14 March 2012
Hot air balloons festoon the sky above Parliament House, greeting our pollies as they arrive for work. I’m sure there’s a great hot-air pun to be made.
“Doors” is our morning tradition of greeting our MPs and Senators with a grilling as they arrive for work.
There’s a lot of talk about Bob Carr and company tax cuts this morning. Senator Eric Abetz confuses the carbon tax with the mining tax, then gives us his take on Bob Carr’s first day: “There was a waft of napthalene through the Senate as Bob Carr walked through.”
Good one Senator. Mothballs. Funny.
Pollies love to get their heads on TV. Doors can be a free kick for them. They hop out of their car, step up to the mic and have let us know what’s giving them the irrits. But they have to face the media to do it, and sometimes it gets feisty.
We’re lucky it’s sunny. In the dead of a Canberra winter, we can be standing for 45 minutes or more, in below zero temperatures. I’ve been mocked for wearing a beanie. Sometimes a girl has to choose bad hair over frostbitten ears.
8.30am Coffee time.
Aussies Café is infamous. It’s full of politicians, lobbyists, staffers and journos all gossiping and scheming. It’s where ABC journalist Chris Uhlmann first got wind of the 2010 coup on Kevin Rudd.
It’s THE best place to network and eavesdrop.
I catch up with Jamila Rivzi, adviser to Kate Ellis. I’m chatting with her about some upcoming stories for Mamamia… stay tuned!
10.15am The PM visits a small business.
When Parliament is sitting, the days are filled with doorstops. Pollies will send out an alert and we all gather in one of the courtyards to listen to their spiel and throw some questions at them.
Occasionally we go “off campus”. It’s usually Tony Abbott dragging us to a small business in Queanbeyan or Fyshwick, where we don high –vis vests and follow him around a factory, while he tries out some power tools and makes a clever pun about how the government is “screwing” or “nailing” or “hammering” the people with the carbon tax.
Today he’s going to a solar heating business to talk about the government’s cancellation of the solar rebate.
Unfortunately at the exact minute we receive his alert, the PM issues her own, saying she’s heading to a bookstore in the city.
The PM trumps the Opposition Leader. I head to the bookstore.