This week, our reporter spoke to a leading parliamentarian from one of the major parties.
Peter Smith: As you know Mr T*******l your recent interview with Tony Jones has won you a deal of praise from the Prime Minister, Greg Combet and Penny Wong; in fact the whole government is in your thrall. Apparently Tony and all of the ABC thought it was all a bit of a coup too. How do you feel about that?
Malcolm T******l: This kind of popularity comes and goes with the territory. I am not sure, did you mention Tony Abbott? He must have been at least secretly pleased. I mean I, sort of, did it for him in a way. Though, at the moment, he is not returning my calls.
PS: I don’t understand Mr T******l, can you please explain?
MT: Well you know all members of parliament carry that baton of leadership ambition. But I put my own ambitions aside and said a number of things which I am very passionate about, stupid things really when you think about it, that will remove any possibility of me ever taking Tony’s place and leading the party.
PS: You spoke at length about climate change with Tony Jones; were you taken by surprise by Mr Jones, because it is not your portfolio is it?
MT: That is a very good question. The first thing I want to say is that as shadow minister for communications I believe in climate change. Telecommunications is the key to everyone staying at home and not driving about polluting the atmosphere with foul filthy emissions.
PS: So you think your portfolio encompasses climate change?
MT: Absolutely, telecommunications are ubiquitous. You should talk with my colleague Greg Hunt for the details of Coalition policy on climate change, but I am all over the big picture. I am a big picture person.
PS: Why actually do you believe in climate change?
MT: Well, for example, I was badly sunburnt recently while holidaying in an exclusive resort and that has never happened before. You could see when Tony interviewed me that my face still had an embarrassingly red and strained look which, by the way, had nothing to do with any intention on my part to sell Tony Abbott down the river. I would passionately deny that if it were ever suggested. In fact, I now have a drawn out self-exculpatory commentary on my web site which explains how my remarks were totally misunderstood by the media and by everyone, in fact, who viewed the interview. They all got it wrong.
PS: What do you think of the government’s plans for eventually moving to an emissions trading scheme?
MT: Well Kevin and I shook hands on moving forward and I don’t resile from tackling the great moral issue of our time. I crossed the floor. Our party allows that. I would never do it again of course; loyalty is very important in politics.
PS: The government then is moving in the right direction and Hunt and Abbott have it wrong?
MT: What can I say that won’t again be unfairly misrepresented as me effectively undermining every aspect of the Coalition’s policy and supporting the Government? Let me just say this. I believe in a market-based scheme. I don’t believe in the government picking winners and direct action on climate change will become very expensive. It would be a giant expensive flop; a complete fiasco; a useless scheme made for sceptics that can be dropped as soon as it gets cooler. But, as I say, don’t take this as criticism; you really need to speak to Greg Hunt for the details
PS: You don’t think the earth will get cooler?
MT: Well I don’t but I suspect some people do, even in my own party. I think that our grandchildren will be burnt to a crisp as the planet gets hotter and hotter unless we price carbon. Some brainless people can’t seem to grasp this. Bob Brown, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott said this exact same thing to me recently when we all casually bumped into each other in parliament house.
PS: You have no problem of us moving ahead of the big emitters China and the United States?
MT: Look I am a leader – not the leader – Tony is the leader and I absolutely support him
PS: But you think Hunt and Abbott are wrong and Combet is right?
MT: Well don’t put words in my mouth here. As I said to Tony Jones, you really must speak to Greg Hunt for the details of his and Abbott’s boondoggle. For me, loyalty to my party and its great goals of protecting the environment and spreading the wealth always comes first.
PS: That’s the Liberal party Mr T******l?
MT: Exactly, precisely, I am sure I got the address right when I joined up.
UPDATED: Turnbull PM