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BeetrootGate ~ The Week That Was   Feb 16 2018

Filed under AusPol by Throsby

Throsby’s advice to pundits – novice and well-seasoned – is to let a scandal play out a while before opining in a space more enduring than a tweet.

We suspected that #BeetrootGate might whither and die on the vine, like Michaelia Cash’s stonewalling of her inquisitors. But poor PM Trumble could not take any more and he, quite simply, snapped. Gloves and the top hat came off, with the cane retained for brandishing.

Joyce made a “shocking error of judgement” that “set off a world of woe” and “appalled all of us.”

    ~ Malcolm Turnbull [dewaffled transcript]

Parliament House fell silent, hallways went still, the knoll’s grass wilted while its security fence creaked astonishment. Breezes lapsed, flags drooped. Bollards retracted or emerged confused.

Lake Burley Griffin’s wavelets dissipated, shoreline erosion ceased. Northbourne Avenue traffic stalled. Canberra Centre shoppers grew statuesque, captive their tiny screens

Black Mountain cell tower chatter went momentarily void.

Shockwaves dashed across the Lower Molonglo Plain then, as geography does, the Upper Molonglo. Lenses at Stromlo misted in a moist zephyr from the east. Lake George evaporation ceased and inflows evaporated.

The only movement, a zombielike circulation of driverless vehicles on London Circuit awaiting instruction.

Well, you get the idea.

Twitterati, underground press, and more diminutive media stopped carping about the Canberra press gallery’s obeisance to its government public relations role upon seeing gallery reporters form a hunting pack. Well-honed instinct informed those predators, reliably it transpired, that they would not be the lone ink-slinger asking embarrassing questions, or doggedly deconstructing any of Truffle’s famed waffles.

By Thursday MSM impudence had reached such levels that Michelle Grattan set forth a string of short pertinent tweets that struck terror into the PM’s Office and all who lurk therein. Then, in The Conversation, she wrote:

Turnbull gave his deputy prime minister no notice of the swingeing* attack he would launch on Joyce’s extramarital affair with his former staffer, Vikki Campion, now his pregnant partner.

After a week and a half of political hell, Joyce was already in about as bad a place as one can imagine a politician might be, short of the dock of a court room.

On Friday afternoon, still smarting from stinging nettles encountered from jumping the fence into the neighbour’s paddock, then an unexpected beration from Point Piper, Barnaby threw some horse apples back at his gentrified PM:

…comments by the prime minister yesterday at his press conference … caused further harm. I believe they were in many instances inept and most definitely in many instances unnecessary.

I listened to it and thought that it was completely unnecessary – all that is going to do is basically pull the scab off for everyone to have a look at.”

Who doesn’t like a good scab pulling?

* Throsby admits he inadvertently discovered that “swingeing” was not an archaic spelling of “swinging” but an entirely different word he has never knowingly used. Or, like most of the English language, he once knew and forgot. To save you looking it up, “swingeing” as an adjective is “powerful, authoritative,” or “huge, far-reaching in severity.” This word – that doesn’t sound anything like it’s meaning – gave rise to the term “swashbuckling” as in what sword-wielding heroes are.

Throsby does AusPol

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Michael Leunig

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