Diary of a Liberal Frontbencher: Holy war
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.
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.
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.
APS says: Sometimes Mark Riley happens.
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.
Think Abetz may not trust me.
Tried to see Abbott. APS said he’s still feeling riled.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cartoon by Jon Kudelka. Find more at www.kudelka.com.au
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