Most exciting time to be alive. Yesterday in the Senate felt like a great lesson in “How not to govern 101”, with senior members of the government regaling the chamber with their love for the Australian flag, the nice man from Tallarook (but what’s his name again?), and each other in the morning, followed by Derryn Hinch reading his complete policy platform and using parliamentary privilege to its full effect in the afternoon. Was the country moved forward in any way at all? Not so much. While Senator James McGrath opened the morning’s filibuster with an ode to the flag and a side note to Last Night at The Proms, he also took a long time to single out colleagues dispatched by voters at the last election, including Wyatt Roy:

James McGrath: In a conversation with him the other day, he mentioned that he could come back into politics in 10 years time and would only be 37. Needless to say, I punched him! Wyatt is someone whose best days are still ahead of him. What he achieved for Longman shows what he can achieve for Australia. I wish him the best.

James McGrath: Ewen Jones is probably the funniest man alive. I was his campaign director — as well as Wyatt’s, actually — back in 2010. After I had a couple of meetings with Ewen, I realised he was extremely funny and I issued an edict to him as his campaign director. That was: please, stop making jokes because the left do not have a sense of humour and they will not see that you are just a funny person; they will use political correctness to attack you. The good thing is that Ewen totally ignored me and continued making jokes. I suppose a good thing and a bad thing about Ewen is that, as this larger than life, funny person, people often mistook him or failed to see that underneath Ewen’s skin is someone who strongly believes in the concepts and the power of the individual and of liberalism. He often upset his own party with his views.”

Senator Bridget McKenzie was tripped up when she couldn’t remember the name of a Nationals candidate in the seat of McEwen, but at least she could remember which football team her new colleague Damian Drum played for:

Bridget McKenzie: And I know Damian Drum, as the local member, will do an absolutely fantastic job in representing that community and their needs and interests in this place. He has a strong sense of community. He was born in Congupna, just down the road from Shepparton — but don’t try to tell him he’s a Shep boy; he’s very much a Congupna boy. He went on to play AFL for the Cats — the mighty Cats. Thank you very much for that result on Friday night.

Marise Payne: Go, Cats!

Bridget McKenzie: Go, Cats!

Senator Matthew Canavan also talked about a chia plantation he was lucky enough to visit. It really is the most exciting time to be a senator.

Peter Fray

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