Yesterday, during the Q&A session after her speech at the National Press Club, Glenn Milne asked Julia Gillard what she thought of Malcolm Turnbull. Julia replied:
"If I can make one personal reflection, I think if I was in a room with him, I'd be a little bit concerned about whether there was enough space for me, him and his ego. That would be on my mind."
Turbull's ego was on display in QT today, and even he realised it.
His second question to Rudd seemed to be made up somewhat on the spot, as it referred to some remarks of Turnbull's contained in Rudd's answer to a Dorothy Dixer just prior. It seemed he had decided to change the wording a bit and thus got a tad unstuck:
"Mr Speaker my question is to the Prime Minister...arrrr...and I refer to my remarks made this morning where I said [pause] and I quote...
At this point the ALP side of the House fell about laughing at the ludicrousness of him quoting himself in a question (normally questions are meant to be about things the Government has said - but not for Malcolm, he wants all of QT to be about him!).
Anthony Albanese took the opportunity amid the laughter to make a point of order asking "is it in order for the leader of the opposition to ask himself a question?"
Once the merriment had briefly subsided, Turnbull tried to salvage something from the fire:
"...I arrr...ask the Prime Minister whether he agrees with these comments..." (at which point he quoted himself)
But give credit to Malcolm, he knew he had completely stuffed up the question, and that it had drawn attention to his deep abiding affection for himself. He allowed a sheepish smile to come across his face as he stood up to ask the last part of the question. His smile was noticed by Julia and others on the front bench, who laughed ever more.
Later, Wayne Swan in response to a Dorothy on "responsible economic management" (as generic an economic question as you can get) stated of Turnbull, "You could see his sense of self satisfaction that he was even quoting himself..."
Yes Turnbull is better than Nelson, and the ALP knows he is; but they do not fear him yet.
The rumours seem to be pretty strong that Julie Bishop will get the shadow treasury spot. If so, expect more Dorothys to Julia on broader economic areas that will allow her to continue to attack Julie B's throat.
If Julie does get the job, it will be the first time someone has been promoted to get them away from their opposite number.
Julie B's smug sense of superiority was again on display (in fairness she could not possibly turn it off, it is in her DNA). After asking Julia a question about why her speech at the National Press Club on the Government's new workplace relations legislation did not once mention job creation, Julie flicked through the printed speech and turned ever so slowly away from the dispatch box in an attempt to display her total contempt.
Julia then ripped into her for obviously still being in love with workchoices.
Were I Julia, I would have also said that the Howard Government was great at talking about how work choices created jobs - it was less great at providing actual evidence; but still Julia did enough to annoy Julie B (which should always be one's goal), and when Julia finished, Julie B tried to table the speech (which was denied by the Government - again done purely to annoy). She kept on talking and the Government front bench started heckling her, at which point she cried "Ooh Mr Speaker!"
Oh, I say Julie, yes they were perfectly horrid to you. Now sit down.
Line of the day went to the Speaker, who in prefacing his call to Bob Katter to ask a question, said: "I'll just get comfortable." Everyone, including Katter, who is well known for his long, convoluted questions, had a good chuckle.