Treasurer Josh Frydenberg returns home from his recent trip to Canberra. Join us, as another fly on the wall, in his family home.
JOSH: I’m home, darling. It’s so good to be back.
AMIE: Honey, I see you’re wearing the black jacket and slacks I bought you. Is that because you want to be able to say you are back in black?
JOSH: Ha, ha. Very funny, honey.
AMIE: How was Canberra? You weren’t away long.
JOSH: As a Victorian, I didn’t want to overstay my welcome beyond our borders. We Melburnians, in particular, aren’t quite flavour of the month at the moment.
AMIE: Did you cop the cold shoulder in Canberra?
JOSH: Far from it. Canberra without all the politicians and lobbyists is actually quite pleasant. Chilly, but pleasant.
AMIE: That’s good. I know it’s been a stressful time for you. It’s stressful for us as well.
JOSH: Yes, I know, dear. I’ve been a bit grumpy lately and haven’t shown much interest in you this year. I’m really sorry about that. In fact, I bought you a special something whilst I was in Canberra.
AMIE: Same here. I know I’ve been a bit short with you of late and I’ve bought a little something for you. It can wait till after dinner.
JOSH: That’s so sweet. Where’s our daughter?
AMIE: In her room catching up with her school studies. She’s been addicted to Netflix, so I’ve told her she has to complete her English assignment before dinner. Don’t interrupt her.
JOSH: Okay. Where are the dogs? I want to see them.
AMIE: In the backyard. Let them in. They’ll be beside themselves to see you.
(Josh goes to the back door, opens it and in rush their dogs who immediately start jumping all over Australia's Treasurer.)
JOSH: Ronny. Maggie. I’ve missed you, too. Have you been a good boy, Ronny? Who’s the pretty girl, Maggie?
(The dogs go ballistic and jump all over the furniture, running around the room and creating havoc.)
AMIE: Enough! Ronny! Maggie! Enough! Oh Josh, how many times do I have to tell you not to get them started? You know what they’re like. Take them outside and play with them until I have our dinner ready. Won’t be long.
JOSH: Okay. Come on, doggies. Ronny. Maggie.
(The three of them go outside. Josh returns when beckoned for dinner, leaving Ronny and Maggie outside. Josh, Aimee and their daughter nosh into their evening meal.)
JOSH: I have a little bit of news for you, my daughter. I trust you will take it well. I’ve realised your allowance for the last three or four months has been a bit overly generous. I’d factored in costs for you to get to and from school, lunch costs and so on. Well, with all the remote learning and homeschooling you’re experiencing now, quite frankly, you no longer require such a generous allowance. I’m afraid the honeymoon is over; you’ll still get an allowance, but only 80 per cent of what it has been. My decision is final.
(Their daughter does what any teenager would do confronted with news like that — she gets up, leaves the table and goes to her room.)
AMIE: You didn’t handle that very well, Josh.
JOSH: That’s well and good, but no child in our extended family, ever, has received such a high weekly allowance.
(Josh and Aimee complete their meal in an uneasy silence. Once the table is cleared and dishes are in the dishwasher, they retire to the living room.)
JOSH: Honey. Flying to Canberra made me realise how much you mean to me and how little interest I have shown you and what you do. I’m really sorry. The strain of this year, having to give all that money away, seeing the debt and deficit blowing out, no hope of getting the budget back in black, it’s gotten to me.
AMIE: I won’t lie to you. It hasn’t been easy for me. You haven’t made a pass at me in months. Don’t you find me attractive anymore?
JOSH: Of course I do, but my libido has taken quite a nosedive. That’s where my gift comes in. I’ll go and get it.
AMIE: Oh, good. I’ll fetch my gift for you, too.
(Josh returns holding a zipped up suit cover. Aimee returns, clutching a book in her hands.)
JOSH: You go first, honey.
AMIE: I remembered how much you enjoy dual Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel’s writing. I stumbled across a book of hers I’d never heard of, and thought you’d love it — ‘The Assassination Of Margaret Thatcher’.
JOSH: Really? Oh, thank you, honey. Well, err, umm, I’m not quite sure how to say this. You know how inspirational I find Margaret Thatcher.
JOSH: This is for you.
(Josh hands his wife the suit cover.)
JOSH: Open it.
(Aimee unzips the cover and takes out a sky blue suit for women, in exactly the style Margaret Thatcher was famous for wearing.)
JOSH: Any chance of wearing it tonight and doing your hair in the style Thatcher wore when she was Prime Minister? I think it could make all the difference.
(Every couple needs their privacy. It's is no different for our nation's Treasurer.)
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