The final journal of a Rudd staffer
Morning – 6:00am
Back at work refreshed from long weekend, took ALL of Sunday off. Watched Socceroos draw with Ghana. Thought they did well but media seemed REALLY hostile to the coach!
Check latest Newspoll. Great for PM: ALP 52 – Libs 48. Everyone feeling more relaxed, except Rudd Press Secretary (RPS). Economics Adviser (EA) tells RPS that if he had a healthy understanding of statistics he would probably relax a bit more. RPS agrees but says he enjoys being a normal person capable forming lasting and meaningful relationships with the opposite gender. EA points out he has long-term girlfriend! RPS asks EA if he’s ever heard of “outliers”.
Just found out EA and I are going to G20! Might meet Obama! OMG so West Wing!!!
EA super excited about going to G20 as economics adviser of only successful economy in world. Plans to put together instruction manual for other EAs.
Guy called David Bradbury rings. At first am excited, have never spoken to Winter Olympic medalist. Turns out he’s just a backbencher. Bradbury requests a meeting with the Prime Minister (PM) to talk about boat people.
30 Minutes Later
PM pleased to hear from Bradbury. Writes note on the back of a Kevin07 postcard thanking Bradbury for his interest in the Australian government – asks me to take it to Bradbury myself – “give it the personal touch”.
RPS tells me to go get at least 8 coffees. Ask who for and how they want them. RPS says it doesn’t matter, always need coffee.
30 Minutes Later
On way to getting coffees I bump into Bill Shorten and Mark Arbib. Shorten says “Mark and Bill Shorten were just talking about how the Socceroos coach, Pim Verbeek, is terrible at rewarding talent and has lost the faith of his players. Every time Verbeek opens his mouth everyone wonders whether he’s speaking English.” Suggest Shorten should talk to Sports Minister. Shorten congratulates me for great idea – asks me if I would “like a job with Bill Shorten.” Tell Shorten I already have a job with PM. Shorten tells me to think about it, he’ll give me to the end of the week.
Accompanied PM to function with Chinese delegation. PM was in good spirits. Told me he is looking forward to meeting leaders of G20 economies as he likes helping those less fortunate than himself.
Leaving for Canada on Thursday! Only one sleep left!
RPS in. Says some idiot booked lunchtime appointment between PM and backbenchers which he can’t keep. He has important phone call with Obama to sort out lunch plans for Canada. I offer to cancel meeting with backbenchers. RPS asks me to attend in place of the PM:
“Look, I’m sorry about this, but can you go? All you need to do is write down the more moronic suggestions so I have something funny to read out aloud at Friday’s staff meeting.”
Go to meeting with backbenchers. Kelvin Thompson asks me for a ham, cheese and tomato croissant. Explain I’m actually there representing the PM. Awkward silence.
Backbenchers talked amongst selves about World Cup. All agreed that as a coach Pim Verbeek was never a true Socceroos man, that he did not understand the team culture, and he had no friends among the players. Backbenchers convinced that the Socceroos are doomed unless change is made.
Took copious notes. Certain that RPS will really enjoy reading them on Friday!
Walking through Parliamentary corridors was weird. Everyone in the Labor party is talking about the soccer.
Canada tomorrow! One quarter of a sleep left!
Conroy in – tells me he wants everyone in office to know he supports Verbeek – that change would be catastrophic this close to final group match and implementation of internet filter.
Evening – 6:00pm
RPS calls staff into office with PM. Declares “we’re being ratf**ked”. Tell RPS I thought the Chinese left on Monday. RPS states we’re facing a more malevolent and ruthless enemy than the Chinese Communist Party: the NSW Labor Right.
RPS has intelligence that party heavyweights have turned on PM. PM asks whether he means obese or powerful heavyweights. RPS looks at PM “Both”. PM goes pale.
Bill Shorten, Mark Arbib, David Feeney and Don Farrell are ringleaders.
PM confused - does not know Farrell and Feeney.
RPS recounts a meeting PM had with Farrell and Feeney last year, when they challenged his proposed cut to MP’s electoral allowances. RPS recalls PM called them “F**kers”. PM remembers now. Says he never knew them as “Feeney and Farrell” but rather as “F**k and F**ker”. Everyone laughs except RPS. This must be serious.
PM declares he is not worried as “Gillard is such a loyal Deputy, who will make a great Prime Minister one day”. RPS tells everyone in office that if anyone asks, the line is “There is no mood for change”.
Gillard’s office rings. She is coming over!!! Everyone panics.
RPS screams at PM to call election immediately! PM runs to call election, accidentally goes into bathroom. Runs back out again. Asks how he calls election.
RPS has no idea, has only seen it on TV.
EA confused at panic. Insists polls are clear – everything is fine. Begins reeling off favorable statistics. RPS begins chasing EA round office. RPS screaming at EA: “Fuck you and your Harvard inspired, Henry Review bullshit!!! It’s all your fault! Why didn’t you just say the super-profits tax was a crap idea!” EA jumping over desks to avoid RPS, yells “But it was theoretically sound!!! Really theoretically sound!” I intervene and stand between them. RPS says he doesn’t want to hurt me, but urge to not hurt me may be overcome by urge to hurt EA.
Tell RPS I have a suggestion. Turn the lights out and hide under our desks! EA very supportive. PM leaps under desk. RPS raises problem – completely implausible that PM’s office would be deserted at 7:00pm.
Gillard, Tanner, Swan, Faulkner and Albanese arrive, go into meeting.
RPS listening at door with glass. Traitors telling PM he has undermined credibility of Government by backing down on ETS. PM points out that Traitors insisted on ETS backdown. Gillard says PM failed to sell ETS backdown. PM asks “How the f**k do you sell a backdown?”
RPS’ hand is tired. Gives me glass. Storms off.
Traitors are telling PM he has failed to ease electorate’s concerns about boat people. PM says he has great policy on boat people. It’s racist enough for West Australia and Queensland but not too racist for Victoria and NSW. Gillard says it’s not about policy, it’s about having respect and empathy for the Australian people’s legitimate fears that their sanctuary will be compromised. PM asks which traitor would like to sink the first boat?
RPS back. Grabs 3 chairs and a sticky tape dispenser. Needs to build barricade in corridor “to keep the News Limited Jackals out”.
Phone rings. It’s Shorten. He asks how things are going. Tell Shorten there is no mood for change. Shorten whispers: “You have nothing to fear. You are the latest person to have been freed by Bill Shorten. Are you going to support Julia?” Ask Shorten why he’s canvassing staffers. Shorten says: “Bill Shorten has already used The Beaconsfield Touch to Sure-ten up (laughs) support for Julia in the caucus.” Shorten reiterates job offer. Tell Shorten “Annie Hackette isn’t down a mine right now, so Annie Hackette isn’t sure she needs The Beaconsfield Touch.” Shorten impressed at sass – says I have bright future.
RPS bursts back in, slams door and screams at journalists “If you don’t f**k off, I’ll recall the troops from Afghanistan to secure this god damn press corridor!”
EA has glass too. Gillard telling PM that if he resigns he can take all of Labor’s bad policy decisions with him. He can sacrifice himself for the party. PM asks why he would want to do that. Gillard says because PM could be like his hero, Jesus. Long awkward silence.
PM offers compromise. Offers to split country with Gillard. Gillard can have WA, SA, NT and Tasmania, PM will accept off-cuts.
PM agrees to spill.
Meeting ends, PM calls staff in. Assumes we were listening in “So we know it’s over”. RPS says he’s going outside. He may be some time. He’s going to pick one last fight with the press gallery.
Ask RPS what I should do. RPS says “If I were you, I would spend my remaining time in this office stealing as much stationary as possible.” RPS walks out. So noble.
PM gave really powerful final press conference. So sad.
RPS incredibly relaxed! Can barely see veins in his neck.
Watching Gillard press conference. RPS very impressed at way she extended olive branch to miners. Idea of asking that the miners stop spending their own money on devastatingly good ads in return for us not spending other people’s money on terrible ads is revolutionary! RPS thinks Gillard Press Secretary is Spin Zen master.
Last ever work drinks, and first ever work drinks.
EA and RPS have proper conversation. No swearing! RPS tells funny joke about Mark Arbib “He’s like a bowling ball, but without the personality.” Everyone laughs.
EA says he’s going to take some time off. Is thinking about proposing to his girlfriend. RPS asks where his girlfriend works. EA can’t remember, last time he spoke to her she was leaving Tanner’s office to go to Plibersek’s office. RPS agrees to help track her down and even offers to write the EA some lines for his marriage proposal.
Ask RPS what he’ll be doing. RPS is going to take some time off to spread some really horrible unfounded rumors about the sexual deviancy of “F**k and F**ker.” Not sure after that.
Don’t know what I’ll do. Might try writing memoirs. Definitely not working for Shorten.
Long chat with PM. Tell him I’m sad about missing out on Canada. PM sad too. Was really looking forward to lunch with Obama. Worried about how Obama will get on without him.
Tell PM about obsession with soccer in Labor Party. PM asks what I think about Verbeek. I think I know what PM means. Say that Verbeek seemed dedicated and hardworking, REALLY HARDWORKING, but that team ultimately did not give him the support he deserved. PM disagrees. Thinks Verbeek was s**tbox coach. But also, thinks players were much s**ter. PM then proceeds to explain Verbeek’s tactical failures in enormous detail.
Think PM will be ok.
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