Crikey has scored* a full and definitely-not-forged copy of the minutes from Labor’s most recent shadow cabinet meeting:
Reading of Minutes
Mr Shorten made a brief introductory speech as leader. Mr Albanese’s request to give an alternative brief introductory speech was denied. Mr Shorten explained that the purpose of the meeting was to decide Opposition policy on the Medicare levy. Mr Shorten stated that his preference was to accept an increase in the levy only for those earning more than $87,000.
Question raised from the floor as to why Mr Shorten had chosen $87,000 as the cut-off point. Mr Shorten answered that it was his lucky number. A certain amount of concerned murmuring was heard, and a further question tabled as to whether Mr Shorten was putting due diligence into this matter. Mr Shorten replied that he had the right to set the number as he was the leader.
There was a pause here while Mr Albanese recovered from a sudden and severe coughing fit.
Ms Plibersek stood to speak on the matter, declaring her full support for the leader’s position. Question from Mr Albanese to clarify that by “the leader” she meant Mr Shorten. Ms Plibersek agreed, and reiterated that her position was identical to Mr Shorten’s. A question from the floor inquired as to Ms Plibersek’s thoughts on the ideological underpinning of the principle of charging higher levies to higher income earners to pay for universal healthcare. Ms Plibersek replied that she fully supported the leader’s position. Pressed further, Ms Plibersek repeated that she fully supported the leader’s position. After a further four or five repetitions, Ms Plibersek was gently removed.
Mr Bowen stood to speak, and declared that he would like more money please. He then wept softly for three minutes and resumed his seat.
Mr Shorten now asked if anyone else would like to speak. Mr Albanese then asked if anyone else would like to speak. Mr Shorten pointed out that it was his job to ask this. Mr Albanese apologised for forgetting, and emitted a brief explosive snort before resuming his seat.
Mr Butler said that he would like to speak. General agreement that this was inadvisable. Mr Butler sat down.
Mr Albanese asked for a moment to speak. Shortly after Mr Albanese began speaking, Mr Shorten attempted to give his consent, but failed to be heard. Mr Albanese expressed his belief that it would be better to take the additional Medicare levy revenue from an across-the-board increase, but that he respected Mr Shorten’s position, because Mr Shorten was an honourable man. He informed the shadow cabinet that Mr Shorten had told them that Turnbull was greedy, and if so, it were a grievous fault, and grievously would Turnbull answer it, for Mr Shorten was an honourable man. Mr Albanese went on to say that Turnbull was attempting to fully fund the NDIS — was this greed? But Mr Shorten said it was greedy, and Mr Shorten was an honourable man. He made some further general remarks on the subject of the evil men do living after them, before resuming his seat.
Mr Shorten asked Mr Albanese to please give him his seat back. Mr Albanese apologised for inadvertently showing disrespect to his former leader. Mr Albanese then apologised for calling Mr Shorten his former leader. Mr Shorten accepted his apology and asked him once again to give him back his seat. Mr Albanese laughed good-naturedly and returned to his own seat.
Mr Shorten spoke again, affirming that the shadow cabinet was broadly in agreement. Certain amount of giggling then ensued. Mr Shorten stated that, as leader, he had decided that increasing the levy for incomes over $87,000 would become Labor policy. Mr Albanese stood to speak on behalf of the rest of the front bench, and agreed that “as leader”, Mr Shorten could indeed make that decision. Mr Shorten asked Mr Albanese why he used air quotes. A certain amount of giggling then ensued.
Mr Shorten dismissed the meeting. Mr Albanese then delivered an alternative dismissal which was generally well received.
*Via satirist Ben Pobjie