Quick, not painless
It was at least one of the nation’s speediest press conferences. Following the groping allegations reluctantly made by ABC reporter Ashleigh Raper, NSW opposition leader Luke Foley emerged to the expectation he would fall on his sword. Instead he protested his innocence, quit as leader, returned to the backbench, vowed to stay on as the member for Auburn and spoke of launching defamation proceedings — all in the space of 46 seconds. No, there is no punchline here.
On a lighter note
So much else seemed like light relief yesterday, not least the speculation about a certain former prime minister’s looming appearance on the ABC. Journo: “Malcolm Turnbull will be appearing on Q&A tonight, that’ll be great television.” Bill Shorten: “I don’t know if it will be.” Journo: “Will you be watching?” Shorten: “No, but I’m doing a town hall meeting at Ellenbrook and I invite people to come to that. I want to hear from the people, not from Malcolm Turnbull. I don’t want to speak ill of the past — I’ll leave that to the Liberal Party to bag him.” Scott Morrison was another non-watcher, but he was warmer to the man he’d somehow replaced. Journo: “Prime Minister, will you be watching Malcolm Turnbull on Q&A tonight?” PM: “I will be on my way home to Sydney tonight.” Journo: “What do you think of him appearing?” PM: “I wish him the best and if I was asking him a question I would say, ‘How are you going, mate?’ ” As Sir Humphrey Appleby said, never set up an inquiry unless you know what its findings are going to be.
Shooting the breeze
Speaking of departed pollies, Sam Dastyari was gearing up yesterday for a late-night chat on the wireless with Mark Latham. It was a tete-a-tete the latter billed as a conversation with someone “who typifies everything that has gone wrong with today’s Labor Party”. (He meant Dastyari.) Dasher’s forecast? “This is going to be very very very interesting.”
Katter gets the cream
Still on the challenging chat front, 4BC’s Mark Braybrook extracted this from Scott Morrison earlier in the week: Braybrook: “Just before I let you go, Bob Katter has been back in the news again this afternoon, warning you as the Prime Minister he’s considering supporting a referral of Liberal MP Chris Crewther to the High Court. Your response to that?” PM: “Look, we’re talking to Bob all the time …” At which point one felt a pang of sympathy for the PM. But all’s well that ends well, and Katter’s seat now will be on the receiving end of a combined $234 million for two infrastructure projects.
On Triple M with Pricey, yesterday, the topic of the PM’s semi-used bus came up. Pricey: “The thing is little bouncing Billy has decided he is coming up on a solar skateboard next time to outdo you.” PM (amid mirth): “Well, good luck to him.” Unlike the old Shorten bus, the ScoMobile has yet to bottom out on a motel driveway. Then again it is lighter a lot of the time. Once it was established this week the ScoMobile was crossing a lot of Queensland empty except for a driver — we like to think of it as the Morri(son) Celeste — there was a press conference exchange on Melbourne Cup day that was this week’s greatest performance art. As some have suggested, it is best enjoyed in the voices of John Clarke and Bryan Dawe. But as you go, admire the persistence and nimbleness on both sides. Journo: “Why have the bus?” PM: “Because it gets me from A to B.” Journo: “Will you be taking the bus to Rockhampton from here?” PM: “Yes. The bus will be going to Rockhampton from here. That’s right.” Journo: “With you on it?” PM: “I’ve got to get there earlier than the bus tonight.” Journo: “So you will be flying to Rockhampton?” PM: “I’ll get into Rockhampton tonight and I’ve got a program tonight in Rockhampton and the bus can’t get me there quick enough, so I’ve got to fly.” Journo: “So you’ll be flying to Rockhampton and the bus will catch up with you and then you’ll fly on to Townsville?” PM: “I’ll be flying on to Townsville. And your point is what?” Journo: “I’m just interested in the point of the bus if you’re not on it.” PM: “I am on it, I just got off it.” Journo: “But not on to Rockhampton or Townsville?” PM: “Yeah, well, it’s a practical thing.” Take a bow, everyone. A big bow.