Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester showed his practical frame of mind at the Women United by Defence dinner in Canberra when he asked singer Lee Kernaghan if he could borrow his Akubra. The purpose? To start a tradition: picking prime ministers by drawing names out of a hat. Clearly recognising this made more sense than any leadership process seen in recent years, the 500 guests at the Realm hotel cheered their endorsement. As another government person has since noted to Strewth: “We could go alphabetical but there’s a high chance the first beneficiary would make a captain’s call and change the rules.”
Noted hip-hop promoter Scott Morrison was on Sydney radio station WSFM the other day when Amanda Keller tried a gag. Keller: “Can you partake in a joke with me that I heard during the week that made me laugh?” Morrison: “Yeah.” Keller: “Knock knock.” Morrison: “Who’s there?” Keller: “Peter.” Morrison: “Peter who?” Keller: “Scott Morrison.” Alas, the official transcript does not record his response.
Behind the madness
Addressing the Women in Media conference on the Gold Coast on Friday, Virginia Trioli revealed the not-so-funny side of what had been one of our favourite moments of live TV — that time in 2009 she was sprung suggesting, in the traditional digital way, that Barnaby Joyce was cuckoo. After a long, arduous time on the IVF rollercoaster, things finally were looking up. Trioli walked into the TV studio that morning “technically pregnant” and, understandably, “high as a kite”. In this heady atmosphere, the incident happened. Trioli noted the intensity of social media abuse that followed, and amid it all the sad end to the tentative pregnancy. But as Trioli made clear, unlike all the people who tapped into the unparalleled power of getting offended on someone else’s behalf, Joyce was gracious and even made jokes. Behold the purity of the Strewth item from then: “Joyce was still laughing about it hours later when Strewth caught up with him, admitting there was a possibility Trioli was ‘frustrated with my approach’. But then, unafraid to face the harsher possibilities, Joyce delved deeper: ‘Maybe I am crazy. Maybe this isn’t parliament but an asylum. And if I’m not Barnaby, who am I? And then, who is Barnaby? If I am crazy, it would explain a lot about this place.’” Those were the days.
Saved by the bell
Among the services provided by Pyne & Marles, the Sky News show starring Christopher Pyne and Richard Marles, is its regular reminders that Sky News during daylight hours has its exotic side, too. Exhibit A … Marles: “Income tax will be less under us!” Pyne: “That’s rubbish. We are helping wages by reducing income tax. You want to increase income tax again because you think people with $100,000 are rich.” Marles: “That’s just not true.” Pyne: “It is true.” Marles: “If you are under 100, the income tax story under Labor is going to be much better than under the Liberal Party, and that’s where the mean average wages actually exist …” Pyne: “We’ve run out of time.” Marles: “We’ve run out of time, Christopher …” Pyne: “Exactly. Thank God, because people don’t want to hear that rubbish any more.”
The nays had it
You can more or less get away with flogging a dead horse, but not so much if you ditch one — as Shari-Lea Hitchcock has been reminded. The horse trainer, socialite and former source of affection in Richard Pratt’s life has been pinged $750 for disposing of a deceased equine without written approval from Racing NSW and an official death certificate. She didn’t enter into the spirit of the investigation, either, as her subsequent behaviour towards officials over the phone scored her a threemonth suspension.
As dotty as Australian politics can be, this nugget from our old muckers at The Moscow Times is a reminder we’ve got a way to go: “A Russian lawmaker has submitted a draft bill codifying duels a day after President Vladimir Putin’s former bodyguard challenged opposition leader Alexei Navalny to revive the practice. Viktor Zolotov, who heads Russia’s National Guard, promised to pound Navalny ‘into a juicy steak’ on Tuesday as punishment for his video investigations into government corruption.” Apparently pistols, swords and epees are acceptable, but only among state officials of equal seniority.