Inside Canberra

  • 13 June 2016

    The Prime Minister wandered into her Commonwealth car and began to be driven to Parliament House and she immediately picked her Government mobile phone.

    “Hello?” Mrs. Clinton asked, sounding a bit exasperated. “Larissa…we’re doing our best, Larissa. We need your budget representatives down at the Treasury today. It’s almost done. Yes…yes it’s almost…you can’t blame me for that. Look, we’re not Britain. We do not have Government boxes. That’d be bloody ridiculous. Okay, I’ll see you in the party room in a few.”

    The Prime Minister looked out the window, already annoyed. It was the wet season in Australia and it was much cooler in Canberra than a few months ago (though, relative, as 15o was not cold to many in Europe). Raindrops smattered on the window and the Prime Minister gazed out of it, collecting her thoughts in the only solitary moment she got at any point of the day.

    Soon, the façade of the Federal Parliament House appeared, its unique shape and the iconic flagpole gathered. The Prime Minister got out of the car at the main entrance to Parliament House. Aides scurrying through the interior smiled at the Prime Minister and as she made it to her office around the garden in the middle of the building. She sat down and looked at her computer, beginning to type. She had not gotten two minutes into reading emails and opening her briefcase, where she kept details she worked on at home, when…

    “Good morning, Hillary,” said a cheerful male voice. The Prime Minister looked up and saw Tony Burke, her Parliamentary Secretary and good friend.

    “G’day Tony,” the Prime Minister answered. “Any news from Nova? Larissa called me on the way in.”

    “No, I don’t think so. Hey, do you want me to ask the Whip to get everyone in the party room in about an hour?” questioned Burke, pulling out a packet of crisps from his jacket pocket.

    “Sure…where did you get those crisps?” the Prime Minister asked, halfway between amused and astounded.

    “Oh, I brought them with me from home,” said Burke, eating a few more of the crisps. “I’d offer you some wine but it’s too early for that, don’t you think Hills?” The Prime Minister asked.

    “I don’t know, not after the day that I have planned,” the Prime Minister said, opening up her Commonwealth folder that contained the schedule for the day. “Oh…a photo op in Canberra? Doing what?”

    “…Fuck all if I know,” replied Burke, sitting down in the chair in front of the PM’s desk. He continued to sample the Walker’s crisps. “Oh, and you need to meet Julia today as well.”

    “…CHRIST!” the Prime Minister groaned. “Julia NEVER knows how to shut up. She’s a good one and I don’t doubt her ability to make the Labour Party jump but she just can’t get to the point. Do I really have to?”

    “I mean, you could go spend time with Bill later instead,” Burke answered in a smug voice and a cheeky grin crept across his face.

    “…Okay, so I’ll see her around three,” the Prime Minister sighed.

  • 29 August 2016

    Parliament House, Canberra

    National Party Room

    “What do you mean that she plans on doing that?” the Leader of the Opposition bellowed loud enough to be heard from outside the hallway. It was, of course, the morning meeting of the National Party, right at 8 o’clock sharp every Monday like they enjoyed. The Government party room met at the same time, and despite the description, it was anything but a party. Christopher Pyne’s face was bright red, and his features contorted into sharp rage. His deputy leader, Julie Bishop, merely sat while sipping her morning tea.

    The rest of the party room fell deathly silent, so much so that the kookaburras from a quarter of a mile away could be heard…mocking the political theatre on the interior of the Parliament Building.

    “Clinton plans on confronting you with your sources, specifically calling for you to provide her with proof,” said Barnaby Joyce, the Shadow Minister for the Environment and Rural Communities. Normally, he’d be seen cracking a few smiles and getting the party room on its favourite topic: how to discredit Hillary Clinton today and chip away at her government’s moral standing. The daggers being thrown into his skull by Mr. Pyne’s eyes suggested otherwise.

    “What proof? The papers reported without sources, and we’ve been trying to dig this shit up for nearly three months. She knows as much as I that this was not about actually proving anything, but the implication of her character. I mean, I fucking moved to censure her in the House for fuck’s sake!” the Leader of the Opposition roared. He began to pace before the entirety of the party room heard a thud comparable to Thor’s hammer lowering from the sky.

    “Come off it, Chris,” Bishop responded, setting her tea down before reaching into her white pocketbook. She whipped out a nail file and set the bag down as she filed her matching nails.

