The Bug has been handed a secret tape recording of the conversation between former Prime Minister John Howard and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton at the opening day of the Australia-India Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. While the two leading Liberals were snapped by the Australian Financial Review (above) only The Bug knows what was said between them. The shocking transcript reveals current PM Scott Morrison may be forced to go to the polls early to avoid being toppled later this month.
Dutton: Can I get you another drink, Sir? Or a sandwich? Or a light blanket for your lap; the wind is up and you wouldn’t want to catch a chill.
Howard: Uuh…nyuh…err… aah…I’ll decide whether I need a lap blanket and the manner in which it might come to me.
Dutton: Of course, sir. It’s just that you’re a national treasure to all of us in the Liberal Party of Australia and we just want to keep you in good health for as long as we can, God willing, of course.
Howard: Relaxed and comfortable, eh?
Dutton: Of course. You are by far the greatest living PM this country has ever had. Possibly the greatest of all time. Of any country.
Howard: Uuh…nyuh…err… aah… true.
Dutton: We all wish you were still in The Lodge, Sir. We wouldn’t be in the pickle we are now if we still had the benefit of your astute and brilliant leadership of our nation.
Howard: Uuh…nyuh…err… aah… go on, please.
Dutton: I really would like your opinion, sir, on whether we have any chance at all under Scott. Nice bloke and all but not really cutting through, wouldn’t you say? Little bit too blokey and religious for mine. Lacks that mental toughness that you, sir, as truly a man of steel, possessed …. I meant to say still possesses. I could never hope to reach your standards but I do believe this nation of ours is in dire straits and if anyone could provide the thin blue line to keep Labor and the Greens from power, it’s….
Howard: Uuh…nyuh…err… aah… you make it sound like you’re making a job application to me there, young man. Which is very sensible seeing uuh…nyuh…err… aah… I believe I still hold some sway in…uuh…nyuh…err… aah… deciding who comes to the leadership of the party and the manner in which they come to it. Isn’t that true, Janette?
Dutton: Mrs Howard didn’t come today, sir. But on your role in the party as a kingmaker, that’s exactly as it should be, sir. We all admire and respect you greatly. Your opinion still has almighty sway, which is why I was wondering if I could count on your…
Howard: Uuh…nyuh…err… aah… how do you rate your support in the party room at the moment then?
Dutton: Matthias says that as of this morning it’s in the mid to late 30s but he thinks it could even go as high as 29.
Howard: Uuh…nyuh…err… aah… this much-vaunted pace attack of Australia’s – Starc, Hazelwood and Cummings – they really are shit, aren’t they?
Howard: If only I were a selector. Uuh…nyuh…err… aah… I could decide who comes to the team and the manner in which they come to it.
Dutton: You’re spot on there, Sir. I don’t think any of them have the bowling skills you possessed as a young man.
Howard: Uuh…nyuh…err… aah… yes, I was very good.
Dutton: You were the best, sir, but as I was saying, I was wondering if I could re ….. Fuck! The little cunt’s gone to sleep again.