A weird, but significant, calm pervaded politics this week. With the PM absent, a temporary ceasefire on the normal contumely directed at her, and Tony Abbott keeping a low profile within and without Parliament, the politics was more touch footy than contact sport. And we got a question time that occasionally bordered on fulfilling its real purpose, at least from the opposition's point of view.

Yesterday, for example, with Abbott absent from Parliament to attend a funeral of one of the ADF personnel killed last week, Malcolm Turnbull asked a perfectly good question about the NBN rollout to greenfields housing developments. Jamie Briggs inquired why the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency was buying wine and beer fridges. Neither question, unfortunately, went to the relevant minister, but to Wayne Swan, for whom proceedings were definitely business-as-usual. His laughable response to Turnbull was "our rollout is rolling out consistent with the timeframe and numbers that we have published, and it will continue to be rolled out."