bernardi suggests I stay alert and alarmed. The Islamists are infiltrating sandwiches throughout the Western world.


Shadow cabinet meeting to discuss budget cuts to pay for floods.

Abbott proposing cuts to Indonesian aid over next three years.

Turnbull speaks passionately of “the great Australian mission to improve the lot of others and to help the spread of liberal values throughout the world.” Joyce begins snoring halfway through. Applauds self at end.

Bernardi feels we can rebuild Queensland by raising GST on Halal food to same level as alcohol and cigarettes. Says “Muslims are better to tax than smokers – the Koran tells them they have to eat Halal meat, and there are no Halal patches.”

Bronwyn Bishop likes the idea. Suggests a burqa tax.

Bernardi worried burqa tax would legitimise burqa.

Abbott grateful for such innovative policy proposals. Is tired of people who just march around saying No (looks at Turnbull). Nonetheless feels he must oppose all taxes, even taxes that are so fair dinkum.

Julie Bishop says reducing Indonesian education aid is bad.

Really approve of Bishop’s brevity.

Hockey worried. Never really saw himself as the guy that takes money away from Indonesian kids. Also, can’t see himself defending it on Sunrise.

Robb steps in and, speaking at farmer's pace, says: “The Government has a three year term. In this three year term the Government makes all decisions on spending. That’s how "the Constitution" works. This means whatever we cut, won’t really be cut. What’s important is that we don’t upset any voters by theoretically cutting something they support. Indonesian children are cute, Joe, but are both too young and too Indonesian to vote.”

Hockey confused: So we’re not cutting anything?

Abbott: Yes and No.

Hockey: What?

Abbott: We aren’t cutting anything. We are just saying, if we were the Government right now, we would cut Indonesian school aid. But we’re not. So we’re not.

Hockey gets it. Thinks Mel will be okay with it.

Cabinet votes in favour of cuts. I vote against.


On phone with wife. She is extremely angry about cuts to Indonesian aid. Asks if I have forgotten that her Indonesian pen-pals are teachers?

Explain how hard I worked to convince Turnbull and Bishop to oppose the cuts.

Wife is so proud of me.

Phew, hate sleeping on couch.

WEDNESDAY 09/02/11


Scheduled to have meeting with Abbott and Wyatt Roy about youth issues.

Abbott Press Secretary (APS) arrives. Says Abbott will not be coming to meeting.

Ask why.

APS says: Sometimes Mark Riley happens.

THURSDAY 10/02/11


Abetz in.

Asks why I voted to keep Indonesian aid.

Explain I’ve enjoyed many holidays in Indonesia. Besides, cuts made me feel icky.

Abetz says someone leaked shadow-cabinet deliberations and he knows who it is. Abetz stares at me.

Ask Abetz who it is.

Abetz says they know who they are.

Agree with Abetz, the leaker almost certainly knows who they are.

Abetz nods slowly. The leaker knows who they are and Abetz knows who they are.

Ask Abetz if he’s the leaker?

Abetz asks what I’m suggesting?

Tell Abetz I thought this was one of those logic challenges philosophy undergraduates play. Promise Abetz if I see someone leaking I’ll tell him who they are.

Abetz says you can’t see a leak, you can only a hear a leak.

Abetz leaves.

Think Abetz may not trust me.


Tried to see Abbott. APS said he’s still feeling riled.

FRIDAY 11/02/11


Bump into Abbott in men’s room. Abbott silently staring at mirror. Shuddering.


Bernardi again. Asks if he can use bathroom in my office. Says he cannot use the toilets near his office because they all have signs saying they are “Muslim male washrooms”. He considered using the women’s but that would be totally gay.

Let Bernardi pee.

5 minutes later

Pyne in. Asks if he can put “Muslim male washroom” sign on bathroom. Says it is part of an “impish prank” he is playing on Bernardi.

Think we are lacking focus this week.

MONDAY 14/02/11

Bernadi, again. Says he has clever prank to play on Pyne. Plans to punch Pyne in face.

