By Darryl Mason
The Liberal Party was already in meltdown mode. I don't know what this mess is called, but it's thumping nastily with the kind of radioactive fallout that will require much contamination-style heavy scrubbing and hosing down before it's safe to go near again. It's also funnier than John Howard tripping up stairs :
Joe Hockey likened Wilson Tuckey to the crazy uncle at a family wedding yesterday as the Coalition started to tear itself apart over how to deal with Labor's proposed emissions trading scheme.
Backbenchers traded insults, the Nationals split from the Liberal leadership, and the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, declared his opponents a divided rabble as they sparred over when and if it should negotiate with Labor over the legislation.
Kevin Rudd doesn't even have to try anymore. He can just sit back at 2am and watch repeats of Lateline frame by frame to catch the flickers of utter devastation that briefly crease the faces of all Liberals who now front up for TV interviews.
The renegade backbencher, Mr Tuckey, stirred trouble on Tuesday when he emailed every colleague attacking the embattled leader, Malcolm Turnbull, as arrogant and inexperienced.
The NSW frontbencher Bob Baldwin fired back at Mr Tuckey with an email also sent to all colleagues. He called Mr Tuckey's behaviour "absolutely disgraceful and unforgivable, particularly from someone who boasts so much experience … Perhaps he should consider packing his bags".
Emails. Again. Imagine the carnage if they started cutting loose on Twitter?
And so on to Joe Hockey's already infamous quote about Tuckey :
"Every family has an uncle who goes a little wild at the family wedding."
The Liberal Party is like a family wedding?
Hockey's out of his mi...wait a sec.
Mostly empty dance floor? Check.
Long winded-speeches by too many people who have had too much to drink or not enough? Check.
Lack of younger people with something interesting to say? Check.
Crazy uncle(s) going wild? Check.
People pasing each other in hallways muttering "fuck you" under their breath? Check.
Shit. Joe Hockey is right!
I think Peter Garrett sang a song once about this taking this kind of stand :
One anti-Turnbull backbencher said the Coalition was "going to get done like a dinner" regardless of when the election was held. "We might as well get done like a dinner with our principles intact."
That's it. It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
Mr Rudd then excused himself, because he could no longer contain his laughter one second more. Unconfirmed reports indicate the prime minister then continued to laugh so hard, so helplessly, for the next six hours he was unable to give a planned dinner speech, he had to be carried into the house and could not eat or drink or dress himself for bed.
Mr Rudd said trying to negotiate with the Coalition in its current state was inconceivable. It should concentrate on fighting climate change, not each other, he said.
Government insiders tell me that treasurer Wayne Swann has been repeatedly streaking past Malcolm Turnbull's home shouting, "Hey Malcy? What about those inflation figures? Huh? Huh? Bite me!"
Meanwhile, on Sydney's leafy North Shore, John Howard, geed up from the first episode of the SBS documentary about his years in power, and not at all bothered by those many scenes of his early days when he looked dorkier than the entire cast of Revenge Of The Nerds, ponders asking Peter Costello to be a mate and "wait until I have another go".
There must have been so many Liberals watching the first episode of that SBS doco, Liberal Rule, who found themselves bubbling with tears, their chests wracked by sobs, as they contemplated a Groundhog Day of interminable horror : another decade + plus in opposition, all years as grim and long and soul-devouring as the last time, which (before John Howard proved that if you hang around anywhere long enough you will eventually be put in charge) culminated in a desperation so wretched these words were spoken in all seriousness, "Yes, Alexander Downer would make a good leader of the Liberal Party."
Do you get the feeling there is a Night Of The Long Knives coming soon for some of the creaking older members of the Coalition? A number major financial backers of the Liberal Party demanded the house be fumigated of anything that smelled even remotely of Rodent, months ago. The pressure on Malcolm Turnbull to ditch the driftwood must be intense.
I'll repeat my wacky prediction of earlier this year : the Coalition opposition that comes out of the next federal election will likely be a coalition of Turnbull Liberals and The Greens.
It's the only dream Malcolm Turnbull's got left.