My week away. (Canberra and Melbourne)

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So it’s been over a week since you’ve heard from me – but I have been busy.

Essentially I’ve spent the week in Canberra and in Melbourne.

CANBERRA

A decade ago I kinda worked at Parliament House, in the sense that I worked for a Queensland MP and would visit there occasionally during sitting weeks. I had a very important looking pass with my picture on it and I got to go anywhere I wanted, except through doors that said “Members Only”. If I had a suit (you need to wear a jacket in there) I could have ducked into the Reps chamber too.

But the reason I was in Canberra this time was because I was part of a delegation lobbying for a parliamentary inquiry into public sector job security. We had meetings with Adam Bandt from the Greens, Bob Katter, Peter Slipper, Tony Windsor’s Chief of Staff and finally Kevin Rudd. But along the way we also met with Larissa Waters and a few other politicians.

I think it is safe to say that it was quite a “through the rabbit hole” experience — but dear readers — unfortunately I really can’t provide any more detail.

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Parliament House predominately has these hard-wood floors — saturated with the pock marks of high-heels. And so all the while you walk around it, making so much noise — you actually get this vibe that you are in the corridors of power.

POINTS

But I can say that Dee was giving me points for political celebrities I spotted. So here is the washup:

1) 2 minutes after entering the House I was walking through one of the big, heavy doors and realised someone was behind so I held it open for that person — who turned out to be Andrew Wilkie. At that point I was not sure how many points he was worth — but it felt like I should get a bonus.

2) Bill Shorten just buying tea at the Aussie’s cafe/store.

3) Tony Abbott jogging (in t-shirt and jogging shoes etc just seconds after Question Time finished) through the corridors of Parliament House. I suspect he wears his jogging attire underneath his suit. That’s the only way I can explain such a quick costume-change.

4) As Joe Hockey walked passed he recognised my boss and then shook his head in disgust and because I was the only one looking at him — he had to direct that silent rant at me. I am pretty sure I was flattered by someone who is so much part of the problem thinking we were scum. LOL.

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Beautiful art-deco light fixture. I fucking love almost every bit of the design of Parliament House. It is inspired.Image

PH has real art everywhere — like sourced from the National Gallery. It is quite surreal to casually wander past a Brett Whiteley (above) or notice an Albert Tucker hanging on the wall behind you — and you only notice as you get up to leave a meeting.

5) Talking to Kevin Rudd about Lego. We walked into this big, important meeting with Kevin and bizarrely he had a Lego set on the coffee table he was building. And he had meticulously separated all the little pieces into tea cups and the big bits into breakfast bowls. Upon seeing this I couldn’t help myself but exclaim, “OMG! I have this set too — it’s AWESOME!” He explained that it was a recent gift and made a joke about how it was a barometer about how his meetings were going — if everything was getting too boring and people started playing with the Lego things were not going so well.

I then went into great detail about the specifics of the build and followed that up with an epic story of how Wintah had recently broken it. Eventually I suspected I was getting close to freaking Kevin out and being quietly ejected so I shut up and let the business stuff continue. But if you are reading Kev, any help on Lego you need — just let me know.

As the meeting closed and I was doing a video I said to Kevin that my beyonce used to work at Riverbend Cafe and was a big fan. It was then Kevin finally actually warmed to me and kinda blushed. I could see him thinking, “Maybe this crazy lego-nerd ain’t so bad”.

6) I got big points for Insiders regulars — but I only saw Peter Coorey, Laura Tingle and that gangly photographer that appears on Michael Bower’s “Talking Pictures” segment (my favourite part of Insiders). I did see a lot of First Dog pictures.

Others: Peter Garratt, Chris Evans, Darryl Melham, Ian McFarlane, Jenny Macklin, Tanya Plibersek, Craig Emerson, Peter Dutton, Wyatt Roy, Joel Fitzgibbon.

Unfortunately I didn’t see Annabel Crabb or Julia Gilliard or Chris Pyne or First Dog on the Moon which would have sent the points system in meltdown. Oh well.

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Me in business-mode waiting for the lift.

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Look at this crazy-cat

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There are over 2500 of these exact clocks all over the House. The ticking they make is unbelievably loud. “You get used to it,” Adam explained. Periodically these bad-boys go nuts for ages to indicate divisions and other important stuff. The two squares at the bottom are lights that indicate Senate or Reps divisions. 

MELBOURNE

So then I was off to Melbourne for the FWD2012 conference on online campaigning.

After the first night of ‘enjoying’ the very basic facilities at Queen’s College — shared toilets and showers — I decided to stay at mum’s house. Apart from that fact I am getting a bit snobby in my old age — I really have trouble using public facilities. That’s just how I roll.

Anyway. Mum had a new edition to her pad. This dollhouse — Villa Sibi — based on the Philip Norman house. It comes from Germany. Mum had even made little magazines for the Ken and Barbie occupants inside.

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Here’s some pics of mum’s house and Melbz.Image

The view from Mum’s balcony. At dusk it is like a painting that gets better every minute.

ImageA rare Tretchikoff. Image

Those three bowls and stand are apparently extremely desirable. Mum paid 400 euros for them.Image

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Hi mum!Image

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Mum’s spare room — where I slept — is like an old-school kid’s room. Complete with these amazing original children’s books from ages ago.Image

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BONUS PICS:

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Adam is super-cool! When Alex makes a joke he gets it!

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