Advice to pundits – novice and well-seasoned: 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 restrained brandishing of the brolly.
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, the new security fence creaked astonishment. Breezes lapsed, flags drooped. Bollards both retracted and emerged.
Northbourne Avenue traffic stalled. Driverless vehicles circumnavigated London Circuit.
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 paused.
Well, you get the idea.
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. 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 berating from Point Piper, Barnaby threw some horse apples back at Trumble.
…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, if he ever knew he 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.