When the numbers are tight in Parliament, it’s no surprise that the MPs and senators from smaller parties end up being very very popular. The crossbench end-of-year drinks in the Parliament House offices of Cathy McGowan and Adam Bandt last night was a truly bipartisan affair, attended by politicians of all persuasions, from government ministers including Christopher Pyne, Josh Frydenberg and Simon Birmingham to Labor MPs including Tanya Plibersek, Wayne Swan and Mark Dreyfus, as well as One Nation Senator Rod Culleton, fresh from his afternoon meeting with Pauline Hanson to patch things up.
The hallway between the two MPs’ offices were packed with staffers, lobbyists and lots of journos chowing down local beers, wines, cheeses and cakes from Melbourne, Albury-Wodonga and Tasmania.
The biggest shock of the night came when a man with white hair and a big belly dressed in red showed up about halfway through. But it wasn’t Santa, it was former member for Fairfax Clive Palmer, looking about half the man he was before. He insists his weight loss is all thanks to a diet company. He was spotted chatting away to Bob Katter, and camera crews were on hand to film the whole thing, which Ms Tips understands is for Annabel Crabb’s new show all about the inner workings of Parliament.