For months last year, gossip about George Christensen’s travels was swirling in Canberra. A number of journalists from various media outlets were trying to pin the story down, lodging freedom of information requests, sending questions to government departments and fielding letters from Christensen’s lawyers. (Some of those journalists would later claim their efforts had been met with stonewalling.)

With the Coalition holding a one-seat majority less than six months away from an election, a scandal about a high-profile government backbencher would be big news whoever it was about -- being about George Christensen made it bigger still. This is the “renegade” conservative Christian Queensland LNP MP so devout that he famously has the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus tattooed on his shoulder; this is a politician who twice almost became a Catholic priest , and one widely known for fighting to save Australia from the supposed moral corruption of same-sex marriage, abortion, and the Safe Schools program. Pretty much everyone who knew what was coming thought Christensen was a goner.

While the story was building behind the scenes, Christensen was publicly very much in love. In mid-September, he’d given an exclusive “rare interview about his private life” to his hometown paper, The Daily Mercury, announcing his engagement to April Asuncion, from Quezon City in the Philippines.