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.