And he donned the hairshirt on Radio 3AW as announcer Neil Mitchell castigated him on behalf of a little old lady named Joan who was ”really scared” about bodgie batts in her roof.
Rudd’s media mea culpa even extended to the previously banned Ray Hadley program on Radio 2GB, on which he declared: ”Well our job, you know Ray, is to sort it out case by case, firm by firm, and worker by worker.” Our Prime Minister is a very busy bee.
But by yesterday afternoon, when Parliament broke up, he seemed rather happy with himself. He’d successfully withheld Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s scalp from the salivating opposition, and managed to ignore Tony Abbott’s mantra of 240,000 dodgy installations, 1000 electrified roofs, 93 house fires and four young men dead.
He’d thrown another $41 million of taxpayers’ cash to help preserve installers’ jobs, on top of the $1.5 billion already lavished on the seemingly bottomless money pit of the insulation scheme. And he’d started the day with diversionary manna from heaven, the revelation that three Australian passports had been involved in a suspected plot by Mossad assassins to murder a Hamas leader in Dubai.
While Abbott was holding a news conference in a warehouse full of pink batts in the unsalubrious outer Canberra suburb of Fyshwick, Rudd and his Foreign Minister were boasting to the world about their carpeting of the Israeli ambassador.
By question time, Rudd had found his lost mojo, having made it to the end of the sitting week relatively unscathed, despite Abbott’s valiant efforts. Rudd was pleased enough to laugh at Treasurer Wayne Swan’s attempt at diversionary humour in question time. Swan declared that shadow treasurer Joe Hockey had been the ”champion bogong moth eater” at St Aloysius College.
The ”erratic behaviour of the opposition” was down to the fact that Hockey had ”been eating too many bogong moths,” Swan said.
The Speaker ordered the smirking Treasurer to sit down, on the grounds that bogong moths had no place in economic debate.
Hockey didn’t see the humour either, explaining last night that the story was a ”complete fiction”, spread by his fellow St Aloysius alumnus, ABC radio host Adam Spencer, who might himself, be a secret moth muncher.
Hockey declared, for the record, he had never eaten a single bogong moth.
It was a long week in Canberra.