“First day back down, Boss”, croaked Team Captain Abbott, opening a frosty Phoenix Migration stout beer with a discarded set of dentures Warren “Tusker”, Truss or some other old NP blowhard had forgotten to take home after drinks. He made a mental note. Return Wozza’s choppers. It was the right thing to do.
They were stained, he noticed as he slipped them into a pocket. And chipped. I’d leave them behind, too. But no-one dared collect forgotten belongings after PM’s drinks and nibbles. They were too afraid to front Credlin. Too afraid to even look at her most of the time. But they loved Tony’s boutique beer. And Peta’s smack-downs. Well, they laughed anyway. Funny that. Especially Pyne.
“Great to get back to the bar fridge. Top end’s great but so dry. Dry as a Rudd tea party.”
Abbott perched on a leather Natuzzi Revive, his favourite new chair in the suite of furniture he had entitled himself to in the July $50,000 furniture upgrade to the PM’s Parliament House Office. He patted the leather with genuine affection and pleasure.
“Boss” was his pet name for his personal chief of staff Peta Credlin who would soon be over to unlace his shoelaces for him, he thought happily. And his tie. Undo his top button. Adjust his waistband. No wonder Malcolm had raved about her. That girl could handle anything. Looked like it, too.
Credlin reached for her Bollinger. She detested beer and those who drank it. She did her best not to look at Abbott. He let her put her IVF needles in his bar fridge. But had to tell the press about it. He thought it made him look enlightened. Feminist. She thought it was tacky, another cheap and self-defeating lunge at image- boosting. Malcolm “rotary nuts” had not felt the same need. Any moment now he would burp. Or fart. Disgusting little chimp. Had the hide to appoint himself Minister for Women. Most women can’t stand the sight of him. The sound of him. No wonder that they remain another of life’s total mysteries to him.
Peta Credlin, personal assistant and most powerful woman in Australia, rose to adjust the new electronically operated curtains to obscure the ASIO operative disguised as a useful human being pruning the pittosporum outside the window. She was a tall woman. She loved controls. She despised mediocrity. She was offended by incompetence. She hated fraud. What was she doing in Abbott’s employ?
She made a mental note to have the ASIO agent replaced. He looked uppity. Poor disguise, too. He appeared to be looking in. With intent. And he failed to salute her.
She would dismiss him by email later that evening. Or get Tony to tell him on the way out.
Abbott and Credlin met regularly to review the day and to plan strategy. The encounter was typically bruising. No holds barred. Neither of them liked it. He was all “yes Boss” “no Boss”, “you’re the boss, boss” But the next day, give him an open mike on his mate Alan Jones show and he’d come out with his same old shit. Couldn’t stick to a script if it was Araldited to his bum. She was in the mood to let him have both barrels.
“We still suck in the polls”, she glowered.
“You’re kidding! ”
“Not even a dead cat bounce. We stink. Our budget stinks. You rant about terror and opinion drops further. And stop perching like a Cockatoo trying to shit. No point in getting fine furniture if you don’t relax in it.”
Credlin knew Abbott was incapable of relaxing. He lived on stress. If you stripped out his anxiety, you wouldn’t be left with much. Tics. Abbott certainly put the tics into politics! Best to sidestep the bad news in the opinion polls. Still, she felt like slapping him. Jolt him into reality. He wrote about his masturbation in his wank Battlelines but there were times when she thought he was a total wanker. Many times. And so did others. You could tell.
“Terror raids were a shemozzle!”
“I thought they went off rather well.” Abbott hated it when he found himself sounding defensive. Especially with women. Besides when Credlin was in this sort of mood, you couldn’t take a trick. Best not to try.
“No-one’s fooled. Apart from the intellectually challenged, the mentally feeble, the terminally confused and readers of Rupert’s papers. And we’ve already got them onside. They already voted for us. They are our demographic. And the idle rich and would-be rich. The aspirational voters. Wankers the lot of them.
The terror raid was as fake as a three dollar bill. It was contrived. It looked contrived. It was unsuccessful. It didn’t work. And it has created a wave of resentment. We’re getting even more off side.”
“Geez. I know what you mean. Know what you mean. All we could get is one 22 year old lunatic. One 22 year old mental defective. And we put so much work into it. Even had the police doing their own press releases with pictures. And the choppers. No looking real flash is it, Boss.”
Well, I got my point across in the House. Great speech the unit did for me. Statesmanlike.”
“You sounded like a dodgy undertaker reading someone else’s badly-written, lame obsequies. And all that: they-hate-our-freedoms-shit. That was lame in the days of the Korean War. ISIS is tech-savvy. They have billions of dollars. Many of ’em have enjoyed Western freedoms. They have thousands of recruits from other countries who … ”
“Well, at least we’ve got Shorten on the payroll.” Abbott cut Credlin off.
“Don’t get me started,” Credlin snorted and poured herself another flute of champagne. She was glad she included flutes in the refurb. She felt like kicking the little runt in the chair.
“Shorten is a whining, mealy-mouthed moral pigmy. Wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire. No credibility, Bill. Useless as tits on a bull. A total tool. Less horsepower than my kitchen blender. Nothing to look at. Nothing to listen to. He’s redefined the charisma bypass. No integrity. He’s a right wing leftie with the Queen’s representative as his mother in law, for God’s sake. He makes Peter Dutton look credible. All he’s ever been good at is brown nosing. Cultivating the right connections. A Clayton’s. He’s the leader you have when you are not having a leader. Labor put the little whinger in to keep the seat warm for Albo. Just in case we get a crack at two terms. Which right now looks highly unlikely.”
And so it continued. The new anti-terror laws which were not new at all and entirely unnecessary were beginning to look iffy. And they’d prevented police from questioning the handful of suspects they did detain. Pyne had got himself into trouble with his travel bill. And then there was the stinking carcase of the budget so dead and stench-ridden even the blowflies wouldn’t touch it. Then there was the RET. The back bench were getting mouthy.
At this point Abbott drifted off. Thing about Credlin, he thought, apart from her natural cattle-dog authority is that she tells it like it is. Never short of a word. Not much that gets by her. Wonder how she puts up with me. Wonder how I put up with myself at times. Just hope there’s another frostie in the fridge.