Strewth!

The Australian - - INQUIRER - JAMES JEF­FREY [email protected]­tralian.com.au

Deck the halls

One of the ports of call yes­ter­day morn­ing for Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son, Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten and Greens leader Richard Di Natale was to visit Par­lia­ment House’s Kmart Wish­ing Tree. Who knows what wishes they made given how swiftly the day turned to cus­tard? (For more cus­tard, see the Sketch on page six.) Coali­tion MP Sus­san Ley tried to keep things on a fes­tive foot­ing by don­ning a pair of Santa faces in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Given the place’s freshly ex­plored dress­code is­sues, it was re­as­sur­ing to read the of­fi­cial guide­lines: “Mem­bers were per­mit­ted to wear hats in the Cham­ber but not while en­ter­ing or leav­ing or while speak­ing.” (Some other rul­ings from that sec­tion: “A mem­ber may keep his hands in his pock­ets while speak­ing; the beat­ing of hands on or kick­ing of cham­ber desks is dis­or­derly; a mem­ber may not dis­trib­ute ap­ples to other mem­bers.”)

Worth wrap­ping

Some­one get­ting in a Christ­mas wish was Alan Jones, who opened his con­ver­sa­tion with ScoMo on 2GB thus: “Prime Min­is­ter, I hope it’s the last time I have to men­tion two words to you. One is Mal­colm, the other is Turn­bull.” For what it’s worth, the PM’s of­fi­cial tran­script of the in­ter­view ends with a touch­ingly fes­tive typo: “Thanks very much Alana and Merry Christ­mas to all of your lis­ten­ers as well.” But typo con­nois­seurs were re­warded again later in the af­ter­noon when, strength of feel­ing ev­i­dently over­whelm­ing pre­ci­sion, La­bor front­bencher Stephen Jones hit Twit­ter with some force: “If these laws were so im­por­tant why have you shit (sic) Par­lia­ment down forbhe (sic) year with­out fin­ish­ing the job. La­bor is here in the Par­lia­ment ready to fi­nalise the job. You’re (the most sad­den­ing sic of all) mob have gone home.” Put that on a sou­venir tea towel.

It’s Christ(opher)mas!

A pos­si­ble con­tender for early Christ­mas mir­a­cle came when Speaker Tony Smith re­counted the mo­ment this week when Christo­pher Pyne paused dur­ing a bit of ques­tion time ex­u­ber­ance to say sorry. As Smith re­counted yes­ter­day, “It’s the only time I’ve been mo­men­tar­ily stunned.”

A lit­tle fes­tive punch

Amid all this, we of course had the gift of John Howard this week, re­mind­ing ev­ery­one of that quaint time when PMs served for years. As this cheered many, let us re­visit a Strewth snip­pet from 2011: “One po­lit­i­cal fig­ure who was able to at­tend the Mar­garet Ol­ley me­mo­rial ser­vice was John Howard, who ar­rived sport­ing a black eye — though as it’s a petite dark stripe, per­haps we should re­fer to it as a black eye­band. Con­cerned, we rang Howard’s of­fice. ‘I’ve been wait­ing for a ques­tion on this,’ an­swered a very lovely woman, be­fore adding cheer­ily, ‘I punched him!’ Af­ter a suitable pause, she con­tin­ued, ‘No, it was noth­ing sexy. He just had some cataract surgery.’ As a happy spin-off, Howard no longer has to wear glasses.” As a small postscript, when your Strewth scribe men­tioned this in­ci­dent to Howard years later, he let out a mighty bark of laugh­ter.

KYM SMITH, GARY RA­M­AGE

So this is Christ­mas and what have you done, an­other year over, a new one (nearly) be­gun

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