Strenght!

The Australian - - INQUIRER - JAMES JEF­FREY strewth@theaus­tralian.com.au

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.

Ce­leste-ial har­monies

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.

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