Suggest changes to prank involving chilli and Pyne’s lunch. Bernadi lights up! Will buy Pyne Halal sandwich with chilli in it, THEN punch him in face. Strongly suggest Bernadi focus on non-violent elements of prank. Bernadi agrees - if he resorted to violence, he would be no better than the Islamists.


Abbott back to normal. Completed two triathlons over weekend, to clear head. Totally over Mark Riley’s cheap shot, and is ready and raring to attack Labor over Christmas Island funeral rort.

Glad to hear Abbott is back on game. Ask how funerals have been rorted.

Abbott says refugees were flown all the way from Christmas Island to mainland for funerals.

Ask what rort was? Did they fly first class?

Abbott likes my question. Thinks the first class thing will add an extra kick to this story.

TUESDAY 15/02/11 


Hockey storms into office. Is tearing up. Has been on phone to Mel and Kochie. Hockey isn’t entirely sure why he went into politics, but he’s pretty sure it wasn’t to close Indonesian schools and attack the family members of dead refugees on the day of their funeral.

Hockey wants me to back him up in confronting Abbott and Morrison.

Ask Hockey if he’ll buy me lunch. Hockey nods.


Confront Abbott and Morrison. Hockey pokes Morrison in chest and says he has crossed the line.

Morrison says: You’ve got to be tough, to stop the boats. These funerals are the end result of people smuggling. Paying for them just encourages asylum seekers to get on leaky boats, thus leading to more funerals.

APS says it’s like rolling out the welcome hearse.

Hockey explains if he were in Government he would never feel comfortable denying someone the right to go to a relative’s funeral.

Abbott agrees completely. Morrison says absolutely. If we were in Government, it would be shocking not to pay for travel to funeral. Morrison asks Hockey: What kind of monsters do you think we are?

Hockey calms down, will call Mel and Kochie back.


Wife calls and explodes over funeral issue. Demands I challenge for leadership.

Explain to wife that Hockey and I have extracted promise from Abbott to pay for future funerals.

Wife very pleased again. Says she’ll get right on phone to friend at The Australian. They were so helpful in running the story about shadow-cabinet leak about Indonesian aid.

End call.

Holy crap. Abetz was wrong and right at the same time. I was the leak, but I did not know who I was.

Really good logic puzzle.


Pyne in. Suit splattered with chilli. Says Bernadi tried to give him cold kebab for breakfast and when Pyne refused he threw it at him.

Pyne and I both agree, hard to believe party is 8 points ahead in polls.

This entry also published at The Punch.
SATURDAY 05/02/11


Back from holiday. Glance at briefing papers on bus ride into office. Don't think I missed much. Apparently Rudd did some photo ops during the QLD flood crisis, but otherwise just routine Foreign Minister stuff.

Read the newspaper on my iPad. Another scandal for NSW Labor. Yawn.


Office in a flurry! Rudd demanding hour-by-hour progress reports on flood re-building, minute-by-minute updates of situation in Egypt, and background research for his phone call with Maldives about spot on Security Council. They don’t have a vote – but Rudd thinks it’s good to get practice in.


National Security Adviser (NSA) asks to borrow my hairbrush. Incredibly weird, especially considering he’s bald.


Lucas (Mini-Rudd) is at his desk, using Facebook. Explains he is expressing solidarity with people of Egypt by attending virtual ‘March of Millions’.

Ask what that will achieve.

Mini-Rudd unclear, but feels he owes it to Egypt to spend at least ½ hour liking comments on the wall. When his children ask what he did for the Egyptian revolution will be able to tell them he stood e-shoulder to e-shoulder with Egyptian people.

Point out to Mini-Rudd he is sitting down. Yank out power chord. Give him stack of files to photocopy.

Mini-Rudd asks if I need reminding that he is Chief of Staff.

Tell Mini-Rudd, seeing as he is 22 years old and completely useless, yes I will need to be reminded quite often.


NSA brings all of us coffee. How nice of him.


NSA took our cups! Was nice of him to clean up, but I actually hadn’t finished.


Call from Queensland Electorate Officer (EO). Korean students standing in lobby. Looking for luggage. Asks whether I have it? Ask EO if she is on drugs. Why would I have luggage of Korean students? EO sends me link to ABC News video.


