You knew it the moment you saw them — Brendan Nelson and Peter Costello — sitting together, that it was going to start another round of speculation.

House of Representatives politicians visiting the Senate (or “another place”, as they insist on referring to it, as if it were somewhere in a David Lynch film), can sit at the back of the Chamber, assembled like unruly schoolchildren, which a number of them behaved like, while the new Senators were sworn in (Miss Rishworth, you can pick up fifty pieces of rubbish in the Senate courtyard at lunchtime).

New Liberal Scott Ryan obviously looked in need of bulking up, because he was given a Bible the size of a telephone book to swear on.

Nelson and Costello sat apart from their Labor colleagues, exchanging discreet jokes and smiles, a touching scene. They look good together. That Nelson was there to welcome the Coalition’s new senators, and Costello was there specifically to welcome his friend Helen Kroger, was never going to be sufficient an explanation. It gave Costellogists some more material to pick through — although the enthusiasm with which they now do so is becoming strained. The jig, one feels, is almost up.

Nick Champion and Kate Ellis were also there to welcome their patron, SDA Catholic reactionary Don Farrell. It was a good day for the Shoppies — the major parties had agreed that John Hogg (no Dukes of Hazzard references please) would get the President gig.

The Greens nominated Christine Milne as well; during Bob Brown’s speech nominating her, Kim Carr shook his hand back and forth for an extended period, in a manner strongly suggesting he was silently indicating he thought Brown was a w-nker. A closer look suggested he might’ve been winding one of those old self-winding watches. Hopefully made in Australia, senator.

Over in the House, Question Time was the most soporific of the year, despite Harry Jenkins firing out three Coalition MPs, including Joe Hockey — now, thanks to Annabel Crabb, impossible to watch without thinking of Summer Heights High’s Jonah Takalua. Things were only enlivened by Kay Hull dressing up as the hostess from the spaceplane in 2001.

Kevin Rudd declared that our Olympic athletes would be in London “with spades on” which drew confused looks all round. Was this a Queensland expression denoting enthusiasm? Were we going to equip our athletes with army kit? Were they going to London to bury the British athletes?

Warren Truss’s joke of the day, that Kevin Rudd, instead of welcoming the athletes back, should have been welcomed back by them (yeah, I know — WTF?) got a mention in the Joint Party Room briefing and Eric Abetz — a man who really shouldn’t try Funny — apparently offered it in Senate Question Time as well.

Tony Windsor was advertising his support for Rob Oakeshott in Lyne and was chipped for it. Every Government Dorothy Dixer — no matter whether in Health, Transport or the Budget — somehow resolved back to the Opposition’s lack of economic credibility and their threat to the surplus.

Yes, we get the message. Zzzzzz.