At Crikey we’ve read some lurid openings to political colour pieces but today’s effort from the Financial Review’s Aaron Patrick is something else. His discussion of the circumstances around Tony Abbott’s ousting in 2015 and the role of Julie Bishop is interesting, if not exactly earth-shattering (though I much prefer Patrick’s Credlin & Co over Niki Savva’s Road To Ruin as an account of that troubled prime ministership).
But worse, it never lives up to the thrill of the opening pars:
The foreign minister looked deeply into her leader’s eyes and smiled sweetly. Of course she wasn’t responsible for leaks against her own government, she assured him. They were sitting alone in the generously spaced wood-panelled room that has been the seat of prime ministerial power for thirty years, as morning light streamed over the Great Dividing Range. His muscles still tender from a gym workout, Tony Abbott wasn’t sure whether to believe Julie Bishop.
We’re also left puzzled by exactly where Bishop and Abbott were when this charged encounter took place. Morning light streaming over the Great Dividing Range? Not in Canberra — the Brindabellas are to the west of Canberra, so the sun tends to set over them, not rise, at least last time I checked. And the PMO, if it faces anywhere, faces south, in a decidedly gloomy courtyard, looking toward Red Hill.
Maybe Abbott’s muscles were tender from moving the PMO all the way to Tumut, where some morning mountain sunlight might have provided this key moment between leader and deputy with the appropriate mise en scene.