11 times Australian politics surprised us all in 2015 .

By political reporters Anna Henderson and Matthew Doran.

Australian politics delivered its share of “what the…” moments in 2015. Here’s why they still matter.

1. Malcolm Turnbull

Rising from the political ashes after being ousted as opposition leader in 2009, Mr Turnbull picked his moment to challenge and managed to unseat a sitting prime minister who had won a general election in a landslide.

The next election will be held within a year.

2. The Killing Season

This documentary trawled through the entrails of the noxious Rudd and Gillard governments and raised the ghosts of Labor's turbulent time in power.

We are now waiting for similar introspection from a number of upcoming books that detail the downfall of Tony Abbott.

3. Q&A

A forum for public discussion quickly became a target for prime minister Tony Abbott, after the show's producers allowed terrorist sympathiser Zaky Mallah to ask a question about proposed citizenship-stripping legislation.

Tony Abbott wasn't all too happy with the exchange that followed, labelling the show a "lefty lynch mob" and temporarily banning his MPs from appearing on the program. A review into the incident is ongoing, and the program will become part of the ABC News division in the new year for greater editorial control.

4. Pistol and Boo

Johnny Depp sneaked his pet dogs into Australia and caused an international incident.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce led the charge to ensure the dogs were sent back to the US bywarning they would be put down if they stayed. There may yet be untold consequences for Johnny Depp's future engagement with the Australian film industry.


5. Peter Slipper's diary

The ledger of the former speaker's travel plans was front and centre in parliament over attacks against Special Minister of State Mal Brough. Federal Police are investigating whether pages were illegally copied in an attempt to prove travel rorting. A Federal Police investigation has been initiated with three frontbenchers named; Mr Brough, Christopher Pyne and Wyatt Roy.

6. A marble table

An Italian marble tabletop was mysteriously shattered on the night Tony Abbott was ousted. Mr Abbott eventually paid for the damages, saying hetook responsibility because he was the host.

There was speculation the breakage was a result of someone dancing on it. The matter took up significant time in Senate Estimates hearings and set the bar for forensic investigation into furniture damage into the future.

Minister Jamie Briggs confessed he sustained a knee injury at the same event, but denied being present when the table was broken.

7. Joe Hockey

Mr Hockey had a rough time in his two years as treasurer. His 2014 Budget was slammed as unfair. His 2015 budget was more warmly received, but it was too little too late for the gaffe-prone treasurer.

Among the highlights, calling on first home buyers to get a good job so as to afford a property, and saying poor people wouldn't be hit by increases to the fuel excise because they either don't drive far or don't have cars.

He'll take up the prime position as Australia's ambassador to the United States next year.


8. The Chopper

Liberal veteran Bronwyn Bishop's decision to splash out on a helicopter to get to a Liberal Party event came back to haunt her and eventually saw herousted from the speaker's chair.

Tony Abbott backed her for a number of weeks, leading many to question his judgment as prime minister. As a result, there's never been more scrutiny of political expenses claims.

9. A single brown onion


Tony Abbott's prime ministership was marked by his decision to bite into a raw Tasmanian onion, skin and all. (He later ate another onion.)

When he was toppled as leader, the eye-watering choice of meal made it into his international political obituaries. The Tasmanian onion industry is applauding the publicity.

10. The Union Royal Commissioner

Dyson Heydon's acceptance of an invitation to speak at a Liberal Party-associated event put him under pressure but he bunkered down and resisted calls to stand aside.

Labor called it evidence the royal commission was a "political witch hunt".

The controversy is expected to overshadow the findings of the royal commission, due to be handed to the Government at the end of this year.

11. Prince Phillip

Tony Abbott's decision to knight the Queen's husband became an albatross and the former prime minister admitted it contributed to his ultimate demise.

Mr Abbott was widely condemned for awarding the honour to an international figure — already weighed down with titles — instead of an Australian. Malcolm Turnbull has now ditched the honours altogether.


This post originally appeared on the ABC and was republished here with full permission. 
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