Urgent call from poor Bill early this morning in a state of enormous panic. Worried witless that they might suddenly go off script today at the Royal Commission and start firing questions at him that are nothing to do with the allegations of him helping to fleece union members and lining his pockets at every opportunity.
“What if they start posing a lot of questions from out of left field?” he asks.
“About my integrity, for example.”
“Such as?” I ask again.
“Such as being an inveterate, pathological liar and the last person in the world to be trusted? What if they ask, ‘If it is so commonly known in the Labor and Trade Unions movement that you couldn’t trust Bill Shorten as far as you could throw him, why should we believe the little tosser now?’ What if they ask me about my plotting and scheming, my duplicity, the slithering opportunism and the merciless, cut-throat treachery I’ve employed to get to where I am today?
And what if they hit me with more embarrassing questions, such as, after having got here, why have I proven so utterly inept, febrile and yes, let’s face it, so piss-weak as a leader? Above all, what if they ask – if I’m such a treacherous little arse swipe, unfit even to scrub the toilets of Labor Party headquarters, let alone being their leader – why on earth would anyone in their right mind want to vote for me as PM?“
I tell him just to be straight with them, and to answer with something along the lines of ‘I was only following the same, noble tradition of many modern day trade union delegates who are just in it for the money and I just happen to be much better at it than most.’ Then add: ‘Particularly when it comes to sticking a knife in someone’s back.’ My feeling was that, unlike Craig Thompson, who lied through his teeth to the very end, a little candour was needed here. You never know, I advised him, outright honesty might help persuade the commission (after no doubt declaring him ‘GUILTY AS HELL of all of the above’) to give him a slightly reduced sentence.
After he rang off, I suddenly remembered the rape allegations and thought, poor Bill.