The year in Canberra:
January: In Adelaide, Penny Wong uses the phrase “can I say” for the first of what will be 149 occasions throughout the year (yes, someone counted them). But at no stage does she actually wait for permission to say what she says.
February: The Minerals Council of Australia releases “fully independent” modelling by ACIL Tasman on the impact of the government’s CPRS. ACIL Tasman’s modelling conclusively shows that at a carbon price of $25 a tonne and an Australian dollar at $US0.90, Australia will be assailed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse “Famine, War, Death, and the other one”. Hooke describes the modelling as “conservative” in an accompanying piece in The Australian. Roland Emmerich seeks to buy the movie rights.
March: Liberal MP Rowan Ramsay leaves his right flank in the air and fails to reinforce Meade when the union centre comes under pressure from the Confederate assault through the Orange Grove. He is relieved of his command by Halleck and spends the remainder of the war in the quarter-master general’s department. Also in March, communications minister Stephen Conroy threatens legal retribution after the Wikileaks site reveals that the Australian Communications and Media Authority attempted to organise a p-ss-up in a brewery and failed.
April: Julie Bishop is said to be under threat from “big swinging d-cks”. Several male Labor MPs immediately out themselves as “big swinging d-cks”, until it is pointed out that they’re not actually in the Liberal Party. Tasmanian MP Dick Adams denies he has been listening to Glenn Miller records, and Steve Fielding calls a press conference to reveal that he, too, is being undermined by big swinging d-cks in his own party.
May: AFP commissioner Mick Keelty announces his retirement. The Prime Minister and Attorney-General issues a press release saying “the government congratulates Mr Keelty on his long record of public service and wishes him luck in ensuring the door doesn’t hit him on the arse on the way out.”
June: Remarkable scenes in the Liberal party room when Alby Schultz, who was once exposed to gamma radiation in a laboratory accident, turns into a green giant when infuriated by Victorian MP Chris Pearce. The Liberals install a rage cage at the end of the room under the leaders’ portraits, and MPs are urged not to make “The Incredible Hultz” angry, because they won’t like him when he’s angry.
July: An Opposition motion to compel Martin Ferguson to open his mouth when speaking fails despite Jennie George, Simon Crean and Greg Combet all crossing the floor to support it. Ferguson later launches a new tourism campaign aimed at overseas markets, “Wrrrthebluddyelluryuh?”
August: The High Court rules that the Australian Military Court is constitutionally invalid. Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis says it wasn’t the fault of the Howard government because it wasn’t to know that when you stacked the High Court with conservative jurists you got strict-construction interpretations of the Constitution. Defence bureaucrats react by spying on High Court justices because some of them might, you know, have once met someone from China.
September: Kevin Rudd causes controversy at the launch of Paul Kelly’s book The March of Patriots, when he tells Louise Adler to “shut the f-ck up about the f-cking parallel import restrictions for five f-cking minutes” then hails Kelly as “one of Australia’s foremost singer-songwriters.”
October: Former ACCC head Allan Fels releases a Productivity Commission report on executive remuneration. Behind the united façade, deep divisions have wracked the committee, with Fels overruled on his draft recommendation that he be given his own weekly TV show to discuss remuneration, and Gary Banks angry that his demand that every remuneration report come with a Regulation Impact Statement has been ignored. ACIL Tasman produces modelling showing a vast asteroid will collide with the earth, extinguishing all life, if executive remuneration is regulated.
November: Hulk Hogan, visiting Australia for the Make A Wish Foundation, arm-wrestles youth minister Kate Ellis at Parliament House. Bill Heffernan interrupts to demand that Hogan wrestle him as well. Barnaby Joyce attempts to slip Hogan $50 to “break the bastard’s arm”, while Steve Fielding reveals that he, too, once wrestled Hulk Hogan.
December: After shock revelations that the Veronicas are not actually called Veronica in real life, Kevin Rudd declares war on misleading band names. Peter Garrett rushes through Parliament the Truth in Band Names Act (Performers and Artists) 2009. Despite ARIA producing ACIL Tasman modelling demonstrating the imminent end of the universe if band names are regulated, the Bill passes in a fiery late-night sitting. In response, the Whitlams start negotiations with Nick Whitlam to join part-time, Powderfinger announces a deal with Johnson & Johnson, Ladyhawke is forced to seek a licensing agreement with Michelle Pfeiffer and a reformed Wolfmother immediately begins an IVF program at Taronga Zoo.
“One day one of their number would write a book about all this, but none of them would believe it, because none of them would remember it that way.”
Have a wonderful [insert appropriate festive season reference here] and see you in 2010.