It was the moment every “ditch the witch” obsessive had been waiting for, the moment for which so many on the Right, like failed shock jock Michael Smith and bankrupt failed businessman Larry Pickering, had long worked. It was the moment Attorney-General George Brandis, who used parliamentary privilege to call her a crook, must have dreamed of. The dunking stool was finally prepared: more than a year after she left politics, Julia Gillard would be grilled by a royal commission on things she had done in the early 1990s.

Some of her critics were physically present. Jonathan Holmes, when Media Watch host, had lauded the campaign against Gillard by The Australian’s Hedley Lamarr as “sober and meticulous”. He joined the audience an hour into Gillard’s evidence.