Video shows reporter Scott Bevan interviewing Rudd as he rescues luggage of Korean students from rising floodwaters.

Wondered what those bags in meeting room were.

Damn. All press is good press until it ends in theft charges.


Talk with Rudd.

Rudd glad hear to Korean students survived. Happy to give luggage back…at ceremonial handover in Canberra. Tells me to arrange flights and call Scott Bevan. Should be great follow up story for him.

Glare at Rudd. Ask him who will be paying for flights. Rudd says Therese will cover it.

Consider resisting Rudd further, but pretty sure this story is going to be great chapter for memoirs.


Call EO.

EO says students are becoming extremely irate. They have been wearing same clothes for past week and, given high humidity in Queensland, they are tired of being moist.

Tell EO that Rudd has authorised her to give them as many Kevin 07 shirts as they need and that they are welcome.


EO calls back. Only Kevin07 shirts remaining are extra large. Tell Rudd. Rudd asks what problem is?


SUNDAY 06/02/11


NSA asks to borrow comb from Mini-Rudd. Says my brush was too abrasive for scalp.


Korean Ambassador calls. Put him through to Rudd. Listen on speaker phone.

Ambassador says that, while he is reluctant to make assumptions, several Korean students have accused Rudd of stealing their clothing and toiletries.

Rudd says he has been waiting to hand over luggage to students for the past week.

Ambassador clarifies, so he does have their luggage then?

Rudd says he’s been waiting for them to claim it! In Canberra.

Ambassador consults map. Clarifies that Canberra is 1000 kms from Brisbane? Rudd reassures Ambassador that they have received emergency clothing.

Rudd suggests hand over take place in Korea.

Ambassador thinks students would REALLY like stuff now.

Rudd appreciates Ambassador's candour, but wishes to remind Ambassador that if Rudd had not saved stuff, there would be no stuff, so in a way it’s Rudd's stuff to give back.

While Ambassador would prefer not to use the phrase ‘looter’, english dictionary does not supply alternatives.

Rudd appreciates Ambassador’s position and is happy to consider compromise IF Korea agrees to support Australia’s bid for Security Council seat.

Ambassador says he will discuss with Korean Foreign Minister.


Rudd, NSA, Mini-Rudd and I in crisis talks.

Mini-Rudd and I firmly in the “give the stuff back now” camp.

Rudd says if he learned anything from final months as Prime Minister it is “never back down”, whether dealing with miners or Korean flood victims.

NSA agrees. Need to send strong message to Korea. If we show weakness now, it could compromise future trade negotiations.

Mention possibility of Korean students calling their own press conference, in oversized Kevin07 t-shirts, begging for their luggage back.

Rudd to call Foreign Minister.


After protracted negotiations between Rudd and Korean Foreign Minister, Rudd has agreed to transfer contents of luggage to students immediately. Korean Foreign Minister agrees to raise Australia’s Security Council bid. Rudd will retain suitcases until students leave Australia in six months. Cases will then be returned to students in Canberra as part of “friendship ceremony”, to be covered exclusively by Scott Bevan.


Rudd holds staff drinks to celebrate good day. Rudd says he’s very proud, we all passed the test!

Ask what test?

NSA has carried out drug tests on all of Rudd’s staff and not one of us has taken ecstasy.

Of course not! Am indignant at comparison to NSW Labor. Besides, using drugs would have severely compromised our ability to handle stolen goods.
WEDNESDAY 02/02/11


In Kerang, Victoria, visiting mother. Helping clean up house after floods. Damage has been extensive, and mother's insurance may not cover the entire bill. Mother is at least relieved that, as a flood victim, she will get an exemption from Gillard's flood tax levy. Maybe I should change my postal address to also avoid levy?

Go downtown for breakfast. Locals keep telling me I look familiar. Reluctant to reveal that I am an MP. Have already heard my quota of flood stories from mother. Decide to tell locals I work in insurance. Serious mistake. Pretty sure I would be better off pretending to be Greens Senator. Decide not to change postal address - don't want to end up representing these people.


Get phone call from Abbott Press Secretary (APS) while lifting mother’s fridge. APS says I need to fly to Sydney immediately for flood levy strategy meeting.

