In a surprise announcement in Canberra today, PM, Tony Abbott convened a press conference to announce a Cabinet reshuffle. Also present were party faithful, an unmistakable ASIO detail and the odd stray independent senator who went into the wrong car park.
“It’s terrific to be back in Canberra. The great thing about Australia is that when people are in trouble, we do what we can to help – and there are a lot of people in diabolical trouble in the world. In our own country, Australia. In Canberra, as we speak.”
We are pleased to announce … pleased to announce … the creation of a whole new ministry, the PM continued. A great, big, new ministry. MIMIC. The Ministry for Ignorance, Misogyny, Impulsivity and Chaos. Along with getting the Budget under control, scrapping bad taxes and cutting red tape this big new reform will .
As you know. As everybody knows. We are a government that listens. Well, we have listened. And we have delivered. Why? We have a mandate to deliver. A mandate. To make sure Australia is open for business again. To create jobs. Getting Australia back to work.
We are a government that listens. We hear your concern that we have no Ministry of Science. We have listened to your concern about the Minister for Women. Naturally I am the standout choice for this role but there are times when leadership job demands take me out of the country.
Accordingly, I am making some big changes to cabinet. Having taken advice widely, I am announcing today the promotion of Joe Hockey to the newly created Ministry of Ignorance, Misogyny, Impulsivity and Chaos. It’s a big step but know that Joe is the right man for the job. So far he has shown the right credentials. He has modelled the very qualities that the new portfolio embraces. And it helps reward Joe for the remarkable work he has done so far up and down the land to help get us all out of Labor’s mess.
Now Joe is a man of some standing. Unparalleled standing both in the party room, the electorate and the business community. Someone who enjoys doing the hard yards. Someone who is a natural communicator. When Joe says something, it stays said. And he is an independent thinker … someone who can go it alone. Someone who like myself, understands women because he is married to one and because he has female children. Someone in touch with ordinary Australians. Like me, Joe loves to go a football club pie night with wet t shirt competition for the ladies.
Joe is sensitive, too. We have seen this side of him even more recently. When challenged, Joe can become emotional. Like the best of us he works so hard, he may at times seem to take criticism personally. And he is not afraid to tear up in public. These are not only rare qualities in themselves, they help fit him out for his new role. Women already love him. Now they will treasure him.
Oftentimes in this great big new portfolio there will be questions without notice. We wanted someone who could take the initiative. Make decisions on the run. Someone with a record in making statements of his own bat. Impromptu. Off the cuff. And Joe has certainly given us that in spades – perhaps excelling even himself in recent times.
The move makes sense on a number of levels. It meets our promise for greater transparency. There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the newly designed ministry speaks for itself. It recognises a lot of the work we have done so far in a way that every Australia can understand and relate to. Breathtaking ignorance is not something which we have hidden.
Of course it was a difficult call. There were many highly qualified contenders. And a number of well-credentialed volunteers. But in the end Joe was a clear winner. A clear winner.
No it was not a party room matter, the PM explained. It was a captain’s pick, he said in response to questions from press. I was exercising my right as leader of the parliamentary party and as always, acting on the best advice. Of course this included prayer. As with all decisions, a good, strong faith works miracles. And I pray we’ve got it right this time.
Pressed for details of the new portfolio, the PM said that it would shore up the outstanding work Greg Hunt is doing as Minister for environment. It would provide the theoretical framework to support mining in environmentally sensitive areas, burning brown coal to make electricity while ceasing support for renewable energy and so much more. Even the chaplains in schools would guaranteed immunity by the wide ranging powers of the new Ministry. It would also help clear up the link between abortion and breast cancer, while paving the way for Kevin Andrews to introduce exciting new policies on criminalising homosexuality. Science would not be ignored, he cautioned, it would simply take its rightful place in the cut and thrust of the national debate along with ignorance, misinformation and lies. We have got the balance right this time, he continued.
Asked whether Mathias Hubert Paul Corman would be the new treasurer, the PM dropped a further bombshell when he replied that there no longer be a Treasurer in his ministry. We have thought this through, he added, explaining that with free markets and a free labor market just around the corner, that the economic side of things would just about take care of itself. We don’t need a treasurer to sell a budget, he continue. We will just legislate and let the market respond. And now that we have had a bit of chance for bit of vigorous pruning, our slimmed down staff at the treasury are boys who can be relied on to do their absolute best at all times. Of course, he added, the PM’s office will continue to keep an eye on things.
Asked whether given his record, the move was really an attempt to find something useful that Joe could actually do, Mr Abbott responded by asking the journalist where he got his got his facts from. All of us agree that Joe has been doing a top job. an outstanding job.
Pressed by another journalist on Mr Hockey’s suitability for any form of public duty, Mr Abbott sought to remind the gathering of the need for all members of Team Australia to pull together.
Mr Abbott ended the conference saying that there would be no time for further questions given that many of these matters were operational matters but that would be a full and frank disclosure of all details at a more appropriate time and in the Rupert Murdoch’s ‘gift to our nation’ The Australian and other News Limited newspapers that evening.
Besides, he added, our work will surprise no-one who followed our election campaign promises. It is a logical extension of so many of the things, so many things we stand for – and have always stood for.