Everyone knows Tony Abbott’s new Parliament House office — which is slightly larger than most backbenchers’ offices in having an extra meeting room — is next door to that of another recent backbench arrival, Bronwyn Bishop (and what odds would you have got two years ago of that scenario playing out?). The two are no-speakies after Bishop, in one of the most remarkable acts of political bastardry in recent decades, voted against Abbott because she felt slighted at his failure to support her enough over her creative use of travel entitlements.

In any event, the other day Abbott’s office — where former prime ministerial chief of staff Peta Credlin is also located for the moment — was the destination for an interesting work of art. Political art, that is: a large electoral map of Australia was taken inside. Such maps aren’t exactly compelling aesthetically, but they’re very good for politicians and staffers planning electoral visits. Is Abbott planning the campaign that will effect a Rudd-like political restoration? Will he be ducking past Bishop’s office to that of yet another new backbencher, the far-right Kevin “keep me in Defence or the nation gets it” Andrews, to plot a return to power? Elba on Lake Burley-Griffin, or corridor of broken dreams? Time and the polls will tell.

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Peter Fray

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