Yawn. Only the Senate is sitting this week – and there are just two more weeks of the Reps left before Christmas comes. That means that it’s harder scrounging stories – so hard-pressed hacks are being forced to fall back on reshuffle yarns.

Malcolm this, Malcolm that, we’re hearing. Well, yes, he’s a bright boy – and the PM’s very lucky to have the option of having operators of Turnbull’s and Andrew Robb’s ability to bring into the ministry.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Greg Hunt is another bright parliamentary secretary – bright and ambitious and in the right place at the right time as the government has looked on the back foot over climate change.

If – if – a reshuffle is in the air, whose places might be up for grabs? Well, Amanda Vanstone rumours just won’t go away, and there’s plenty of talk about the running of her office. That would free up Immigration for Parliamentary Secretary Robb.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell took an eternity to get a full ministry. Do doubts still linger over his performance?

Arts Minister Rod Kemp is going at the next election, and Government MPs are openly critical of junior outer Ministers Fran Bailey, John Cobb, Gary Nairn and Gary Hardgrave.

Then there’s the issue of Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane. Mutterings about him just won’t go away. No one really dislikes him, but there are enough figures in the government – senior figures, even – who say he just isn’t up to his job.

But a reshuffle now? Surely you wait until around the time parliament is getting going next year, the election year – and use a reshuffle to move up a gear.

PS Ambition isn’t limited to the Government benches. For a nice little yarn on the next Labor prime minister – no, not that shonk Shorten – click here.