As Scott Morrison explained last week, mateship is crucial to his conception of government. "Remember, my value is: we look after our mates". And not really "mates" in the more modern, graciously inclusive, non-gendered sense; this is a boys' club government, with Scott and Josh, and Mathias and Birmo in the Senate, all top blokes, of course, with Julie Bishop gone to the backbench and complainers like Julia Banks told to harden up and "roll with the punches". Morrison is less Prime Minister than First Mate, Primus Inter Amicis.
One mate was conspicuously missing when parliament reassembled yesterday, of course: Malcolm Turnbull had left the building he'd graced since 2004. And as pretty much the entire political class knows, the Liberals have no real explanation why; the only explanation on the public record is that of Turnbull himself, who blamed a right-wing insurgency that engaged in the political equivalent of terrorism, to which senior figures caved. When pressed by Labor yesterday on the why, Morrison offered: