In what is an annual event, parliamentarians, staffers, and journalists gathered in the Members Garden on Monday night for a free feed and drink courtesy of Woolworths.

It is fairly common for parliamentarians to get a free feed on most nights during sitting weeks, depending on the event taking place in Parliament, but the Woolworths annual event has a big reputation for being one of the best.

Rows and rows of Greek salads, prawn salads, large steaks, giant sausages, potato, bread rolls and a variety of cheeses and fruits for dessert were on offer, and while it was not the usual “Trough” dining experience in Parliament, the lengthy queues with patrons lining up on either side of the table to dig in had a distinctly trough-like appearance. Ms Tips’ spy spotted several Coalition and Labor MPs wining and dining on one of the duopoly’s feasts, including Kevin Andrews, Luke Hartsuyker, Trent Zimmerman, Sam Dastyari, Wayne Swan, and Murray Watt.

It’s probably not the kind of event that strong critic of the supermarket duopoly, Nick Xenophon would attend, Ms Tips expects, and he wasn’t spotted at the event. Was it Halal? We’re not sure, and Senator Pauline Hanson was not there, after a busy day for her party in the Senate.

There was a small presentation where Woolworths talked up its indigenous employment program and its success in hiring more indigenous Australians into the company, but sadly most patrons at the event were too engrossed in their own conversations when a young indigenous woman who was brought into the program spoke about her experience. Undeterred, however, she spoke proudly about her training as part of the program and getting to visit Parliament for the event.

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Peter Fray

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