Off to the Green Papaya Balinese and Thai restaurant to celebrate Penelope’s 25th birthday and to further discuss the Rudd restoration. Coinciding with this, the Wallabies play the British Lions in the second of their Rugby series in Melbourne, so our mood is festive and the atmosphere in the restaurant indeed electric. Susan brings with her the bottle of the quite excellent 1999 Majella Cabernet that she’s been saving for this big event and we all toast and offer Penelope our best wishes. I order the Pad Preshus Prissy Prik (soft shell crab) and the others opt for the Going Going Gong Yum Djulia (stir fried and tossed salad). To the gentle background music of the gamelan and the wonderfully attentive service of the pretty Thai waitresses we relish our meals and talk about the bright new future for our country that has just unfolded.
Half way through the evening, we hear the Wallabies have won a nail-biter, by just one point. As we are leaving, the bottle of Majella neatly polished off and the happy night’s celebrations still with us, there’s a bit of a ruckus across the street. Someone wearing a Lions guernsey is sprawled on a street corner, making a lot of noise, obviously drunk out of his mind. Around him are strewn empty beer cans and a half-eaten curry takeaway. He lies there, a pitiful sight, sometimes crying, sometimes pointing and giggling hysterically at the a crowd of onlookers that had now gathered. From a distance I suddenly notice that the man closely resembles Gillard’s Scottish-born spin-doctor, John McTernan, but I can’t be sure. As the police arrive to drag him away, he protests and pleads his innocence, repeatedly babbling out something about 457 visas and “appeal next week”, but the police are insistent. We turn away in disgust, determined that our otherwise enjoyable night would not be ruined by such an embarrassing spectacle.