    “Don’t be a smug bitch, Julie,” Pyne snapped quickly. “Say what you have to say or leave.”

    “I’m sure that if we went down to the ATO today or sent Mathias down there, they’d point us in the right direction,” Bishop continued, ignoring the curt attitude from her boss. The Opposition Leader stopped his rage for a moment and contemplated what Ms. Bishop had suggested. The kookaburras moved a bit closer, cackling once more but now from what would seem to be closer (the party rooms did not have windows).

    “Mathias, it’s gonna be up to you to get this case against Clinton,” Mr. Pyne finally said, speaking directly to the Shadow Finance Minister. He nodded quickly.

    “I’ll have an aide get on it right away, Chris,” Mathias Cormann responded, typing away frenetically as he made his statement. “You’ll get your proof.”

    “Good. I’ll be damned if I don’t get Clinton to resign before her government turns a year old. If she’s allowed to get away with this, then she’ll waltz away to the next election. That is clear. Now, let’s discuss our policy on the public infrastructure investment bank scheme.”

  • Labor Party Room

    28 June 2017

    The aides for Kevin Rudd didn't bother to come anywhere near the room. The shouts of despair and anguish said it all; the AWU and the Prime Minister had been in talks in Brisbane over support switching from the Labor Party, and therefore the Labor Right to the Progressive Alliance. 

    "Shit! What do you mean that we've lost the AWU?!" Kevin bellowed over the phone. He paused and breathed heavy as he listened on the phone. "Well, if that's the case, they're out of the party and they can join the Progressives if they want." The phone was slammed down. 

    Rudd had been a steady Labor leader since 2012, and he could feel the breath of his party coming down the back of his neck. A knock on the door almost made him bellow in horror, but he gathered himself quickly.

    "Come in," Kevin replied. He saw the face of Anthony Albanese, the Labor member for Grayndler.

    "So what do we do now?" Anthony asked.

    "I suppose you're here to dance on my grave," sighed Kevin with a grumble. "It's over for me as Labor leader, and I'll have to resign from the Parliament as well. I'm a part of the Labor Right, technically, even if I don't have the factional heavies on my side." 

    "Well, there's the rest of the right. They're not so on the right that we'll lose them. Besides the AWU, the Progressives only have support of professional unions, people who are middle class. The other unions like the CFMEU are on our side," Anthony said to Kevin. He held up his proud badge from the CFMEU.

    "You wore that on purpose, you arse," Kevin chuckled at the convenience.

    "No, I wore it because I wanted to today; it just happened to be painfully apt," Anthony replied. "Look, I don't like to do this but....I'm challenging."

    "I figured it couldn't all be pleasantries," Kevin replied. "Fine; I'll resign. But promise me that you'll get the Senators and MPs back and that Labor will move on from this and challenge the Government."

    "I promise," Anthony responded, giving Kevin a pat on the back. "Thank you....for all you've done for the party."

  • Prime Minister's Office

    Parliament House, Canberra, ACT

    29 June 2017

    'God, that deal took forever,' the Prime Minister thought. She was swirling her usual work accompaniment, a glass of Tasmanian shiraz wine. 'I lost an entire day of work.'

    As she typed away, answering emails and contacting other ministers, a tap at the door interrupted her flow.

    "You better have wine, and this better be important," the Prime Minister snapped. She looked up, and saw the Cabinet Minister, Tony Burke, standing in front of her again.

    "Well done, Hillary," Tony replied. "Way to get the AWU on side."

    "You're lucky that the Labor Right actually like me, and that your contacts actually paid off; otherwise..." Hillary began, still trying to write her emails. She decided it was better to just stop. Besides, it was almost time for Question Time.

    "Now we can get our working majority in the Senate, it'll be easier to get everything through," Tony replied. He poured himself a glass of wine from his own bottle, this one a white.

    "Really? White wine?" Hillary joked. "Where's the fish?"

    "I can't do red, Hill," Tony laughed. The two sat in silence, basking in their triumph. 

    Hillary stood up and the two held their glasses. 

    "Cheers, one year of good government," Hillary grinned. She was beaming with all of her accomplishments.

    "And here's to another election win in 2020," Tony replied. "Now, go get 'em in Question Time." 

    And with that, the Prime Minister and her loyal Cabinet Minister left her office for the last Question Time before the winter recess.