CANBERRA -- As the 2016 parliamentary year draws to a close, with signature legislation yet to passed and rumours of a Cabinet reshuffle in the new year, it is strongly suggested a moment in Tuesday's question time is parked away somewhere for safe keeping.
We say that because a very similar moment was marked exactly a year ago.
Amid speculation the accident prone Attorney-General George Brandis will be replaced, with the Bell Group liquidation controversy as the last straw -- but with the Opposition trying but failing so far to draw blood -- the Opposition Leader sought to draw out the Prime Minister on a tried and true, yet fairly devastating question.
A big folder in front of @billshortenmp in the Reps Chamber "Brandis WA kickback Scandal".— Sabra Lane (@SabraLane) November 29, 2016
Shorten put to Turnbull, "At exactly this time last year, the Prime Minister stood at the dispatch box and expressed full confidence in ministers Briggs, Brough and the Member for Fadden".
"One year on, in the last week of this Parliament for this year, will the Prime Minister express the same full confidence in the Attorney-General?"
After their scandals, Jamie Briggs (remember the bar scandal) and Mal Brough (who can forget the Slipper affair) are gone, while the demoted Member for Fadden Stuart Robert (in trouble over Liberal donors) shouted "I am still here" from the backbench.
The Prime Minister's reply?
Turnbull barely got out of his seat before smiling and uttering, "Of course I do".
Cue howls of opposition laughter as Turnbull resumed his seat and crossed his arms.
Is that the kiss of death? Only the Prime Minister knows.
The Attorney-General has been under intense pressure over the Bell Group legal dispute this week, and he has pretty much thrown former Treasurer Joe Hockey under a bus, but he's hanging on.
Bus-meet Brandis! https://t.co/gdA9bvajqX— Ross Hart (@rossahart) November 29, 2016
As for the Prime Minster, he told parliament that the continued questions on Brandis and the Bell Group are getting "tiresome".