I am on the train from Adelaide to Melbourne experiencing diarrhoea, drinking only non-alcoholic liquids, abjuring all solid food, emailing old friends, reading my wife’s new novel and occasionally dozing.
And it has occurred to me how to solve the Slipper Sex Harassment Paralysis Of Parliament and get the nation, once again, admiring the Swan Budget, the Carr Grand Tour and the Roxon War On The Killer Tobacco, and so on. It is this.
Make Slipper, like Hacker, a Minister Without Portfolio empowered to fill in on public occasions for Ministers absent or indisposed, give him in that capacity a Minister’s wage and announce that Harry Jenkins will be filling in for him as Speaker Pro Tem till Christmas Day.
This will tactically palliate Abbott, who mourned Harry’s passing, and give him no cause to move motions of no confidence in the Speaker, or anybody. And make him very, very angry.
And the interest rates will come down and the Budget pass and the Gillard Government be on the front foot again.
If something of this order does not happen, the business of government can be held up hereafter by frivolous court action whenever an Opposition chooses, by whatever trivial fabrication, to mention a sexual matter.
It will become known as The Slipper Sideward Shuffle and pass amusingly into legend.