Crikey Doorsman Tiernan Kelly reports from a cold, wet House of Reps entrance:
It was an emotional day at the doors, possibly because of the dreary Canberra conditions that roll out every May, possibly because of dreary government attacks that roll out every time they get a sniff that the Coalition could be fading.
With big names like Malcolm Fraser quitting the Liberal Party and Julie Bishop shooting herself in a foot firmly jammed in her mouth, there was always going to be plenty of material. Labor backbenchers were lined up to have a whack at yet another hilarious episode in career of Julie Bishop, calling for her to resign or be sacked. Member for Leichhardt Jim Turnour was so excited he called for Bronwyn Bishop to resign as well.
With the Government lines falling flat it allowed the Coalition to shift gear, although at the moment the big risk is that they’ll put it into reverse.
Instead of sticking to the argument that economists represent a ‘broad range of views’ Ian MacFarlane decided to have a dig at the field of study itself, saying “economists are the sort of people who can tell you tomorrow what is in their minds today.” Unless of course they agree with you.
The climax of the morning was an impassioned plea from Andrew Robb on behalf of his now famous-on-Youtube media advisor, Nicholas Troja, to please keep political debate above the belt, no attacks on staff just doing their job.
Although there seems to be clear conditions to this rule. Anguished gestures and throat-cutting at the back of press conference trying to mold political debate is apparently acceptable but delivering an independent tax review that encourages an increase in resource tax is way out of line. Ken Henry we’re looking at you.
The source of Robb’s consternation was Lindsay Tanner’s criticism of Troja in Question Time. Tanner in his usual manner felt that Opposition Budget costings were better explained through interpretative dance. On demands by Wilson Tuckey that he table his source, Tanner advised Tuckey to Google ‘Andrew Robb’s staffer’.
“Encouraging people to go to YouTube in parliament… Parliament is for debate,” said Robb. “Not for this coward to stand up in Parliament and attack this young bloke who can’t even defend himself. Have a go at me but don’t have a go at this young bloke who can’t defend himself.”
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