Politicians, they’re just like us! They do chores like common plebs! Or so was the theme of a bizarre interview with Josh Frydenberg on Sunrise last week. With the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria all in lockdown, our spendy Treasurer spent a week with the Prime Minister at his official Canberra residence, and morning television’s most racist bobbleheads thought it a bona fide hoot.
“How’s the federal frat house going,” sentient licorice allsort David Koch asked Frydenberg via satellite, likening The Lodge to an American college party share house. I would argue the comparison is more fitting of Parliament House, after recent allegations of debauchery and depravity within, but maybe Kochie knows something I don’t besides how negative gearing works.
After assuring the TV host of The Lodge’s ample ginger ale supply for reasons I don’t know or care about, the Treasurer explained that the two men dine together and excel at talking: “We pop the spaghetti bolognese – or last night it was the schnitzel – into the microwave and then we sit down and have a good conversation.” Cool story.
The Member for Kooyong seemed to find great amusement in this pretty normal situation as if two men sharing accommodation and meals is in itself hilarious and unusual. Assuming he knows queer couples can and do cohabit, has our nation’s wallet-holder never heard of share houses? Room sharing? Boarding houses? Does he not realise we can’t all afford our own homes? Perhaps if someone told him, he’d stop disregarding pleas for financial assistance, and enacting policies that force more and more people into increasingly precarious living situations.
Frydenberg’s dogged insistence that he and Morrison do the washing up really took the interview from mundane to mystifying, however: “He’s actually on the dishes, would you believe? Because it’s just the two of us there. After we’ve had dinner we both get the scrubbing brush and go for it. You might not believe it, but it’s true.”
I have so many questions.
Why does he think it’s hard to believe that Scott Morrison, a man descended from neither riches nor royalty, would do the dishes? Is there not a dishwasher in the Australian Prime Minister’s official capital city residence in this year of his lord 2021? Surely domestic staff are present to clean up after them? Who’s the Chandler and who’s the Joey? How much longer can I go without a haircut before I can fashion my overgrown tresses into clothing?
Why does Josh Frydenberg think people wouldn’t believe that he and Scott Morrison do their own dishes after dinner? Does he think us peasants consider them as kings? https://t.co/qUOwZt2gHW
— Sally Rugg (@sallyrugg) August 24, 2021
As if two able-bodied adult humans doing household tasks wasn’t funny enough, Frydenberg went for comedy gold: ”My wife did have a laugh, Kochie,” said the gagster. “She said I’m turning up for dinner on time now like I’ve never done at home. She’s a bit jealous, but she understands.” LOL! Women, amirite? Can’t live with em, can’t get em to stop whining about “rights” and “sexual assault”! But no, the Liberal Party doesn’t have a woman problem. Nothing to see here. Or here:
Today the Morrison Government voted against 49 of the 55 recommendations made in the landmark Respect@Work report by @Kate_Jenkins_ .
These reforms would have had a real long term impact on the lives of all Australian women ensuring safer and more equitable workplaces. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/4DQIrm3xtw
— Brittany Higgins (@BrittHiggins_) September 2, 2021
Wrapping up the Sunrise segment before Josh could go full Jerry Lewis, Kochie suggested my worst nightmare and yours: “Could be a reality series. You never know.” And I really hope I never do.
Speaking with Neil Mitchell on 3AW the same day, the Treasurer insisted there was no staff present in The Lodge when he and Morrison are there and had a jolly chuckle at the radio host’s suggestion they “watch the 730 Report and boo”. Frydenberg said they’d watched Yes, Prime Minister and learned “how the public servants run the show” and I slapped myself to make sure I was still awake.
Social media conversations regarding the Bert and Ernie of Australian politics centred mostly on Frydenberg’s misogyny and cleaning claims. Covid or not, I do find it a bit hard to believe there isn’t staff on hand 24/7, but I don’t believe politicians by default on account of my being alive and over 12. If there is in fact staff who do the dishes once the muppets have eaten, I hope erasing them to score brownie points with the over-60s was worth it.
Does anyone really believe Frydenberg and Morrison are fending for themselves in an unstaffed Lodge? Are the kitchen and housekeeping staff all on leave? https://t.co/9pY4WC83Zf
— Agnes Mack (@AgnessMack) August 25, 2021
Others online questioned if the deputy Liberal leader was still claiming his full travel allowance while crashing with the PM and speculated that he may be trying The Lodge on for size, measuring the curtains, etc. Josh Frydenberg is clearly a potential and eager successor for the top job, whether by election, spill or abdication, an ambition that Michelle Grattan notes he has never hidden.
But while bunking with the boss is a strategic move, it may not be the right one. Niki Savva wrote yesterday that instead of bromancing Morrison, Frydenberg’s time may likely be better spent winning the support of other members of his party, in particular those leaning towards his arguably main rival for the throne, Peter “He’s Not a Monster” Dutton. And, she insists, there are in fact quite a lot of them, which is TERRIFYING.
Look, if two politicians want to play Golden Girls at The Lodge, I say fetch the hot cocoa. It all just feels so contrived, another ill-conceived PR ploy to make Morrison more relatable to god knows who and Frydenberg more suitable to fuck knows what. I just hope neither of them snores.