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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.


Arrive at Parliament House. Concerned about this “payments for people smugglers” issue. As Minister for Values, journalists are likely to ask me questions. Call Abbott’s office to arrange lunch briefing.


Arrive to lunch. Abbott not here, only Credlin.

Ask where Abbott is. Credlin refuses to discuss “operational matters”.

Ask if I can have meeting with Abbott to discuss smuggling issues.

Credlin says I do not have clearance to discuss operational matters with PM. Operational matters include location of PM and people smuggling.

Clarify how I should answer questions from press.

Credlin would prefer all press requests go through her, but if I am slow-witted enough to get trapped, I should say I cannot discuss operational matters. If they repeat the question: run.



Bishop drops in. Has heard I had met with PM on payments to people smuggling. Bishop says it sounds like absolute nonsense, and has confirmed with Dutton and Department, but needs to talk to PM. Asks if I know anything. Tell Bishop I cannot discuss operational matters. Bishop nods. “Right, so she hasn’t let you meet with him either.”

Really hope this is just a “routine” blocking of access and not a “covering up a secret” blocking of access.


PM does Neil Mitchell; does not deny we are paying people smugglers. Is it true? Has Credlin not given PM same line?

Must ensure I do not get ambushed by press.


Bishop back in, looking for PM.

Ask why?

Bishop insists that it is “operational”.

Suggest she call Abbott.

Bishop has tried, get’s Credlin. Suggest we ambush him on his morning ride.

Bishop has tried that. Credlin changes the route every day. She’s harder to crack than the Enigma code.



Morning papers are chaos. Dutton & Bishop denying people smuggling story. Morrison and Abbott not denying.

Journalists calling.

Call Chief of Staff. Ask what to do. Chief of Staff says she will call Credlin.


Chief of Staff cannot get a hold of Credlin for clarification. Can only get through to Credlin’s secretary, who says Credlin’s location is an operational matter. Advises me to turn my phone off and not leave the house for the weekend.

What am I meant to do?

Chief of Staff advises I catch up on season 4 and 5 of Game of Thrones.


God. This is awful. So much gratuitous sex and violence.



Still watching Game of Thrones. Should sleep, but need to know who will rule Westeros.


That’s it???? 9 months til next season. Can’t believe I got so addicted. Have not enjoyed callous brutality so much since first episode of The Killing Season.



Preparing for Parliament. Chief of Staff has advised me that I must avoid press pack. Has advised me to wear comfortable shoes.

Proposes I make my break for it when Joyce arrives. Must not get asked people smuggling question.


Got ambushed. Journalist did not ask me about smugglers. Asked if I had read legal advice on stripping citizenship. Assured journalist there was no advice.


Credlin is sitting in my chair. Furious at me for revealing I had not seen cabinet advice.

Remind Credlin I am in cabinet, and have not seen advice.

Credlin says that with that attitude I won’t be allowed to see it. Until I learn to answer questions about national security with “operational matters”, I cannot be trusted with sensitive material.

Need to talk to Abbott.


Get to chamber early. Tried to make my way over, but Credlin cut me off.


Amazing question time! Bishop, Dutton now not denying people smuggler payments. It’s true. We did it. Not sure if this is bad or good. Pro: it stops boats; con: is a crime. Get Chief of Staff to do research.


Chief of Staff says strictly speaking it’s a crime under Australian law, international law, and Indonesian law.


So Bishop did not know, or did know and was lying.
Dutton did not know, or did know and was lying.
Morrison knew, but did not tell Dutton.
Abbott knew.

This could bring down every leadership contender, just leaving….Turnbull or…me.

Open drawer, pull out draft of leadership speech. Get to work on opening line.

“A good government that lost its way at sea” – No
“A government brought down by nay-sayers and human right’s lawyers” – true, but too negative.
“A great Prime Minister who sacrificed himself to protect the nation from boats. I will honor his legacy.”  - Yes that’s it.

Call wife. Suggest we start looking at schools in Canberra.


Watch advance copy of Episode 2 of Killing Season in office with staff. Good laugh. Cannot trust Shorten. Ha ha ha! I can totally take him.



Abbott in!

Ask where he has been.

Abbott said Credlin had to put him in lock down. Needed to control information. Crisis is over, turns out Labor might have paid people smugglers.

What a relief. Thank goodness we both did it.

Abbott corrects me. First rule of operational matters, we do not talk about operational matters, even in quiet.

Apologise. Ask if I can see Solicitor General’s advice.

Abbott says he cannot confirm existence of any such advice, but if I prove I can maintain operational secrecy I can see new documents.

Abbott leaves.

Burn victory speech. Next time.