ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Last night, as they each tried to enjoy some quiet time alone with a glass of shampers and a plate of olives, the sole Greensperson in the lower house and a backbencher from the New South Wales high country locked eyes and frowned.

“Ah for fuck’s sake,” said Barnaby Joyce under his breath.

He shut the open copy of The Australian that sat in front of him and tried to lock his Kindle but his fingertips were still wet with olive oil.

Walking back from the bar with a Hendricks and soda in one hand and a plate of oysters and prawns in the other, Adam Bandt cursed the situation, too.

“Shivers!” he said loud enough for Barnaby to hear.

There Adam stood in his made-to-measure two-piece TOM FORD and there Joyce slouched in an off-the-rack sportscoat that wrapped his non-iron shirt like wax paper wrapping a McDouble. His pants had a velvet stripe down the seam. They were from his dinner suit.

Adam kept walking to his table, loudly slamming the plate down hard on the Noguchi replica.

With a smile, Barnaby picked up the half-empty bottle of 2008 Mumm and poured himself another glass. Once the bubble settled, he topped it up with Coca-Cola. All without once breaking eye contact.

They sat about a hundred meters apart, looking intently at one another. They both get paid too much to fight it out like the Australians they’re supposed to represent. But they don’t get paid enough to have a discussion like grown-ups.

So they sat, looking at each other for almost an hour until Adam’s flight to Melbourne was called. He was glad, he sat down needing to piss. But he couldn’t.

Barnaby finally looked down and rocked back in his seat. He let out a sigh, collected his things and moved to another table. He’d taken three slashes on the floor.

More to come.


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