It was a strong performance from the Prime Minister yesterday, going toe-to-toe with the press gallery for what seemed an eternity -- the transcript of the second part of the press conference, relating to the 1990s, runs to nearly 9000 words -- but she was able to skilfully exploit two pieces of good fortune.

First, there was Tony Abbott's inept performance on 7.30 the night before, which illustrated the reason Abbott does so few full-scale media conferences at Parliament House: that once off "stop the boats" and "stop the taxes", he struggles under any sort of rigorous questioning. Abbott has undergone an interesting contrasting trajectory with Joe Hockey, who was once belittled as a "buffoon" in business circles but who increasingly looks a figure of substance on the Coalition economic policy front; Abbott, the highly educated, intelligent man of many conservative ideas, at times simply looked foolish on Wednesday night. No wonder the transcript hasn't been provided by his office, where serious questions should be asked about how badly they prepare their man for media encounters.