A week in the life of Australia’s greatest living political hypocrite …

Tuesday: Valedictory speech to federal Parliament. Struggles to hold back tears as he reflects on 13 years as an MP. Reserves his big guns for an attack on the Government’s emissions trading scheme: “Let us not be a nation of intellectual lemmings. Why introduce the biggest change to the economic architecture of this nation in my lifetime with a tax on everything, and massive churning of money through the economy as we emerge from the deepest economic downturn in 80 years, for no environmental gain?”

Wednesday: Appointed by the Government as ambassador to the European Union. Says his new job will be “to represent Australia’s interest and the priorities of the Australian government and the position of the Australian government on all issues to the European Union, to NATO and the World Health Organisation” — including as a representative of the Government’s climate policy. “I am working for Australia, for Australians, in the best interest of our country. Nothing more — nothing less.”

Sunday: Announces he will continue to campaign against the Government’s emissions trading scheme during the by-election in his Sydney seat. “I will be supporting my pre-selected Liberal successor in Bradfield, hopefully to be successfully elected, and in that capacity obviously I will be supporting the candidate and the party in prosecuting the party’s position in relation to not only climate change but other issues”.

Rarely has the spurious art of political cynicism been so neatly executed as in last week’s two-step transaction between the Prime Minister and Brendan Nelson. And rarely has the old axiom about diplomacy being “the patriotic art of lying for one’s country” been in the hands of someone so well credentialed.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.