POLITICAL SOURCES in Canberra have revealed that Scott Morrison's office celebrated in style earlier in the week.
Morrison and several dozen colleagues were seen on a cruise boat in Sydney Harbour. One of those on board sent a picture of the revellers to a newspaper by mistake. Clearly visible in the photograph were Philip Ruddock and Peter Reith. Reith appeared to be in deep conversation with Peta Credlin. Both of them looked very happy by the time their picture was taken.
The following morning, amid the many empty champagne bottles, a deckhand found a mobile phone left behind by one of the previous night's revellers. Captured on the phone were the major speeches made the night before.
IA can now reveal what the party was all about.
The speeches revealed Morrison's office decided to have a party to celebrate an amazing milestone. It seems the minister had just announced the 50th independent inquiry he had set up into activities carried out by staff working to implement Operation Sovereign Borders.
Yes, Morrison reached his half-century in record time – just over six months in government – something of which he seemed particularly proud, being recorded saying:
"Some Ministers are in their plush offices for a decade, and never do enough work to have to announce an inquiry. I've announced 50 in less than a year. I think that is worth celebrating."
The camera briefly captured Ruddock and Reith listening intently, even tearfully — emotionally vindicated by the magnitude of Morrison's achievement.
To Peta Credlin, Reith is heard saying:
"Never in my lifetime did I think our own work would be so easily surpassed."
"Your boy done good, you trained him well," Credlin can be heard saying in reply.
In his speech, Morrison reflected upon the many reasons to celebrate:
"At the start, when I announced the first few inquiries, there were some nervous nellies on our side of politics. They didn't think it looked good, drawing attention to Navy ships that didn't know how to navigate, to asylum whingers complaining about a few blisters on their hands, to people attacked with machetes and knives in that bastion of freedom and safety in the South Pacific, Manus Island, to the public release of private information about thousands of illegal immigrants already in Australia."
"But I could see the bigger picture," he went on.
"I knew what I was doing. I wanted our forces to go rogue, to push the boundaries – to go the extra mile – and they responded magnificently.
"Every time I announced another inquiry, I notched it up as a success. These people in our security forces and government agencies had got the message — they were to implement the spirit, not the letter, of the law.
"I wanted the good people of Iran and Afghanistan to know that our Government could act like cowboys just as much as their own governments did. A hostile, lawless, dangerous Australia was the impression I wanted to create, and we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams."
Morrison was asked about the party on Sydney Harbour at a press conference in Canberra a few days later, to which he initially responded predictably:
"That party was an on-water event, and as such I refuse to comment on operational matters."
In his final comments, however, he provide some encouragement for fans of his record-breaking achievements:
"I will say this. I have decided to launch an inquiry into how the phone ended up in the hands of those Communists at Independent Australia.
"Slippery hands sink ships, you know."
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