Alexander Downer dined al fresco at a Manuka restaurant yesterday (try the veal!). Meanwhile, in a Parliament not so far away, Question Time was in full swing, a process of participatory democracy that plodded on unheeding, never minding the absence of the by then well-stuffed member for Mayo. And why did Alexander forsake the chamber? ”To spend one afternoon not listening the Julia Gillard’s childish prattle,” he would tell a media scrum later, presumably between mouthfuls of squab. (Listen to the full exchange and Downer’s subsequent explanation here, well worth the effort.)

We say this to the member for Mayo, and to the member for Higgins for that matter, not to mention the members for Lyne, Berowra and Gippsland — post-important time servers all: the great advantage of private sector employment (retirement in your case, Berowra) is that the rest of us could stop paying your wages. In the meantime, listening to Julia Gillard’s childish prattle is your job.

Peter Fray

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