Explain to APS that my hands are full helping flood victims.

APS says I am great Australian but unless camera crew is there, I need to drop what I am doing and get on plane.

Break fridge. Narrowly miss breaking foot.


Arrive at strategy meeting in Sydney with APS, Abbott, Hockey, Joyce, and Wyatt Roy. Is Roy here to get coffee?

Joyce gives report from disaster zone. Queensland infrastructure completely devastated - society in ruins. Almost as bad as New South Wales. Joyce believes that now more than ever, for the sake of the people of Queensland, we must fight against levy.

Abbott agrees. Says at time when mateship is the only resource Queenslanders have, we cannot allow Gillard to tax and squander it. Gillard is totally heartless, like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, but even more wooden.

I point out that Tin Man actually had biggest heart of all. Abbott says we do not have time to debate musicals while Queenslanders are about to be levied underwater. Roy concurs, says young people he knows are pro mateship and anti tax-on-mateship.

Confused. Unclear how even Labor government could tax mateship. Ask Abbott if Labor is putting tax on rounds of drinks? Abbott says worse than that. Labor is using floods to force all Australians to buy them a beer a week and we all know that given Labor’s record they’ll spill most of those drinks, making floods even worse.

Hockey thinks big four banks will use mateship tax as an excuse to raise interest rates on homes. Raising interest rates is not what mates to do mates. Joyce agrees. He has heaps of mates, many of them bankers, and not one of them would dream of raising his interest rates.

Abbott agrees, thinks broadening attack on levy to include banks will strengthen metaphor.

I have no idea what’s going on.


Abbott calls me aside, says I’ve been doing such great work as Shadow Minister for Future Building and Values that he wants to give me a Parliamentary Secretary.

Ask who.

Abbott points at Roy. Look around Roy to see if someone is behind him. Drat!

Abbott says Roy has ear of youth and is very enthusiastic.

Unhappy, tell Abbott that if I needed youth and enthusiasm I would have employed my 14 year old daughter. Pretty sure, unlike Roy, she actually knows some young people.

Abbott says I should definitely consult daughter, he relies on his daughters for advice about tech stuff like the national thingy network.

Going to be an exceptionally long year.

THURSDAY 03/02/11

Back in Kerang, trying to reattach fridge door using sticky tape. Reluctant to buy new one.

Get call from Abbott. Wants me to organise flood fundraiser. Tell Abbott happy to, will get wife involved, she’s great at that people stuff.

FRIDAY 04/02/11


Back in Melbourne. Wife’s book club is in lounge room organising a church fundraiser to take place at our house tomorrow. Will include bake sale and a silent auction of donated goods. Daughter’s school orchestra will provide entertainment.

Retire to kitchen to avoid getting involved.


Book club takes over kitchen for flood relief cooking bee.

Book club should be running country.

SATURDAY 05/02/11

At fundraiser. Huge number of people. Very large man sitting in my reclining chair. Everyone very generous. Really appreciate that wife and I are supporting flood victims. Small child standing on my piano. Parish priest offers church car for auction. Says while so many are suffering he’d rather take public transport. Finally everyone leaves. We raised $30,000, so I guess that's something.

SUNDAY 06/02/11


Call party head quarters to ask where I should transfer flood funds? Staffer gives me account details.


Call from Abbott, says I’ve made great start but that anti flood-levy ads will require much more hard work.

Ask Abbott what he’s talking about. Abbott says my $30,000 has already helped pay some consultants to put some great stuff together for a focus group, but still need to pay for air time.

Holy crap. Hang up phone.

Wife asks if I’m okay. Says I've gone as white as Phillip Ruddock.

Sit down. Ponder.

Option 1: Lie to wife in knowledge that if wife finds out, marriage over.

Option 2: Tell truth to wife in knowledge that marriage will be preserved but will be extremely unpleasant for foreseeable future.

Option 3: Sell own car and donate money to flood relief.


2 hours later

On tram back from used car salesman. Had to throw in watch to get sale price up to $30,000.

Now on my way to Fisher and Paykel to buy new fridge for mother. Cannot believe I will also have to pay Gillard's bloody levy.

This entry also published at The Punch.