Malcolm Turnbull was in his office when Christopher Pyne came through the door.

“I think Cormann’s gone over,” Pyne said.

Turnbull shook his head in disagreement. “He’s solid.”

Craig Laundy, seated in an armchair to the right of a large pot plant, disagreed. “I don’t trust him for a second.”

Meanwhile at the Bengal Raj BYO in Kingston, Cormann and Dutton were already meeting.

“If Turnbull takes a dive in the second round, we can get over the line with Bishop’s loyalists,” Cormann growled in his Belgian accent, before Josh Frydenberg came over to Dutton’s table to say that he had just met with Turnbull to reaffirm his loyalty.

Back at parliament, Scott Morrison came through Turnbull’s door. “Mate, it’s solid behind you.”

Later, Laundy would go back to Morrison’s office, where Morrison and Stuart Robert were praying.

“Are you with us?” Laundy asked.

“Absolutely,” said Morrison.

***

Late that night, Craig Laundy came into Scott Morrison’s office where he and Stuart Robert were praying. “I’ve just been with Malcolm and I want to know if you’re with us.”

“Absolutely,” said Morrison.

Hours earlier, Morrison himself had gone into Turnbull’s office, passing Josh Frydenberg on the way. “Mate, it’s solid behind y- hang on,” Morrison said.

“Haven’t you already told me that?” Turnbull said, confused.

“Yeah… déjà vu.”

“Craig Laundy had the same feeling when he was here earlier. He says you said you were solid…’

“No, that hasn’t happened yet.”

“Are you sure?”

“No.”

Meanwhile, at the Taj Mahal bistro, Frydenberg was sitting down with Cormann. “Isn’t that Dutton coming towards us?”

***

Christopher Pyne worried to himself as he came into Malcolm Turnbull’s office where he and Julie Bishop were praying. “I think Cormann’s gone over,” he said

“Dammit, we’ve done this!” said Turnbull.

“Not from this angle,” said Laundy, from an armchair to the left of a pot plant.

“Whoa, weren’t you over there?”

“Different point of view.”

“Frydenberg reckons he saw Cormann with Dutton and…”

“No that comes later. Doesn’t it?”

“What the hell’s going on?”

“Niki only had a week-long coup to work with and a whole book to fill…”

“This is like a damn giggle palace.”

“Could be worse. Dutton’s had three butter chickens in the last eight hours. Imagine all that creamy, red, dead flesh.”

“I don’t have to; I’ve read the Barnaby chapter.”

“Plus, you could be Cormann. He’s fucking Belgian! I mean he just sits there, being fucking Belgian!”

Mitch Fifield came in.

“Mitch! You’re arts minister!”

“Shit, am I?”

“Get us out of here.”

“Are you kidding? Have you seen our literature? This is the only truly experimental Australian novel of the last 20 years!”

There was silence. Then Christopher Pyne came through the door…

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

What a year. Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW