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Crikey Says

Sep 18, 2013

Crikey says: Canberra's brutal inauguration

It's inauguration day -- minus the pomp. How governments change: Bernard Keane goes behind the scenes. We find some women for Tony Abbott to promote. Anthony Albanese rallies his faithful. Who'll replace Ben Bernanke at the Fed: a Crikey form guide. And those "cardigan-wearers" at the Press Council.

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Barnaby Joyce caught a maxi-taxi to transport his brood. Mathias Cormann’s little one wore a fetching bonnet; Greg Hunt’s daughter took the oath alongside dad. Navy-clad Julie Bishop’s lovely soprano voice, among a sea of men, barely cut through on the singing of the national anthem. Margie Abbott shed a tear, as Tony’s three daughters and two parents beamed with pride.

With barely any ceremony, and a decided lack of pomp, Australia finally has a new government. The revelation of middle names –Malcolm Bligh Turnbull; Warren Errol Truss; Michael Fayat Keenan — is the only note of interest in a dull ceremony tucked away in Government House that the public can only witness via TV news channels.

Where’s the parade down Commonwealth Avenue? The black-tie balls? The soaring speech from Abbott on his agenda?

Meanwhile, as newly sworn-in ministers enjoyed tea and scones with the Governor-General, public servants were moving desks, packing boxes, changing passwords and, for some, worrying about their futures. Three department heads were sacked this morning; another will walk next year.

That’s the changing of the guard in Canberra: brutally efficient.

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