Sunday September 15 2013

– Tony Abbott has decided to bunk with Australian Federal Police recruits in a $120-a-night flat while renovations are conducted at the possum-infested prime ministerial residence The Lodge.
The modest and unusual digs, in a red-brick AFP building close to Parliament, will feature a kitchenette and around-the-clock security from his AFP security officers and their junior colleagues.
Perhaps most importantly for the fitness fanatic, the student quarters also boasts an impressive gym.
The AFP recruits have been told they should soon expect a VIP visitor.
The official prime ministerial residence, The Lodge, is preparing for major renovations that could take up to a year to repair dodgy wiring, remove asbestos and replace the roof on the 1927 structure.
The Prime Minister-elect rejected the other options: a $3000-a-week dress circle rental in Canberra.
Providing proper security was the biggest problem in finding a temporary new abode, with many options requiring significant security upgrades if AFP officers were to properly protect the PM. For that reason, hotels were swiftly discounted.
The plan represents one of the most unusual Canberra living arrangements for a politician since former Liberal leader Brendan Nielson camped out in Joe Hockey’s shed to save money after his divorce. When Mr Abbott needs to entertain VIP guests, he will do so in his offices at Parliament House.
In Sydney, Mr Abbott will also be able to use Kirribilli House. But he has not yet said when he will move out of the family home and live there.
Mr Abbott’s unusual choice echoes the habits of his unlikely political hero: Labor’s Ben Chifley. As prime minister, Mr Chifley preferred the Hotel Kurrajong to The Lodge. He died there in 1951 after suffering heart attack.
The historic hotel is near the AFP flat Mr Abbott will live in. “My old man always says that Ben Chifley was a great prime minister, I think probably because he was very down-to-earth and a decent human being,” Mr Abbott said.
The vexed question of where to put the prime minister while The Lodge was renovated has exercised the minds of public servants since Julia Gillard signed off on multi-million-dollar renovations of the residence two years ago.
Ms Gillard was fond of telling stories of possum urine stains in the ceiling, detailing the horror in a 2012 interview with this newspaper.
“We had a celebrated incident where we had a visiting foreign leader,” she said.
“There was much shooing of people out of the dining room because someone spotted wee making its way down the wall to one of the very precious paintings from the National Gallery.
– Samantha Maiden


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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