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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.
WEDNESDAY 13 AUGUST 2014

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. 

THURSDAY 14 AUGUST 2014

7:30am

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.

9:30am

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

10:00am

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.

10:15am

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.”

3:00pm

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.

5:00pm

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.

6:00pm

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

7:00pm

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.

10:00pm

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.

FRIDAY 15 AUGUST 2014

10:00am

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

Have cleaners disassemble fan. 

12:00pm

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…




Published at The Monthly:
http://www.themonthly.com.au/blog/toby-halligan-and-mat-keneally/2014/12/2014/1407826169/open-letter-senators-brandis-and-abetz